Sunday, August 22, 2010


Fall is my favorite season.

Within the next few weeks the weather will start getting cooler and the humidity will fade away, football season will officially begin. Vala's Pumpkin Patch will open for the season and stores will be filled with Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations, we'll break out the sweatshirts and jeans.

It's always been my favorite season. I love going to the pumpkin patch and the Applejack Festival in Nebraska City. I also love that Christmas {my favorite holiday... if only it were during the fall instead of winter, it would be perfect} is just around the corner.

But this year, I'm a little bit nervous for fall to officially roll around. Because last year, fall was the season of Olivia. The fall months were when we found out we were having a girl, and could finally call her Olivia, instead of "the baby". I was really pregnant - really showing. Both of my baby showers were in the fall. Kurt and I moved into our new 2 bedroom apartment in the fall, and really started putting things together and getting ready for our new little bundle of joy who was supposed to arrive a few days after Christmas.

And then of course, she was born during the fall.

All of the things I listed above - the things that I have always loved about the fall season, are the things that remind me of her the most. I was pregnant last halloween - Livie and I dressed up like a mouse, and because I was too exhausted to go to any parties, we trick-or-treated at our parents' houses. When we carved pumpkins, Kurt and I each carved big ones for ourselves, and then we picked out and carved a tiny round one for Olivia. We talked about how we would have to do three pumpkins every year from now on. One of my baby showers was sort of fall themed, with pumpkin cake and apple cider. We went to the pumpkin patch and the Applejack Festival  together we were extra conscious of how many young families we saw pushing little girls in strollers. We did so much talking about how we couldn't wait to bring her to both places this year.

And then she arrived. And then we lost her. And I'm having a hard time figuring out how I'm supposed to see and do all of these fall things without associating ALL of them with how I was feeling at that time last year.

Especially Thanksgiving. Last year, Thanksgiving was the day before Olivia's funeral. I know it's still 3 months away, but I'm really not quite sure how I will handle that day.

Also, our wedding is on November 13th, exactly one week before Livie's first birthday.

I would like to ask if you all wouldn't mind keeping Kurt and I and our family in your prayers this fall, as we figure out how to celebrate one of the best days of our lives (our wedding), and the anniversary of the absolute worst month of our lives, all at the same time. It's going to take a lot of emotional strength for both of us to handle it, and I think we could both use as much support as we can get.

Very, very much missing my girl today.

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

August 19th: Day of Hope & Breaking the Silence

I've written about this before.

I'll keep writing about it until something changes.

Pregnancy and infant loss is a taboo subject.

Seriously, think about it! If you are the mother of a lost baby, think about what you knew before you went through it yourself. I know that I had absolutely NO idea how common miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss really are. It's absolutely sickening to find out that information.

Because people don't know, and therefore don't talk about it, those of us who have lost our babies are made to feel uncomfortable when talking about our deceased child.

Those of you who have children and have never lost one - can you imagine not being able to talk about your baby whenever you feel like it, or feeling like you have to apologize for the way talking about your child makes others feel?

It really sucks. Of course, we have our family and close friends who we are able to talk about our children with, and thats fabulous. But it really sucks, to be at someones house and see a little outfit hanging in their daughter's closet and think "Oh! I bought that for Olivia last year", and then have to think to yourself, "should I say that out loud? Or will it make them feel awkward because they have no idea what to say". Usually, I choose the latter option, because making the other person feel awkward makes me feel awkward.

No one should have to silence their thoughts about their children. Period.

August 19th is a day of hope, a day for families to speak openly about their children, and a day to celebrate their lives - whether that life was spent only inside their mother's womb or whether they lived for a few days/weeks/years on earth.  This is a day where wonce a year, people can speak about pregnancy, infant and child loss, and attempt to break down the walls so that people aren't afraid to speak about their children anymore.

I encourage you to visit to learn more about this special day.

Please keep in mind that miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant/child loss doesn't just affect that child's mom and dad, it affects the grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends that were all joyously awaiting the arrival of that special baby. Don't forget about them, either.

I wish that this day wasn't close to my heart. I wish that we hadn't lost our daughter, and that my parents hadn't lost their daughter, and then their grand daughter 23 years later. But we did, and they did, and so today, we will celebrate the lives of the daughters that we can no longer hold in our arms.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Despite my best efforts to become a more regular blogger, I'm not doing a very good job! It's hard for me to think that things that happen in our everyday life are things that anyone who reads this will care about, so most of the time when something pops into my head that I think I should blog about, I talk myself out of it. But my friends keep nagging me about updating. So, here we are.

Today was my first day of Practicum. I'll be basically interning for a Christian-based international adoption agency about 18 hours a week until I graduate in May. I absolutely loved it. At the beginning of the summer, I had a meeting with my advisor and some of the instructors from my program to talk about my choice of practicum placements. They were concerned that because of losing Olivia, I would "over identify" with parents who desperately want a child. They thought that I might get too upset when I saw parents getting babies... because I couldn't keep my own. In some ways I can understand where they would be coming from with that - by allowing me to accept the placement, they're essentially saying that they know I'm emotionally competent enough to handle the work. So I get it - they have to watch their own backs. But by the end of the meeting, they agreed with me that I could handle it. I mean, I wouldn't be ready to accept a practicum as a social worker at a children's hospital for example, but adoption is a whole different ball game. Especially when it's international. We won't deal with the birth parents at all. Domestic adoption would be rough... I don't know that I would be able to handle meeting with birth mothers to talk about creating adoption plans just yet.

Of course, seeing pictures of sweet, tiny little babies who are being placed for adoption will definitely tug on my heart strings a little bit - it already did today. But the 6 month old Korean little boy that was placed today isn't Olivia, and my mind and heart are fully capable of keeping them separate, especially in a professional setting.

I don't know if it's this way for my other baby-loss mama friends (or DBMs as Lara likes to say), but contrary to the belief of people who haven't gone through this... just because we lost Olivia doesn't mean that we want nothing to do with babies or parents of babies EVER. Most of us, I think, want to help do anything we can to make sure that all babies are healthy and happy and get to grow up in the homes of parents who love them - whether that's biological parents or adoptive parents. Why else would we walk in the March for Babies and raise money for March of Dimes? Start foundations for other children in the names of our lost ones? Host golf tournaments to benefit NICUs?

I think that's what my (well-meaning) instructors thought when they told me they didn't know if I could handle it. Of course I want another baby (eventually), but am I resentful toward parents who are adopting and will be placed with a child within the coming months? No way! In most cases, people adopt because one way or another they have struggled to have a child. Why wouldn't I want people who have struggled just as we have to be blessed with a baby/child to finally complete their family? As far as I'm concerned, it's the greatest gift that anyone could receive, and I can't imagine a better practicum placement/potential future career than helping make that become a reality. The combination of being pregnant, becoming a mother, and losing my baby has made me a more caring, understanding, and compassionate person, not a resentful person who can't stand to see other people happy with their children.
Thankfully, I couldn't have been blessed with a better advisor than the one I have - she has been my cheerleader since before I even formally applied to the program, and has been beyond supportive since we lost Olivia, and has encouraged me to do things that I didn't even think would be possible for me to do.
So, I guess that's all for that little rant. I have been mulling over that meeting for the entire summer, and I felt like I just needed to get it out there... since actually explaining it that way to those instructors would have been the least professional thing I could possibly do. I know the people who read this understand, which is why I love blogging so much in the first place.
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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

It's a happy life... and someone is missing

"I will always be a woman whose first child died, and I won't give up either that grievance or the bad jokes of everyday life. I will hold on to both forever. I want a book that acknowledges that life goes on but that death goes on, too, that a person who is dead is a long, long story. You move on from it, but the death will never disappear from biew. Your friends may say, time heals all wounds. No, it doesn't, but eventually you'll feel better. You'll be yourself again. Your child will still be dead. The frivolous parts of your personality, stubborner than you'd imagined, will grow up through the cracks in your soul. .... I'm not ready for my first child to fade into history"
            Elizabeth McCracken, "An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination"

So perfectly said. If you haven't read this book yet (I'm talking to all of my baby loss mama friends), you definitely should. It's one of the few non-religious ones that I've come across - and I usually tend to gravitate toward those, and it's REALLY good.
"It's a happy life.... and someone is missing"

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