Sunday, May 22, 2011

Flea Market

I was walking along a dirt and grassy path, hand on my belly and from a distance my eye spotted it - the 'perfect' white shelving.  It was a bit worn and aged, but I knew with a bit of TLC (and help from Dad) this would make for a perfect shelf system for baby's room.  I had previously searched online for different book shelves and they wanted an arm & a leg for them (which seemed ridiculous to me) so I was trying to find a happy medium.  I found it with these shelves.  We negotiated a good price and it was ours!  I love flea market finds!

That was exactly one year ago.

Wow, really?  Has time passed by that quickly!? Sigh... One year ago today I was happily planning a nursery and full of anticipation for our baby on the way.  Now our nursery is complete but not; it isn't totally complete because she isn't here.  I had taken photos of her room when we had all the decorating done.  These are the white shelves (the ones that sit on the floor).  My Dad cleaned them up and gave them a new coat of paint.  He even made shelves that matched the style to place on the wall above.  For the most part, the shelves look the same today.  Untouched.  But there is a slight difference.  On the center top shelf you see a green grasshopper, bumblebee and a ladybug.  I bought these in Estes Park, CO while visiting last summer.  Sofia was with me when I bought them.  I remember thinking how cute they were and if you press a button they make noise.  Today that shelf is missing the ladybug.  It's missing because it's the one toy we buried Sofia with.  So naturally I think of her when I see ladybugs.

From Other Photos
It's an annual tradition of sorts, going to the flea market with my parents.  It's fun to walk around (especially when weather is good) and see what unique items we can find for a good price.  When we were walking in the area we were at last year when I spotted the shelves, I mentioned to my Mom how I couldn't believe a year had passed since then.  She said she had thought of that too.  I think it's hard for all of us to believe.

It was tough seeing a few pregnant women walk around.  It almost felt unfair.  That was ME last year.  Full of hope, full of anticipation.  Now I'm back to square one, two kids in heaven and living with empty arms.  Seeing strollers pushed around, fathers holding their 6-month old(ish) children in one arm, made me think of how Sofia should be here.  I'd have her in a sling or something so she'd be close to me and get to see all the flea market had to offer.  She'd be included in this tradition of treasure-hunting.

Well, she wasn't with me in a physical sense, but I definitely felt her presence.  There were so many 'signs' that I couldn't help but think she was with me.  As I pointed things out to my Mom - including some pretty white coasters with the letter 'S' - she said, "She's following you around!".  It made me feel good, almost a sense of relief.  It made me want to see more.

I was on the lookout for barn doors and found some at one booth.  I was debating on which of the three there I should get, or if I should get more than one, etc.  It was kind of hard to get to them because there was this shelf sitting in front.  I wanted to get a good look at the barn door in the front and make my decision.  Eye-balling the door even with the shelf in the way I had a hunch I'd be buying it.  I loved all the character, contrast & colors.  So I went to move the shelf and on the top was a painted gold rose.  Yes, of course I thought of Sofia Rose.  I always do when I see roses.  I thought to myself, huh, she's here, and she must like this one too. ;)

From Other Photos

Barn door; we picked it up later on and my Dad carried it to the car.  Such a cool find!

From Other Photos
Partial view of the flea market grounds:

From Other Photos

As we walked around I saw a few more items that made me think of Sofia.  There were ladybug yard decorations and pinwheels I thought would look nice at her grave.  At one point my Mom went to the car, my Dad went to the restroom and I was there by myself.  I had already bought all the items I intended on buying so I was just killing time browsing some more.  I started thinking strongly about Sofia again.  Then I looked down and saw this box that had gold rose earrings and a pendant with a rose & two hearts.

From Other Photos

Again, it felt nice.  Then I walked over towards the dirt road, just waiting for my Dad.  I looked down, right in front of me and this painting was leaned up on the ground.  Wow- for anyone who has been around us since the hospital (or has read THIS blog post), you know the significance of the hibiscus.  How could this NOT be her?  I felt her around me even more.

From Other Photos

My Dad eventually made his way back over and we talked for a minute.  He was standing between me and a table that was set up with items for sale.  He said he wanted to go check out something quick and all the while I was still thinking of the hibiscus flower and the gold roses.  As he moved away from where he was standing, I was blown away by what I saw before me.  The first thing my eyes saw when he left my line of vision was a small weathered pillow with stitching.  I think a picture truly does speak a thousand words.  I had goosebumps and still do every time I look at this photo.

From Other Photos

When I met back up with my Dad I told him of the roses, the hibiscus and the pillow I just saw.  I started to get choked up and emotional.  A combination of feelings.  Sad she wasn't here physically, but happy she was in spirit.

My Dad had his eye on this mirror and I snapped a quick picture with my phone when I saw our reflection.  I look pretty rough; rolled out of bed, threw the hair up and went at 7:30 am.

From Other Photos

I've always thought there were good finds at the flea market if you looked hard enough, and sometimes they find you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Emotionally Prepared...for nothing!

I wasn't going to post about this but after reflecting on my day decided to after all...

Today at work I was invited to an event called 'Table Talk'.  It's where several people from various departments are invited to a meeting room to have lunch together.  The idea is to meet new people in the building, learn about their job function and just enjoy each other's company.  I had been to one of these years ago.

Last summer I was invited to one but there was a mix-up with my email so I never received the official invitation.  I remember it distinctly because after the Table Talk was over they dropped off my boxed lunch (Jimmy John's) at my desk and I gave it away because it had deli meat.  I think I might have eaten the cookie but there was NO WAY I was going to eat deli meat because of Listeria.  I wasn't going to put my baby in jeopardy for a free sandwich.  Huh.

So I attended the Table Talk lunch today.  I knew a few people in the room but most were new faces.  The conversation was mixed with updates on what people were working on, what each of us does in our departments, any exciting plans for the summer, and any interesting tidbits about ourselves.

The whole time all I could think about was that the only thing I truly consider significant in my life these days is the loss of Sofia & Sam.  Well of course there was no way I was bringing that into the light conversation!

Then as most conversations do, it turned to talk about kids.  I prayed nobody would ask me if we had kids, how old, etc.  Especially when I threw out there we're coming up on our 10 yr wedding anniversary.  Fortunately nobody did ask me, but it was hard and uncomfortable for me listening to everyone talk about how wonderful it is to have kids, the stages of their kids' lives, etc.  I don't mind hearing about other people's kids most of the time, but I sort of felt trapped.  I just kept thinking about how I would get around the topic if asked.

I have friends, family & coworkers who have children so I hear stories all the time.  Mostly it doesn't bother me but I do think about Sofia a lot afterwards.  For me it is hardest in situations like today, when people don't know me or our situation.  I will forever have this struggle.  Even if & when we are blessed to have other children it will be this way because I won't want to deny their existence so I'll struggle with explaining we have two in heaven in addition to any others we might have.

So there was no big drama story to tell about, just the anxiety I put upon myself.  Normalcy will never be here again; not the normal I once knew.  I'm tired of over-thinking things, tired of trying to prepare emotionally to protect myself from falling apart.  I'm just tired.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I Won't Let Go~

I keep hearing this song on the radio and like most songs do these days, I take it to heart.  When I think of all we've been through in the past seven months, and that we're about to approach our 10 year wedding anniversary, this song truly has meaning.  We have leaned on each other through thick & thin and Tim has been my rock throughout all of the pain.  I'm there for him too when he needs it but he definitely has been the stronger one.

I Won't Let Go by Rascal Flatts
It's like a storm 
That cuts a path 
It breaks your will 
It feels like that 
You think you're lost
But you're not lost on your own, 
You're not alone 

I will stand by you,
I will help you through
When you've done all you can do
and you can't cope
I will dry your eyes,
I will fight your fight
I will hold you tight 
and I won't let go

It hurts my heart to see you cry
I know its dark this part of life
Oh it find us all and we're to small
to stop the rain
Oh but when it rains

I will stand by you,
I will help you through
When you've done all you can do
and you can't cope
I will dry your eyes,
I will fight your fight
I will hold you tight
and I won't let you fall

Don't be afraid to fall
I'm right here to catch you
I won't let you down
It won't get you down 
You're gonna make it
I know you can make it

Cause I will stand by you,
I will help you through
When you've done all you can do
and you can't cope
I will dry your eyes,
I will fight your fight
I will hold you tight
and I won't let go

Oh I'm gonna hold you
and I won't let go
Won't let you go
No I won't

Starting to love these modern 'juke boxes'

My sister & I were out at a Hallmark store today and in one part of the store they had one of those modern 'juke boxes' where you could press the different buttons to hear songs on CD's for sale.  Apparently one of the songs playing was annoying to my sister so she randomly pressed the button for a CD by Celtic Woman.  She then started talking and I interrupted her & asked, "don't you hear that!??".  She just looked at me then listened... then her eyes started welling up with tears.  Incredible.  Somewhere over the rainbow was playing.  Need I say more?  Andrea (my sister) said "hi Sofia" because we knew right then she was with us. This is the same type of 'juke box' (I'm not sure what they're really called) I heard the song on at Walmart back in December & blogged about then.  They were different versions of the song too.

We made a quick stop out at the Fashion Bug and I found something I couldn't resist.  Two lady bugs- seriously.  I HAD to have it. :) Kind of a fun Spring/Summer ring to wear this season.

From Other Photos

Blogger Down @ 7 Months

I was so disappointed the other day when I went to create a new post and Blogger was still down for some maintenance issues.  I work in the IT world so I know it happens but man, it's frustrating!  I'm not a 'regular' poster every day; I just post when the feelings are there and I have time to do it.  So on 5/12 when I wanted to post about my baby girl & missing her 7 months later I was bummed not to have the ability to do so.  Oh well, stuff happens I guess.  I'm just relieved the posts that were removed by Blogger have been restored.

I came upon this poem posted on Baby Center.  It's a good one:

My Mom is a Survivor 
Kaye Des'Ormeaux 
My mom is a survivor, Or so I have heard it said. 
But I can hear her crying When all others are in bed. 
I watch her lay awake at night And go to hold her hand. 
She doesn’t know I’m with her To help her understand. 
But like the sands upon the beach That never wash away... 
I watch over my surviving mom, Who thinks of me each day. 
She wears a smile for others... A smile of disguise. 
But through heaven’s open door I see tears flowing from her eyes 
My mom tries to cope with my death To keep my memory alive. 
But to anyone who knows her Knows it’s her way to survive. 
As I watch over my surviving mom Through heaven’s open door... 
I try to tell her Angels protect me forevermore. 
I know that doesn’t help her... Or ease the burden she bears. 
So if you get a chance, talk to her... And show her that you care. 
For no matter what she says... No matter what she feels. 
My surviving mom has a broken heart That time won’t ever heal. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Famous are not Exempt

A few weeks ago I was reading online about other parents who lost their babies to stillbirth.  The difference:  these were well-known celebrities.  I was surprised to learn about their losses - at least the ones I hadn't heard about before.  I've always felt that celebs are equal to myself & others and deserve consideration just as any other person, so it's understandable to me why many of their stories aren't hitting the media, because I assume they try to keep private whatever personal part of their lives they can.  On the other hand, I think about certain "news" stories that DO hit the airwaves (certain people come to mind with drugs, alcohol, financial loss, etc.) and I wish those who have lost babies had the strength & will power to use their fame to spread the word about this type of loss.

I can't confirm if these are all true but this is what I've read.  Supposedly these people have lost babies to stillbirth:

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (miscarriage & s/b daughter)
Oprah Winfrey
Sophia Loren
Barbara Bush (W's mom)
Katy Sagal (Married w/Children-she was prego thru the season & her character was expecting)
Annie Lennox (Eurythmics)
Kim Woodburn (How clean is your house?)
Marlon Jackson's twin brother, Brandon=s/b
Elvis Presley's twin brother, Jesse=s/b
Run from Run DMC & Run's House
Keanu Reeves

I'm sure there are many more out there.  This is reality folks.  It can happen to anyone.  I also came upon this blog that lists out several celebrities who've had miscarriages throughout the years.

This all just reconfirms what I already knew - we are all equal and nobody is exempt from this kind of grief.

Stillborn, Still Living - Article

My friend/fellow BLM, Molly posted the below article on her blog today.  She pulled it from another blog 'Honoring Our Angels' who found the article in Grief Digest Magazine .  I love how quickly and easily we can share stories and hopefully help others who share in our grief.  This is a long article but a worthwhile one to read.  It's amazing how someone else who experienced a similar tragedy nearly 20 years ago can take the words right out of my heart.


Grief—the bitter fruit of death—has always been one of the greatest challenges to faith. Even though the piercing sorrow of loss is the painful call faith alone can best answer, in some cases it poses such ferocious questions that it threatens to annihilate the very capacity to believe. This is particularly the case with stillbirth, a crushingly sad phenomenon affecting more than 30,000 babies (and their parents) each year in the United States. That amounts to about seventy couples every day. One in every 116 births experience this disorienting tragedy, so cruel in its ambush of paradox: death before life, the ending before the beginning, a funeral instead of a christening, the stale pall of death over the young body of new life, a first hello as a final goodbye.

Even now, some nineteen years after my encounter with stillbirth, it seems so odd, so unfair and so out of order. All my wife and I did was go to our obstetrician for a final prenatal check in the 38th week of pregnancy. There had been no gunshots, no terrible car accident, no horrible fall. We were fine when we walked into the doctor’s office, but when we left an hour later, our lives had been shattered. Our precious baby boy, our treasured first child, had inexplicably died in the womb.

Stillbirth sentences the lost child’s parents to a lifetime of mystery. Who would he have become, what would he have done, how would our lives have been different? There is something inherently haunting about a lifeless baby’s body. He represents the archetype of promise and innocence, yet he has no destiny, he will never be able to realize himself, to tell his own story, to express the humanity he embodies. Hopes for him and for all his life are condemned to curiosity. In never knowing who he is or who he might have become, we also lose a bit of self-knowledge, we never find out who he might have become, how his life would have affected us or caused us to grow and change. A baby was lost, and a measure of self-knowledge, as well as intimacy between spouses who will not share the precious moments of parenthood together. And there is the subtle fear that he may somehow represent a judgment on you, a rejection by God of your humanity.

He becomes a silent witness to your sorrow, and in his muteness depicts your
utter inability to answer the urgent and recurring question “Why?” In the peculiarity of stillbirth, Mark Twain’s observation of grief is most true, “Losing a loved one,” he said, “is like having your house burn down; it takes years to realize all that you’ve lost.”

While the death of an infant is often irrationally considered by our society to be more of a “mother’s issue” than a father’s grief, it is a haunting, silent partner in many men’s lives, affecting their psyches and relationships in subtle and mysterious ways. Abe Lincoln lost two young children, one during the Civil War; John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan both had their already complex selves enduringly altered by neonatal death. Still today, former President George H. W. Bush cannot discuss the death of his three-year-old daughter, which occurred about sixty years ago, without a tearful, inarticulate stammering.

Yes, those who grieve child loss form a secret society of psycho-emotional vertigo. The fact is the terrain of the psyche is not as well-charted as we like to believe. The dawn of the twenty-first century sees us mapping the brain and reading DNA, yet the dark tunnels of psychic trauma into which the vortex of great loss conducts us remain largely unexplored.
The tendrils of grief can creep into the psyche, influencing one’s personal and political manner: the melancholia and fatalism of Lincoln, the reckless hedonism of Kennedy, the strange familial detachment of Reagan, the emotional aphasia of George H. W. Bush
But even amid psychic ravaging, a paradox of loss emerges: by being reduced we grow. It represents a strange point of contact with the ultimate purposes of life, with the true nature of life and the reality of life hereafter. I never felt closer to God than I did after my son died. Ironically, the end of a life can bring to those around it a new fullness of life. In grief, faith becomes both a refuge and puzzle. It preserves meaning to life and the universe, but it also seeks an explanation, and it searches for answers.

After we lost our baby, I found we thought more carefully about life; we sensed in a clearer way its value, and we were more sensitive to the pain and suffering of others. Our acquaintance with deep sorrow had sensitized us to the sufferings of other people. Our ability to be compassionate grew. Frequently, we would see on the news that some child had been killed in an accident or murdered, and my wife and I would send a sympathy card to the grieving family. Or we would pray together for people who had been victimized in some horrible way.

Certainly these were not earth-shaking acts of humanitarianism on our part, but they were things we never would have done before. It never would have crossed our minds. The deaths of strangers and the sufferings of their families had new meaning to us. Our souls had grown, and we could now perceive the agonies felt by other people, whereas before our unwanted encounter with personal devastation we would not have been capable of such empathy.
Our souls, which had been sites of such complete, scorching devastation, in time began to sprout new buds of life. The emotional ground of our lives, which had been plowed under by sorrow, in time started to be fertile again, and to an extent that far surpassed its previous capacity. Our pain had begun to change us for the better. Indeed, it seems that sorrow, the pit of grief, is perhaps, one of the more under-recognized proofs of God, the plausibility of his existence, that at our lowest moments we either turn to him, or rage against him. After all, why should our experience of pain turn us into his prosecutors, unless we had a natural, prior moral knowledge and expectation that matters ought to have been different.

“Suffering is the sole origin of consciousness,” Dostoevsky said. And it may well be that in the pitch darkness of our greatest losses we are best able to see the still steady light of God’s reality and presence.

By is a writer, chaplain and lecturer in Southern California. He's written widely on religious and social subjects, including The Silent Subject: Reflections on the Unborn in American Culture (Praeger, 1996), Tender Fingerprints: A True Story of Loss and Resolution (Zondervan, 1999), and Living Victims, Stolen Lives: Parents of Murdered Children Speak to America (Baywood, 2003). His essays and reviews have appeared in various periodicals, including The Orange County Register, The San Diego Union & Tribune, The Los Angeles Times and Christianity Today magazine. He teaches in the Religious Studies and Communication Studies Departments at Cal State Long Beach and Chapman University, respectively. As a chaplain, Dr. Stetson frequently works as a funeral officiate, including historic Fairhaven Memorial Park, soon to celebrate its centenary. He is active in the Greater Orange County Chapter of Parents of Murdered Children, and he leads The New Normal, a bi-monthly grief support group at Grace Church of Orange, in Orange County. He and his wife Nina have three teenage children.

Friends at Work, Visit to Sofia & Baby Room Purchase

I have to say I feel extremely lucky to work with such caring people.  In the first weeks after Sofia died we received tons of cards & letters in the mail and many of them were from people I work with.  Some who barely even knew me.  That's not something you find every day.

Today when I arrived to work I saw an envelope on my desk.  It was a card with a gift inside - a ladybug that sits on the side of a planter.  How many people can say they work for someone who cares that much?  I wish there were more compassionate people out there for all the BLM's who don't have this kind of support.  We spend much of our lives at work so to me it means a lot to even have my grief acknowledged.  Thanks Sheila for your kindness.  And no, the card wasn't too cheesy. :)

From Other Photos

A coworker of mine returned back to work this week from maternity leave.  I took her baby's newborn photos a few months ago.  She and another coworker had a nice card & gift for me.  I thought that was so nice of them to think of me, and to care how I might be feeling around Mother's Day.  I happen to be one of those people who actually reads what cards say (not just the signature) and I loved the quote on this one.  If you can't see in the photo, it reads, "God puts rainbows in the clouds so that each of us- in the dreariest and most dreaded moments- can see a possibility of hope." ~Maya Angelou

From Other Photos

I'm starting to get quite the collection of Willow Tree figurines, and each one has special meaning to me.  This one is the Angel of Hope.  Thanks Nikki & Amy - I really appreciate it!

From Other Photos

I almost forgot to post this...well I did forget, but came back & updated my post.  When I was pregnant with Sofia my belly grew pretty large.  We have a nice woman as part of the cleaning crew at work and since I frequented the restroom quite often while pregnant, I saw her almost daily.  She doesn't speak much English but we always make small talk & say hello.  She's super sweet.  When I was pretty far along she asked me about the baby (is it my first, is it a girl or boy, etc.).  In the time I've been back to work (full time starting in January) I don't run into her nearly as often.  When I do, normally we just smile or say hello.  Most days except for today.  I was at the sink washing my hands when she walked in to start cleaning the bathroom.  We said hello & smiled then just before I walked out she asked me the question I always fear answering: "How is the baby?"  Gulp.  Breath.  (Thank GOD I got my crying out last week!!!) I think I was more nervous how to tell her without making her feel bad for asking to begin with, and with the language barrier wondered if she'd understand the story.  I kept it simple and told her my baby passed away.  I said I was 40 weeks along and went to the Dr. and there was no heartbeat.  I could see the shock in her face.  She felt horrible for asking.  It was funny - I was more concerned about how she was feeling at that point that I didn't get all emotional.  (Had she asked last Friday, I might have been telling a different story right now.) She said sorry a few times and I told her it was OK, she had no way of knowing.  I told her it was very difficult and she seemed to understand.  She asked again if this was my first to which I answered, "yes".  She didn't know what else to say, I could tell she was struggling to come up with words.  Not because of any language barrier, but the grief barrier.  What to say in a situation like that?  She said in a very caring voice, "you have a good day."  I said, "thanks, you too." I smiled & walked away.  I'm glad I didn't lose it and I'm glad she knows the story now.  I felt like shouting it from mountaintops back in October so that every person I knew or that knew me while I was pregnant would know what occurred.  To me it feels good letting people know.

Tonight when I walked out to my car I thought to myself (like I've done on many occasions) - is this real?  Then I replay it all in my mind, as if I need to prove to myself that this story is actually ours. Tim & I visited Sofia at the cemetery.  We talked about how unbelievable it all is.  Even 6+ months later it's still hard to believe it and it happened to us.

My mom visited Sofia a few days ago and dropped off this pretty white ceramic rose.  It's always nice to see something new when we go to visit her.

From Other Photos

When you're pregnant - especially past the half-way mark - you start buying things for baby-to-be.  I was not exempt from this.  After we decorated the nursery in the bug theme I was almost OCD about buying stuff if it was in any way bug-related (and cute enough for a baby's room).  Instead of looking for cute shoes or jewelry I had a different focus - all I cared about was what I could give to this baby.  If I had ratty old shoes so my baby could have everything, so be it!  Not that I couldn't buy shoes or anything, I just didn't care.  When your baby dies and your world - a world of baby mania - comes to a screeching halt, it's near impossible to stop those habits.  This past weekend I went in to Bath & Body Works for some new hand soap and immediately two things caught my eye.  One bee & one ladybug.  They are rubber/silicone soap/lotion pump toppers.  So what did I do?  Yep, I bought them - both!  I didn't buy them for the kitchen or the bathroom.  I bought them for the sole purpose of putting them on the baby lotion in the nursery.  And they fit!  I figure some day some little baby will get to see them.  Continuing to buy things also helps me mentally - it's a sign of hope for the future.

From Other Photos

I decided to give my blog a slight makeover. It's still a work-in-progress. Mostly I wanted to update the header so it was more personal to us & Sofia. The flowers & bugs are what I painted on the nursery walls. It's more cheery now. Not sure if I'll keep the font in the blog body text or not - BLM's/readers, let me know if it's too hard to read! I still have some work to do on it, as time allows.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers Day 2011

Thirty-two (almost 33) years ago I was born into this world and into the arms of the best mom I know.  I was about 8 months old for my mom's first Mother's Day.  Although I didn't have as much hair as Sofia I love that this photo shows the front of my hair gathered to a point like my baby girl's.  I'm not quite sure why they wrapped me in blue, but I think back then they just used whatever was there - unlike today where girl stuff is PINK-PINK-PINK!
From Other Photos
Thirty-two years later my daughter entered this world too, but she was gone before we could even celebrate.
From Slideshow
I remember last year being pregnant with Sofia, at the time not knowing if we had a girl or boy, and thinking how fun the next Mother's Day would be.  Little did I know that was to be the last Mother's Day I had with my baby while she was still living.

I wasn't sure how I would feel today knowing it was yet another holiday that might further emphasize my loss.  Surprisingly I did quite well.  I only cried a little because I was touched by the gift from Tim and the gift from my sister-in-law, Sarah.  I really expected I'd be a full-on mess.

The dogs greeted me this morning by jumping up in bed (which they normally don't do).  They sat on me, jumped on the pillows and whined as if to say, "get up already, we have something for you!!".  I asked them if that was my Mother's Day gift- a bunch of doggie kisses and being harassed in my own bed.  So I got up.

There were two envelopes and a small gift on the kitchen counter.  One card was from Mitty, Moose & Maggie (Dog card) and the other was pretty with a butterfly and was signed from Sofia & Sam.  The small gift was a charm for my Pandora bracelet.  It was the birthstone of Sam (April).  I thought it was perfect - it is perfect.  Now I feel like both are acknowledged.  My birthstone (peridot) and Tim's (garnet) surround a baby carriage, Sofia's birthstone (pink tourmaline), a rose, and Sam's birthstone (quartz). I like that it kind of tells our story & there's meaning behind the beads.
It made me feel good that Tim put thought into this day for me, because I really wasn't sure if he would since our baby isn't with us.  I'm very lucky to have him.

My sister-in-law, Sarah dropped off a very meaningful gift as well.  It's meant for Sofia's Rose garden.  I've seen this quote before and love it.  Like I told Sarah, if love was all it would take I would save millions... We just need to decide where to put it in the garden.  I love that it has her name engraved.
My parents are giving us two benches to enclose Sofia's garden (one for Mother's Day, one for Father's Day).  My dad is building them into the simple design we want.  We visited them today and saw the almost finished product and can't wait to get them in our yard-very solid and they look great.  I plan to use his tools to engrave on the sides of the benches and look forward to spending some time out there doing so.

My sister gave me these flowers today which is perfect because I hadn't received any all day!

Last night we went to dinner with good friends and I spotted this little rainbow on the floor behind Tim.  I know I might seem a bit obsessed with these 'signs' lately but it's all I have to latch on to so I do.  If anything it makes me think of her in a positive way, it makes me smile, distracts me from my misery, and gets me taking photos which usually puts me in a good mood!

Saturday morning I decided to get some fresh air out in the early morning sunshine with the birds chirping and do some yard work out front.  We planted a nice big rose bush by the front porch last year and I needed to trim it up a bit.  I was about to cut the last dead part away and changed my mind.  All because a little lady came to visit.  

Then I saw this little guy hanging on to the front window screen.  He seemed to be taking in the warm sunshine too.

I spent a good hour in the backyard too, just relaxing with the dogs, grooming them, playing in the grass.  I walked over to Sofia's Rose garden and noticed the first lady bug on one of the newly planted roses. (And while I love seeing them I'm hoping they don't go crazy taking the roses for a meal!!)

Overall this weekend wasn't as emotional as I thought it would be.  I think I prepared myself for the worst, hoped for the best.  I ended up somewhere in between.  I think I might have gotten it all out during the week because I probably cried for at least an hour every night before bed.  It's so hard missing her.  I think because I wasn't forgotten or ignored it helped me feel like the mom I know I am.  I imagine for some it must be brutal.  I'm thankful to have many friends & family who care and some who reach out to me specifically to let me know they are thinking of me.  I'm glad I don't have a feeling like I need to prove to people that I'm a mom too.  I think that's part of what has made today easier on me.  Of course it's beyond tough not having my child with me on a day to celebrate mothering one's children, but since I was able to celebrate too, I didn't feel so isolated and alone. I'm very grateful for that.

I'm glad I have a goofy/caring/intelligent/compassionate/loving husband, and crazy animals that keep me occupied.  I used an old magazine to paint my nails on this morning and after I was done I found Moose all cozied up.  He loves him some Glamour. ;)  Such a goofy dog.  I'm glad he gives me laughs that I need, especially now.

This year (until typing right now anyway) I haven't put much thought into what next year will be like for Mother's Day.  Like many other BLM's (baby loss moms), I'm just getting by day by day, week by week until at some point, one year from now, it will be here again.  

Happy Mother's Day everyone!

Sofia & Sam-
I love you & miss you very much.
Your Mommy

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

march for babies 2011

For realizing at the last minute the march for babies walk was within two weeks I feel good about all we accomplished in such a short amount of time!  As of today we (our team plus sub-teams of Sofia's main team) collectively raised $1,550!!  Thanks again to EVERYONE who participated and or donated.

From march for babies 2011

Fortunately my Aunt Christine was able to use her connections to help get T-shirts printed asap.  I had the design already created since it's my photog logo.  I just changed the circle into text and sent it off to get printed.  We're happy with how they turned out.  We got to see lots of Sofia tootsies that day on our team members' shirts.

Since this was the first march for babies walk we had participated in we didn't know what to expect.  I figured there would be a lot of people and there were- I believe over 3,000 attended the walk!  It was pretty windy which made it a bit chilly but other than that the weather was nice.  Sun was shining which helped warm us up by the end of the walk.  Lots of dogs participated too (not ours though, they're a bit too high-strung around other dogs).  It was fun to see them all.

Two of my nieces had balloons and before the walk told me that one was for Lily, one was for Lucy and the other one (the one with cute bugs on it) was for Sofia.

From march for babies 2011

Group photo with most of the walkers:

From march for babies 2011

From march for babies 2011

From march for babies 2011

From march for babies 2011

Saw this sign along the walk.  It made me sad to read the number on the far right, knowing that our Sofia Rose was part of that statistic.  Next to the number '12', it reads, "babies die before their first birthday".  (although truly, stillborns are likely NOT included in this number)

From march for babies 2011

One of our Goddaughters, Gianna sporting her walk mini-T.

From march for babies 2011

At the end of the walk I ran into fellow BLM Betsy and we had Tim snap a quick photo of us together.  We didn't have much time to chat (she was rounding up her fellow walkers for a photo op) but it was nice to actually meet.  Betsy & I were paired up through the Faces of Loss gift exchange this past Christmas and hadn't yet met each other.  It's strange how well you feel you know a person before you actually meet.  Hopefully we'll have a chance to meet up again sometime soon.

From march for babies 2011

After the walk we hung out on the grass while we ate lunch.  Our nieces played in the field and picked flowers.  It was so cute seeing them out in the field then racing over to hand us the flowers.  They stunk but it was sweet!

From march for babies 2011

From march for babies 2011

With my parents & sister after the walk

From march for babies 2011

With my sister-in-law, Sarah after the walk

From march for babies 2011

It was hard seeing some of the signs with photos along the walk.  Many of them were before & after photos of when the baby/babies were premies and how well they're doing today.  There were of course signs of the premies who didn't make it (including Betsy's Olivia: Too Beautiful For Earth).  I couldn't help but feel a little out of place.  We knew going into the walk that our type of loss didn't exactly fit here but we wanted to do something for babies in memory of Sofia Rose.  It was a way to give back-to try and make something positive out of it all.  I'd love to have a sign up - maybe next year - but I'm not sure it would make sense.  Sofia wasn't born prematurely.  She didn't get to take one single breath of air.  She never went to a NICU.  She never had a chance...  We know we're not done trying to have a family, and we pray we never have another experience like we've endured, but I now realize the importance of this cause and providing support to families & their babies who need it so badly.  

EDIT: Thank you Betsy for steering me right about MOD & stillbirths... I found THIS link that talks all about it.  Why didn't find this sooner!?  I feel a little less 'out of place' now and happy that MOD does support grants on research for things that contribute to stillbirths.

From march for babies 2011

As everyone left and we walked back to our car I started feeling sad.  It's like I'm OK when there are people around ('safety in numbers' I guess), but when the party's over so to speak I'm left feeling sad.  I think the hardest part for me - and why I started crying as we approached our car - was again feeling the harsh reality that we were walking to our car without our stroller, without our baby.
I don't want to end the post on a sad note, but honestly it's been hard the past few days.  Time seems to be flying by yet I feel frozen because the life we anticipated isn't taking place.  I'm thankful for the support we had on the walk and from donations but I still feel such emptiness.  I know I've been pretty irritable lately and I can't seem to shake the anger over what has happened.  It's strange because I didn't have this feeling until after the miscarriage.  I guess I just feel like, Ok, enough pain already, please!!  I'm ready for a happy chapter to begin, but I guess we'll just have to keep waiting for it for now.

Thank you again to everyone and we hope to have your support again next year.
Lia & Tim