Thursday, April 25, 2013


I haven't had much to say lately. I'm worn out. Completely and entirely. So many times, I have wished I could find the "Exit" door to this mess and just walk away forever. But, alas, no such door exists, so here I am.

For a few days, I felt like I was going to burst out of my skin. I was stuck in a horrible rut of not sleeping, not eating well, and not caring about anyone or anything. I was am empty, angry, hurting mess. A mama without her baby. It was rough. I finally decided enough was enough.

*On a quick side note (aka soapbox): people like to use the word "choice" when they are talking about grief. They like to think it's a choice to be sad/depressed or not. As if you can choose to be in a bad place, or to pick yourself up and "move on". Let me be clear about this: it's not a choice. When you're in the deep dark pit of pain and grief, there is no choice in the matter. When your baby has died and the world keeps turning, while you're overwhelmed with pain and torturous questions of "why" with no answers, when you are living a nightmare you can possibly imagine as your life, it's not a choice. It's a maze you can't escape. The only "choice" you have is to face it head on - and in doing so, find healing - or to pretend it's not real and end up a mess later when it forces it's way in. It's only a person who does not understand, who says it's a choice to feel so badly.  (It reminds me a wave-pool. The waves just keep coming and coming and you can only ride along. When they do let up for a moment, that's the time you can try to pick yourself up a bit before they start again).*

After my big freak out, I pulled it back together and I put a lot of his things back. I realized I can't have so much of it all over the place all the time. It's like a constant reminder that I have things instead of him. I decided to have only a select few out at a time, and then rotate. So far, so good. I do love that just about every room in our home has something of him in it. He's our son and that's how it should be. We love him!

This weekend, we are going away for a few days. My parents had offered to send us away for Samuel's birthday, but we chose not to go. I asked my mom if the offer was still good and, since it was, we took them up on it. (Thank you! to them). We need it. We are both tired and need a break (not that we can get away from it, but there is something to be said for getting out of the house for a while).

One thing I'm very bad at is taking care of myself. Yes, I can stand up for myself. Yes, I will tell you exactly what I need (support, love and encouragement) and what I don't want (judgement, pushing, belittling, etc) in terms of my grief, but I'm not great at doing things just for me.

The person I was before this was someone who appreciated the nicer things in life. I liked a great restaurant with a chef-prepared meal. I liked shopping at finer stores and having things I could be proud to own. I liked to travel and try new and exciting things. I enjoyed being pampered with spa days and shopping sprees and the like.

Now, I couldn't possible care less about those things. They seem so trivial. (and, they are).

But I also know that sometimes in life, you need to do things that make you feel good, even if they are meaningless.

So, earlier this week, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I dressed up, I did my hair and made myself as presentable as I could, and I told Bryan we were going out to dinner. It was good. It was nice to be out of the house, there were no babies to be seen and the food was delicious. It was a good night out.

And since one good thing deserves another, I decided to buy myself some new clothes for this weekend. 

Other than maternity clothes, I haven't gotten a single thing for myself to wear in about 2 years. Partly because I have no place to go, partly because I'm not feeling the best about how I look, and partly because I just don't care at all (and clothes are at stores and stores are full of babies - let's not forget that piece).

Last night, I went out. Thankfully, since Mankato goes to bed at 8:30pm, no one was there and I could look around without the threat of a horrid baby sighting.

I found several things and I feel nice in them. What's strange is that I look in the mirror and I don't recognize myself. I don't know who this sad person is and I'm tired of feeling so broken. I need to start to figure out who this new version of me is, so I can readjust to my new life.  I'm not at all okay with it, but there is nothing else I can do. 

* Side note, part two - I had to fight myself not to go buy something for Samuel to wear. I know it's crazy, but I have such a strong urge to get things for him (although I feel like I'm cheating if I go near the baby section. It's like a siren will go off saying "she's not allowed here!!") I can't even believe he would be so big now. How I wish I be dressing him in the adorable little outfits for little boys. He would be precious <3. One more thing I'm missing out on. *

This weekend, I hope we can focus on us for a while. I hope we will be able to breathe a bit and relax. All new parents need a break from time to time and we're no less entitled to a break than any other parent of a one-year-old (I still can't wrap my head around that - a one-year-old - what on earth!). If he were here, I'm fairly certain someone would have to pry him out of my arms for us to go away, but there is nothing I can do about that. Instead, he come with us in my heart, as always. 

I hope we can be refreshed to face this life once more upon our return. I'm trying to learn to take advantage of the calm - to use it as a time to recharge - because I know how quickly the next wave of hurt can come crashing down.

Here's to a peaceful weekend away!

Friday, April 19, 2013

the big plan

Last night, for the thousandth time since Samuel died, we had the same day over again.

It goes something  like this:

I can't sleep the night before, so I stay up until 4am. I finally force myself to go to bed and don't wake up until just before 1pm. By this time, I've missed making lunch for Bryan and I come downstairs to his dishes on the counter and a pang of guilt that I can't even make lunch for the man.

I go online for a while, reading up on the ugly and beautiful world of Babyloss. I may clean a little, I may read a little, I may daze out in to empty space for a while. It doesn't matter.

Around 4:45pm or so, I figure I better make myself a little presentable, so I put on a clean shirt and brush my hair. That's me, getting presentable. I make some feeble attempt to have the house look like I've done something today, and then I stand in front of the fridge for 10 minutes trying to figure out what on earth I'm going to make.

I throw something together and then welcome Bryan home. He goes upstairs for a while, I call him to eat.

We eat, we watch TV and he goes to bed, but I can't sleep so I stay up all night again and we start off we we did the previous day.

This is my life and I'm absolutly FED UP with it.

I'm sick and tired of feeling like this! I'm sick and tired of being a babyloss mother. I'm sick and tired of him always being absent.

Around 11pm last night, I finally snapped. I'm ready to be done, so I'm going to be. I had a plan to force myself back in to the world where babies live and grief ends.

I put away a bunch of his things, and I took everything out of his crib. I want to take it down and put it away, but I can't by myself.

I decided I was sick of only living in a world where babies die, so I decided I would change up who I see in my news feeds and let some non-babyloss people in. I was going through my friend list to see who might be okay and I decided to read some friends pages. I went through several of the people I miss the most and read through the past few weeks.

Two things happened:

1. I realized what a weird world I live in now. We only talk about babyloss. We don't talk about anything else. Seeing comments about nothing is very strange to me.

2. I cried my eyes out and realized there is no escape. I can't just pretend I don't belong to this club. It was horribly painful to see all the smiling babies and happy families who have no clue what this is like. I truly am an outsider. He should be the one taking first steps and eating bubbles in the tub. I'm not okay with seeing other babies who get to do what was stolen from us. I'm just not.

Here I am, 2 hours into my "I'm not going to live like this anymore" frenzie and I'm a mess.

This IS my life .I can't pretend it's not. He died. He's missing.

I have no where to go where that won't be true.

Thank goodness I can't disassemble the crib alone! I probably would have had a nervous breakdown in the light of day.

Maybe instead of trying to run from it, I just need to find a way to bring something - anything - positive back in. Let me tell you, that's EXTREMELY hard when nothing matters anymore.

I guess all I need to do is try. It's all I can do.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dark Days

Things have not been good. I'm in a very dark place. Reliving all the moments of his birth, reliving the shock of him being taken away, the phone call - "he's gone" - and the "I'm sorry, you won't be able to be with him". The zombie-esque days of pain meds and "did this all just really happen" questions and "I never even got to hold him".

I play the day over in my mind, looking for where it all went wrong. In my version, instead of sending him to Rochester, I yell "STOP! Don't take him! Bring him to me and go away!" Then I hold him and kiss him and snuggle him for days.

Where was I that day? Why couldn't I think clearly enough to ask/speak/tell someone something. Why did they take him away from me?

Yesterday was the day last year that I finally got to hold him. The day I said goodbye.

my favorite <3 <3

tiny, perfect little piggies <3

I sure so love this little guy <3

Holding him for the first time

My beautiful boy, laying on the ugly leaf blanket at the funeral home.
I look at the pictures and see how damaged I was. Huge black and blue marks from all the IV attempts. Puffy face from all the days of crying and fluids at the hospital. Dark eyes from crying and no sleep for days and days. But what I see most clearly, is the shock. I can see that I don't yet fully comprehend what's happening. That this will be my one and only chance to hold him for the rest of my life.

I see his beautiful little face; I remember his soft skin and hair, his tiny button nose and little curled ears.

I miss him. That's all there is to it. I wish I could pick him up and run away and tell the whole world to just leave me alone. To hide where no one can find us.

It's far too late for that.

I'm just not okay with any of this.

I miss my baby.

Year two so far: just as ugly and empty and broken as the first.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Celebrating Samuel

Well, I woke up today and checked: nope, I'm not "over it". I've been told grief ended at one year...I guess all those well-meaning and totally smart people who know about these things even though they've never experienced them were wrong. How odd! (*Please read the preceding with large quantities of sarcasm).

I opened my eyes to the second year of his absence with the same emptiness and longing I've had since he left. I guess it's time to begin year two of missing him. Only 40-60 more years of this until I'm done.

In a way, I feel very much the same as I did on the day after he died. It's like a numbed shocked sadness and hollowed out feeling. I'm somewhat reliving those moments in the hospital. I can feel it. It was terrible. I didn't even get to hold him. It was over and there was nothing I could do about it. That's how I feel about his first year: It's over and there's nothing I can do about it.

This past weekend, we celebrated and remembered our sweet little guy.

Our plan for a while had been to go to the zoo on his birthday. We both decided that's what we would have done if he were here, so that's where we wanted to go. We also both agreed that we would feel it out when we woke up, and not push ourselves if it was overwhelming. Staying in bed all day was a perfectly acceptable option, should we so desire.

The weather has been crazy here. It's been snowing and very cold for the past week. So we were not even sure if we'd be able to go.

Friday was very hard. I spend the majority of it just staring off into space or sleeping. The weight of the upcoming days was just too much for me. When Bryan came home, we talked and looked at the weather and decided to go to the zoo Saturday instead, since it wouldn't be snowing/raining that day. 

We both had lots of trouble sleeping. When we finally got up on Saturday, we both felt okay to go. So we bundled up and headed out to the Como Zoo. This zoo also has a conservatory, and I thought it would be something beautiful to remind us of heaven.

We arrived and gathered up our courage as we watched all the families with kids and babies walking up to the door. "We can do this for him", we agreed and walked inside.

We went to the conservatory first to see all the lovely plants, gardens and water features. It was very beautiful. The lower garden room smelled exactly what I think heaven smells like. Fresh, beautiful and wonderful. It was very busy. I wish we could spend time there alone.

We dropped some coins in for Samuel.

The smell is wonderful

the red lilies were just about as tall as me!

HUGE red flowers

Koi pond

I know Samuel would have loved to watch the water and fishies

Tiny little pineapples - no bigger than an egg

After the conservatory, we went outside to the zoo. Como is a very tiny zoo so we only spent a couple hours walking around. I know Samuel would have had a great time.

There were some really cute and fun to watch monkeys chasing one another. I wondered what he would have done when he saw them. There was a seal that was playing catch with a Frisbee. I know he would have really enjoyed seeing it.

Crazy-mustached monkey

Huge, sleepy monkey

Crazy, huge, hairy monkey

Zebras (inside for the winter)

17 foot tall Giraffe (also inside)


Sleeping Polar Bear


Frisbee throwing seal
It's so hard to watch families with children Samuel's age. I always wonder what they did that was so special that they got to keep their babies. I wonder what it feels like to have no clue that babies die for no reason sometimes. I will never know that feeling.

We went out to a nice dinner after we left and then went home.

We were both very tired and worn out, but we both agreed it was good we went.

We stayed up until midnight. There were lots of tears and memories. A year without your heart feels like a lifetime and a moment. I can't believe it's been a full year. My baby's not a baby anymore. We missed it all.

After a fitful night of tossing and turning, we both woke up. What do we do?? We had no idea.

I'd been toying with the idea of going to the hospital to thank the nurses who helped us when Samuel was born. Obviously, I have lots of negative feelings about that hospital, but I know the nurses cared. We decided to take them a card and some cupcakes. I also decided to bring the rest of the stuff from the hospital boxes and see if they would take them.

In spite of the rain and cold, we walked up to the floor where I had visited so frequently that week one year ago. The place where he came into the world and the place where I died inside. One year ago exactly. We were there at the same time as I had checked in that final time. It was surreal.

As we walked in, I noticed a man crying and another man holding him and comforting him. There was a group of doctors and nurses all gathered around in the nursery. I wondered if another baby had died. Why else would it look like that? I hope I was wrong.

We walked to the desk and we both immediately recognized the two woman there. They had both been there for Samuel. The woman we spoke with remembered us right away. We told her is was Samuel's first birthday and we wanted to say "thank you" for taking care of us. We gave her the cupcakes and the bag of things for parents who lose a baby. She took them and said how special they will be for families who need them. She gave us both hugs, we thanked her and left. I hope that when the staff eats the cupcakes, they remember our boy <3

(Side note: isn't it CRAZY how easy it was for me to give the box items to the nurse? She took them right away and thanked us. Why on earth did I ever bother with asking? We should have just brought them in to the OB floor in the first place! Oh...bureaucracy...gross.)

We came home just in time to watch the clock tick over to 6:28pm. Happy First Birthday, Samuel! We lit his candle and sang the saddest version of happy birthday that's ever happened. How is this our life?

We ate some cake and cried, then we released one of the animal balloons for him.

Daddy's notes <3

Mama's notes <3

Samuel's special candle, next to the box of his ashes

I re-assembled the cake (it's been the fridge) and we blew out his candle together.
Zebra cake mix!

We watched the huge balloons tumble and flop around as it went up and imagined him waiting to grab it as it flew up to him. Oh my goodness, we sure to miss him.

What a huge mess.

This is the opposite of how our life should be right now. But there is nothing we can do except just keep going, day by day.

There is one thing I know for sure: Samuel is one loved and missed little guy <3

We were very fortunate to have so many people support us this past week for his birthday. We asked people to write him name in a special way and we got some really amazing responses. Click here to see them!

We also have received texts and cards, flowers and cookies, stuffed animals and gifts, balloons sent up and donations made in his name. All of these things are very special to us and we appreciate them all. 

If you were one of the people who participated: THANK YOU SO MUCH! They really helped us feel good that he was remembered. Thank you for taking the time <3 We have some great friends, family and supporters. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013


"Beyond the door there's peace I'm sure and I know there'll be no more tears in heaven."
Eric Clapton

Samuel Evan, 
Our sweet baby boy. How on earth has it been this long? Our beautiful baby boy; One year old. I can't believe we've missed it all. I can't believe you're not here to smash your cake and wear your birthday hat and be smothered with kisses and love. What happened to our precious boy? How have we continued on in this world that's left cold and empty without you? Life would be sweet with you here. 

Instead we stumble through the darkness, trying to make it just one more day without you. 

"Never have we felt so cold, as when we remember the heat that was lost".

What would you be like now? What a big boy you'd be! Small steps and big smiles. A happy boy, an inquisitive boy, a growing and learning boy; who would you be now? What does a boy filled with love look like? We wish we knew. 

"Our greatest loss is heaven's greatest gain."

Today it's raining. I guess even the sky can't keep from crying that you're not here. 

One year later and the hole is the same. Forever there, forever empty. Our Samuel-sized hole. You are forever loved and forever missed. 

"Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful
Beautiful boy"
John Lennon

Happy Birthday in Heaven, Samuel. We miss you. We love you. 

"How long do you want to be loved?
Is forever enough?
Cause I'm never, never giving you up."
 Dixie Chicks - Lullaby

Whoo LOVES you?

The birds on the clothesline sing.... You're my little tweetheart! you're my little tweetheart!
The cow grazing in the meadow calls...I love moo! I love moo!
The owl in the tree top says....Owl always love you! Owl always love you!
The puppies snuggled in their beds say... We ruff you! We ruff you!
And what do I say to you?  I love you! I love you!

You are so very, very loved <3

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Samuel Bear

For those of you who know me personally, you know how long I've been waiting on my Samuel Bear from Molly Bears. It's very sad the wait is so long. They need funding and there are so many, many families missing their babies.

A few months ago, I received a message from a woman named Ashley. Her brother and his wife had recently found out their baby - Jonah Coal - had a fatal condition and were going to carry him to term. She reached out to me and we talked about ways she could support them. (Thank goodness for families who support each other during these times).

*Precious little Jonah was born on March 8, 2013 and lived for one hour <3. Now, he plays with Samuel in heaven.*

Fast forward to about a month ago, Molly Bears was offering a free pass to have your bear made and I asked people on my FB page to help me enter. I got this message from Ashley:

"I had messaged you a few months ago and I just wanted to let you know that my nephew, Jonah Coal was born March 8th and he lived a little over an hour. I am so sorry that any parent would ever have to say goodbye to their baby, it just isn't fair. The pain I feel for my brother and wife over the loss of their sweet Jonah is that of deep sadness and I can't even fathom their pain. I am so sorry that you and your husband have to endure this awful loss as well. If you do not win Samuel Bear this month we are buying an express pass for them and another person and I would love to purchase that express pass for you... As always sending you hugs and prayers."

I cried when I read it. First, because I'm so broken-hearted that another family is missing their sweet little love <3. Second, because I was so touched.

Normally, I would never accept such a large gift from someone I don't even know in person. But I've been told several times that when a person offers, you should let them help; for them and for you.

When I didn't win my bear from Molly Bears, I nervously wrote her back and told her we would accept.

Somehow, we worked it so Samuel Bear would be here by his birthday. (Clearly, this woman is amazing!!) Without her generosity and kind heart, we wouldn't have him for at least 6 more months. We are very grateful.

Today, I opened our front door - looked out at the SNOW covered world (yep, it snowed 6 inches last night. Ahh, Spring in MN) - and then looked down to see this perfect little box. <3

Then, I made a mistake. I called Bryan to tell him and ask him if we should open it together. (What was I thinking??  I have no patience.) So there I sat for hours, waiting for him to come home, imagining our bear inside...

F i n a l l y, he came home and we opened our box together <3

Welcome home, Samuel Bear!

The Difference

Last night was rough. Tears, raging anger, emptiness and hurt.


Sometimes, when it's extra bad, I just want to run away. I want to get in a car or on a plane and leave forever. It typically goes something like this: I hate this! I hate our lives! I can't believe God just let this happen!  I'm never talking to anyone ever again, I hate everyone and everything and I'm done.

But, there is no escape.

The hurt is inside my heart; I have no where to run.

So, I do what I can. I scrub something clean (typically while having a rage-fest in my head), I go online to vent to my babyloss friends, or I just go to sleep. (What else can I do?)

Last night, I cried and raged and then went to hide under a blanket on the couch. Mad at the world and God and every person who would DARE have a baby who lived. (That should be us).

Here is the difference between now - a year out - and before - months out: I can pull it together in hours instead of days.

Previously, I would be in a huge slump for days on end. I would just hide away in bed for days, secretly wishing someone would break into our house and shoot me.

Now, I do that for an hour, calm down, and then get up to try again.

That's what happened last night. Today, somehow, I'm doing a bit better.

That's the difference. 


My friend Erin had this on her blog a while ago. It's exactly right. As time goes on, the trips back to zero become less frequent, but they still happen all the time and are just as intense;  you go right on back to the beginning.

This is my life from now on.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Return to the pit

Well, it's happening. I'm falling down back into the dark and ugly pit of despair.

I'm so incredibly angry. I'm raging. I'm so mad that this is our life. I'm not okay with this and there is no one to scream at, no one to blame, no one who can help. What's done is done and I'm just left here to rot for the rest of my miserable life. I'm absolutely desperately angry at people for pretending God is something who helps when you need him. Clearly, that's not the case. (Yeah, I already know everyone's going to freak out on me for saying with it.)

Here's the truth of it. All he had to do was help. That's all, no big thing for him. But instead he left us here in miseray. Why? Don't know, don't care. There is no reason at all that could possibly make it okay.

So here I am, four days out, reliving every nightmarish moment of this week last year, screaming and dying inside with no way out.

Absolutly miserable. That's me. With no escape. A horrible fricken nightmare.

No happiness, no sunshine, no "things are looking up", just a huge crappy mess all the time. Every day, every night, every day, every night... on and on forever.

I've tried to focus on doing things for other people, I've tried to keep busy, I've tried and tried and tried but guess what? Nothing does the only thing I need. Nothing brings him back and nothing takes this away.

He should be here and that's all there is to it. 

What's the correct outlet for this type of misery and rage? I could think of a few things... but nothing will fix it. There is no fix.

I'm tired of his birthday, I'm tired of him not being here all the time, I'm tired of being in this group of women who know this type of pain. I don't want to be here. I'm tired of trying my best to heal and move forward. What am I moving towards? Nothing. He will always be gone and we will never be the same again.

Counting the days until I die. That's my life.

What a horrible nightmare. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Birthday Party Photos (Let's try this again...)

Yesterday, I went to clean up the rest of the caking-making supplies and I realized there was no reason why I couldn't try to make his cake again. I still had the icing in the bags and the animals and his name. What's to stop me?

So that's exactly what I did.

I finished it this afternoon and I love it <3. I didn't have enough frosting to get it as smooth as I'd like, but that's okay.

I also had my mom take photos of the watermelons my dad made (thankfully, they still had them!) and I redid the decorations on the window.

I was sad I didn't have photos, so I fixed it. His first birthday only comes once and I really want to have good things to remember it, so it was worth all the extra work. Now, I'm satisfied.

Bunny Melon

Heart Melon

The birthday table!

The cake: take 2.

I used the same top tier from the original cake.

Birthday Bunny <3
 It's been good to have something productive to focus on, so I don't get too crazy about the fact that his birthday is in five days. Heaven sakes, how on earth did we get here?

I am missing him a lot today <3