Wednesday, December 22, 2010

10 Months

It has been 10 months of thinking about Aubree every single minute of every single day..wondering what life would have been like with her in it..looking at the outfits for other babies that would have looked so cute on her with her dark hair..It has been a day of tears for me for so many reasons..I look back to where I was a year ago, and I shake my head because I had no clue! I had no idea that my life would be like this a year from now. I had no idea that Aubree was sick..that she would die..that a part of me would die with her...I am just so tired of talking about the kind of car you are going to get when your third child comes..how would I know? I am tired of hearing about unplanned pregnancies..I am just tired of everything working out for others when I know so many people that never get the chance to be a mother at all...Life just seems so unfair sometimes..I have just read too many heartbreaking stories lately during this Christmas season, and my heart is just full of sadness for them..I am just sad..sad for myself, sad for the others who feel the same way as I do, and sad for the people who have to get through it without knowing Jesus..How they make it through it is unknown to me. My faith is the only thing that carries me through...just knowing that Aubree will be celebrating the real deal this year is wonderful to think about, but it also makes it hard for me because that means that she doesn't get to celebrate with us..We don't get to buy her gifts this year..I just get to buy her some flowers to put on her grave..that is the only gift I can get for her this year. It almost seems ridiculous because she doesn't care, but I need to do it for her...it is the only thing I can do right now..I just can't believe it has been 10 months already. I feel like it was only yesterday that it was 2009...the year before I had a clue..

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Cards

I have been receiving several beautiful Christmas cards in the mail from our family in friends these days. Some of those cards contain beautiful pictures of either the entire family or their children. I love to see these pictures because I get to see some pictures of the kids that do not live around me or that I don't get to see very often. This year has been a little bit sad in that respect..every picture I see of a happy family just reminds me of what is missing from our Christmas this year. I bought labels last year that had three kids on them thinking that we were going to have three living children this Christmas, and we would finally be a family of five instead of four. I sent out my Christmas cards and so far the response has been positive. I wasn't sure how people would take to seeing Aubree on our card because some people we know have never seen her pictures. I just felt like I needed to include her since she was a big part of 2010 even though she didn't get to experience much of it here. She defined this year for us in many ways. The only Christmas card I received yesterday was from the funeral home that we used for Aubree's service. Sad..This funeral home sent out some good reading materials on how to get through the holidays, and they sent out the Merry Christmas from Heaven poem. The most touching part of it all is that this funeral home puts up a memorial tree in their lobby to put glass ornaments with all of the names of the people that have passed on this past year. Each glass ornament contains the name and date of the person's death. They encourage the families to come and see the tree if they want to, and they told us in the letter that we can either pick up our ornament after the holidays or they will send it to us so we can put it on our trees every year or we can put it somewhere else if we want to. What a beautiful idea..I just wish that we didn't have to have a glass ornament at all though..I would much rather have Aubree instead. I would love to see her taking ornaments off of our tree, digging the presents, rolling around in the dog beds with the dogs, trying her first foods, smiling at me, maybe crawling, getting into things..Sigh..

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Birthday Filled With Hope..

Today is my 31st birthday, and for some reason 31 seems so much older than 30..maybe I just feel really old after the year I just had..I don't know. I have been having a really hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year due to the fact that I thought Christmas was going to be so much different this year with three kids instead of just the two that are living with us. As I see the excitement building on my their faces I can't help but feel the excitement of Christmas..Sure, it isn't the same, but I feel like I am starting to get more into the spirit of things. I have found joy again in the Mercyme Christmas cd that I love so much..so much so that I had to get a new one last year because I listened to the first one way too much that it quit playing all of the songs..

We decorated our Christmas tree last night, and I was able to hang two of the ornaments that we either got for her or received as a gift in honor of her. Putting those ornaments on the tree reminded me that she is still very much alive here..She is all around me every single day..I received the most beautiful gift the other night from my mom. She had these beautiful red dragonfly ornaments made for us. I didn't hang mine on my tree because I wanted to see it year round..it is hanging in my kitchen window, and it makes me smile every time I see it..She is there! I was also given this beautiful etched glass recycled wine bottle bottom that has a dragonfly with some grass etched into it..it looks like she is flying home..It is so beautiful...All within the same weekend I learned that my grandparents want to start a fund at a Christian school for children who want to go there but can't afford to called "Aubree's Hope." She is SO alive! My beautiful little girl is everywhere, and I haven't really seen it that much until now..She is still so loved and she has certainly not been forgotten.

My 30th year was certainly the worst year of my life in many ways, but it has also been a year full of personal growth..I have changed, grown-up, and my eyes have been opened to all of the pain around me so much more clearly. I wish that 2010 could have been different but that was not meant to be. It was not all terrible though..I have learned so much in this past year about life, love, family, etc..

This morning I found out that the Women of Faith tour will be coming to Pittsburgh in October, and I have realized that I will be attending no matter what because Angie Smith will be a keynote speaker at the Pittsburgh event..She is one of the people who changed my life with her words, and she wrote that beautiful song that reminds me of my thoughts about Aubree..I need to go see her speak...What a wonderful birthday surprise to find out about this event!!

31 is going to be a better year for me..it already is since it started out with snow!!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Prayers Please..

I have a prayer request for someone very close to me..she just entered the BLM community unfortunately. She just had her first miscarriage at eight weeks. She is not taking this loss very well which is to be expected so she could use all of the prayers she can get. This pregnancy was a big surprise to her since she never thought she could get pregnant on her own. She just can't understand why God would give her a miracle to just take it away..Hmm..I have always wondered the same thing! I keep telling her to just have faith that God is in control. We might not understand why now, but we probably will understand at some point. No..life isn't fair, and it doesn't make any sense at all, but..we have to keep on going. I keep going for the sake of my family. I am just so thankful for them.

Carley drew a picture of her family today at preschool..I noticed Aubree was not in her picture, but there was this yellow squiggly line next to the picture of Mike. I asked her what it was a picture of since everything else had a label..she told me a deer. I asked her why she didn't put Aubree in the picture, and she then told me the squiggly line was Aubree in Heaven. I want for them to include her in our family, but I hate that I am forcing her draw her or to make sure she is included..I don't want them to ignore the fact that she is their sister, but I know that they don't understand since they never got to see her or touch her..she isn't really real to them in many ways. Unfortunately she was really only alive and "real" to me..that can be a lonely place sometimes..

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thorns

This morning my wonderful husband sent me three beautiful devotions that talked about this florist who designs a "Thanksgiving Special." This lady went in to get her Thanksgiving centerpiece, but she didn't know what to get since she had had a rough five months. She really didn't feel very thankful this year. When she told the florist this the lady knew exactly what she needed..as she waited to get her flowers a few others came in to pick up their arrangements..all the special which was twelve long stemmed thorny roses without the flowers. The lady watched in horror as people paid for them and went on their way. She finally just asked the florist why people were not getting the flower part. The florist went on to explain that at times like Thanksgiving we only thank God for the blessings we have..we never remember to thank him for the "thorns" in our life. The thorny arrangements were made as a reminder to her customers to be thankful for the bad times too. After all..wasn't it Christ who wore a crown of thorns so we might know His love?..We should never resent His love.. The lady decided that she would like the special too..the card that came with the bouquet read:

"Dear God, I have never thanked you for my thorns. I have thanked you a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to you along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of your rainbow look much more brilliant."

I am going to try to remember this tomorrow when my heart is hurting because I feel like I have nothing to really be thankful for this year..shame on me for even thinking that way..God has blessed me with so much, but I still just find it so hard sometimes to just be thankful for what happened with Aubree.

May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and that you can also be thankful for the thorns in your life..

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Hallelujah"

Jesus, please come
Please come today
Hear me
Heal me
Be near me I pray

I have fallen so far
Flat on my face
I’m in need of Your grace today
I stumble and fall
But in spite of it all
Your love always stays the same
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Jesus, please come
Please come today
Break me
Mold me
Use me I pray

But don’t give up on me now
I’m so close to You now
I’m in need of Your grace today
wipe the dirt off my face
hold me in Your embrace
Your love always saves the day
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

I have fallen so far
flat on my face
I’m in need of Your grace today
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

Sing Hallelujah
Sing Hallelujah
Sing Hallelujah
Amen

On my knees here I fall
in spite of it all
Hallelujah
And though it seems hard
I’m still trusting You Lord
Hallelujah
Hallelujah

by Heather Williams

These words were on my heart today..

Monday, November 22, 2010

Nine Months

It has been nine months today..I remembered last night, and I commented about it to Mike but it didn't hit me until the kids and I were on a walk. It is a beautiful fall day outside..partly sunny and very warm. We were walking down the path towards our house when all of a sudden I had this flashback to the day I realized she was no longer moving. That day was also very warm and partly sunny for February..As I was walking down the path I glanced at the path Mike and I had taken that very day to ease our minds of our fears..I remember the words, the tears, the fear, etc..I felt like I was still pregnant, and I actually glanced down at my stomach to see if in fact I was..As I shook the flashback from my head I remembered that she has been gone for nine months today..Nine horrible, blurry months. I don't remember much about them because I have been in a fog for most of them. I know Aubree is doing great where she is. It is her mom who isn't doing so great. I just miss her so much lately, and I do believe the upcoming holidays are the reason. The last happy thing I remember is Christmas of 2009. I am dreading it this year..

Each month that flies by just means that I have been without her for that long. Yeah..I have grown, changed, had some ups, downs, etc, but my life for these past nine months hasn't really been blissful. I want to buy her an adorable Christmas dress that matches my kids..I guess I will just have to settle for some flowers that will eventually die just like my hopes and dreams for her did..At least I know she is in good hands..

Friday, November 19, 2010

And Life Goes On..


Last weekend was full of baby showers for me and a lot of traveling, but it was all worth it because we all had a nice visit with our families. I got to see both sides in the same weekend! It was great! We also got to meet Owen, our new nephew. He is adorable and so perfect. Everyone kept commenting on how tiny he was..he was compared to Carley and Parker, but he weighed a ton compared to Aubree. She was so much smaller, but in reality there are only a few people who know that because only a few people were able to hold her for the short time we had her. It is amazing to me to look at Owen and see how perfect she was even though she was so much younger when she was born. She didn't look like the old man that he apparently did when he was born because he hadn't grown into his skin just yet. She had. I also believe she was much farther along then what they thought though so she would have not really been 31 weeks....She was just tiny from the Trisomy.

We all enjoyed holding Owen..especially Carley. She couldn't get enough. She even kept asking me if we could get a baby like this of our own..She asked me at least twice, but I just kept ignoring her question because words could not come out of my mouth..I felt like I had been punched in the stomach and I had no air to answer her. I didn't know how to answer her..The only words I could summon were, "Maybe some day.."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Looking Forward to 2011..

Last week was tough..it got even tougher as the week went on..I am just so thankful that we are in a new week! After getting through a tough week emotionally we had to get through a tough weekend. My mom and dad's dog, Murphy, got hit by a car in front of my neighbor's house. It was such a horrible event with so much worry. My neighbor came running to my house thinking that it was one of my dogs, but when she saw both of mine come out of the house she asked my kids (who opened the door for her without my knowledge) if their grandma had dogs like Ruger..I heard her voice and came out to ask her if she had found them since my mom was out looking for them. She said they were at her house, but that the young one with the white face got hit by a car...my heart stopped. She said he was up walking around, but he was holding his one leg up. She proceeded to tell me that he hit the front tire of the car, rolled under it, and then the car ran over him..That sentence alone made me think the worst. He had to have some internal damage! I got in touch with my mom finally and she rushed to get him to take him to the Emergency Vet. Hospital about 45 minutes away. We spent time praying about him and just hoping he would be ok..I had to call my dad who was away and my sisters to let them know what had happened. to make a long story short..he is ok..They kept him overnight for observation, but he is ok..He is eating, walking around (hobbling a bit), is really banged up, but he is ALIVE!! He is one lucky dog. I believe that he had God with him that day because in reality he probably shouldn't have survived if the car really did run him over..I do hope he has learned his lesson in that he won't ever chase cars again!!!

Murphy is pretty special to me even if he drives me crazy with his ball obsession sometimes..He was the dog who stayed by my side at all times when I came home from the hospital after delivering Aubree..he was not going to let me alone because he knew I needed him. He is faithful, and he was there to remind me that I was not alone. He never acted like that before..It was really strange yet so comforting to know that a dog could understand that I needed comforted.

I look forward to 2011 because I am hoping that it is better than 2010 has been for our family. Emotionally it has been a tough year...I don't even really remember most of this year to be honest with you. It has all gone by in such a blur. I just found out about this poor pregnant girl who has just found out her unborn son has Trisomy 13. It is similar to Trisomy 18 in that the child doesn't have a very good chance of survival if they make it through the pregnancy. She is 23 weeks along..I can remember being in her shoes and not knowing if this was the last day you had with your child. Every day was spent being thankful for the time you have with them, loving every movement, etc., but it was also spent worrying about the fact that your child could die at any moment..I am just going to pray for this family and for this baby. I hope that her son defies all odds and gets to live a full life with his family. I hate to think that this family is going through what we went through..it just breaks my heart because I was there, am still there, etc. Her life will never be the same ever again..

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gingerbread Latte

You know your life isn't going that great when a Gingerbread Latte is the highlight of your month. Mike and I have been in a funk, as he calls it, lately, and we are just getting by it feels like. We have gotten into some debt for the first time ever due to some doctor bills, getting our doors painted, an unforeseen bill from an excavator in our area, etc. That stress on top of everything else has made us both pretty edgy..We haven't been too edgy with each other, but we are not really talking much either because neither one of us really has much to say. The kids are not behaving so we find ourselves yelling which is not how we want to be as parents. It has just been a tough few weeks it seems like. I feel like I am on the verge of an emotional breakdown at times. My anxiety is out in full force, and I feel sick to my stomach all of the time. Mint gum has become my best friend. Carley is even starting to tell me her tummy hurts, and she needs a piece of gum. I realize she is just wanting the gum, but the fact that she is using that as an excuse just means that I am chewing way too much gum...

I am starting to dread Christmas..finding Aubree's stocking that will sit empty once again this year..I now have to make another dog stocking instead. I never thought this is how 2010 would turn out. I have cried more this year then I have cried in my lifetime I think. Mike keeps asking me how 2011 will be better..I don't know..it just has to be better because I don't know how much more I can take without breaking. Life just seems so unfair, and I am starting to get angry. It's amazing how much worse I feel now then I did four months ago..why now? It just doesn't make sense why now is so difficult. Is it because of all of the holidays? I don't know...

Today started out on a bad note with my dog having an accident all over our carpet in the hall. He sometimes is a little messy when he goes to the bathroom, and he never stays in one place so there was a BIG mess. Cleaning up that big mess made us run late..so late that I had to give the kids their breakfast in the car. I don't like being that way with them..it just makes their day start off on a bad note too. I didn't have time to make a cup of coffee so I ran to Starbucks and thankfully had enough on a gift card to cover the Gingerbread Latte that made my day. I was hopeful that they had the syrup, but when she asked me if I would like to try a Gingerbread Latte I was overjoyed..yes! Something went right today! To top it all off..I think I might be getting a cold. I started sneezing this afternoon so I am doubling up on my Elderberry (the natural stuff that I use), and taking Airborne to try to help..Blah..I think my emotional state has me so run down that my body is giving up the fight..

Today we vote so that means change may be in store..maybe 2010 is all about change for me. I have changed, my life has changed, etc. Maybe we are slowly starting to become the people we were meant to be..it could be positive...who knows. I just feel like things have already started changing so maybe this is just the beginning...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tree #6


Tree #6 marks the last tree that was planted in honor of Aubree. This tree is called a Bloodgood Japanese Maple. It was given in her honor by some great college friends who have been there supporting us through everything. A big thank you to Kristy, Mark, Christy, and Chad...We love having so many trees around our yard that are in her honor. Everywhere we look she is there..We also feel so blessed to have these trees because they are constant reminders of the loving, supportive people that we have in our lives. We would not have made it through all of this without such great support. I just wish that we lived closer to some of these people because we would be able to spend more time with them!

The Japanese Maple is a really neat tree in that the leaves are almost purple in color at different times of the year. I love that fact about this tree because that is Aubree's birthstone being that she was born in February. I also like this tree because the leaves are really delicate and intricate just like her. It is such a beautiful tree.

As for me..I'm doing better today. I went and got a pedicure just to ease some of my stress. I had a gift card from my best friend from my birthday last year so I figured now was as good as any time to use it. Sending a big thank you to her..she had no idea what my future held last year when she gave it to me so her gift was even more wonderful then she even knew it would be...

Tomorrow is Halloween so the kids are extremely excited of course. Carley is going to be Jessie from Toy Story and Parker will be Buzz Lightyear. I wonder what Aubree would have been..

Friday, October 29, 2010

It's Been A Week..

This week has not been a good one at all. It has been emotional to say the least. We had my sister's shower on Sunday at my mom's house. It went really well, and I think everyone had a nice time. I can't say that it wasn't hard for me to see her opening up the really cute baby girl things..I am very happy for her, but it still hurts to see those kinds of things since I never got to put Aubree in anything like that. That was just the start of my week...

I was watching Oprah, which I have been doing just this year when I have the time, and she had on a family who lost all three of their children in a horrible car accident. Hearing things like that really got to me before, but now they are gut wrenching because I get it now..I can't even imagine losing the other two at the same time as I lost Aubree. They were on the show to show that no matter what happens in your life you have to keep on going. I truly believe that, and this family is the model of strength. She was a stay at home mom who had no children to care for..Wow. She did end up having triplets a year after the accident though. They will never replace the three that she lost, but they are experiencing joy as a family again. After sobbing for an hour for this family I received a phone call from my good friend to let me know that a woman, whose family goes to our church, just lost her twins at 22 weeks gestation..She thought I would be a good person to tell since I might have something to offer them in the way of support. My heart broke all over again for this family too. I immediately ordered my favorite book to send to them in hopes that it can provide some comfort in this awful time of their lives. This poor woman not only lost her twins (a boy and a girl), but she lost her brother too. He died of cancer after his senior year of high school. This family has been through a lot, but this woman's mother is a pillar of strength. She is a huge part of our church, and she has always been a positive person regardless of what she has gone through. Now she just lost her grandchildren..Please just pray for this family as they begin the grieving process. It was a bad day in general..too much heartache.

The rest of the week has been tough. I have been fighting something which has made me very tired and not feeling like myself at all. Parker has been sick again with a terrible cough so I'm sure we are all fighting whatever he has going on. Mike and I have barely talked all week it seems like. Every time we try to talk we are interrupted by the kids. Even he said that he can't find the joy in things right now. I guess we are both at the same place right now. It's not a good place to be in, but I am hoping and praying that this too shall pass. I know that grief comes in waves so hopefully we are both just in one of those waves right now. I am just so tired of feeling like someone else..I want to be the joyful person that I was last year (maybe minus the house-building stress). I have this picture on my desk from last Halloween, and the joy on all of our faces is so apparent. Where is that joy and when will it come back??

Friday, October 22, 2010

Instead..

Today marks eight months in Heaven for Aubree and eight months of grief for me. I think about what she would be doing right now..sitting up, smiling up at me with her big blue eyes, laughing, maybe even crawling like her brother was at this point, babbling, etc..I think about all of those things that I would be experiencing, but instead I just get to sit in front of my computer and write about all that she should have been doing. I know that she was never supposed to live with us, but it still hurts to think about all that I had to miss with her.

I look at all of the babies that are about the age she would have been, and I find it hard to look at them because I see exactly what I am missing. I want to stay away from them, but I just can't. I am drawn to them even more because I miss her so much. I just have to find the joy in other babies because I don't have one. I know a lot of people find it easier just staying away from other babies because it is too hard to be around them, but I just love babies so much to be able to do that.

I feel so numb to all of this, and I feel like Aubree has been forgotten by many. Many people never say anything about her anymore or even ask me how I am doing. I have a few wonderful people who do, but most of the world has gone on as normal. That is just how things work. I had a girl I know write me a nice message this week about how she still thinks about Aubree and about me all of the time. It was nice to hear that she has not really been forgotten by all. It is funny how people you don't even really know are the ones who give you the most support. I was talking to a lady from our church last week about life without Aubree. She was able to be so supportive because she has been there, and she asked me how I was doing even after all of this time.

Last Saturday night Mike and I went and saw Phil Wickham and MercyMe. I really only knew one song by Phil Wickham, but that particular song ("Safe") was one of the few that really spoke to me after Aubree's death. He is amazing live! MercyMe was of course as amazing as ever. I think this was the third time we have seen them, and they amaze me every time because they sound the same as their cds do. The concert actually really got to me because when Bart sang "I Can Only Imagine" they played slideshow of a whole bunch of people holding pictures of loved ones who have gone on as well as a few pictures of moms with their deceased infants. That really got to me. I really can only imagine what her life is like in Heaven, but the part that really hurts is that I wish I could see her life here instead. I know she is much better where she is, but I can't help that I have a selfish nature and want her here with me to celebrate her eight month milestones..

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bittersweet..



Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I have been thinking about my sweet baby girl today in many ways as well as the many other babies that have gone on to Heaven before us. I have been thinking of their wonderful mothers, fathers, families, etc., that have had to endure the pain of losing a child. There truly is nothing worse in my mind. We have had a very bittersweet day here at the Berk household. I learned first thing this morning that my nephew was born safely at around 7:30 and that he was doing really well at just 4 pounds, 10 oz. I was so thankful that both he and Connie were healthy! It is sort of a strange day in some ways because I am always going to celebrate his birthday on the same day that I mourn her loss.

I was doing Carley's hair this morning and talking to her about her new cousin when the dreaded question came up..."Mommy..will Baby Owen be sick like Baby Aubree?" I have learned to just let this roll off of me, but I still can't stand the fact that she is associating babies with sickness. I know that is all she knows right now, but it sort of bothers me that even Carley has an unhealthy view of birth, pregnancy, etc. I hope that we can change that in the future by just being around other healthy babies!

We decided to do a balloon release today for Aubree since it is the 15th. My kids fought over who got to hold the balloon so we finally agreed that we would all do it as a family while Mike took some pictures. I kept trying to stay together for the kids, but a few tears escaped when Carley told me that Jesus wanted Baby Aubree with Him. She is right. She also told me at least five times today that she missed Baby Aubree. I know she is just feeding off of me, but I wonder if she misses the idea of having a baby around since we made such a big deal about it last year. Who knows...I lit the candle that my best friend from high school got for Aubree at 7:00 in remembrance of her and all of those other babies that are with her now..I just hope she can feel the love that comes from us every day even though she is so far away from us. Tomorrow we will plant her tulips..

Saturday, October 9, 2010

My "Perfect" Family




Today we went to our local pumpkin patch for their pumpkin festival to enjoy the festivities as a family. We all had a really good time for the most part. Parker had a major meltdown at the pumpkin patch and had to be taken to the car kicking and screaming..not sure why, but it did not allow for us to spend any more time there with friends! Anyways. While we were waiting for the hay wagon to take us back to the festival this lady commented about what a perfect family we had..she said how pretty I was, how nice looking my husband was, and then went on to say I have a boy and a girl..how perfect. Wow..it was really nice to hear, but it really just stabbed me right in the heart. My family is far from perfect, but we might look that way from the outside to some people I guess. It really just goes to prove my point..we don't know anyone's story, and they might just look "perfect" from the outside..It was a confidence booster I guess especially since my "perfect" little children have been so trying these past few days. :) Mike said he was waiting for me to say something to the lady about how untrue that was, but I just kept my mouth shut. I don't take compliments very well so I really didn't know what to say except "thank you." I wasn't in the mood to blurt out about how we lost a baby so that really doesn't make for a "perfect" family in many ways. I love my family so very much even though we all have our flaws. Sure I would love to have Aubree in my pumpkin patch pictures this year, but I will just to have to settle for the beautiful family pictures that we were able to capture today.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Kickboxing..

Yesterday was a bad day all around..I woke up just not feeling like myself. I was angry, upset, and just plain tired. Parker was cranky and that made for a bad morning as we were trying to get out the door to preschool. He did end up getting Hand, Foot, and Mouth again (yeah..it has only been a month!) which makes us thrilled as you can imagine! I guess that explains his bad mood yesterday at least. I was just feeling really down when I went to get my mail, and when I opened up my mailbox I found the DVD that I had pre-ordered for Carley for Christmas and a box from a good friend of mine. I opened up the box to find a beautiful ornament hand made by one of my friends in honor of Aubree. It made me cry because it was just what I needed to see...she has not been forgotten. I love the fact that everywhere I look in my house I have something to remind me of her. I refuse to forget her. I am sort of in a phase where I refuse to be ok with what happened to her though too..I am angry. Why do other people get to have healthy, living babies over and over again? What makes them so much luckier? I know so many people who get pregnant very easily and then go on to have a "million" kids. The part that kills me is that they take it for granted because they don't know what it is like for others. They don't stop to think about others and how hard it is for them. Why would they? Their lives are "perfect." I know that isn't the case for most people, and they certainly don't see their lives that way, but it would be nice for them to stop and look around at the hurt in the world for once instead of being so self-absorbed in their own little wonderful worlds. Wow..sorry about that little rampage, but I guess I needed to get it off my chest today.

As I was doing my kickboxing routine yesterday afternoon with my Ipod cranked up as loud as my ears could take it I found tears streaming down my face as I punched my anger out..I have no idea who I was punching, but it felt nice to get it out. I have just really been missing her lately, and there is absolutely nothing that I can do about it. I feel like I have lost complete control of my life, and I am scared to death about that. I can try to be in control, but I have no control at all. God is in the driver's seat, and I have to just go along for the ride. I can't change what is meant for my life..I have to learn to be content and to accept the life He has chosen for me. Up until January of this past year I was pretty happy with all of the blessings He has given us, but 2010 has really stunk for me thus far. Yeah..I know we got to move in to a new home, have had some other blessings, but I had to bury my daughter..I think 2010 has been a rotten year, and I am looking forward to putting it behind me.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Praise You In This Storm

This morning in church we sang "Praise You In This Storm" by Casting Crowns. I have always believed that this song has a great message being that we are told to praise God even though we may not be able to see through the rain..I was having a bad morning this morning, and I obviously needed this reminder today. I feel like I have been going along just fine, but I obviously allowed my emotions to get the better of me today. I haven't cried..just felt really down today for some reason. I'm not sure if it is the weather or what, but I just don't really feel "happy." There have been moments today that have made me laugh..Parker pointed to Mike's bellybutton and asked if that was his "bellybutt." He is so cute sometimes! I wonder if I truly will be able to see through the rain at times. I get so sad sometimes when I look at all of the babies around me..when do I get to have a living baby? I know that I have two children and that I should be thankful for that, but it is hard to forget the child that is not with us anymore. I miss her. I can't help it.

Today was the Day of Remembrance at Blue Spruce Park here, but we didn't go..In fact, we haven't gone to anything they have offered as of yet. It isn't that we aren't ready to go to this type of event..it is more like we don't really want to..I know that sounds terrible, but I really don't feel like surrounding myself with other people who are upset. I need to be around happiness right now in order to get through each day. I love the support that I get from all of my friends who have gone through this, but I just didn't feel like crying with people I don't know today. The support that gets me through is the people that are positive. I have heard that several of the people in this area are not positive at all..The lady who is in charge of the bereavement group at the hospital told me that we are one of two couples who keep her going..everyone else can't even get out of bed at times. I can't go back there. I need to keep going forwards so that is why we chose not to go. I honor Aubree every day when I think of her, pray for her, take care of the trees that were so lovingly planted for her..I look at so many people who are joining together this month because it is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, and I am so glad that they are supporting each other. I just didn't think I had it in me today to stand around and mourn Aubree and all of the other babies that were lost..I think about those women every day and the women who will be in my shoes at some point..I don't wish that on anyone, but I am so glad that there are events out there who are bringing these families together so they know they are not alone. I guess I just might not be ready to throw my physical being into those events just yet..

I do wonder if this whole world would be different if we all were able to "Praise You In This Storm."

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Please Pray..

I have two prayer requests right now for two wonderful people who are both pregnant. One of them has become a good friend to me as a result of my experience with Aubree, and she has brought me so much comfort and support..she deserves all of the support and prayers she can get. She was rushed to Labor and Delivery yesterday, but she isn't due until the end of December. She was able to go home last night, but she could still use all of the prayers she can get to bring home her beautiful rainbow baby in December! Her name is Katy, and if you knew anything about this woman you would want to pray extra hard for her because she is one amazing person.

The other prayer request that I have is for my sister-in-law who is currently between 31-32 weeks pregnant, but she is in the hospital with pre-eclampsia. We are praying that she can make it to 34 weeks before she has to deliver, but they are thinking that he may be delivered anywhere in the next week or so. Just pray for her sanity since she is not a fan of sitting still and for the health of both Connie and for my soon to be nephew. Connie is one of the most positive people in these types of situations, and she is one of the strongest women I know so this baby will be just fine since he carries his mothers genes!

Thank you so much for the prayers..they are greatly appreciated. I know that God has a plan for these two women and their babies. I don't know why He does the things that He does, but I do know that they always manage to work out in the end. He knows what is best for our lives even when we don't agree.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Seven Months

Today marks seven months that Aubree has been in Heaven which also means that is has been seven months of her not being here with us...I still miss her every day, and I think about her all of the time. I was driving home last night after a meeting I had, and I was struck by how much I really do miss her. I just wish I could have gotten to know her a bit more, could have seen what she looked like at seven months, what she was getting herself into, what her personality was like, etc. I have all of these wishes, but I just have to be patient until my time comes. I think about the new people that I am meeting who have no clue that Aubree even existed..they have no clue about that horrible event seven months ago that changed me forever..they will never know who I was before. I think about that, and I realize that I have no clue who they were seven months ago either..We could look at everyone that way really because we don't know their stories unless they share them. I am now in the second half of this first year without her. Sure..it has gotten easier, but I still feel her absence every day. I can't help it. I still think back to where I was last year at this time, and I wish I could have warned myself to not get too excited about this new baby...I loved her so much from the minute that I found out she was coming, and I have had to learn to live without her since the day I found out she was not going to live..

Carley and I have really been enjoying a song we have been hearing on the radio lately..I love to sing with her. It is so cute to hear her singing the right words or the ones that she thinks are the right words. I am trying to listen to the words and to let them sink in..I found myself doing that last night on my way to my meeting.

I hear you breathing in
Another day begins
The stars are falling out
My dreams are fading now, fading out

I've been keeping my eyes wide open
I've been keeping my eyes wide open

Ooh, your love is a symphony
All around me, running through me
Ooh, your love is a melody
Underneath me, running to me

Oh, your love is a song

The dawn is fire bright
Against the city lights
The clouds are glowing now
The moon is blacking out, is blacking out

So I've been keeping my mind wide open
I've been keeping my mind wide open, yeah

Ooh, your love is a symphony
All around me, running to me
Ooh, your love is a melody
Underneath me, and into me

Oh, your love is a song
Your love is a song
Oh, your love is a song
Your love is strong

With my eyes wide open
I've got my eyes wide open
I've been keeping my hopes unbroken
Yeah, yeah

Ooh, your love is a symphony
All around me, running through me
Ooh, your love is a melody
Underneath me, running to me

Your love is a song
Yeah, yeah
Your love is my remedy
Oh, your love is a song

Your Love is a Song by Switchfoot...I just need to keep my eyes and mind wide open too..

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Still..

I just had to share that Aubree's flowers are still blooming after all of this time..My mom went to her grave yesterday, and she just had to call me to tell me that they were still going strong. The part that is so interesting about them is that they don't even bloom this long..they have a short bloom cycle..well..we all know why hers are still blooming! :) My grandmother had told me over Labor Day weekend that they were..that was a couple of weeks ago, and we have had some rough weather since then with the temperatures going up and down..Now I just need to plant her red tulips! Wonder how long they will bloom???

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Parker..

The other night we were outside playing before we went in for the night to do the whole bedtime routine, and we found Parker over by Aubree's Magnolia tree. It is the tree that has her nameplate with it, and we even put some stepping stones around it that have the rest of our names on them. We got that wonderful gift from some good friends of ours as a housewarming gift, and we thought it would be an appropriate place to put them. Anyways. We found him talking to Aubree and looking up in the sky. I got tears in my eyes because he was talking to his sister even though he never met her. He was looking up into Heaven and telling her some things that he obviously wanted her to know. He continues to surprise me every day. He can be all boy sometimes and drive me crazy, but then he can be so sweet and loving the next minute. Carley continues to ask about going to see Aubree, but she has now said that she will go once she is older. I of course say, "Please let that be the case." I would love for them to meet her, but I don't think I could handle them meeting her just yet! I believe my kids will always have a place in their heart for their baby sister even though they never met her. They know she existed and that she is a part of our family. I always wonder if we talk about her too much or if we dwell on her not being here too much, but I think that we are doing things right. I want them to have a relationship with her in some way or another, and if they want to talk to her in Heaven then so be it! I would love it if they could develop a relationship with her caretaker early on in their lives. Their lives will be so much more full if they do that..She is still teaching us all..

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Amazement..


I have been at peace about a lot of things lately for some reason. I have been enjoying my kids more, have been loving the weather, loving the time with my family, and really appreciating my dogs..Ruger makes me feel so loved sometimes because he has to be with me wherever I go..it is a nice feeling to be wanted like that! The only thing that makes me stressed right now is that I can't get pumpkin at the grocery store..how will I start my fall baking? :)

I just needed to write a few things tonight because they are on my mind..Remember the flowers that I planted in my yard and at Aubree's grave? Well..mine have been dead for about a month or so. Aubree's are still blooming..Her grave is in the middle of a field with no shelter at all..no rain..no care at all..This shows a higher power in my mind..Her beauty is still here..she is still blooming even though her body is not on this Earth. I am so amazed that her Foxgloves (both of them) can still be thriving..I am surprised in some ways, but in other ways I am not at all. How amazing is that? She is everywhere. A good friend of mine asked me if I still think of her as much..yeah, I do. I think of her just as much as I think of my other kids, but is just in a different way. She is a part of me, and I will never forget any part of her. Her dragonfly showed up the other day again..the same red one, and it landed on my chair..mine..not Mike's, not any of the other chairs on the deck..she has landed within a foot of me both times..She stayed around long enough for us to get a picture of her this time..She is beautiful..I really do believe she is telling me that she is doing well where she is. When I see that dragonfly I can't help but smile because it reminds me so much of how beautiful she is and always will be. What a wonderful gift..

This morning as I was driving Carley to preschool one of my favorite worship songs came on, and it really got to me today for some reason..I think God likes to remind me when I am floundering that he can really move the mountains..Sometimes I need a reminder because I get too busy in my own little head to take the time to praise the one who has given me life....

MIGHTY TO SAVE LYRICS - HILLSONG

Everyone needs compassion,
Love that's never failing;
Let mercy fall on me.

Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a Saviour;
The Hope of nations.

Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.

Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

So take me as You find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.

I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in,
Now I surrender.

My Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

Shine your light and let the whole world see,
We're singing for the glory of the risen King...Jesus (x2)

My Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

My Saviour, you can move the mountains,
You are mighty to save,
You are mighty to save.
Forever, Author of Salvation,
You rose and conquered the grave,
Yes you conquered the grave

He has brought me peace, and I am so thankful..

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Some Days You Just Need to Scream!!

I am having one of those days today..I have an extremely busy week this week trying to get ready for Carley's birthday this weekend plus Carley started soccer twice a week at night...and now Parker has come down with Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease..when will she get it? Wouldn't that be a nice birthday present? We are the last of our play group to get it so hopefully it will leave us all alone once and for all after my kids get through it. I am just praying that she doesn't get it very badly if she gets it at all. Parker just has the fever and bad sore throat so far..I am hoping he doesn't get the blisters like some of his little friends have gotten. I know it can be pretty painful for them..I just have so many fun things planned for her, and I would hate it if she doesn't even enjoy the birthday cake that she has been looking forward to for so long now. I guess it is out of my hands at this point. I just hope that after this episode of sickness we can remain healthy in this house for a while. My kids are generally healthy kids and this past summer has been really hard on them for some reason. I think we have been to the doctor more in two weeks then we have been in two years including routine check-ups..it is just crazy! I just feel like I am going to drive myself crazy. Not only do I have anxiety issues because of Miss Aubree, but now my other kids are giving me issues. I just need to get a handle on all of this..I am a mess sometimes! I was really bad today, and I thought that I might just drive myself crazy! The part that kills me is that I know I am doing it to myself. I wish I could just wave a magic wand that calmed me down, but I am not having much luck with even reciting some scripture verses in my head. I am trying to have faith and to just believe that God is in control of everything, but I sometimes allow the anxiety to take over. It is amazing what psychological issues can do to your body. I have felt physical complications as a result of my anxiety..It is almost debilitating sometimes. I am just praying that my kids get a mild version of this so we can enjoy Carley's birthday this weekend with my parents and in-laws. I guess the positive out of all of this is that they are building more immunities...:)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Excited!!!

I am so excited that my plans are slowly coming together to honor Aubree. I have recently found the website Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope and they are doing an outreach program that is very exciting. They are making up postcards about their site to include in the bereavement package you get at your hospital or clinic. I called the lady that I usually talk to who is in charge of that, and she is very excited to include some internet sources since that is where most people go these days for support. She is an older woman who isn't very technologically advanced so having this information is a huge blessing to her! I feel like I am going in the right direction now. I am also going to start working on getting Angie Smith's book as a resource to include as well..in honor of my beautiful girl. I don't know why I didn't think about this before, but I am going to get in touch with Family Christian and with Majesty bookstore because they might be able to help me get a discount on a larger order. I used a Christian bookstore before when I did something similar for couples facing infertility. I know my brain just doesn't always work in the way that it used to all of the time! I will keep you posted on how this all comes together!

Last night really shocked me in many ways....We took Carley to her open house at Seeds of Faith Christian Academy where she will be starting preschool on Tuesday. I am very overwhelmed by all of the materials we received such as school calendars, newsletters, book orders, etc. I am excited that she will be in a much more organized program this year. They already have a field trip planned for October to our local pumpkin patch. I think she is going to love it there! I of course wanted to know what the morning schedule was like, what they did in circle time, lesson plans, etc..I just need to back off and realize I am not in charge of what she learns..:) It is just the educator/early childhood part of me coming out. I almost asked if they posted their lesson plans..I didn't thankfully..I just did that for my parents when I taught preschool so I just assumed all did. I think we get a newsletter instead. I was excited to see that they are going to learn Nursery Rhymes..that never happens these days! The part that really shocked me was that when I was asked how many kids I had I answered three right away, but I mentioned that Aubree was stillborn about six months ago. The teacher was very sorry, but I just kept on going and told her I wanted her to know in case Carley ever talked about Baby Aubree since we are very open about talking about her. I never got emotional..I just said it very matter of fact. Maybe I really am ok talking about her now. I was just so surprised with how I handled it. I didn't care if it made someone uncomfortable. She is my daughter, and I am going to talk about her even if people don't necessarily know how to handle what I say. I was just too worried before to just share that part of my life because I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable. She happened, and she is a big part of my family even if she doesn't "live" with us. See..I am moving in a different direction already!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

6 Months...

I just can't believe it has been six months since Aubree left us. It seems unreal that time has flown by that quickly. I guess we have just been living in a fog for so long that time just keeps on going without us realizing how much time has really gone by. Life is just so different now. I continue to see things differently then I ever would have before. I am just so much more aware of heartache, pain, suffering, etc. Not that I wasn't aware of it before, but I never really got it. I feel like 2010 has been one of the worst years for us so far in some ways even though parts of it have been a blessing. We got to move in to our new home...that is a huge blessing. We have gotten to spend some wonderful times with our friends here. I feel like we are entertaining more this summer then we ever have. I guess being more social has also been a noticeable change in me. I guess I feel the need to surround myself with others so I don't dwell on what is missing from my life.

When I hear about what my friend's kids are doing I can't help but think about what Aubree would have been doing at this point..If she was like Parker she would be crawling already! Yikes! I look at that guest room, and it just feels wrong. I really dislike having a guest room even though I know it is nice to have for when we have company overnight which is rare. I wish it was being used for other things, but I guess that wasn't meant to be. I look back on the past six months, and I think about how much grief has been surrounding my family. I don't want the next six months to be the same. I want to take the next six months of this year and focus on positive things..my wonderful family, friends, and various other blessings that I have. I want to remember Aubree and to think of her fondly instead of with sadness. I need to find a way to honor her in the second part of this year. I have an idea in mind, but I guess I just need to put it in motion! I am going to look ahead of instead of behind...I need to keep going forward. I may never be the same person again, but I am a new me...Maybe this me will be better..we shall see. How can you be the same person as you were before when a piece of your heart is missing? You are no longer "whole" like you were before. We can try to become as "normal" as we were before and we might get close, but we will still be parents who have lost a big part of our hearts. Six months ago today I got to hold my beautiful baby girl in my arms, but she will be in my heart forever. Sending much love to Aubree in Heaven today..

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What a Week!

This week has been crazy already being that my kids and husband have been sick all week. I have been so worried about all of them because I feel like it is my job to make sure they come out ok on the other end of whatever it is that they have. Poor Parker has been wheezing and has an ear infection. It is killing me to have to restrain him while he is kicking and screaming to do the nebulizer treatments every four hours..He dreads it when he sees the machine because he knows he will be held down..I am trying to reason with him, but reasoning with a two year old is just impossible sometimes! I just hope he is on the mend so we can stop torturing ourselves with it! I guess I will find out tomorrow. I think about how I can care for my family, but why couldn't I care for Aubree? I couldn't make her better no matter what I did..

I have been worrying about Aubree..strange as that may seem I have been. I was thinking about how worried I would be if she was here with all of this sickness going around..how would she have handled it? I don't know why I allow my mind to wander there, but I do. I think so differently now. I worry about things I never used to because now I know anything can happen to me. Every mole I see I think it might be changing, every person who comes to my door that I don't know might be here to kidnap one of my kids, hurt us, etc..I hate that I think that way, but I guess I am just realizing that I am not invincible and need to be more aware of what could happen. I shouldn't dwell on it, but I can't help where my mind wanders sometimes...

I recently just found a blog of a bunch of women who have lost babies in one way or another. It is called Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope. I am following that blog and it truly makes my heart break when every day there are more and more women sharing their stories..that just means a lot of women are experiencing heartache each and every day due to their children going to Heaven before them. I read about these poor women who have tried for years to have a baby to only lose that baby in the end..I know what it is like to want something so badly for years, and to struggle to try to make that happen..it is devastating when your attempts have failed each and every month. When I had my miscarriage after trying so hard for so long it was devastating..I had no idea that life would get even worse, but at that moment it was the worst thing I had ever experienced. I made the comment to my therapist that there are so many people out there who have it so much worse then me..she is worried that I am not allowing myself to grieve because I am feeling like I shouldn't have anything to be upset about..I understand it isn't healthy for me to just go on acting like nothing happened and that it shouldn't have any effect on me, but..I can't help but feel even worse for those people out there who don't have any children or just keep experiencing loss after loss after loss..I know what happened to me was awful, but I also know that there are women out there who have lost so much more..My heart goes out to all of those women, and I pray that God will bless them with the desires of their hearts..

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Signs..

I have been pretty lost these past few days just thinking about where I was at a year ago. At about this time I was happy just thinking about the new baby that I just learned would be completing our family..happy thinking about what that baby might be like, just happy period. I think about that time because I had no idea what was coming. I look at where I am now, and it makes me so sad to think that nothing turned out the way that I thought it was going to. It is hard to choke down sometimes. I am just missing her so much these days because it was about one year ago that I began my journey with her.

I have been wondering what her life might be like now, and I have been seeing little things that are reminders to me that she is just fine. Last weekend I was sitting out on the deck when a red dragonfly landed on my plate. I have never had this happen before or ever even seen a red one. It was the most beautiful dragonfly I have ever seen..the wings were amazing. I can't even begin to describe them because there were so many beautiful details within them. I have always thought of Aubree as my red girl even though she didn't end up having my hair, but her personality was just like mine..It felt to me like she was just telling me that she is doing just fine and that she is free..free to fly, free to live her life in beauty, free of any pain..The dragonfly only stayed for a minute or so, but it reassured me that she is happy. Another sign that she is doing great is actually from the flowers at her grave. I went back this past week, and I found that not only are her flowers still blooming, but she is getting more buds! Mine have been dead for weeks! She continues to show her beauty and she will never be forgotten..I am just so amazed at this because our plants were planted within hours of each other. I know that I shouldn't be surprised about this at all..that is just how God works!

I have also been thinking about Joseph's story because that is what I taught all week at Bible School. He went from being in jail to controlling much of Egypt as a result of the fact that he could interpret dreams that foretold of what was to come for Egypt. He pretty much saved the people because he was able to save up enough grain to last them through the famine. I know that Joseph went from feeling hopeless to feeling fulfilled as a result of his trust in God...I hope that I will also go from feeling hopeless at some point. I will just continue to trust God that I too will be carried through to the other side..

Friday, July 30, 2010

That Sweet Baby Smell

This morning I got to spend some time with my mom friends. I look forward to my Friday mornings with these ladies all week because they are not only a great group of moms, but they are a great group of friends that have been there for me through all of this. My one friend is sadly going to be leaving us because her husband just got a job in northern Virginia. I am very happy that he got a job, but very sad that they will be leaving us. I won't get to see her or her two beautiful children every week! I know we will see each other again, but..it is still hard to say "see you later." Anyways. I got to hold her newest one this morning..Lia is about 9 weeks old I think, and she smells wonderful. She has that sweet baby smell about her that is so infectious. I just love that smell..the smell of newness, baby shampoo, and a little bit of spit-up. I think it is funny how every baby is washed in something different, but they all smell the same! I wish that we could bottle that smell for rainy days. I really have been thinking about having another baby because it was actually really nice with just the four of us on vacation..I started to think that maybe I just wanted the two that I have here on Earth with me..After holding Lia this morning I was reminded that I really do want another baby. I just don't know if that is in our cards or not, but it is something that has been crossing my mind today..

I went to see Aubree yesterday after swimming with my cousin and her kids all day yesterday. I hate how I get all upset when I drive to the cemetery..how I don't know what to say to her..how I hate leaving her..I know she sees us all of the time and she is with our family in everything that we do, but I just feel like she is so far away from me. I am just so sick of living my life like she never existed. I know I am supposed to be living my life, but I just feel like I should be doing more. I really hate that Carley feels like she needs to tell people that our baby was sick. I really thought she was getting the fact that Aubree was gone, but just the other day she made a comment about when we could bring her home..I guess I am with her in that I would like to know that too..I wish I could bring her home. I will just have to be patient..

I was watching one of my favorite shows this week..I know I can be a little old-school, but I just love Little House on the Prairie. I was watching the one that had the fire that took Mary's baby and Alice Garvey. The show actually really hit home because Alice's husband Jonathan is very upset about the fact that God did not spare Alice. He commented about how he has read about all of the healing that was done in the Bible, and he wanted to know why God didn't save his Alice..Charles Ingalls (Michael Landon)makes the comment that he just doesn't know..None of us know why some people are healed and others are not. He turns to drinking to take away the pain of losing his wife. His son Andy is hurt by not only losing his mother but by the fact that he is slowly losing his father too..Charles goes over to talk to him, and he pushes the Bible into his lap and tells him to read..It is the passages in the Bible that bring him back to his son..to his life..and to the realization that God is still good. I find that when I start to question the same things the Bible does the same for me..I love that God is always revealing Himself in subtle ways when I need Him most.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Vacation..

We are having a wonderful time on vacation with the kids. It is everything that we had hoped for and more. The only complaint I have is with the food..we have not gotten a really great meal yet! I guess we are just not into the Southern food! Anyways. We have seen some incredible waterfalls, lakes, homes, etc. The kids were able to ride a horse for the very first time, and they absolutely loved it! We went out on a pontoon boat for a couple of hours, and we have been having a blast sliding down the rocks here in Cashiers. It is so much fun even though the water is freezing! I am amazed that every single place we go there are just a ton of people in the water. It is one of the best things in my kid's eyes! We are really loving the scenery and the laid back atmosphere. I have found a few coffee shops that are good so that makes me happy of course! I am looking forward to the last two days we have here.

Yesterday marked five months since Aubree left me..I have to say that it has been much harder then I thought it would be without her here on vacation. Every time I see people who comment on how cute my kids are it makes me want to cry..they don't see her..they don't even know she exists. It is so hard for me for some reason. No one knows I have three kids...she gets no recognition. I know she exists and that is all that matters, but it still bothers me that she isn't with us getting to experience all of this with us..I just miss her so much, and this vacation is really screaming that she is gone..I have felt her with me at times though during certain things..One time when I was thinking about her I saw a dragonfly...she has seen everything with us even if she isn't here physically I guess..I just wish she could be with us in so many ways. I would love to put her feet in the cold mountain water, and to feel her all snuggled up against me in her carrier while we are hiking, etc...We all miss you Aubree..

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

AHHHHH!

Today has just been one of those days..It started out on a bad note and has just not gotten any better..The kids woke up fighting both physically and verbally, Ruger has had several accidents on my carpet, and our trash got ripped apart and thrown all over our yard by a bear sometime this morning..blah! I had to go out and pick up all of the trash that was shredded and that included dirty diapers, moldy bread, shredded milk cartons, gross personal items, etc..It was not fun, and I thought I might vomit from the awful smell of it all. I was even scared because I was afraid the bear was still around. I had let my dogs out several times this morning when he could have been there doing all of the destruction. Thank goodness my dogs are ok! In some ways I wish I would have looked outside during the time that the trash was destroyed because I would have gotten some good pictures of the bear and maybe the kids could have seen it..Oh well. I probably would have just gotten mad that the bear was doing that to my trash and probably never would have even gotten a picture anyways..

On another note I got some exciting news that is sort of making up for all of the bad today..My grandma called and said we might be going on the Disney Cruise next year for their anniversary instead of going to Branson..I am so excited because I LOVE the Disney Cruise. I guess we would be going on the newest ship which is called Disney Dream..It would be so much fun for all if we did that! It is my favorite cruise line to travel with so this is an exciting possibility for me! I think the kids would be at a good age to really enjoy it too. We shall see if it works out.

When I was cleaning today I dusted off a frame that held pictures of both of my kids as babies in it, and it made me miss Aubree so much because I wanted her picture to join theirs. Their smiling faces reminded me that I will never get to see her at that age, and I feel like I have missed out on so much of her..What would she have looked like at nine months? I really want to hold her again, but I guess I will just have to be content with holding her in my heart for now.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Innocence

I have been very emotional this week, and I have no idea why that might be. I did go to her grave on Tuesday and maybe that just set things into motion. When I talked to my therapist about it she was asking what triggered it..I really didn't have an answer..she asked me if the day that I found out I was pregnant was approaching..yeah...it is. I never thought about it, but she is right. I came across the pregnancy test that told me she was coming the other day. I still have it..I have gotten rid of the other ones, but I still have hers. I wonder if it is to prove that she was really real, and that it wasn't just a horrible dream. I have no idea why I am keeping it, but I can't throw it away. My therapist said that I am approaching the time that I lost my innocence. What a wonderful way to put it. She is exactly right about that. I lost my innocence when I had Aubree. I never thought that such tragedy could happen to me, and now I have been thrown back down into the dirt with such force that the wind has been knocked right out of me. Now I feel like I am open to anything..I am no longer "invincible." I never was before, but I felt like things like this couldn't happen to us. I do refer to my life as before Aubree and after Aubree. I think back to where I was at this time last year, and gasp because I had no clue what was coming. I thought life was pretty good..I had NO idea my life would get turned upside down and that I would never be the same person again. I worry about things now....things I never used to worry about because now I think it can easily happen to us. I know I have no control over anything, and I guess that scares me. Bad things can happen, and I can't do anything about it.

Sometimes I just find myself driving around in a fog when I am by myself. I allow those awful thoughts to come into my head..to really remember the day we heard her diagnosis. Mike and I were just talking about that day the other night in bed as tears streamed down both of our faces..what a horrible day that was. It can probably be ranked as one of the worst days we have ever faced. I think it is even worse then the day she was born..I have such mixed feelings about that day. It was so awful yet so wonderful because I got to hold her..see her..let her go..I truly wouldn't wish this on anyone. It breaks your heart into a million pieces, and it is so hard to put them all back together again when a huge piece of your heart is gone.

I want a baby so badly that it hurts, but I am scared to death of getting pregnant. I would love to just skip over the whole pregnancy part and get to the newborn baby part. I wish that was possible. I know I need to have faith that God will pull me through another pregnancy if we are meant to have another child, but I am just having a hard time even thinking about pregnancy at all..I love to be pregnant too..I feel like even that joy was taken from me..

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th Of July

Today is the 4th of July, and I should be excited about spending some time with my family, but I am finding that I would rather just stay in my house with Mike and the kids. I have no idea why I have been feeling this way lately, but I seriously just want to keep to myself. I know it isn't healthy for any of us, but I have been so emotional lately for some reason that it is just easier to stay home. We went to our fairgrounds today to get a hot sausage sandwich from Coy's which is one of my family's favorite things to eat this time of year. My cousin ate four one year when she was pregnant..it was quite a record if you would see how tiny she is! :) We were just milling around with a bunch of people who were there to watch the demolition derby..really not my thing at all, when I saw this pregnant girl walking around smoking. It made me so angry that she could be smoking when she was supposed to be taking care of that precious baby she is carrying. Why can people like that have healthy children when they don't even take care of them while they are in utero? I can see that poor baby having smoke blown in his/her face all of the time if the mom is already smoking while pregnant. I just don't understand how you could treat something so wonderful with such disregard. Babies are such a blessing, and they are entrusted into your care..I just wanted to run up to her and scream at her for being so cruel..It just doesn't seem fair..

Parker and I were having a conversation at breakfast yesterday, and I made the comment about him being my baby. He told me he was a big boy, and that my baby went away..I wasn't sure I heard him correctly so I asked him again where my baby was..His response was "way up in the sky." Hmm..He is two, and he has somehow understood all of this talk about Aubree. He thinks she is way up in the sky. I'm not sure he understands what that means, but he has listened..His response brought tears to my eyes because he is so right..my baby went away. He is still my baby in many ways, but he has grown up and doesn't need me the same way anymore. I am trying so hard to hold on to him, but he is just pushing further and further away from me which is exactly what two-year-olds do..I just wish I could make him want to be my baby for a little bit longer.. I just feel like my emotions are starting to get the best of me this weekend, and I am just so tired..

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tree #5


This tree was planted by some really nice men yesterday for us as a gift from Cynthia and Joe Cardiello in honor of Aubree. It is a Kwanzan Cherry Tree, and I am so excited to have it in our yard. Cynthia is probably one of the nicest people to do business with in the Indiana area. She made buying our Jeep Commander a breeze for us, and she is just really pleasant to work with. There are very few people in the world that are like her. She and her husband were so generous in getting this tree for us being that she only knows us from the car dealership where we bought both of our cars. How many people can say they have that kind of relationship with their car dealers? She has just been so supportive through this whole ordeal, and we are so thankful to have this tree from them. I would recommend using her to help you buy a car if you are in the market that's for sure! Every time I look at this tree I can't help but smile. It really adds beauty to our yard in that it is a large tree that will have beautiful blooms on it next spring. I love that this tree will get to be over 30 ft. tall with a 25 ft. spread or so..it sort of resembles great strength to me which is what we have had to show through Aubree's diagnosis, death, and beyond..We just feel so blessed to have a yard full of beautiful trees that will remind us of her every time we go outside or look outside. She is everywhere..and she will never be forgotten in our house! I just feel so blessed in that we have so many people who wanted to honor her..She really was a gift, and she taught so many people about what is really important in life. Isn't it amazing that a two pound baby girl could do that? She really was a spitfire!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Love..

I met with one of the nurses/grief counselors from the hospital this morning because she had a few things that she needed to get to me. I sat and talked to her for almost an hour over a cup of coffee about grief and just about how I was doing. She handed me an envelope that contained Aubree's official pictures from the hospital that all babies get done, but mine were complimentary. I guess that is just one of the perks of not bringing your baby home. If you get to bring your baby home you have to pay for the pictures. Sorry...just a little sarcasm even if I do appreciate the pictures. I also got a "birth certificate" for her baby book. It isn't real because I only get a real death certificate due to the fact that she was stillborn. Anyways. I didn't want to look at the pictures or the birth certificate until I was at home and all alone. When I opened up the envelope a gasp escaped..She was my beautiful baby girl, but I saw her so differently this time. I was able to see what I couldn't see up until now. Her ears really were low on her head..She wasn't perfectly formed like I originally thought, and she looked pretty bad in these pictures. I know she was not living, but the fact that you could see death all over her was astonishing to me. I just can't believe it. I will put these in her baby book with pride though because she is mine even if she looks a little rough from the circumstances. It is just so funny that the love that I have for her has made me forget that there was ever anything wrong with her. She was so perfect in every way in my mind, and seeing those pictures reminded me that she died because of her "imperfections." I just sat on the back porch with tears streaming down my cheeks onto those pictures because that is all I have..I want to hold her again, kiss her cheeks, dress her in something more beautiful then the white doll dress she had on, sing to her, dance with her like I did while I was pregnant, etc. I try so hard to keep it all together all of the time, and to just be me for the sake of everyone around me. I am tired of being so strong, and I am tired of acting like I am ok. I miss her..I want her back..I wish this never happened to us...

I have made a big decision though. I have been wracking my brain for a way to honor her and to help others. As I was talking to the nurse this morning I was reminded of the wonderful book that helped me so much through this process, and I think I would like to donate a bunch of Angie Smith's books to the hospital so they can give them out to all families who have lost a baby. I can only hope that Angie's words can bring them comfort like they brought me. The nurse said it might not be appropriate to give them to all families because it might not be taken well..I'm not really sure about that. What if Angie's book brings them into a relationship with Christ that they never had before? God works like that, and you just never know what He has in store for you until you allow Him in..I don't usually advocate books that much, but this is a worthwhile read for anyone because it allows you to understand what those of us who have lost a child are feeling. It sort of brings you into our minds..it won't be an easy read, but it will help you to be a little bit more compassionate about what we have gone through..In fact..it will just make you more compassionate period..

You can buy the book at any bookstore online at this point..not sure if they have them in the stores just yet since it was just released on May 1st of this year. I am enclosing a link to buy the book if this is something you feel would be a worthwhile read.

http://www.amazon.com/Will-Carry-You-Sacred-Dance/dp/080546428X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277924556&sr=8-1

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Prayer Request

My heart is breaking for a girl that went to school with me..her 5 month-old baby girl was just diagnosed with AML Leukemia. They will be at CHOP for six months..this little baby will be in the hospital for half of her first year of life..Please just pray for the entire family and for the baby. The mom and dad's names are Rob and Jennifer, and the little girl is Meghan. May God's grace be shown to this family..

Itchy..

I have been battling a bad case of poison ivy on my arms and on my neck..I have been trying several different things to try to dry it up so I can be a little more comfortable. The part that drives me crazy is that I got it from my dogs. If I could just be a normal person and not sleep with my dogs all cuddled up in my arms on my pillow then maybe I would be able to keep from getting it! I just love my dogs way too much for that I guess. I have heard to try wiping them down with a baby wipe so I might try that to help get the poison ivy oils off of them when they come inside. I am just so darn itchy! I can't wait until it all goes away so I can just get it again..:)

I have been feeling sort of "itchy" in other ways too. I have such an itch to have another baby because I miss having a baby around. When I get to hold another baby I love it, but I hate that I have to give them back. I want my own baby to hold. I know that I might not be ready just yet emotionally or physically for a baby, but I can't help but want one. Babies are so precious and they depend entirely on you for everything. I love feeling wanted. With that said, I can't imagine how God feels...How fulfilled He must be when we depend solely on Him for our needs. I have been trying so hard to just trust that God will provide for my needs, and that He has my best interests at heart. I know that there are times that I have questioned Him because I just don't understand why I wasn't able to keep Aubree or why she had to be sick at all. I think back to where I was last year at this time, and I wonder if I would even recognize myself. I do believe that I have grown in my faith (you sort of have to in order to get through each day), and I believe that I am a different person as a result. I am learning to not care about the things that don't even matter or to worry about things that aren't worth worrying about. Sometimes things are thrown our way that we can't do a darn thing about. I feel like I learned that the hard way, but I have learned what is really important in life. I just hope that Aubree is proud of how her mother is handling things...I would hate to let her down since I couldn't help her while she was with me.

Oh yeah..supposedly poison ivy is aggravated by coffee..I'm not THAT "itchy." :)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Cards

Do you ever wonder why you were dealt the cards you were? I have been thinking so much about that today for some reason. I'm not sure why that is, but I feel like we have been dealt some pretty rotten ones when it comes to our kids in some ways. I would love for my kids to just have a normal childhood. I feel like I robbed Carley of that in some ways because she has been asking some very grown-up questions these days apparently. My little sister is pregnant and she asked her if her baby was sick like Aubree..wow. That makes me so sad because it means she is associating pregnancy with sick babies..She should just be thinking about the wonderful things that come out of pregnancy instead of thinking about never meeting that baby because they were sick. My sister says that her thinking is really normal, and I shouldn't worry about it...I can't help it. My three year old wonders if all babies are going to turn out like Aubree. I would hate if she asked some random stranger that just because she was pregnant..talk about scaring someone! I just don't want her to be thinking about it..I want her to just enjoy life and not wonder about what really happened.

I think about how my kids are normal, healthy kids for the most part, but I also think about the things that just aren't "perfect." I drove by the Meadows today which is an ice cream parlor that is always packed in our little town because they serve custard. I am not a big fan of it, but we have gone a few times over the years because they are always changing their flavors. Anyways. I simply thought about how we never get to get ice cream because Carley is severely allergic to all dairy products. Why? Why does Parker have skin that feels like sandpaper and he reacts to different things all of the time? Why are they both tongue-tied? Why did Aubree have Trisomy 18? When do I get a child that doesn't have any issues at all even if it is just something simple? I would love to just have one child that I didn't have to watch like a hawk when you went anywhere because you just never know what they might eat without you watching. I realize that our problems are minute compared to what many other people face, but it is just so frustrating that I don't have one child that doesn't have something going on...It just doesn't make sense to me when I see people who have a million kids with no problems at all..Why does that happen?

We went to a family reunion yesterday for Mike's family. It was nice to see people that I haven't seen in a long time, and it ended up being quite an adventure for us because I left the kids suitcase in Carley's closet...I had to run to Wal-Mart for some supplies and then to The Gap so they had something to wear. I tried to find some clothes at Wal-Mart for them, but they didn't have anything that would fit Parker since he is so darn small. Anyways. I did get lucky in that everything was an additional 25% off the sale price so I got some good bargains regardless. Mike's cousin and aunt asked me how I was doing..I just said that I am doing good..I am really doing good. I don't know what else to say because it's not like I can crawl into a hole and die. She wasn't my only child. I have to keep on going for everyone else's sake. Everyone keeps saying how strong I am. I really don't feel that strong. I feel in denial...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Four Months..

Today marks the four month mark since Aubree went home to be in the place that I long for at times just because I get to be with her. It is on days like this that I think of what she would be doing at this point..rolling over, smiling, cooing, sleeping through the night maybe, etc. I just can't believe it has been four months when I feel like she was just with me yesterday. I seriously believe that my heart has bubble wrap around it at times to keep it from breaking into a million pieces. How else am I surviving without her? God keeps reminding me of the little things that I need to be thankful for in small ways, and I am very thankful for all that I have. I spent so much of my morning smiling at Parker because of what he says to me or because of the beautiful smiles that always light up his face. I see sunshine when I look at him. He makes me "forget" what happened sometimes..

I ordered Carley a Baby Be Blessed doll today for her birthday in September since the lead time on them is about 10 weeks and they aren't even taking orders for personalized items in July or August. I put the scripture verse "Delight yourself in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." Psalm 37:4 on her doll because I have felt that this verse has really been speaking to me lately. I hope that she can read it every time she looks at her doll and know that she is loved by someone much greater then me. When you love the Lord the pieces of your life just seems to fall into place..they may not be the way that you thought would be best for you, but you must trust that He knows what is best. I hope that both of my children grow up loving the one who ultimately created them..

Today is going to just be another day without Aubree. I miss her every day, and I am finding it easier and easier to talk about her. I did find that my heart rate goes up when I talk about her though. I was laying on the table on Friday during my procedure with a device on my thumb that was monitoring my heart/pulse, and when the one lady asked me how many kids I had I watched my numbers increase drastically. I never want to not acknowledge her again so I made sure and told them three even if my heart was pounding out of my chest..why..I have no idea. I just hate the sympathy at times. I hate that I have to get sympathy. I should just be excited about talking about my kids instead of telling people about my baby. The look that people give you is horrible, and I really try to avoid that at all costs but I will not keep her a secret. She is my daughter, and she will be my daughter for the rest of my life. I love her, and she is worth talking about. I am sad because I have spent four months without her, but I am happy because she has spent the best four months of her life in a place where there is only peace..

Saturday, June 19, 2010

EVLA is done!

I had my vein procedure done yesterday in Fox Chapel at the Circulatory Center. I got in last minute with a cancellation so I was pretty excited about that being that the timing was great for me! I decided to do the main procedure before even thinking about having another child because they said it would help with my pain and it would help to prevent Phlebitis or anything like that. When I got there I happened to notice that everyone in the waiting room had gray hair..hmm..I am only 30..I guess that is just how the gene pool works..Oh well. They were all really nice there, but no one told me about what to expect. I guess it is sort of like when you have a baby..if you tell someone they might not do it! I was given these lovely disposable shorts that looked like clown shorts and was told to take off everything..everything? After they cut my shorts pretty much off I began to wonder why I had to wear them in the first place..I had to lay there in front of a million different people that I have never seen before with my bottom half bare..I thought I was getting a procedure on my leg! Oh well..it is over with now. They basically just told me what would happen and then we were on to the procedure room. I had a nurse draw a wonderful black line down my leg with a permanent marker first so that they knew which vein to go into. The doctor gave me some preparation before he stuck me with the needle to insert the laser. It was such a strange feeling to feel that laser being threaded up my leg. It didn't hurt at all though. After they had the laser in place he had to numb my leg the entire way up into the area where the vein meets the main veins of your leg which is basically the entire way up into my groin area..Anyways. He said it would be 2-3 minutes of pinching..10+ minutes later they were putting giant sunglasses on me so they could fire up the laser. As they fired up the laser I began to smell and taste this horrible taste. Apparently the burnt smell/taste is normal because they are burning my vein that is not working properly. It was all over and done with in about an hour. After they finished the procedure it took 3 nurses to put the lovely stocking on that I have to wear for 48 hours nonstop and then for 7 more days afterwards. I can take it off to shower and sleep after the 48 hour period..but after seeing them struggling to put it on I'm not sure that looks like a good idea!

After the procedure was over a nurse came in and went over my instructions and gave me my prescription for Vicodin..huh? I must have not heard that this was going to be painful! Anyways. I haven't gotten it filled and will not get it filled because I am managing the pain with the 600 mg. of Advil/Motril that I have to take round the clock for at least 7 days. I guess it helps to prevent Phlebitis and to take down the swelling too. Apparently I have to walk at least 20 minutes three times a day for the first 3 days and then at least 20 minutes four times a day after four days..no one told me any of this before! Actually..the walking isn't really that big of a deal. I walk that much usually either exercising or just chasing the kids around. I don't sit still for very long these days! I am in a little bit of pain, but is not horrible at all..just some throbbing and aching of that vein that is slowly dying. It is amazing that they can find the right vein with as many veins that you have in your leg. I am excited to have the puffiness gone and to not feel any more pain in that leg! I hope that when/if we do go on to have another child it is a much more enjoyable last pregnancy. I certainly didn't enjoy my last pregnancy at all in any way unfortunately. The only thing I did enjoy was feeling her move around and spending the time that I had with her..I loved her....just didn't like the pregnancy part because it was so hard on my body. So..now off to walk!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tree #4 and Some Beautiful Purple Flowers



This weekend has proven to be very busy for us even though we didn't really have that many plans. It was a nice weekend full of wonderful family time. We did our first ever "camp out" in our living room to see if the kids would be able to do camping..Parker talked until almost midnight and refused to stay in his sleeping bag. He eventually crashed, but I am thinking that we might need to hold off on the camping outside for now. We did get to watch Toy Story 2 though as a family. I forgot how much I loved that movie! We did not get much sleep on Friday night, but I still feel like it was fun family event for us. We also got to see my grandparents from Florida and my aunt too on Friday night. It was nice to see them since we haven't seen them since Christmas. They also have given us a tree to plant for Miss Aubree. I have included that tree in this post. It is one of my favorites because it is very unique. It is a Serpentine Weeping Snow Fountain Cherry. There aren't that many around so that makes it all the more special. This tree blooms in such a beautiful way every year, but the blooms are gone just as quickly as they appear..it is the perfect tree in that it represents Aubree's life so perfectly. So..a big thank you to all of my aunts and uncles and grandparents on my dad's side for giving this tree to us as a way to remember my angel. If you look closely there is a turtle under the tree for her from my grandparents. My kids have named the turtle "Oscar."

We spent the day in Ringgold on Saturday visiting with my cousin and her four kids from Florida. It was so nice to see them, and my kids had a blast swimming and just playing with them! I think the dogs even had fun! We did make a stop before we got there at Aubree's grave so I could plant her purple flowers. The flowers are so beautiful, and Mike found them for her at Wal-Mart of all places. I have been looking for this flower for my yard for so long now, and I haven't had any luck! He bought some for her, and he bought some for me so I have some too! This flower is called a Foxglove. I just love them, and they are perennials so they will bloom year after year for her and for me hopefully. We put some bark mulch around her grave and made it look so much nicer. My mom and dad had stopped yesterday to see her too, and they left her a beautiful stained glass angel. It is so fitting of her. It was just as hard to go to her grave again. I just feel so drained after I go there, and it feels like it takes me a while to gain back the energy. I am just really happy with how her grave looks now because I think it seems more like her..

Today was spent with the family again, and it was so nice. We went for a bike ride this morning, and then we spent the morning playing outside. When I went to the grocery store today I found myself smiling at strangers and saying hello again..I haven't felt like doing that in a long time. I feel like maybe I am slowly working through some of the angry feelings now. I am looking forward to what this week will bring..I am really hoping for more and more sunshine!
 

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