Sunday, April 25, 2010


Here is the video from the news this afternoon!

Don't forget to read the post below! :)

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Team Livie Bean & Her Name in the Sand

Today was our March for Babies, and it was amazing. Our team raised $600, which surpised and humbled us beyond belief. HUGE thanks to everyone who donated and particpated. you have no idea how much it means to both of us.

We asked people to donate to Children's Hospital and to NILDMDTS in liu of flowers when Olivia passed away, and my mom's side of the family made a donation to NILMDTS for Christmas. Because so many people donated in her name just a few months ago, I wasn't sure if we would get much of a response for March of Dimes. I felt kind of guilty for asking for more, so I sent out one e-mail and a facebook post just letting people know that they could donate if they wanted to. We are both so shocked at the response we received. Maybe next year, I'll be a little more proactive with fundraising. :)

Last night, Kurt's mom was at Hobby Lobby and saw these clear plastic buttons, and called us to see if we wanted her to get them for us. SUCH a great idea! I stayed up way too late last night figuring out the design ( I realized I'm way too much of a perfectionist when it comes to small things like centering letters) and cutting the pictures out. I'm so glad we had these.

It was freezing here today, the coldest it's been in weeks... and SUPER windy! But it was such a fun day. FIFTEEN people  + one Buddy walked for Livie, and I know countless others were thinking of us during the walk.
Of course, buddy got his own shirt, and button!

Before the walk started, we were interviewed by WOWT Channel 6 News! The reporter said that our shirts caught his eye and that he was struck by the fact that even though our loss is so recent, we are still out being proactive to protect other families. When he came over, I thought he was just taking pictures of our shirts. When he asked me if I would mind answering some questions for the camera I felt like I was having an anxiety attack! If they ever post the video on their website, I'll re-post it here... my voice is shaking! I have dreamed of the moment that I would be able to share Olivia's story publicly (other than this blog and while talking to friends and people that I know), and I wish I'd been just a little bit more prepared! I said no at first because I didn't think I'd be able to get through it without crying, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be :). It never even crossed my mind that the news would be at the March, let alone want to talk to us. My friend Alysha who walked today sent me a text message after she saw the news and said that she knows we were chosen to be interviewed out of all the other parents there, because God is using Olivia to touch so many people's lives.

 Not the best picture of us ever, but I'm glad someone thought to take pictures while we were being interviewed!

If there is a "silver lining" to this cloud that we are living in the middle of, that's what it is. I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined that my little girl would have such a profound impact on so many people. While we were in the hospital I thought a lot about how no one would get to know her, or see how pretty she was.

#1 reason why I'm so glad that we made the buttons? The news zoomed in on one of them, which means that the entire city was able to see her sweet face. And that makes me so happy, I could hardly think about anything else for the rest of the afternoon.

You can click here to read the story on

I felt her with us all day today, and as my friend Lindsey put it so perfectly "I'm sure baby olivia was up there cheering you all on and doing little baby happy dances for her amazing mama and daddy!"

We miss you sweet girl!


I was going to create another post for this, but I didn't want the March for Babies one to get bumped down just yet. I post on a message board for pregnancy loss, and have had the privelege of "meeting" some wonderful women who have experienced either a late-term pregnancy loss, or the loss of their infant shortly after birth. This past weekend, Lara, who happens to be from right here in town, vacationed in Aruba, and wrote the names of our babies in the sand on the beach. She and her husband lost their little boy, Caleb, just a few weeks ago. I have been so amazed by her strength since Caleb passed away. I was so consumed by my grief for the first few weeks after losing Liv that it was hard for me to even realize that anyone else existed other than myself. Creating something beautiful for women that I hardly knew would never have crossed my mind. She also happens to be a fabulous photographer. Here is the picture she took of Olivia's name. Thank you so much Lara, as you know, the littlest things that let us know that people remember our little ones are the most meaningful. You totally made my day with this :).

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Saturday, April 24, 2010

The shirts have arrived!

After a long, stressful week of wondering whether or not our shirts would arrive in time for the walk on Sunday, they're here!! I designed them myself so I already knew exactly what they'd look like, but I still cried when they opened the box. I am so proud of the way they turned out, and I love knowing that 26 people will now get to wear Livie's name and footprint. :)

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Happy five month birthday, my sweet love.

I wish I had more time to write a post for today, but I'm right in the middle of writing four papers. Yep - four. All due between now and next Tuesday.

Anyway, I feel like I am beginning to say the same things over and over, each month. I wanted to chronicle my feelings on each of Olivia's month birthdays so that I would be able to look back and see how I progressed/regressed/grew, etc., but I'm not noticing much of a change yet.

She still consumes my thoughts on a daily basis. I think I do a much better job of hiding it though, than I used to. I have noticed that the people who used to be nervous and hesitant about talking about anything having to do with babies in front of me have started acting normal again for the most part. And honestly, I don't mind that. I'm standing on such a fine line right now. But it's getting better. I think anyone who has gone through this knows what I'm talking about. I don't want to be treated like a piece of fine china that people tip-toe around and try not to break. I like that people are beginning to treat me normally again. But at the same time, I don't feel normal.

You know what... I take back what I said earlier, about feeling the same as I have for the last couple months. That's not exactly true. I've been sitting here thinking for a few minutes, and I realized something: my level of sadness and grief is exactly the same as it was last month and the month before that (I feel like I just posted at four months, April FLEW by). However, I think that I'm juggling the joy and the grief differently though.

I am happy most of the time. I smile when I look at Olivia's pictures. Instead of thinking about what happened, I just feel close to her when I do things like work on her scrapbook or read books about child loss. Kurt and I have been going out with friends a lot more lately, and also have been doing more things just as a couple. I no longer feel like I can't drag myself out of bed to make it to class anymore. Things are definitely improving.

The times of pure sadness are few and far between. Or at least moving in that direction.

That being said... those times are awful. I may not experience the feeling of being so totally stricken by grief that I can't move as much as I used to, but I feel like they hit me harder. Maybe it's because I was so depressed for awhile that when I would get that upset, that feeling wasn't too far removed from my normal state. Now that I'm feeling happy most of the time, those extreme lows hit me HARD.

A friend that I work with and his wife just had a new baby girl about three weeks ago. My pregnancy and his wife's overlapped a little bit, so we did a lot of talking about little girl things while I was still pregnant. Plus, they already had a little daughter, and he would tell me all about how much fun Kurt was going to have with Olivia. They came to Olivia's funeral. He has been so wonderful since I've been back at work. Always asking me how I'm doing, etc. I could tell he felt weird talking about their new little one, so I started asking him questions every time we worked together. Just because I can't be excited about my little girl anymore doesn't mean that I want to take that amazing feeling away from anyone else. I don't want anyone to ever feel like they aren't allowed to talk about their children.
Last Wednesday, his wife came to pick him up from work, and brought the girls. He was so excited to show his new little one off, and he asked me if I wanted to hold her. I didn't hesitate for a second, I was so excited to meet her! I held her for a long time, probably somewhere around a half an hour. It felt so good. She was sleeping the whole time and just as precious as she could be. I didn't feel sad once while I was holding her.

Then they left. And oh Lord, I broke down. I was working alone at the front desk that night, so I sat back down in my chair and my arms just felt so empty. After sitting there for a few moments, I realized... the last baby that I held was not Livie anymore. And that thought alone was enough to send me over the edge. I cried at my desk for what seemed like hours, although I think it was only about 10 minutes. I could barely pull myself together enough to look presentable to check the clients and therapists out after their appointments, close up the clinic and leave.
A friend told me that this was probably a very important step in my healing process. I had to get that first "holding the baby" experience out of the way. She couldn't be the last baby I held forever, it doesn't work like that. I had never thought about it in that way, and I was so surprised that it affected me so much. It was probably a combination of things though. I remember working the night before Olivia was born, talking to therapists about how I'd be sure to bring her in so they could meet her. In the back of my mind, I was probably thinking I should be doing this too. Sigh.

Oh... Another thing that I haven't talked about yet - I have debated on whether to share this or not, because I don't want to offend anyone.
A couple of weeks ago, Olivia's hospital held their annual rememberance service for children who have passed away over the past two years. We got a letter in the mail a couple of months ago telling us that it would be coming up, and asking us to submit a picture of Olivia for the video they were going to play. I was excited, at that time I thought I would love to attend another memorial service for her. As the day got closer, I started dreading it more and more. It crossed my mind the day before that maybe we should just skip it. But, I had submitted pictures for the video, and I didn't like the thought of her picture being shown without her parents or family members there. In fact, thinking about that now really bothers me. Anyway, we got there, and there were long tables set up where you could display some things that belonged to your child, or things to honor them. I just brought the small shadow box that I made and a framed picture. I was worried that I was bringing too much, so I packed it into a tote bag. That way, if it was excessive, no one would have to know and I could put it under my chair.
Man, was I wrong. You know those tri-fold cardboard poster things that you use for presentations in school? Some families had those decorated with pictures of their kids. Some parents had filled up almost entire tables with toys, clothing, stuffed animals, pictures, scrapbooks. I set ours up, and walked through the rows of tables. At first, I thought oh this is so nice. But then, I felt like it was table after table of teeny tiny babies with leads and tubes. I looked through an absolutely beautiful scrapbook that a mommy made for her little boy, and could feel myself starting to lose it. I went and sat down next to Kurt to stop myself from getting overly emotional.
There were lots of chairs set up in front of a little stage where someone was playing the piano. TONS of people were filing in and either sitting down or walking over to look at the tables. While we were waiting for my parents to arrive (We drove there with Kurt's mom and sister), I started looking through the program, and I absolutely could not handle it. Before I could even say anything, Kurt took the words right out of and told me that he thought he might need to go wait for me outside. He told me that he knew I needed to stay, but he didn't think he could handle it. I said that I needed to leave too, so I packed up the tote bag and we left. My mom had been worried that it would be too upsetting but she, my dad and grandma were on their way down to be there for us anyway. I called her as soon as we got to the parking garage and told them that they should just turn back around.

Okay, this is the part where I'm afraid I'll offend someone. I am sure that these kinds of rememberance services are comforting for some parents. We, are not those parents. We aren't the "cry and wail in front of others" type of people. The actual service hadn't even started yet, and people were already bawling out of control.
What really got me, was when I saw that "Baby Mine" (the song from Dumbo, for those who don't know) was going to be sung during the service. That song used to make me cry when I was a little girl watching that movie with my parents. No way in *heck* would I be able to make it through a live performance of it in a room full of other mothers who have lost their babies. There was going to be meditation, and this reading where the parents and family members were all supposed to chant "we remember them".

I do remember her. I remember her with joy every day that I'm alive. I don't need to sit in a room and recite that over and over. Maybe what I wrote about above sounds nice, but to us, it was a completely morbid atmosphere. I guess I had awssumed that it was going to be an uplifting service. But to me it felt like... You know what the atmosphere is like at an extremely sad funeral? Imagine that times about 40. That's what it felt like. 40 funerals in one hospital cafeteria. A couple hundered adults and children,  no one smiling. We are past that stage in our grief, I guess.

I don't mean to sound judgemental. Everyone grieves differently, and like I said, maybe that sort of thing is comforting to some. I suppose it is, or they wouldn't set the service up in such a way. So again, I apologize if you have attended a service like this and loved it. I don't mean to offend you. It just wasn't our style. Honestly, we cry enough on our own. I guess I was also disappointed... I was hoping for an uplifting service that would make me feel close to Liv, and instead we left feeling extremely uncomfortable.

Okay, wow. That's definitely enough for one night! This is the longest post I've written in a while and I meant to just write a short one! Sorry that I turned it into such a rant. I started this blog to write about my real feelings about what we're dealing with... so I guess some of those feelings are bound to be icky ones :).

I love you, Livie Beans.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

This is one of my favorite pictures of Kurt and I.
It's from the Marine Corps Ball in 2008.
I love how if you look closely, you can tell that I'm smiling.
That's All! :)

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Happy Things

Things have been REALLY good lately, and I am so thankful for it. I need this.

On Friday, Kurt and I had our first pre-marriage counseling session with our pastor. I was a little bit nervous for it, just because I knew we were going to be going over the results of the PREPARE test that each of us had to take by ourselves online. I know that Kurt and I have most of the same feelings about things in our relationship, but for some reason I was kind of freaking myself out that some of our answers would be complete opposites. It went really well though, and we both left feeling pretty good. :)
After that, we went home to find that our new leather chair had been delivered! I don't know if you all remember, but I wrote a post a few months ago about how we were hoping to turn Olivia's room into a "quiet room" at our old apartment. Kurt's mom read it and gave us a gift card to a furniture store for Christmas so that we could buy a couch for the room. Well, we've moved since then and we don't have an extra room to make into a quiet room! We decided instead to go pick out a leather recliner because Kurt has been practically wetting his pants about getting one ever since we moved in together! ha! His dad has one that he watches tv in every night and I think Kurt was jealous! Our old living room was WAY too small, but it looks GREAT in here! We also used part of the gift card on a huge wooden bookshelf. Kurt and I are Barnes & Noble and Amazon addicts, and both of us seem to always get emotionally attached to our books... which means, we have WAY too many. Most of our books have  been in big rubbermaid tubs since we moved in (I know they were all on shelves in the old apartment, I can't figure out how I made room for them there!?), and it's been driving me crazy. I can't wait to set it up (it looks like its going to be a biotch to assemble), and finally have this place looking like a home!

Anyway, after that we picked up lunch at Panera and went on a beautiful motorcycle ride to Mahoney State Park! It was our first "long" motorcycle trip and it was so much fun. We came home and took Buddy running at the lake, and then made steaks for dinner. It was the best day we've had in a VERY long time.
On Saturday, our families went out to eat together (minus Kurt's Dad who was out of town for work). I love when we have a chance to all get together - it doesn't happen often enough! Here's a picture of me with my mom and sister, and Kurt with his little sister Jordynn. I didn't get any group shots, which always drives me NUTS when I get home and realize I never got one.

And to finish our lovely weekend, Kurt and I went and picked up a new patio table with a fire pit in the middle! We ate dinner outside last night and spent the whole evening relaxing and enjoying the weather. It was so nice! Not the best picture, but I was taking them in the dark and I couldn't see!

One more thing, I posted a week or two ago about being stressed out with school and worrying about where I would be placed for my practicum next year. I found out that I got my FIRST CHOICE!! I am so excited and completly releived. I'll be working at an international adoption agency, and will get to do home studies and work with parents on parenting skills and help teach them about what to expect from whichever country they're adopting through. I think that finding that out kind of re-energized as far as school goes, and I'm a little bit more motivated to finish out the semester.

Okay, that's enough for today... Hope everyone's having a great week! :)

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Stages of Grief

I love Grey's Anatomy quotes, even though I've kind of stopped watching the show regularly for the past few seasons. A blog-friend of mine posted this the other day, and I just thought it was so fitting... so I decided to re-post it here. :)

"When we're dying or have suffered a catastrophic loss, we all move through five distinct stages of grief. We go into denial because the loss is so unthinkable we can’t imagine it’s true. We become angry with everyone, angry with survivors, angry with ourselves. Then we bargain. We beg. We plead. We offer everything we have, we offer our souls in exchange for just one more day. When the bargaining has failed and the anger is too hard to maintain, we fall into depression, despair, until finally we have to accept that we’ve done everything we can. We let go. We let go and move into acceptance.

Grief may be a thing we all have in common, but it looks different on everyone. It isn’t just death we have to grieve. It’s life. It’s loss. It’s change. And when we wonder why it has to suck so much sometimes, has to hurt so bad. The thing we gotta try to remember is that it can turn on a dime. That’s how you stay alive. When it hurts so much you can’t breathe, that’s how you survive. By remembering that one day, somehow, impossibly, you won’t feel this way. It won’t hurt this much. Grief comes in its own time for everyone, in its own way. So the best we can do, the best anyone can do, is try for honesty. The really crappy thing, the very worst part of grief is that you can’t control it. The best we can do is try to let ourselves feel it when it comes. And let it go when we can. The very worst part is that the minute you think you’re past it, it starts all over again. And always, every time, it takes your breath away. There are five stages of grief. They look different on all of us, but there are always five.


Grey's Anatomy

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

But it is preached that Christ has been rasied from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?
If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.
And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.

 More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead.
 But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.
 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.
And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, you are still in your sins.

 Then thise who also have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.
If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
- 1 Corinthians 15:12-19

I believed in God before Olivia was born and died... I had already accepted Christ as my lord and savior. But I know that my faith in Him as been made so much stronger because of her. If that was the only thing she was sent to accomplish during her sweet life, she did a fantastic job. I would not have gotten through these past four months without her, without Him. I know that for sure.

Today in church, part of the sermon was about how no good that we have in our lives would be possible without the resurrection. Or maybe it would be, but it wouldn't mean anything. There would be no purpose or direction for our lives.  Our pastor also made some points about why he believes in the resurrection, and how he knows it to be true. He talked about some of the theories that have been brought up over the years that have caused people to question it. He made such an awesome point about the "wrong tomb" theory. It says that the women who discovered Jesus was missing from that tomb must have just been so upset that they walked to the wrong one... so everything that our faith is built on is just based on a huge mistake. Pastor Curt said that he knows that EVERYONE there had lost someone that meant a great deal to them... a parent, sibling, spouse or maybe even a child even if it's been 20 years since you visited that person's cemetary... couldn't you find where their tombstone is without even thinking about it? You can't tell me that those women, who loved Jesus so much, forgot after just THREE DAYS where his body was being kept? Great right? That really resonated with me today and I felt like I needed to share it.

Our pastor also talked about how people who don't believe in Christ have a much harder time dealing with the death of those loved ones. Because of what I believe, I know that I will see my baby again. That is a really hard thing to grasp sometime - it's obviously such an abstract concept because no one who is here on earth right now has been able to experience that and report back to us about what it's like. I mean, seriously... if someone tried to say that they knew what it was like, we would dismiss them as insane! But it is so true. It's what keeps me going every single day. I know I will get to see my little girl again, and as one of my blog-friends said about her son, Olivia is having the best Easter celebration possible right now. She's celebrating with the "star of the show"! :)

I have thought about her so much this weekend. Yesterday, Kurt and I went to the mall to get him something new to wear for Easter. We were going up the escalator in one store, and we rode up right past all the sweet Easter dresses for little girls. Ugh, it made my heart hurt.  I saw so many sweet babies in little dresses with pink rumba tights at church it made my head spin! I have tried so hard not to let myself think about what we "should" be doing with her, but man is it hard! Sometimes its just impossible.

After Church this morning we went out to brunch with Kurt's family, and then he and I visited her at the cemetary. Her marker hasn't been placed yet, but we took her an easter lily and a happy easter helium balloon. I hate standing there over that tiny rectangle of dirt. It just seems like a grave that small shouldn't be allowed! I think it will be a lot less painful when there's grass  - then we won't be constantly reminded of the size of her itty bitty preemie-sized casket.

After the Cemetary, we headed over to my Grandma's to have another brunch with my mom's side of the family. I wasn't planning on actually eating brunch for a second time, but... I did! Oh well, does anyone ACTUALLY stick to their diets on Easter?  It was a very nice time.. not long enough! Then we came home and napped together on the couch. Now we're watching the 4th week of The Pacific on HBO. Kurt is totally in his element right now - he could watch these kinds of shows all day long.

Here's some pictures from the day. My dress was yellow, but it looks white in the pictures! They are a little bit blurry, but otherwise I think they turned out great!

My mama and I

My sister Abbie

Kurt and I

The whole fam. This is the first time I've ever realized how much shorter my mom is than all of us!

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