Wednesday, August 17, 2016


It was recently brought to my attention that some people don't realize I still update this blog.   I don't do it often, as time goes on I find less and less things to talk about. I still update though, randomly and sporadically as things come up that I think I should write about, usually every few months or so.  I especially don't want people who come here looking for help to think I'm not here anymore. I'm still here.  I'm still listening.

Today I received an email and it prompted this post. It's comments and questions I get in emails often, and I'm happy to continue answering those same questions in more detail via email.  I also want to post it here for those  who may not be ready or comfortable reaching out.   It was a mom who chose to terminate when faced with their Potter's Syndrome Diagnosis.  She was struggling with that decision and had a lot of unanswered questions about a chance of survival if she had chosen differently.  She struggles with the choice to terminate instead of carrying her baby boy to term.

If you've read my journey, you may already realize that ultimately I made both choices.  I carried Gabriel to term, then at 36 weeks had to make the choice to induce labor so that I could have the natural delivery I wanted for him and to hopefully get to see him before he passed away.  I made both choices, neither choice was easier than the other. We also chose comfort care for him, meaning we wouldn't intervene to try to keep him alive  longer - we already knew what the outcome would be.   I often wonder what would have happened if we had chosen to put him on life support, maybe his lungs would have developed enough to keep him alive. Maybe he could have lived long enough to qualify for a kidney transplant.  I don't dwell on this curiosities though, because I know at this point there has only been 1 long term survivor of BRA, and that survival is one that is well beyond my understanding. Babies with the same treatment have not survived.

So there's a few topics I want to chat more about here.

You are not alone
First things first. I'm not here to judge the path you choose. If you chose to terminate instead of carry to term, you can still contact me for questions or support. I feel like maybe I've isolated those who didn't carry to term, and that was never my intention.   Regardless of the ultimate choice, you have to make the decision that is best for you and your family in the moment.  No matter what that choice is, it's the right one.  Regardless of what that choice was, it was a hard one.  Neither direction is an easier route than the other.  If I could tell these mom's one thing, it's please do not dwell on the choice you had to make.   It was a personal choice, one you had to make for yourself, your family and your baby. You had to dig deep and think long and hard about which direction to turn when both paths lead into a deep dark scary cave.

I'm told often how gracefully I handled the pregnancy and life of Gabriel.  The truth is it wasn't always graceful, but I allowed myself that. I gave myself  the grace to allow weak moments to happen naturally and doing that gave me space to be recomposed for the next moment, whatever that may be.  This is a journey that most people cannot fathom. You've had to hear words and make choices that most people can never grasp.  If you are just on the start of this long journey or maybe in the middle, give yourself grace!  Give yourself grace to be weak, to be a mess. Give yourself grace to stay in bed a little longer to cry. Give yourself the grace to grieve as long as you need to. Give yourself the grace to smile if you feel it, or laugh if it happens.  Give yourself grace to feel whatever emotion you are feeling as you are feeling it.  Give yourself that grace because when you come out of that weak moment, you are going to come out recomposed  and ready for the next moment whether that's a happy one or sad one.   Little by little those weak moments will be less and less, but you'll find yourself stronger and stronger.

Surround yourself with people that are going to give you compassion.  People that are going to join you for a cry in bed for a few hours before pushing you into the shower because you stink.  People that will pull you in for a hug when you break down crying as you walk by the baby section of the store.  Nobody can tell you the right or the wrong thing to think or to feel right now.  Know that what you are feeling is whats right for you.

Another milestone is approaching. As I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed lately, I've been seeing a lot of kids going back to school.  Evelyn will be going back in a couple weeks and joining 1st grade!!  I have a 1st grader!!

What that also means though, is that Gabriel would be starting his school journey this year. He'd be entering preschool.  That is a little hard to swallow for me.  Some of the milestones we've already passed were easier than I anticipated. I dread his birthday each year, but last year I sat and looked through his photo book as I remembered kissing his face. I cried, I laughed. We set up his tree and had cupcakes.  This milestone however, feels a lot like his first birthday. Like a huge setback in this journey.

I watch as other kids get excited about their new adventure, as I wonder past the school supply aisle, I wonder what backpack he would have chosen. What would he want on his lunchbox?  What things would he want me to pack for his snacks?  Would he want a ride to school or a ride on the bus?  What would become his favorite subject?

All these things come to mind as I ponder who he would be today.  And when I take Evelyn to school in a few weeks, I'll wonder what it would be like to be dropping him off too.

These milestones never end.  As soon as I work through this one, It'll be a point in life when he would be graduating Kindergarten, then entering 1st grade, then graduating elementary school, eventually driving and graduating high school.  I'll always wonder who he'd be today.

Thoughts for all your moms who travel this journey alongside me.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


It's been so long since I've posted an update. It's not because I don't want to or don't have anything to post, but time is hard to come by these days and it's tough to find time to post anything!  I'm continuously contacted by parents who have found my blog that are looking for resources, some one who understands.  Although it is hard to swallow sometimes, I'm always grateful for them reaching out.  Sometimes I wonder if I've really given them everything I can.  I hope that what I have offered is enough to help them get through.

A few months ago, I was strongly considering volunteering as a photographer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS).  They are the organization that provided a volunteer photographer the day Gabriel was born.  I went with another photographer when there was alert of a baby born with a different fatal condition.  I brought my camera and watched her work, so sensitively, carefully shooting some of the only images this family would have of their precious and beautiful daughter.  I had told the photographer my story prior to going in the room.  I shared with her the story of Gabriel and told her that if I stepped out, don't worry about me - I'd simply be gathering myself.   Walking in was hard, but soon the lump in my throat began to go down as I shared with these parents the story of Gabriel.  They soaked it in.  Possibly the first interaction they had with someone after they lost their precious child.  I held it together, I learned a lot.  I completely lost it on the way home.  It took a long time for me to recover from that experience.  It hit me even harder than I had anticipated.  Since then, I haven't had it in me to officially sign on.  I hope to someday, but I'm still recuperating from that experience now and it isn't easy.

Part of the reason for being MIA on my blog and MIA from NILMDTS and MIA from group and MIA from the cemetery is because my own photography business has taken off and I'm busier than I ever imagined I could be. Did I ever tell you that I incorporated him into my business? My logo has two stars in it, one for him and one for the baby we miscarried. Just a random side note for you.   I've also been busy chasing 2 adorable boys who are gaining independence and a precious girl who just graduated from Kindergarten.

She graduated Kindergarten.  How on earth did that happen?  My goodness, mom always told me not to blink or I'll miss it. I guess I blinked. She's getting so big. I wonder what it would be like with Gabriel graduating pre-school and going into Kindergarten next year.  I hadn't thought about the fact that he'd possibly be starting kindergarten next year. Ouch.

As I mentioned, I haven't been to the cemetery recently, although I plan to go soon.  We live farther away now and it's not as accessible. Beyond that though, I feel like he's here with me.  I feel like he's around and going there is simply to check in and make sure his spot is cared for.  Sometimes I do feel the need to be close to him, but I have the container with his hair hanging in a shadowbox above my desk, thats about as physically close to him as I can get.

Our support group took a bit of a break for a few months, but the last few they've gotten together.  Sadly I keep getting tied up in so many other things, I haven't been able to go back.  I'm hoping to attend this month if I can find a babysitter for the evening.  I want to go back as I feel like I do have a lot to talk about, it just hasn't worked out for me recently.

I browse the Facebook app "on this day" which takes me back to the early days of my activity on Facebook.  Usually I look forward to the memories and anticipate which milestones the kids hit on any given day.  Recently I've seen a lot of my blogs showing up.  I read them.  I go back to read about whatever stage I was at on any given day.  Most of the time I can't believe I wrote the words I read, did I write that??? I guess I did.

I logged in to my blog today and was shocked to see the number of reads my blog has now. 145,767.  Woah, that number is SO much bigger than I ever anticipated it would be.  It was started with intention of keeping friends and family updated, I had just got my + pregnancy test for Gabriel when I decided to start this.  It turned into a blog about healing and grieving because, well... life.   I can only hope that every single person that clicks on a link for my blog has learned something. Has taken something away from it, (preferably something good - see a few posts back).  I hope they are able to understand better, feel comforted if they are in a situation and fearing the loss of their child.  I hope they are warmed by the words I sit down and write each time.  It's sometimes hard to read, it's really hard to write. But I know someone is reading it and learning, understanding.

If you are reading this post, I hope you'll email me, or comment.  Tell me that you understand better. Tell me something you learned, whatever it is. Tell me you read it.  Let me know that I'm helping someone, somewhere.

I still feel Gabriel with me, although not as much a before.  I always know when he's near me though,  I don't know how I know, I just do.  I always ask him to be near me when something big or nerve wracking is happening, and I always feel comforted.  My favorite though is to stand in the warm sprinkling rain, I look up at the sky and think of him, his smell. His face.  I always feel closest to him when it rains.

I guess it's time to end this ramble.  I have one child in bed sleeping, one cuddling up next to me and one losing it because he is overtired.  I wonder what Gabriel would be doing in this scenario.

Monday, February 15, 2016


I'm always in a state of confusion.  I definitely don't feel like I'm finished having babies. We have 3 beautiful kids, but I'm not convinced that I'll never be pregnant again.  I'm not convinced I'll never hold my newborn or breastfeed again.  However, my husband is DONE. He's sure he's done, and is adamant about it.

4 months ago, my very close friends had their little baby.  6 weeks ago my brother had my new nephew.  Last week my best friend came over saying she wants to settle down and have a baby/family.  My sister is working towards adopting. A couple of our other friends have recently been talking about adopting and now, we got a call that our 2 other friends are pregnant with their first baby.  That means literally ALL of the people I am close to are expanding their families.

I've come to the conclusion that I'll never feel complete. Gabriel isn't here so I'm really not complete.  Doesn't mean I will or want anymore kids, just means my heart isn't whole.  After talking to some people I've come to realize that it will likely always feel that way, I will always feel like something is missing, unfortunately having another baby won't fill that hole, it won't suddenly make me feel complete.  

So now that I'm surrounded by pregnancy, infants and adoptions and have no plans of having more babies of my own anytime soon if ever, I'm going to sit here and wallow in the sadness that I feel for a bit and then I'm going to enjoy every moment that nears us closer to the freedom that comes with kids growing up.  I'm going to focus on my new workout regimen and get myself happy and healthy.

I'm grateful for what I have, I just never envisioned struggling so hard 4 years later with each pregnancy announcement that comes by.  Maybe someday it'll be easier.