Tuesday, October 2, 2012

October is here...

The temperatures are changing, leaves are turning, and October 12th will soon be upon us. Fall is a comforting season with warm homemade meals, jeans & sweatshirts, open windows and fires in the fire pit. It also gives me a sick feeling because two years ago at this time I was pregnant with our first child, Sofia Rose. How innocent and unknowing we were at the time of what was to come... Sometimes I want to go back to those days, where extreme excitement & happiness was just that - with no caveats. I wonder if I will ever feel that way again. I don't think I intentionally hold back happiness, it's just that a part of my heart is missing and forever will be. I'm thankful and grateful for everything that I do have. I just miss Sofia so much.

We plan to take time off of work to spend the day with Rose and do something as a family, in celebration of Sofia's life. Later in the evening we will go to the cemetery and for anyone who chooses to join us, we will recognize her 2nd birthday- in heaven.

From Sofia ~ 2 Years

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Stillbirth Remembrance Day ~ 2012

Today is Stillbirth Remembrance Day. In some ways I find it strange because for me (and surely for all the other BLM's who remember their babies) it is Stillbirth Remembrance Day every day of the year. It's not something that can be forgotten. I do like that there is a specific day just for stillbirths though, and hopefully people sharing about it will help others somehow. Maybe some babies will be saved and less families will have to endure this type of loss.

It seems like I just posted about this - amazing how fast a year goes by. Last year at this time I was pregnant and filled with worry. This year we have Sofia's sister, Rose Maria in our lives.

Tonight (through my allergy fit) we visited Sofia and brought her some bright flowers.

Every day we think of her and wonder what she would be like right now had she lived. I think she would have long dark hair in pig tails and she would be giving our dogs a run for their money. I wonder what she will look like in heaven. Will she be the small baby we know or will she be grown... I hope that even though she left us as a baby that her spirit is able to comprehend how much we miss and lover her down here on earth.

We miss you Sofia. XXOO

From Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Monday, August 20, 2012

Plate = Sign

This morning started out like most mornings do; I got ready for work, fed Rose and took her to my parents' house. For some reason though, this morning as I pulled into their driveway, I looked up at my Dad's truck parked directly in front of me. I read his license plate (something I apparently have never done!). I was amazed at what I saw:
From Our Rainbow

Sofia's initials are 'SRL' (Sofia Rose Larson). My birthday is '8/22' (August 22nd).

I don't think at all that this was a coincidence. This week is my birthday - Wednesday in fact - and I've been missing Sofia like crazy lately. I believe that this was her way of sending me her birthday wishes.

Of course I cried thinking about it on my drive in to work, but I also had a good feeling. It is comforting knowing she is still around me. I'm thankful for the signs I see and will continue to keep my mind and heart open to them, since it's the only connection I have to her until we meet again in heaven.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Memories, Memorials and Empathy

This morning as I was getting dressed for work I was overcome by flashbacks of the morning we buried Sofia. I remembered the black maternity dress hanging in the bathroom, the one my mom went out and bought while I was still recovering in the hospital. I remembered putting on the waterproof mascara that my sister-in-law bought for me too. Putting on the necklace that was shipped (and arrived before I came home from the hospital) that was from former coworkers/friends. (That necklace is one I wear most often - a tear drop - because I wore it the last day I ever saw our first baby girl's sweet face.) I remember being in the viewing room at the mortuary, just Tim and I, with tear-filled eyes and as I bent over to kiss her cold head the necklace tear drop (along with my own) swung down by her face.

From Gifts
Sofia has been on my mind so much this week - more than usual. The strange thing is that she's been equally on Tim's mind too. Earlier in the week he said he was remembering driving to the hospital, on the way to deliver her. That same morning on my drive in to work out of the blue I started crying and thinking about Sofia and the day we found out her heart stopped beating.

Two of my Aunts happened to read my blog post from July about guilt and both emailed me this week to talk about it. I feel like Sofia is all around; if only I could wrap my arms around her too.

In addition to Sofia, another baby gone too soon has been on my mind. Hayes, you are always thought of when I look to the sky. Prayers go out to fellow BLM Molly as she faces his two year birthday in heaven. It's hard to think two years can pass by so quickly. I'm not ready for that myself, so I am sure it is a difficult week for her too.

I also have a heavy heart because a former coworker/friend emailed me this week to say a friend of hers lost her baby boy. He only lived for three short hours. Today they buried him. Another mom facing the ultimate pain - the loss of a child. To all my fellow BLM's and other readers, please please send her your thoughts & prayers. You know she is facing a difficult road. Hopefully she will find us and find comfort in the support that we share. I know that my friend sent along my blog as a reference so if you are reading this, please know you are not alone and I am here if/when you need someone to talk to...

Wow, it has been a long week and it is only Wednesday. Looking forward to visiting Sofia tomorrow and returning her things.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Guilt- When does it end?

This has been on my mind for awhile now and I'm finally taking time to write about it. I was also unsure of which blog to put this on (which makes me rethink the keeping two blogs thing, but anyway...).

I find myself constantly feeling guilty when I say the following phrases to Sofia's little sister, baby Rose:

"Who is the cutest little baby we've ever seen!? You are!!"

"You're my little girl"

"I love my girl"

I could go on and on... I can't even think of the rest at this moment. Every time I think or say something along these lines I quickly think inside to myself "...but, not cuter than Sofia" or "you are my girl and so is Sofia". I've actually found myself saying out loud to Rose, "You're the cutest LIVING baby we know...". Ugh. Tim has done it too.

I don't want Sofia's little sister to grow up feeling like she's 2nd best or that she's less important in any way but at the same time I want to include Sofia and not dismiss her either. It's a tough internal battle for me emotionally.

Hopefully Rose will grow up understanding the difference and how important they both are to us, equally.

I've also had several encounters recently with strangers who are going gaga over baby Rose and who ask "Is this your first". ***cringe***  Lately I've just answered "yes" and then apologized to Sofia later and I try to convince her spirit that I know who my first really is. I just don't want to go through the whole story with some people and I'm trying to allow that for myself. It isn't easy.

I really want to hold Sofia again. I want to kiss her cheeks, touch her long and crazy hair. I see babies growing up- babies that were born around the same time as Sofia- and I get a knot in my stomach. Sofia would be bigger than him/her, she'd be running around right now. She would have long hair and be talking. In our minds, she is still a tiny little baby.

Some say time heals all wounds but I disagree. Time changes them- they are scars that never disappear.

From Other Photos

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Enough Already

I'm tired of the grief, the sadness and all the pain. When Sofia died I knew my life would never be the same and I continue to discover what my new "normal" is. I'll always walk with a heavy heart missing my first girl.

It's hard dealing with the compounded pain with the recent loss of my Granny. She developed an infection that her body could not fight and she passed away on Friday, May 25th.  She was ready; she said many times before that she was old, tired, and ready for heaven. I wasn't ready for her to go.  When the nurse called to say we should get back up to the hospital an hour after we left, I rode up there with my parents. My mom & I entered the ICU and I overheard a nurse as she walked out of Granny's room: "She's not going to make it to 11:00 pm". I hurried my steps a little and my mom & I stood on either side of her bed. Within five minutes she took her last breaths.

I'm still trying to cope with her loss and though I was still grieving for Sofia this has brought many old emotions back to the surface. Losing Sofia means losing a lifetime of memories we never had the chance to make.  Losing my Granny means losing a life I hold more memories with than I can count.

She was 80 years old and has lived in the same house my entire life (and most of hers). So many traditions - Christmas Eve being a huge one - will be sorely missed. I was very close with her; we went to lunch nearly every Saturday for as long as I can remember. I can't even imagine life with her not in it.  Every day I think about her and how I wish this wasn't reality.

Granny was only in the hospital for one week before she passed away. Unfortunately the infection affected her brain and she was no longer coherent. I'll always have a haunting memory of seeing her take her last breaths but I'll also be forever grateful for the last real conversation I had with her. It was on Mother's Day and when we were leaving her house I gave her a hug, a kiss and told her I loved her and she did the same in return. I admit I did have a sense that her time was limited and I thought about it as I said those words. Granny being the emotional person that she was had tears in her eyes.

A couple weeks after Granny died, my Great Aunt Betty died. She was full of life until the end. I heard she was singing "New York, New York" at 1:00 am the day before she passed away. She was always a cheerful, happy person to be around. Even though she lived a full life and lived to 90 years old, it doesn't make it any easier.

Granny was one of very few people who continually bring flowers to Sofia's grave. I always knew when it was a bouquet from her. I'm sad she won't be visiting her there anymore but I pray to God that she is up in heaven taking turns with the rest of our loved ones lost, holding Sofia close.

Everyone deals with loss at some point, it's just hard having so much loss in what feels like a short amount of time. I have up days then down days. Lately it has been more down. I'm grateful for having our baby Rose to keep my spirits up.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

International Bereaved Mothers Day

Today Tim bought two types of flowers for Sofia and we paid a visit to her on this International Bereaved Mothers Day. There were no gifts, no frills about THIS non-commercial 'holiday'. Just the memories of the children lost. Every time we visit her grave I try to think of her the way I held her just after she was delivered. The thought of her in the ground is almost too much for my mind to handle sometimes. I want to pick her up, to keep her warm, to kiss her face. Her little sister Rose resembles her so much, it's so very bittersweet.

As we placed the flowers in the vase and set a few of Sofia's things on her stone, Tim noticed that right in front of us was a lady bug on a blade of grass. How nice to see a sign from her; the timing was perfect. I didn't have my macro lens on me but I did manage to snap a few pictures.

From Our Rainbow
From Our Rainbow

Sofia, Sam ~ Mommy misses & loves you very, very much. XOXO

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Source of Strength

A friend from Jr. High & High School reached out to me recently and asked if I would mind sharing my story on a blog she was starting for women to share stories of strength. The blog is called "Unite Out Loud". I was touched that she wanted to include my story and of course I jumped at the opportunity to share and spread the awareness.

I hope that it brings comfort and understanding to those who read my story. Comfort to those who might feel alone or have suffered a similar loss and understanding to those who have never experienced one. Click here to read the story she wrote and check out the other stories she has posted. The blog was just started so I'm sure many more stories of strength have yet to be written...

March for Babies 2012

The week leading up to the March of Dimes, March for Babies walk was a tough one. I was tearful every day, missing Sofia. It's hard to believe that it's been so long yet I still feel like it was yesterday that we said good-bye. No matter how many times I replay everything in my mind I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the enormous loss we have suffered.

It was a rainy day for a walk and considering the abnormally warm weather we have been having since January, the cold was a bit unexpected. Last year it was cold & windy. I had hoped for a warmer, sunny day but it was cold & wet. I thought to myself that the rain falling down was fitting with all the tears falling down my cheeks each night. A friend commented on facebook, "You need rain to make a rainbow!". How true that is, and how deep as well...

This year we purchased a sign for Sofia (money goes to March of Dimes). Her sign was one of the last on the walk and we stopped - our whole group huddled around as we took Rose out of her stroller and under the umbrella - and snapped a picture. If it hadn't been pouring we would have attempted our group photo right there. Maybe next time.

From March for Babies 2012

I wanted to get a group photo before the walk when it was only lightly misting but everybody was telling me to do it later. Then "later" it was raining so people left before we ended the walk which was disappointing. We understood though, because it was pretty icky outside. I was just bummed we didn't get a full group photo.  Next year we're doing it first (and it'll probably be bright & sunny at the end of the walk, ha!) Here is most of the group:
From March for Babies 2012

It was nice to go represent Sofia and all the babies struggling or gone too soon. I didn't see Betsy this year but I did see little Olivia's sign. Rose was such a trooper (of course she was probably the most dry out of everyone in our group being inside her warm car seat/stroller & covers). She was her usual smiley self and proudly wore her T-shirt in memory of her big sister.
From March for Babies 2012

The back of our shirts:
From May 1, 2012

We would like to thank everyone who joined us on the walk and to those who donated in memory of our Sofia Rose. It means more to us than I think people realize. There won't be many times in our life where we get to do something for Sofia and this is one way we can honor her and help babies survive in her name.

We've raised $760.00 as of May 1st and would love to raise more. Here is a link to our team page if you would like to  participate. http://www.marchforbabies.org/team/t1741889

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Missing Her

This week has been a hard one on me emotionally. I'm missing Sofia, and it feels like she and her memory are fading when it comes to other people. I know that it's just one of life's realities. Her death is no longer 'top news' and not in the forefront of everyone's minds.  Except that it is, in my mind and in Tim's.

Even though we are loving every minute of raising her little sister, Rose, we are still grieving hard for the big sister who can only exist as her angel.

When I kiss the top of Rose's head (something I do quite often!), I have flashbacks of the last time I kissed the top of Sofia's head. It is gut-wrenching because Sofia's head was cold; nothing like the warm, sweet-smelling softness of her little sister. It was the last time I would EVER kiss Sofia's head again. I guess that's why I overdo it with Rose, because I never know if it will be the last time with her.

Yesterday I finally changed my facebook settings to the new timeline design. I found that I like it better and not sure why I resisted the change for so long. The best and most obvious plus is the timeline feature itself. I love being able to click on a year in the past and find specific posts & comments of significance. Of course, the most significant date in my mind was 10-11-10, the day we found out Sofia was gone and all the subsequent comments that ensued. Comments of love, sympathy & support. Until this timeline feature came about, I figured I'd never see that post again- the one I posted after finding out.  Here is what I posted back then on that sad, sad day:

"Please pray for us. Our little baby was so wonderful that God had other plans and we don't get to keep our baby-baby is in heaven. We are very distraught and need all the love and support we can get right now. I have to deliver tonight. Love, Lia & Tim"

As soon as I read that old post and some of the comments in response, I was in tears. :(

After putting Rose to bed last night I broke down & cried. I told Tim how I missed Sofia. I sobbed & sobbed. I miss all the things that will never happen with Sofia. Every stage that we experience with her sister is a reminder of what will never be with Sofia. We often remind ourselves that we would likely not have Rose if it weren't for our loss. Last night I said "I want them BOTH!!!!!!!!" followed by a hard cry & consoling from Tim.

Tim said yesterday while Rose was sitting in her Bobby lounger & sleeping that she had a look on her face that reminded him of Sofia in her coffin. :(

I told Tim it feels like Sofia has taken a back seat the past two months, even though we think of her daily. Maybe because I haven't spent enough time blogging. We still visit her at the cemetery, but it feels rushed since we have a baby in the car with us. He said that Sofia knows we think of her and sees how we incorporate her into our lives, so she knows how much she is loved.  I then went off on a thought about wondering whether or not she really does know.  How does a little baby comprehend such things? I think of our living baby, Rose, and although she does recognize us and (hopefully) feels loved, she is just a baby after all.  Sofia was just a baby; too young to know what was happening to her. She never got to meet us face to face; she was gone when our faces met. Ugh. I know it was irrational of me to make sense of a dead baby's comprehension level up in heaven but it's where my mind was last night. Tim said she is an angel and he knows that she knows...she just does. Sigh.

As I sat there in bed trying to fall asleep (while watching the baby monitor video of Rose), I kept thinking how horrible it would be to go through another loss and prayed I never lose a child again.  At midnight I awoke in a panic and ran into her room to place my hand on her chest. Breathing. Sigh. Like I told Tim before he nodded off, this is something we will be dealing with forever.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy 2nd Valentine's Day in Heaven

Like everything else, it seems this holiday was just here.  A year really flew by. Recent snow covers her grave. Tim shoveled a path and we brought more decorations. It's so hard when we have her sister with us, all warm and snuggly, and Sofia is in the cold, hard ground. I hate it. I want to cuddle her and keep her warm. Sigh.

Happy 2nd Valentine's day in Heaven, Sofia Rose! We love & miss you every single day! XXOOXXOO

From Other Photos

Sunday, January 15, 2012


As the arrival of our "rainbow" baby quickly approaches, I find myself gearing up, mentally preparing for our hospital stay. Of course the only memories I have of labor & delivery are not pleasant. I miss Sofia daily but lately have been missing her a lot harder. Thinking about when I last held her in my arms, then watched as the nurse wheeled her out of our sight.

I hear random songs on the radio and start to tear up. I wish she was here! While we're excited for her sibling's birth, it still won't be "normal" compared to most families. Sofia is an older sister who won't get to come in & meet her little sister at the hospital. No cute pictures of the two of them cuddling together. That makes me sad.

I was out shopping with Tim yesterday and at one store a woman asked me all the typical pregnancy questions (and I clearly look very prego right now). Of course she asked me how many kids we had so I told her (as I always do). I usually get a "oh crap!" look while the other person tries to grasp what they've just heard. The funny thing is, almost EVERY time that other person comes back with a story of their own or someone they know who has suffered a similar loss. This particular day the woman said her niece is a Dr. and experienced the same thing as we did with Sofia. Her baby just didn't have a heart beat at the end of her pregnancy and after running many tests, they found nothing. She also told me that she herself had 3 miscarriages although she said they were all before 4 months. I was glad I said something rather than pretend we have a child at home or worse- pretend that Sofia never existed. Speaking openly about it allows others to open up too, and sometimes that can be very healing.

Last week I made a trip to Babies R Us and in one of the aisles they had these stainless steel drinking cups for kids with names on them.  As I turned the corner & looked at them there was one that stood out on top & in front:

From Other Photos

I couldn't believe it- had she lived, she would have had something with the correct spelling!! As a kid I could never find anything with my spelling (Lia). It was always "Leah" or "Lea". As I've grown older I don't care so much & actually prefer having a unique spelling. That's why I was so surprised to see Sofia spelled that way on a cup! They had another one "Sophia" but they also had our daughter's name!! Then I was sad, thinking how she won't ever have those things. Silly, I know, but it was hard. I would've loved to have been shopping with Sofia in the cart and I would have shown her with great excitement & would have bought it right up! As I drove home I regretted not getting it anyway. Maybe I'll go back.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Another Year Gone By

I have so much going on up in my head right now that it's impossible to write it all (or remember it for that matter).  The past couple months have been filled with mixed emotions and the fact that I haven't posted all this time is in no way a reflection on how I'm doing.  (In other words, no posts does NOT equal no worries)  I've just been quite busy and being pregnant is wearing me down.

Thanksgiving has come & gone.  We have much to be thankful for.  We are especially grateful for all the support we continue to receive from so many people. We're thankful that Sofia & Sam have a sister on the way and for every movement I feel, knowing we are closer to bringing home our 'rainbow' baby.

Christmas was bittersweet this year. I remember last year (2010) spending so much time on special 'Sofia-related' gifts for close family and how difficult it was, but how much better it made me feel for doing it. This year I decided against it since the gifts were not well-received by all last time.  I didn't want to face that pain again as it is still 100% fresh in my mind.

Christmas morning was difficult for us.  The beautiful bell that was received as a gift from a fellow BLM, Betsy in 2010 remains in our living room year-round.  This is the second year in a row (tradition) that we rang the bell for Sofia.  This time I didn't bawl...but it was still a sad, somber moment. After giving the dogs their gifts from 'Santa' we drove to the cemetery to wish Sofia a Merry Christmas.

While all the other parents in the world were waking up to giggling little ones, tossing gifts & wrapping paper in the air, we stood there at our daughter's grave.  We both cried. We cried hard, and talked about how unfair it was. It is so hard not having her here and forever will be. She would have been so darn cute, all dressed up in a poofy cute dress and likely have her hair in piggy tails or barrettes.

Sofia still has a stocking at my parents' house and I was happily surprised to see a cute pink teddy bear and candy cane in it when we arrived.  At first I thought it was for her sister (baby on the way) but then realized it was in the special stocking for Sofia. At Granny's on Christmas Eve, one of the gifts was written "To: Sofia & sister". I'm so glad my family continues to remember AND include our daughter because she is still very much a part of our lives.  Even if she can't be here physically.

We quietly rang in the New Year.  More tears for Sofia (for her not being here) and we dropped off a New Year's hat at her grave. We lost our first baby in 2010.  We lost our second baby in 2011.  We hope to bring home with us our third baby this time, for a happy and healthy 2012!

P.S. Check out the rainbow blog for baby on the way... click here

Sofia's stocking at my parents' house (next to my childhood stocking)
From Other Photos
Sofia's tree on Christmas day. The large angel wings were a gift from a friend at work.  The lady bug bell I saw at a Christmas shop in town & had to get it. The little angel baby is from my parents and the rainbow ornament is Sofia's for 2011.
From Other Photos
Close-up of Sofia's 2nd ornament from us.
From Other Photos
Sofia's grave on Christmas morning.
From Other Photos
Sofia's grave on New Year's Eve
From Other Photos