Sunday, January 31, 2010

March for Babies 2010

So, I have been working hard to find the "positive" things that have come from Olivia's death. I've mentioned that numerous times on this blog. Well, Kurt and I have come up with another one, and this time it's something that we *hope* our family and friends will get involved with too.

We are putting a team together for the March of Dimes March for Babies 2010 walk.  It will be on April 25th at Mahoney State Park, and it is three miles long!

March of Dimes is a pretty widely-known organization, but in case you aren't completely familiar with it... their mission is to basically eliminate premature birth, birth defects, and infant death.  These three issues are so close to our hearts as we experienced ALL of them with our sweet Olivia.  If we are able to do something to help ensure that just *one* family is able to avoid this kind of pain, then we will have done our job.
They also work to make the stay in the NICU as comfortable as possible for families. We didn't have a very long stay in the NICU, but I know just from the three days that we were there... being in that place long-term would be extremely draining, frustrating and at times, depressing.

The list of things that MOD has done is... amazing. Please go HERE if you want to learn more.

Please, please join us in this effort! Even if you are unable to "sponsor"/donate to our team, we would love for you to walk with us anyway. I would absolutely love to see a big group of people there in support of Olivia, and to give us some emotional support.

In addition, we are trying to work out a way to have team t-shirts for everyone. I'm obviously new to this but from what I understand, that's what we're supposed to do :). If anyone has any ideas about how to go about that, let me know. I haven't really looked into it yet.

You can donate right here on the blog (I believe it's over to the left side). You can also click here to visit our *Team Livie Bean* homepage on the MOD website, and become a team member. It only takes about two minutes or so.

We are so, so grateful for all of the support that we've received over the past two months. This has been an extremely humbling experience for Kurt and I.... which is a positive outcome in itself. Thank you!

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

WW meeting #2 and ProjectLIFE

Last night, my mom and I had our second Weight Watchers meeting... and I am down ONE pound!! I honestly thought it would have been more than that... but oh well, I know it's a step in the right direction. My mom made a good point, that if I keep losing a pound a week, that's about 36 pounds by the wedding.. which is a LOT for me. So, not so bad, eh?

Kurt and I worked out really hard today. Well... he probably worked a lot LESS hard than normal, but for me... torture. I asked him to show me some legs stuff.. so he basically took me through his routine, and even though I used WAAAY less weight than he ever would use... torture. Then, after all that, I tried to do cardio on the incline trainer like I usually do, and again... torture. He was a very patient trainer though, and didn't make me feel stupid for being a weakling. However, he did get a pretty good laugh at how sore I will be tomorrow. Squatting down in front of the filing cabinets at work might not be the most fun thing I'll ever do.

On another note... My project life kit arrived in the mail yesterday! If you are unfamiliar with this project... go to Becky Higgin's website, here.
It. Is. Awesome. I am seriously excited. I wish I had known about it in time to order one to start in the beginning of January... but oh well. My "year" will have to start in February and just be eleven months long. She totally takes the "work" out of scrapbooking, and to be truthful, I don't have the time to devote to another really detailed scrapbook right now.  This allows you to just sleep paper and photos into the pocket, fill out some journaling cards... and Voila, you have your whole year accounted for. How many people can say that they can remember something that they did for every single day of the past year? Not many! Plus, it's super cheap for everything you get in the kit - WAY cheaper than if you went to the scrapbook store and tried to pick out everything individually.

Why am I so excited about this? Well, I spose there's many reasons. But most of all... Kurt and I are getting a second chance at a life together as a couple before we have kids. Obviously, both of us would rather have our sweet Livie girl here with us, but the simple fact of the matter is, she's not. There's nothing we can do about it... except try to make the "best" of our new situation. We got engaged the same month we found out we were pregnant, and were totally willing to forfeit our "newlywed" status and make some sacrifices for the baby that was on the way. But now, we don't have a family of three like we thought we would, we have a family of two.  To be honest, If things had happened differently and we had gotten married before ever getting pregnant, I don't know how much I would have cherished our time together as a newly married couple. Now, our relationship is so much stronger than it was prior to November 23rd, 2009... and until we are able to have another precious baby Miller, I am planning on savoring every sweet moment of our time together.

Can you tell I'm working really hard to stay positive right now? Because I am.

Anyway - I guess I got kind of sidetracked, but I think working on this ProjectLife album over the course of the next year will really help me focus on our life together, and will be a wonderful keepsake for us to have to look back on our "first year" together. Also, I think it will be pretty cool for our future kiddos to have something tangible to look through to see what their mom and dad's life was like before they came along. Cool, huh?

Night :)

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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Two Months Today..

Today, it's been two months since Livie died. I've been at work all day, so I haven't had too much time to allow it to really sink in, but I was having a hard time last night with some things.

I was looking through my digital camera at all of our pictures from the hospital, and I kept going backwards, to look at the last pictures that we took before everything happened. They were from Abigail's wedding, Halloween, and the night we went to see White Christmas at the Orpheum downtown. Olivia basically stopped growing that 32 weeks, which pretty much means that for most of those times, she was already sick. We are so happy in all of the pictures... smiling, laughing, dancing. I remember Abigail dancing with my stomach at her wedding, and I was so excited to be wearing a brand new maternity dress to the Orpheum, which I actually purchased to wear to another friend's wedding which happened to be the weekend of Olivia's funeral.
I have said many times that I'm so glad we didn't know that there was something wrong with her ahead of time. There would have been nothing they could do. If they had detected it that early, I probably would have had the c-section right then, and her lungs would have been even less developed... which means she might have passed away before they were able to get her to the NICU to put in a breathing tube. But at the same time, I kind of hate knowing that we were so happy, so oblivious to the fact that our little girl was suffering from a fatal viral infection. I like to believe that she couldn't feel any pain, but I've been told that they just don't know much about to what extent babies are hurting inside the womb. Poor little thing.

I also attempted to watch her funeral DVD last night. Apparently, I'm trying to torture myself? The funeral home recorded the service for us, and it's been in a stack of stuff in her bedroom ever since. I got about 5 minutes into it, the pastor hadn't even started talking yet, and I stopped it. I took it right out of my laptop, put it in its case and right back with the rest of her things in her bedroom. I don't know what posessed me to feel like I wanted to watch it... but I feel like it will be a LONG time before I'm ready to watch the whole thing... if ever.

On a happier note.. I finished Livie's shadow box last night! It's something that I've been excited about ever since I bought the box the day after her service. I'm pretty proud of the way it turned out. The other day, I saw that they still have the boxes at Michael's. Kurt and I decided to go back and buy a couple more, so that we can make similar ones for our future children, and maybe one for our wedding, and hang them together as a group.

The scrapbook is still a work in progress. I've only down a few pages; some belly pics and a page for each of my baby showers. I think I'm kind of procrastinating working on it, because it's my last "Olivia project". Working on things "for" her helps me feel close to her, and once it's finished I think I'll be upset... so I guess I'm just taking my time so that it's not over too quicky.

I really need to get myself in gear and get some freaking school work done. I still have a project to finish up from last semester - my human behavior teacher graciously let me take an incomplete in her class. There was no way I was up for doing an agency interview and writing a 12-13 page paper two weeks after Olivia died. Now I'm about halway through it, but since the new semester is now in full swing, I haven't been able to put as much work into my new classes. I'm hoping to get it finished over the rest of today/tonight and tomorrow. I still have some statistics things to turn in from last semseter, also. yuck.
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Friday, January 22, 2010

As Many Times as I Blink

I don't really care for Owl City... in fact I don't really like their music at all. But, I was driving home from school and one of their newer songs was on the radio. I'm pretty sure he's singing about a girlfriend that he's no longer with or something, but some of the lyrics really made me think about the way I'm feeling right now... although I'm sleeping fine now, but I definitely missed some nights of sleep in the beginning. And, I have no idea what the heck vanilla twilight is, and it's much too cold to sit on the porch, but I think you'll get the idea.

I'll find repose in new ways

Though I haven't slept in two days
'Cause cold nostalgia
Chills me to the bone

But drenched in vanilla twilight
I'll sit on the front porch all night
Waist-deep in thought because
When I think of you I don't feel so alone
I don't feel so alone, I don't feel so alone

As many times as I blink
I'll think of you tonight
I'll think of you tonight

When violet eyes get brighter
And heavy wings grow lighter
I'll taste the sky and feel alive again

And I'll forget the world that I knew
But I swear I won't forget you.
Oh, if my voice could reach
Back through the past

I'd whisper in your ear
Oh darling, I wish you were here

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Day two!

Last night my Mom and I went to our first weight watchers meeting. My first "goal" is 20% of my current weight... which takes me back to exactly what I weighed at my first doctors appointment when I was 8 weeks pregnant. I was absolutely not happy with the way I looked at that point, so I'm really hoping I achieve that goal quickly, so that I can start losing the weight that I should have lost even before my pregnancy.

I'm feeling pretty motivated right now, so hopefully that lasts. Today is the second day in a row that I've gone to the gym with Kurt. Yesterday, I basically mudered my legs and arms, and my shins are killing me from trying to run a bit. So today, I just did cardio on an ellyptical and an incline trainer for the whole hour and a half that he was lifting, and I made it to four miles! I don't think I've ever done cardio for such an extended period of time, so I'm pretty proud of myself.

Let's hope things keep going so smoothly!

Time to make dinner...

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

faith and trust

Excerpt from the book, Calm my Anxious Heart, by Linda Dallow

God does not demand that you and i have blind faith,

but abandoned faith, a faith that trusts Him fully.
Through His Word, God willingly reveals much about who He is, what His plans are,
and what He requires of us.
As we come to see Him and know Him he urges, "Trust Me."
Hundreds of times in the Bible God implores us to trust Him.
We tend to make trust a gray area, but with God the issue is black and white.
We either trust Him or we don't.
We're for Him or we're against Him.
We're in the game or we're on the sidelines.
As i think about true faith, heartfelt throw-yourself-in-with-complete-abandon faith,
two things come to mind:
              *faith is rooted in God's character.
              *faith is based on God's Word, not on our feelings."

My faith in God has grown so much stronger through our experience with Olivia and through dealing with her death. This excerpt really spoke to me and kind of gave me some strength today.

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The Dance

I came across this song tonight, and immediately started crying as I read the lyrics. It just really puts into words how I feel about our time with Livie. A lifetime of pain is more than worth the time the I had with her.

Looking back on the memory of

The dance we shared 'neath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you'd ever say goodbye

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance

Holding you, I held everything
For a moment wasn't I a king
But if I'd only known how the king would fall
Hey who's to say? you know I might have changed it all

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go

Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance

Yes my life, it's better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance

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wedding & weight loss...

So, I really... really need to get better about posting more frequently! I spend tons of time on the computer and often think about things that I'd like to write about, but for some reason actually doing it is a different story.


For those who don't know, Kurt and I have changed our wedding date to November 13th, 2010... which means it is about 10 months away. Our original date was going to be somewhere towards the beginning of July, 2011. We planned for that date because we thought it would give us enough time to adjust to being new parents before all the wedding craziness kicked in. I think we may have even decided while we were still in the hospital that we wanted to move the date up quite a bit. This whole experience has changed us and our relationship quite a bit more than I think we are expecting. We are so much closer now than I would have imagined us being. I think we've "felt" married for months now, and after going through such a life-changing event together I think those feelings are even stronger still. Waiting until July 2011 without an Olivia to keep us busy would have been excruciating, I think, and just a constant reminder of why we set the date so far off into the future. Luckily, we hadn't formally booked anything so it wasn't difficult to change. We are both just so ready to formally make the commitment to eachother, and be able to start a new chapter in our life together.

Planning is going extremely well. Right after Christmas we started really getting things in order, and it's been amazing to see it all fall into place so smoothly. It's actually pretty ridiculous how "perfect" things keep falling into our laps - When we first decided to change the date I kind of had to start from scratch with what I wanted, because our summer colors weren't quite appropriate anymore!  Wedding planning as definitely been a very welcomed distraction for me. Having something fun to plan and look forward to definitely helps me take my mind off of grieving for a little while. I'm glad that things are going so smoothly with planning... I guess I just feel like after all that we've been through over the past couple of months, we more than deserve to have some stress-less things going on.

We are both pretty excited about the wedding now - changing it to November really opened a lot of doors as far as planning goes. November is considered an "off-month" in the wedding industry, which means that some things are more affordable than they are during the "peak" wedding season. Another thing that Kurt and I are both very excited about our photographer - We loved the pictures that Andrea did of Olivia for NILMDTS so much, that we decided to check out her wedding photography, and she is awesome. The best part is - she got to meet Olivia. Honestly, not enough people got to meet Livie. The fact that Andrea got to actually spend some time with Olivia makes it 10000x more special to have her as our photographer. :)

The most "fun" thing about moving the wedding up is trying to lose weight! (I really hope you sense the sarcasm in that last statement... haha). I gained somewhere between 30 and 40 pounds during my pregnancy with Olivia, and you BETTER believe I will be back down to at least my pre-baby weight for this wedding. I am also a bridesmaid in my friend Catelyn's wedding this coming July, and my friend Dana's wedding in October... which I guess will be good "trial runs" to see how i feel about the way I look in wedding pics, etc.

Kurt and I are doing this together, which really will help me I think. He did AWESOME with keeping his weight down during my pregnancy - we read lots of things that said Dad's gain "sympathy weight", and luckily he doesn't have that to worry about! He is just excited about getting back to the way he looked while he was still in the marine corps last year. He holds himself to some pretty high physical standards though, so anyone who looked at him now and heard that he is trying to lose weight would probably think he's nuts! He knows more than I do about working out since it was basically a part of his job discription as a marine, so he teaches me new things at the gym and gives me motivation to go. '

We went to the gym for about six or seven mornings in a row about two weeks ago. I haven't gone for a few days... I've just been too tired, I think from trying to get settled into the "school" routine after being a night owl for 7 weeks. I am hoping to go on Wednesday when Kurt gets home from work.

Catelyn and I are also planning to work out together at the HPER gym at school on the days that we're on campus at the same time. She has the same goal as I do, but her wedding is sooner, which means she's more motivated... which will hopefully rub off on me! The girl looks like a super model though, haha, so I've got a lot more work to do!

Oh, and my mom and I are starting weight watchers together tonight!

It's also kind of depressing....having to lose this weight. During the pregnancy whenever I would complain about my arms getting fatter, etc., everyone kept telling me "oh but it will be SO worth it when you're baby is born!".... ugh. I know I didn't gain a TON of weight, and I've already dropped about 18 or 19 lbs, but I don't have a baby in my arms to make it all "worth it". The weight I've gained just reminds me of everything that's happened when I think about it, and I'm sick of people telling me "oh you'll lose it - you just had a baby!" I knooowww that's true, but it's hard to hear, and I'm just ready to be me again.

I've heard that blogging about weight loss helps the process... so I hope this helps me with that as much as it has with my feelings about Livie.

aaallllriight. time to call it a night and get some sleep for school tomorrow.

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Kurt and I have a wonderful friend named Madeline. Actually, I haven't even met her yet, but she works with Kurt. Madeline reached out to Kurt and I when we lost Olivia, and she and I have been e-mailing over the past month or so. She and I have made an amazing connection and I feel as close to her as I do to some of my friends that I've known for years.

Madeline has suffered through three of the most horrible things that a mother can experience - a miscarriage, stillbirth, and early infant loss. And now, she is about 38.5 weeks pregnant!

And... her water broke at work tonight!

Her story has touched me in so many ways - I would post it here but I don't have her permission so I won't go into it any more than I already have. But anyway, Madeline gives me hope. She has taught me that things will get better, to stay strong, and have faith. Honestly, she is the strongest woman that I've ever known. She so deserves this.

Last I heard, She was planning to have a c-section... Kurt and I are praying that the has a VERY uneventful c-section and that baby Rylee makes her way peacefully into this world.

In just a few hours Madeline and Gregg will finally be holding a healthy baby girl in their arms, and I am overwhelmed with happiness for them. I know that baby Joe and baby Gracie are with them now, ready to welcome their new baby sister into the world. She will always have her very own guardian angels to love and guide her through her life.

Please send their little family your thoughts and prayers!

Welcome Baby Rylee!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Ups and downs

Those who told me that there will be ups and downs... were not joking! Honestly, I think I've mostly been having "ups". I've found that as long as I keep myself busy with projects, I feel close to Olivia and not so sad. Putting together the frames for the grandparents for Christmas, working on her scrapbook, writing in this blog, etc. I have an infant loss devotional book called Grieving the Child I Never Knew that I write in (or try to) once a day, sometimes more.I feel close to Olivia all the time... I honestly can say that she's always with me. Kurt and I also have been doing really well, I think, at trying to find positive things about our experience. For example, we were told that she could have been stillborn at any time - we got to have her alive for three days! She also brought us SO much closer together, helped us to build much stronger relationships with some friends that we've lost touch with, and stronger relationships with some family members too.

But last night, I definitely had a "down". Actually, I usually do cry once a day or so.. but it only lasts for a few minutes and it's usually triggered by a tv commercial or something I read or hear.  I was putting together some shelves for the living room while Kurt's at work, and to make room for them I needed to put away some Christmas things. We've been using one side of Livie's room to store plastic tubs full of Christmas stuff and wrapping paper until we can get to our outside storage thing (there's a ridiculously huge snow drift in front of it). I put the decorations away, and then started looking at Olivia's things. This isn't something new... I go in there once a day, if not multiple times. I actually make it a point to go in there as often as I can. I love to be around her things. But for some reason, tonight as different and it really hit me hard. I was looking inside of the little drawers in her closet because I couldn't remember what I put in them. I pulled out the USC football blanket that Kurt got for her, and I just burst into tears. I started thinking about how excited he was when he ordered her that football stuff (I think he got that blanket and some socks), and how much he talked about putting her in the Bronco's cheerleading uniform that we bought the day we found out she was a girl. I just feel so sad for him. He was so ready to spoil that little girl rotten. I didn't stand a chance - he would have made sure she was Daddy's little girl. It actually makes me laugh and cry at the same time when I think about it.
Then, I started thinking about how it's been six weeks since Livie was born. SIX. WEEKS. Sometimes it seems like it was just yesterday, and sometimes it seems like it was so long ago. I hate that it's been so long. I loved when I could think, "I held Olivia yesterday". The more days that pass by, the longer it will have been since we were with her in the NICU, and that is just not a comforting thought at all.
I also just kept thinking, "I should be in here because she's keeping me up and won't stop crying, not because I can't sleep because I'm missing her so much and can't stop crying"

That being said... I can't believe it's been 6 weeks and we've made it this far. I feel like I'm a very different person than I was before I had Olivia... even different than I was while I was pregnant with her. I am less quick to judge others and have gotten a lot closer to God throughout this time.

I slept with Livie's baby blankets and her little outfit last night, and woke up feeling a lot better. I hate the feeling I had last night - it is so painful that it feels like there's no way it will possibly get better. I just have to keep reminding myself that it's okay to grieve... in fact its unhealthy not to feel like that sometimes, and that there isn't any kind of rule about when I need to be "back to normal'. Back to normal will never happen - and I'm okay with that.