Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Little Bit of the Truth..

I have been just living my life as usual, and today I have sat down to really think about this past few days..I feel like I am just going through the motions again. I feel more at peace then I did last year, but it is hard to not think about where I was at this time last year. It was this Saturday (a different day of course) that we buried her, and I had to really say good-bye to her body. I can remember the feeling so vividly..that crazy feeling that I wanted to open her casket, take her out of it, and just run...I'm not sure what that would have accomplished. I'm not even sure I would have wanted to see her after a week because of the deterioration of her body. I think that was the hardest part of it all..watching her body deteriorate right before my eyes. I was honest with a few people this week about what it was really like on that she was really purple and red, about how her skin was peeling off, and about the spinal fluid that kept draining from her nose..I think they were horrified to hear that, but I never talked about what it was really like on that day before. One of my friends thanked me for finally being honest..the other one just shook her head just thinking about how awful that must have been for me. Witnessing what happens to our bodies in death was awful because she was my beautiful daughter. The more I touched her the more she fell apart. I am the one who is supposed to make her all better when she is hurt..not hurt her even more. I know she was in no pain at that point, but it is hard not to think that way when every single jostle caused more fluid to drain, etc..I'm sorry if this is too graphic, but it is the raw and honest truth about that day. The picture on my blog is what I usually have pictured in my head about what she looked like, but every so often the truth sneaks in to my head and I see what she really looked like. She WAS beautiful, but her coloring was not like it was in that picture..

I have found a new song that I really love to listen especially going into the season of Lent. It reminds me of the sacrifices that Jesus made for all of us so that we can live. It also reminds me that I need to surrender all that I have to Him. I know that I have always struggled with that being a control freak, but that is one of the biggest lessons that Aubree taught me..I have to surrender it all because I have no control at all over what happens in my life despite how hard I try to control everything. All I can do is pray and hope for the best in all situations, but God is ultimately in control so He gets to make the final decisions..not me..It is so hard to give up that control, but when you do it almost feels like this huge stone has been lifted from your chest. I am so thankful for the love that we have been shown and for the great care that my daughter is getting in her heavenly home. In reality..there is no way that I could ever compete with Heaven!

"Open Hands" by Matt Papa

To give unselfishly
to serve the least of these
Jesus I'm learning how to live with open hands
All these treasures that I own
will never satisfy my soul
Jesus I lay them at your throne with open hands

I lift my hands open wide
let the whole world see
how you love, how you died, how you set me free
free at last, I surrender all I am with open hands, with open hands

To finally let go of my plans
these earthly kingdoms built of sand
Jesus at your cross I stand with open hands

You took the nails, You bore the crown
You hung your head, Your love poured out
You took my place, You paid the price
so Jesus now I will give my life

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Aubree..

As I sit here and reflect about the most horrible year of my life I can't help but smile because even though I have empty arms I have a heart full of love for my family and friends who have supported me through it all. Today has been difficult to say the least because it marks both the worst day and one of the best days of my life. I had the opportunity to spend this entire day a year ago holding my beautiful daughter for the one and only day that I would ever get with her in this lifetime. It was the worst day because I also had to say good-bye in the same breath. Looking back on that day it really was a nightmare, and I probably would have looked crazy to anyone who came into our room because I just sat there staring at my daughter all day even though she wasn't living..I don't care though. That was my only day with her, and I was going to soak up every inch of her before I had to leave that night. I have to say that leaving her was the hardest part. I know that she wasn't living, but I was so worried about leaving her alone. I was her mother. How could I just leave her at the hospital all alone? I even called the hospital to check on her to make sure she was picked up by the funeral home. I just didn't want her to be forgotten by anyone or to be left unattended because that meant that she wasn't important to them. She was my flesh and blood, and I was going to make sure she was taken care of. I just can't believe it has been a year already. This miserable year really did fly by quickly even if most of it was spent in a fog just trying to get through our every day tasks.

We spent the day together as a family as you can see from the pictures. We woke up to about nine inches of snow, and even that made me smile because it blanketed everything in beauty and sort of set the mood for the day..peaceful. We took her some red tulips and we released some pink balloons for her. The kids were mostly just excited about the pink cupcakes we ate with her after singing "Happy Birthday" to her. Carley came to me this morning and informed me that the first thing she did was to look up to the sky and wish Aubree a Happy Birthday..So sweet, yet so innocent, and it brought tears to my eyes as has most everything else today. I just can't seem to stop crying! All of the wonderful posts and notes that people have sent me have been so beautiful, and I feel truly loved by all today..even more importantly, I feel the love for my daughter too. That means the world to me. I said all that I need to say to my daughter today at her grave, and I feel at peace. It was such a beautiful day for a birthday party, and I am so thankful that we were able to get to her despite all of the snow! We will light a candle for her this evening as one of our new birthday rituals for her. My beautiful baby girl has made such an impact on me even in her short time with me, and I know that she is impacting others. I feel truly blessed to be her mother even if I wish that I could have spent this year watching all of her milestones instead of visiting her grave.

A week or so ago I had written on Sirius XM's The Message discussion board about a song that really changed my life. I guess I hadn't read why they were actually doing this discussion, but I wrote about the song "Your Hands" by JJ Heller and told Aubree's story. I received an email this morning from a woman who said she could relate to me and she cried for me after they read my post this morning. I had no idea what she was talking about, and then it dawned on me that they played my song and read my post this morning on satellite radio..I missed it of course because Carley didn't have school today due to the snow, but I am just so happy knowing that many other people learned about my beautiful daughter this morning. I hope that made Aubree smile as much as it made me smile this morning!

I am sending all of my love to Aubree today, and I thank all of you for supporting us through this year. I know that we will continue to grieve, but I am really hoping that this peace I feel sort of carries me through the next year. God has carried me through this far, and He certainly isn't about to abandon me now. Happy Birthday baby girl...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day?

I am still not really sure how I feel about Valentine's Day. It is a day meant to celebrate the ones we love, but shouldn't we be celebrating them every day? My husband believes it was a holiday created by Hallmark to just make extra money. I don't love my husband any more today then I did yesterday, and to be honest with you if I only show him how much I love him on one day of the year our marriage would never work..Sure, I love getting chocolate chip cookies on a stick and the red tulips that I get every year, but sometimes I appreciate the little things that he does for me randomly even more because it lets me know that he was thinking of me on days other then Valentine's Day..I love when I get in my car and he has put a small bag of my favorite chips on the passenger seat..He is not a man who sends me flowers out of the blue, but he is so sweet in the other things that he does for me and how he thinks about me. He always gets me the most perfect gifts for Christmas or for my birthday because he really knows what I need or what I would be excited about without me even having to tell him. He has been extremely supportive throughout our almost eight year marriage, and I am so thankful that God brought us together over ten years ago. I just hope he knows how much I love him every single day..not just today..

Another part of Valentine's Day that sort of bothers me is that it leaves people do people who don't have a significant other feel today? Spending Valentine's Day alone is sort of like putting salt in your wounds..I'm sure it is just another reminder to them of not feeling "loved." We are all loved, but there are people out there who don't feel loved because they don't have a relationship with anyone including the one who makes us feel the most loved..How lonely that must be for them. My heart always goes out to people that have to spend this holiday alone..It is just like Mother's Day and Father's Day..I feel the same way. I can remember how much I hated Mother's Day before we had children..I wanted children so badly, but I wasn't able to get was a lonely place to be in..Just say a prayer for all of those people out there who might be feeling a bit lonely today..I know I will be..

For all of you who love this holiday..Happy Valentine's Day!!! The jury is still out for me! :)

Monday, February 7, 2011


This weekend was full of ups and downs for us. I had my first Face2face meeting and had the opportunity to talk with three very strong women who have all gone through significant losses, but are still walking with their heads held high. All three of these women are beautiful women who have a lot to teach others about what it means to pick up the pieces and keep on going. I feel so honored to get to know them all a little better even if what brought us together isn't exactly something positive. We will make something positive out of it though.

On Sunday after church this lady (that I have been talking to for quite some time now) approached me to give me a late Christmas gift. She lost her little girl years and years ago, but she has drudged up all of her old emotions to help me through my loss. She had gotten a Precious Moments angel years ago from her best friend when she lost her little girl, and she wanted to get me one too..The only problem was that they don't make them anymore. She had her son go on ebay to look for one for me..So yesterday, she gave me my very own angel. How do you thank someone for such a beautiful gift? This woman barely even knows me, but she has shown me such kindness and love in her words and actions. She is almost a stranger to me, but yet she feels like a close friend..I am just so thankful that God brought her into my life because she has been so helpful and so kind towards me. I feel like such a lucky woman to have so many beautiful people in my life that I never would have known otherwise. All of you wonderful friends out there who follow this blog and support me more then I can even express through your loving words and through your constant prayers. I am just amazed at the love that pours out of all of you on a daily basis. Just following "What Love Really Means" thanks to Mattie over at Beauty Will Rise has been wonderful this month. You can access her blog from the button on my the sidebar if you want to follow too. The love that these women share is beautiful, and I am enjoying reading about what love means to each and every one of them.

On a sad Steelers lost last night..we were all hoping for that seventh ring, but it was obviously just not meant to be. They had a good season despite all of the mess that Ben got himself into at the beginning of the season. On a positive note about that..He is apparently now really good friends with TobyMac and has become a Christian! Yay!! KLove has been talking about it, and I believe that he should be forgiven by all of us..God already forgave him so why can't we? There is always next year, right? :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February 1st..

I can remember February 1, 2010, like it was yesterday. I can remember getting in the car on a snowy morning to make our drive to our ultrasound in Pittsburgh at West Penn to get our second view of what was going on with the baby (we didn't know at this time that it was an Aubree). I can remember sitting in the waiting room with a bunch of other couples who were nervous because they were there for reasons similar to ours. We talked to one couple, and they told us their child had a kidney problem just like their older daughter did, but she outgrew it. We of course had no idea what was wrong. We met with the genetic counselor who went through our family history and was pleasantly surprised to see that we had nothing to really worry about as far as genetics go. She went over a few things it could be, but they wouldn't know anything until they went in and took a better look.

I can remember being scared to death with Mike holding my hand as they began the ultrasound. They were looking at different things and they began telling me that my fluid levels were normal..hooray! I was so excited, and I truly began to believe that maybe they were wrong..They went on saying things about her brain, the cord, the heart, etc. Then they mentioned rocker bottom feet. I had no idea what that meant until they told me that we needed to see a Pediatric Cardiologist if we were not going to do the amnio (which they could have done immediately) because they were suspecting Trisomy 18..That is when all of the air left the room. I just couldn't grasp what they were telling me. They gave me the full cd of the ultrasound for free because they felt badly for me I usually have to pay for them..

We left the office numb and in shock. We had to call our parents and tell them the was the worst phones calls we have ever had to make. I can feel the emotions of that day like it was yesterday because it hit me so baby was going to die..we just didn't know when. I really had hope that they were wrong, but I was the one who was wrong. I just couldn't accept that my baby was not going to live. How do you understand that the active baby in your belly is so sick that he/she will die without your body sustaining his/her life? I couldn't..and I spent an entire month in shock and almost worthless because I couldn't even take care of my own kids..

I was terrified of what was going to happen to her, but in a way I was at peace which was strange. God was there holding my hand through it all, and He somehow got me through each and every day even if it wasn't gracefully. I have never cried so much in my life. I seriously think I cried for a month straight..and then even beyond that. I cried so much that I dried out my cornea and had to be on steroids for it..One year ago was the day that Trisomy 18 came into our lives forever..

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