Saturday, December 13, 2014


On Gabriel's birthday I had put a status on my Facebook profile, like I always do.  Something acknowledging Gabriel's day.  Of course the loving and supportive comments come flowing shortly after, it's always easier to get through a tough day when you have constant reminders sporadically placed throughout the day that let you know people love you and are thinking of you.

There was one specific comment that really got me thinking.  It was late afternoon when I saw this specific comment, it read "your mommy and daddy are so proud of you...." with some other sentimental words following it.  This simple comment got me thinking in a way I haven't thought in a long time. In fact, I've thought about this one comment for days.  I started pondering exactly why this comment touched me and  it's meaning, I quickly realized that although I hadn't thought of it that way, it's truth. 
I AM proud of him.  I'm proud of everything he accomplished in his short life, both inside and outside his womb.  I'm proud of all the lives he's touched, all the people's hearts that have wept for him and celebrated him.  I'm proud of all the lessons he's brought into people's lives all around the world.  He only lived a short life, extremely short, but he made huge waves.  
I'm proud of who he's made me. I'm a completely different person than I was before I met him.  I tend to be more sad, emotional, and on edge but  I also tend to be more understanding of strangers untold stories and struggles.  I have grown to look in people's eyes and heart instead of focusing on what anger or upset is streaming from their face.  I strive to want to give and have found myself completely surrounded in this "loss community", a place where I feel comfortable, confident and understood. Nobody wishes to be a member, but when you are forced into it, it's a wonderful community to be in.
I always show his photos to everyone and anyone who is willing to see them, I show him off with pride the same way I show off my other kids.  I never thought about it this way before, but yes I am proud.  I'm happy to have him a part of my life's journey, even if it's a sad chapter and sometimes tears me down, he's made me who I am today.  I may not have gotten to raise him into a child and a man, but he' s certainly raised me  from who I was 3 years ago to who I am now. 

During the 5 days I've pondered this comment, I saw a beautiful poem online.  I can't find or even quote this poem right now, but the poem really solidified what I've been thinking. Something in these thoughts has changed my thought process.  I will no longer hesitate when people ask the dreaded question "How many children do you have?" because my answer is firm. 
"I am the proud momma of 4 beautiful babies, 3 that can run and 1 that can fly."
I'm so proud of you little man. Thank you for all you continue to do.

Monday, December 1, 2014

His birthday is rapidly approaching

It's been awhile since I've updated. Life has been pretty busy with various illnesses, school, work and other regular life activities.  Halloween has passed, Thanksgiving has passed, and now December is upon us.  This is a time of year that is especially rough for us.  With Gabriel's birthday to start the month, then Christmas which is always a tough time - remembering that we don't get to celebrate with him, and then the new year (which lets face it, can be a bit scary), it can be rough.

Gabriel's birthday is in 1 week. He'd be 3 years old now. It's unbelievable that it's been nearly 3 years since I held our first son. It's been nearly 3 years since I stared at his perfect little face.  I can't believe how fast the 3 years has gone by, but I guess in a growing family time goes quickly. So much has changed.  Our lives have been in a whirlwind, but soon I hope it will slow down so we can enjoy life a little more. I just feel like things are constantly changing, constantly happening and the world keeps spinning faster and faster.  Eventually it starts to feel a bit out of control.  In those moments I know I can go to the cemetery and be near Gabriel, where the world is quiet once more and everything seems to stand still - only for a moment in time.

Just in time for Gabriel's 3rd birthday, I've decided to volunteer my time with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.  They are the organization filled with volunteer photographers who go out to take photos for families who have lost a child. They are the organization that connected me with a photographer who captured every second of Gabriel's short life and many moments after.  Surprisingly to start out, I will not be taking photos.  I will be volunteering my time in the community, recruiting, connecting families with photographers and making sure hospitals have all the tools they need to offer this service to families.  After I've worked on my low light photography skills I will eventually move into being a photographer for them, just not yet.  I hope to be in that place before Gabriel's 4th birthday. Tomorrow I will meet with the recruiter to get everything set up and going.  It's taken 3 years to get to  a place where I can finally give back.  It isn't easy knowing the field I'll be volunteering in and the situations I may face. In my heart though, I know it's what I need to do. I have wanted to help for so long, and now I'm finally able to.  And eventually, I'll be able to use my photography skills to benefit these families even more.

Evelyn is growing up so fast, I can't blink these days or I might miss something.  She mentions Gabriel sometimes. Most recently we were all hanging out on the couch and Evelyn was scared.  Derrick explained that she has angels watching over her and she doesn't need to be scared, Evelyn's response, ever so innocently was "Like Gabriel?".  Yup like Gabriel *cue tears*.  I nearly lost it whens she said it.  It was an emotional time, her realizing that Gabriel is an angel and lives with Jesus, and she's starting to understand what that means.  It's always interesting to me to hear her speak of him and the way she understands him. It'll be more interesting to hear how the boys view him, as Evelyn and the boys have very different relationships with him.

This time of year, Gabriel is always on my mind.  I never forget him and I know he is with me all the time.  Thinking of him and who he would be consumes my heart and mind, I will never stop thinking of him and loving him.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day... Again.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day hits us once again.  I had planned to do a walk again this year, but opted not too. I didn't know why, I just didn't feel like it. Later I would discover why. 

At some point in the morning I heard that the Lowry Bridge in Minneapolis was getting lit up pink and blue for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. Of course I knew I had to go and of course take photos. Clearly this was the reason I wasn't supposed to go to the walk this year. 

We participated in the Wave of Light movement again, this year instead of lighting a candle at our house, we opted to light one at the cemetery. We did that before I headed out to the bridge to take photos.  I was feeling strong all day, I've been pretty good all month, until we lit his candle.  Suddenly he tugged at my heart strings again. 

The 15th also means I'm 1/2 way through a photo challenge I am doing called "capture your grief".   It's a carlymarie project and I am loving it.  I'll post all the photos on the 31st and I also plan to make it into a photo book I can keep around the house.  It's been very therapeutic for me to do this month.  It's also been catching a lot of attention from my FB friends who are seeing our journey instead of just reading it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Grieving and Healing

Updates to what's going on in our lives lately.

A week and a half ago I received a text message that I hoped I'd never receive.  A friend, nearly 20 weeks pregnant, lost her baby.  I was heartbroken.  Grateful that she thought to text me right away, happy to help her through the process, but still heartbroken.  Nobody should ever have to live the horrible reality that is losing a child.  She's a strong one, she's taking the journey step by step.  I'm glad she's turned to me for help as it's part of my healing process too.

This last weekend we went back to Faith's Lodge with Nickolas' Gift support group.  It was amazing to be back and focusing on Gabriel again.  When we arrived, the first thing we did was look for our rock that we painted last year.  We remembered exactly where we placed it, but sadly couldn't find it.

The next morning a friend and I returned to Sophia's Bridge and thankfully found Gabriel's rock, buried under brush and soot.  I had to find it, it was breaking my heart to think it had disappeared.  A part of me wanted to grab it and bring it home so it wouldn't get lost again, but in the end I knew it should stay where it belongs - along side hundreds of other angel's heart rocks.

We did a lot of arts and crafts in memory of Gabriel: wood burning, birdhouse, magnets, pumpkins and more.  It's so healing to be able to say and write his name over and over around people who "get it". People who will never think twice about it.  Leaving is always hard, it's a place I could stay forever.    I'll post some photos I took while I was there at the end of this post.

Molly Bears is a site where you can order a teddy bear that weighs as much as your baby weighed at birth, it's geared specifically for parents who have lost a baby under 12 months old.  They are a non-profit and very overwhelmed by the number of requests they receive so they only open their waiting list for 1 day and up to 200 bears each month. I've tried for months and months to get on the list but I always get on too late, after the 200 bears limit is reached. But not this month, this month I saw it right away and got my order in!  It's a long wait for a bear, 6-9 months I believe.  I'm just grateful to have finally got my request in!

Here's some photos from our weekend away :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Good things do happen.

I write this as I sob, uncontrollably but passionately. Happy tears, happier tears than I've felt in a long time. 

Last night I went to group. I had missed a session or two (I lose track of days easily these days) so I had much to talk about. Losing Gabriel's hair, the anniversary dates, and other things. Hard things.  I mentioned that I hadn't come to terms with knowing his hair is gone. I sort of pushed it under the rug to deal with on a day that I was in a better place to deal. 

After all this time I really thought it was long gone... But alas I FOUND GABRIEL'S HAIR TODAY!!! I had to do a double and a triple take, but it was real!  I couldn't believe it! 

I instantly cried, hard. I sat there sobbing on my bedroom floor. Pinching myself to see if I was dreaming. I gently sniffed it, it still harbors his scent (or maybe it's just that engrained in my memory bank).  It's still here, the last physical piece of him is still mine!

And of course, it's in my immediate plan to find a much safer way to store this!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Anniversary realizations

A few weeks ago I downloaded the TimeHop app. It goes back in time each day to your Facebook and shows you what statuses you posted that day in years past. 

Today was an exciting one as I read through statuses that all lead back to the wedding, today was our 1 year anniversary. 

TimeHop Abe showed me something interesting I never realized before. 3 years ago today we found out there was something wrong with our baby. Unknowingly we selected this day as our wedding anniversary because 11 years ago today marks the day we first met. I never realized that this day was so intimately connected to Gabriel as well. 

At first I was kind of saddened by that news. But a friend told me this: it's as if Gabriel wanted this day to be a happy one instead of a sad one. 

Then my sadness turned. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pregnancy and Infant Loss/Infertility Awareness Wraps

As I've mentioned before, I began a new chapter in my life as a Jamberry Consultant.  I loved their nail wraps the moment I put them on my nails and knew at that moment I was hooked.

Recently I created a custom wrap design in their Nail Art Studio to support Pregnancy and Infant Loss and Infertility Awareness.  100% of my commission will be donated to Prenatal Partners for Life and Nickolas' Gift.  Two amazing and wonderful organizations.  Both offer support and care packages to families experiencing the loss of their child.  Prenatal Partners for Life is the organization that not only sent me care packages before and after Gabriel was born, but also paid for his headstone at the cemetery.  Nickolas' Gift has provided unmatched love and support in the grieving process.

Here is the nail design
I am doing it as a bulk order,  I will be placing the order so that nobody has to pay shipping on them, no later than August 20th.

If you don't know what Jamberry Nail Wraps are, I'm including some brief information below. If you have any questions or are interested in getting some wraps to help support a great cause, send me an email to and I'd be happy to help you.  The more money we can donate the better!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My reality

There are certain things about my reality, that nobody should ever have to deal with. In a few short weeks, Miss E will be starting preschool. While this is bitter sweet for me, she's extremely excited. 

Over the course of the last few weeks, we've received countless letters from the school. Some about the schedule, more money they need, school supplies and orientation invitations. Today we received a letter from her teachers, it was really sweet and on the back showed photos of them and some things about them. Evelyn was excited to see the face of her teacher. Finally a name and face: Mrs Sandy. 

Along with this letter was a "student star!" Form. Apparently these forms (with a photo attached) will be put into a book. Each week a student gets to take the book home to learn about their fellow classmates. 

It's all basic information: name, birthday, age, likes, etc. But there's always one thing...

 "I have _____ people in my family, their names are _____."

Of course my instant thought was "do I include Gabriel or not?" This is a common problem I face everyday as I meet people, I have figured out the answer - if I will see them again, I include him. If I won't see them again, then I don't. 

By that rule, since I'll see them all again, I should include him. Besides, it's a chance for her teachers and other parents to know about him and that we include him in our family. Next to his name I would include "... (He lives with Jesus)" since it's a religious school.

 On the other hand, this is going to 4 year olds. They will probably be confused and bring up uncomfortable questions to their parents, who would then be struggling to find a way to explain death to their innocent little kids.  

So what do I do? And why on earth was I dealt the hand that has to deal with things like this? I spent countless hours today pondering which way to go. 

I don't know what I'll do yet. I've left the line blank and will likely talk to her teachers about it at orientation. I can't decide, and a part of me is hoping they'll decide for me. Although I'm a little scared of what they may say. I find often times people don't think before they speak.  Hopefully they'll be kind and let me down gently, because in my heart I really want to include his name. 


Monday, July 21, 2014

They lost it.

Evelyn came walking up to me with the tiny little glass container that once held a tiny little clipping of Gabriel's hair. In it, in place of his hair was a tiny piece of balloon. 

I had caught the boys on the table dancing around digging in our cabinet, but the hair container isn't something I look for daily. It's just something I know I have. 

Could it have been moved, dumped before? Maybe. Perhaps they got into it before and I just never noticed. Perhaps it's been missing weeks, or even months. I don't know. 

What I do know is that my heart is shattered. The last physical piece of our first son that we had, is gone. Finding it at this point would be a miracle. Especially with all our pets and pet hair. Even if it did happen today, it's such a small amount of hair that finding it is near impossible. 

Evelyn insists she found the container in our room. But I know it was kept with all Gabriel's things in our cabinet downstairs. So if it was in our room, it could have happened long ago. 

I'm at a loss and now find myself picking up the pieces once again. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Slap in the face

People have very different perspectives and feelings about cemeteries.  Some feel the need to go out often, some don't feel like going out at all. Some are afraid and uncomfortable, while others enjoy the serenity.  I've always been one who appreciates the peace a cemetery provides, the memories and history  that float around the people buried there, the continued love families share for their deceased loved ones.
I don't typically spend much time visiting family members and mourning over their rapidly decaying remains. Gabriel is different though,  I like to go out there often.  I go there for myself. I bring him gifts. It's my only chance to be near him, physically in his presence. But, it's a harsh reality to go there and see our son's name, carved so delicately in stone.

"Gabriel Chavez - Our Son, Our Angel".  

I go there for a quick slap in the face.   Yes, I said it. A slap, in the face.  This is my life.      This is my story.      The harsh reality check  feels good sometimes.  You can cry, mourn, and celebrate there. You can be angry and grateful to the universe at the same time.  It's a release to let all the emotions out, and a comfort to be physically near him. It's healing to be so firmly reminded of his existence in my  life. 
The emotions that roll through when you visit your child at the cemetery are intense. It's excitement, sadness, anger, fear, and heartache. It's  longing, happiness, peace, hate, and love. It's everything you've ever felt all rolled into one. It's powerful, intensive, fierce and often hard to handle. But that's why I go. For those few moments I don't need to handle it.  I feel however I feel in the moment and my attention and feelings are focused on him, directed on that tiny baby cradled in the coffin, instead of in my arms.
I feel sad.  I haven't been to the cemetery in months. 

I know Gabriel is around me, I know he's watching me and always near me, I talk to him often. Sometimes though, I just need to be physically near him.  I sometimes find myself crouching or laying on the ground in the middle of the cemetery just so I can be as close as possible to him; physically near whatever is left of his tiny little body.  Sometimes I just need that cold harsh reminder that he did exist.  

Somewhere in my mind, I think I'm afraid I'll forget him.  I know in my heart that could never happen.  My heart will always remember those moments we spent together, and the time we had.  But memories fade, and somewhere in the back of my mind I think I fear that the most. I believe that to be the reason visiting the cemetery is so important to me.  I get a firm reminder of him and everything we went through together. The cold hard slap in the face is exactly what makes me feel confident that I can never forget.
The heart-wrenching thing for me is seeing all the fresh new graves buried deep in the ground.  All the other tiny babies that have joined Gabriel and his friends. There's too many. So many babies gone from their parents arms.  It breaks my heart to know so many other moms have felt the same pain and heartache that I have had to endure.   
I think of him every day.  I miss him everyday. I wonder what life would be like now if he were still here with us. I think about all the milestones we watch the boys go through, that we never got to see of Gabriel. All the different ages and stages of life that our surviving kids get to experience, but Gabriel won't.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


It's been awhile since I've written here. Life has been crazy and I can't seem to keep up with it all. The kids are all over the place all the time and it takes every ounce of my time and attention to watch them. What have I been doing? A lot. I've been babysitting my neighbor girl who is almost 2 while her parents are working. She's a easy kid with basically no demands. The kids all get along well with her and enjoy having her here. It does make me wonder though, is this what life would be like if Gabriel had survived? She's only 6 months younger than he would be if things had turned out differently. Would we still have been blessed with the twins and have ended up as a family of 6? I recently took on a business opportunity selling Jamberry Nails. I love it and it's been very successful for me, but it's another thing I've added to my plate. I've been meal planning weekly, continuing my journey learning DSLR photography and trying to find time to enjoy summer now that it's finally here. So to say I've been busy is quite the understatement.

Lately I've been having dreams though, maybe it was a sign that I need to update here or maybe it's a sign of something completely different. The dream is terrifying and heart breaking. I'll detail every part that I can remember of it, I recall different parts every time I have it. It starts with us in the NICU, we had a son. An extremely early son the size of my hand. A few minutes in we discover that our son has a pre diagnosed heart condition, the chances of survival are slim. Soon we are in a meeting with a surgical team. We are presented two options: 1) they surgically adhere a patch to his heart. This option would be easily survivable but may not fix his problem and he would die anyway. Option 2) they do a much more invasive surgery with very low odds of surviving through, but the surgery would fix the problem if he were to survive (I'm lead to believe it's a full heart transplant of some kind). I've yet to learn what the actual diagnosis or problem is, and also our son doesn't have a name, although I'm sure those are just details I have yet to remember.  Why am I having these dreams? Why am I being forced to recall all the emotions of losing a child again. Why is my subconscious doing this to me. I wake up feeling all the pain and heartache of child loss as if it just happened again. There has to be a reason this is happening, but I think the reason has yet to come to   me.

A few weeks ago I had coffee with a mom who's daughter passed away a few short weeks after Gabriel. It was a completely different cause, but we connect just the same. There's no friendship like those of people who understand you. There's no conversation a loss parent can have that compares to being able to talk openly about your dead baby without feeling uncomfortable or judged. It was a lovely coffee date that was hard to walk away from, but we both have other children that needed tending to, so like all good things, our date had to come to an end.

I haven't planted Gabriel's garden yet, I want to though. I did plant forget me not seeds and if those grow I'll put those in his garden. It's the little things that are important to me. A garden is something   of peace that just helps me remember him.

I haven't been out to the cometary much, it's hard when you have kids to tend to. It's hard to go out   there sometimes because you see all the new graves that have been added, I always say a prayer for all the families that continue to lose precious babies.

A friend showed me an article in People magazine that spotlighted Jaime Beautler's surviving baby Abigail. Against the odds sweet Abigail is surviving Bilareral Renal Agenesis. And along with that, there's a second surviving baby in New York now too. I told Jaime how much I wish Gabriel had come after Abigail so he could have had a chance of surviving too. She is looking to start fundraising to help more babies survive this condition, I'm trying to come up with ideas to help, but have yet to come up with anything great. The ultimate goal is to change Potter's Syndrome from being 100% terminal, to having some kind of survival rate.

Recently I have been getting asked a lot how many kids I have. Although I still struggle with that question I've been feeling more comfortable answering with 3 much of the time. I still cringe after  thinking that I've forgotten one, but I've come to realize that people don't understand baby loss and  the journey a parent travels, people don't know that although I still miss him daily, my heart doesn't crumble when I talk about him anymore. I've come to realize that I can't handle the sad puppy dog eyes or the way people will uncomfortably cut the conversation short because suddenly a happy topic, has turned toward one of death. When people walk away abruptly after I mention him, I so badly want to tell them that if they don't know what to say, tell me that. Tell me exactly that: "I don't know what to say, I'm sorry for your loss." It's much less saddening for me if I don't feel like mentioning my dead son is uncomfortable for you. I am blessed to have Gabriel as a part of my life, it just sucks that he can't be here in my arms.

I've been trying to make custom nail wraps through my Jamberry business that I can sell, and donate my commission to pregnancy and infant loss organizations. The task has been much more difficult than anticipated, but I hope to have some completed soon.

I'll try to update again soon, but now my kids are hungry. Here's some photos to tie you over till then.

Finally loaded our frames after 7 months! Our family tree wouldn't be complete without a picture of Gabriel included. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Jewelry Keepsakes

Someday, when I get around to opening a foundation in memory of Gabriel, one of the things I want to do is donate necklace urns to parents who have their child cremated. No we did not have Gabriel cremated, but if I thought I would get a necklace urn I may have.  I still might get one for myself one day, but I'll put a few strands of his hair in it instead.

I was bored one night and surfing the web for "necklace urns". Weird? Probably. Such is the life of a loss parent.  I came across a website -, They had some really beautiful designs, they appeared to be good quality, so I jotted down the website and moved on.

Flash forward a few weeks,  I received an email from one of their employees about their necklaces.  I was really surprised considering I never left any personal information on the website as I was surfing.   They had found my blog and got my email that route.

She told me about their photo engraved necklaces. I didn't see these when I was browsing, but I had a specific thing in mind so I didn't think to look for other things.  I got excited as I read the words "I'd be happy to send you a necklace of your choice free of charge in exchange for giving feedback and posting a link on your blog".  No hesitation here, I knew I was in.

I took a moment to browse through their jewelry. They had bracelets, urn necklaces, rings, pet specific remembrance jewelry and a lot more. I jumped into the photo jewelry.  I immediately liked that they had the option of Gold or White Gold for each pendant. I noticed there was a range of pricing from $39 - $180, nice that they had options that people could afford. It was hard to choose just one though, they were all beautiful. I chose a small silver plated heart pendant. I was happy to see that I could personalize the necklace and have words engraved on the backside. I selected to upgrade from the 20in rhodium plated brass snake chain that comes included, to the 18in rhodium plated sterling silver snake chain.  That would be an extra charge if I were placing a regular order.  I gave her my name and shipping information and sent a photo with the cropping request.

I excitedly waited for the necklace, I wasn't expecting it to come for at least a week or two.  A few days later I got an email asking if I'd received it.  I'm terrible about regularly checking the mail, but I sure got down to the box as fast as I could!  Turns out, it was delivered 2 days after my order!  Wow, I'm already impressed at this point.

I ripped open the  package and found a little white box. 

Inside the white box was a nice black velvet (felt) jewelry box.
I was pleased to see this, it shows me quality and care.

I was floored when I opened the box.
My photo looks a bit dark (poor lighting),
but the photo is much clearer than I anticipated it being.
There staring my in the face, was my favorite
Gabriel photo.  

Just trying to get pictures where you can see the photo. 

I flipped it over and saw my inscription on the back.
"Gabriel Ray
In Our Hearts

They provide a 20 inch snake chain,
but I upgraded to the 18 inch better quality version.  It feels a little bit thin,
but it seems like it's sturdy enough.
I immediately noticed the pendant was about the size of a quarter, maybe slightly smaller.
 I appreciate that because I'm not one to wear big chunky jewelry if any.

Of course I threaded that chain on it as soon as I could and threw it on my neck.
Now Gabriel's face is close to my heart.

And now for a horrible "I just woke up" camera selfie,
perhaps I should have used my phone for this task
 (DSLR cameras are kinda heavy, this was not easy!)
 I really really like it. I feel like from a distance it looks like a plain heart necklace, but when you are within talking distance you can see his photo on there. It's  the size of a quarter but slightly thicker.  It isn't some cheap flimsy disc hanging on a chain, it feels like it's great quality and it isn't heavy at all.

I can look down and see his face anytime I want to. I'm a proud momma right now.

If you would like to take a look, go to and browse their site.  This specific necklace is of the "photo" variety.

The cool thing is, these don't have to be only for losses.  You could put a photo of your current living kids, a friend, or you're beloved cat.  You can put a photo of your parents, grandparents or great aunt Suzie.

I don't wear jewelry often, I have a necklace with Evelyn and Gabriel's names and birthstones that I wear sometimes.  I don't know how often I'll wear this in the future, but I can tell you one thing,  it won't be coming off anytime soon.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Clearly I've been busy. Not "running around, working, going out" busy. Instead I'm: "changing diapers, feeding kids, cleaning up toys, bath time, bed time, relax time" busy. 

It's been awhile since I really updated how our family is doing. Logan is walking and Sawyer is trying. Both boys are trying to talk and eat like champs. They still don't sleep through the night (the other night being the exception) and we are exhausted to say the least.  We are still plugging away with our cloth diapers everyday. It's been great for us.

Evelyn is quickly learning to write and recognize her letters, she loves to color and do artsy things. She's begun playing house, puppy, picnic and with her imaginary friend. She's smart, too smart sometimes and keeps us on our toes. 

We are all dying for it to get nice enough to get outside. It's warming up now but not enough for the kids to really play out there (plus it's wet and there's still snow). 

I'm trying to be more social and make an effort to stay in touch with friends, all while taking care of the family and having some "me time" (yeah right). 

Me time is summed up as any moment when my camera is in front of my face. No matter what I'm taking a photo of; kids are fighting, animals outside, Logan standing on Sawyer's head... For 15 seconds it's just me and my camera. I have been trying to get my hands on any person or thing that will allow me to take their photo, I want the experience. I need the experience. And it gives me something to focus on and enjoy. 15 seconds where nothing else matters. And that sums up me time. 

Overall we're doing well. Functioning as a family of 5 with 2 under 2 and 3 under 4... It tends to be a bit crazy.  

Our fight to save Gabriel.

It was brought to my attention a little while back that during our journey I never really outlined our fight to save our baby. I shared bits and pieces, comments here and there, but never really talked about the conversations we had with our doctors. I've been thinking back on it for awhile now, remembering that time and time again we were simply told no. 

When we first got the diagnosis, my first reaction was "what do we do?" The doctor was pleasant but explained that there is no cure, nobody had survived Bilateral Renal Agenesis. I was heartbroken and devastated. I wanted to run out of the clinic and never talk about it again. She insisted we make an appointment to come back and talk about things, that we had the option to induce now or to wait awhile, subtly insisting we induce soon. When we came back to the clinic I had done my google research (haha) and inquired about injecting fluids. Maybe we could get the lungs and other organs to develop and worry about the kidneys after birth. The answer was simple "it won't work." 

I was directed to a doctor for a second opinion. He confirmed the diagnosis, and again I inquired about injecting fluid. He explained that even if the other organs were to develop further (even though we'd likely missed the development time) that there was no equipment to do dialysis on such a tiny being, that we'd have to live on hope of finding a kidney match and essentially made me feel like we'd have to hope someone else's baby would die so that we could receive the baby's kidneys and the process was sketchy at best. 

When we went to the next doctor we were told the same things. It just wouldn't work. I tried to explain that by trying we wouldn't be any worse off than we already were, but that wasn't enough to convince them of an experimental treatment that gave my baby a chance at life. 

I talked to my doctor about the infusions and got told it was too late, even if she could try it. It had been weeks since we first got the diagnosis and knew something was wrong and there was no way the necessary organs would develop in time.  I knew she was right. Approaching 30 weeks we were too far along to hope for enough development in our baby. 

I'm not saying the doctors were mean or didn't want to help me. But doctors are scientific and there's no scientific research or documentation showing a treatment like that would have worked. Beyond that there's risks involved for them too. I understand why they were saying the things they were, in their experience it wouldn't work. 

I gave in, just like so many other parents had to before me. I caved to the understanding that there was nothing they could do. 

After seeing Jaime's baby survive after doing exactly what I was pressing for was both heart wrenching and rewarding. If I had tried a little harder, if I had pushed a little more, could he be here with us?  Could we have saved our baby? 

There's no guarantee. There's nothing saying the dialysis would have kept him alive. I've since learned through Jaime that you aren't waiting for an infant kidney, they can transplant with an adult kidney. Non-the-less there's no guarantee we would have found a match, or that he'd make it through the surgeries. There's no guarantee that something else could have taken his life. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

The boys' first birthday!

January 23rd marked the boys' first year! We did it, we made it an entire year as parents of twins and kept our sanity too.... ok maybe that's to be determined HA!

Obviously their birthday celebration was far different from the 1st birthday we celebrated for Gabriel.  I actually had my babies here to celebrate this one.

Their birthday fell on a Thursday this year, so we did cupcakes at home to celebrate.  Then we had a small party on the Saturday after and invited friends and family to come celebrate with us.

Here's some photos for you to enjoy :)

Birthday Cupcakes: 



Birthday Party




First birthday photos