Wave of Light Candle by Lauren

Every October 15th I participate in the National Wave of Light to honor my two angel babies along with all the babies gone too soon. I love knowing that so many of us that share an unbreakable bond are joining together and lighting our candles. It gives us all a moment to slow down, breathe, and honor our little angels. I recently purchased a Cricut machine that allows me to make homemade vinyl decals. Today I made this decal and put it on the candle that I light every year for my babies. I am so proud of this candle. I’m so glad that I can share this candle with my friends and family and allow the memories of my babies to live on. I have also offered to make this decal for my local friends and family that have angel babies so that they can display it. I just love that one little thing can start a conversation that many of us are afraid to have. So many have suffered in silence and I hope that offering it to those that don’t know how to say the words out loud can benefit from having this decal somewhere special and it can help to either start the conversation or to keep it going.

-Lauren

New self expression by Deb: You are not alone

I came across this poem and it really resonated with me. I love that hope is at its core. We all experience grief in different ways, but we are never alone with our grief. I think back to the days when miscarriage was never openly discussed—how difficult that must have been for these women and their families. I remember the outpouring of support and love when I shared the loss of my grandson Liam. I was amazed at how many women shared that they too experienced miscarriage.  We don’t have to face our grief and pain alone.

 

By John Mark Green

 

How do we go on

after the unthinkable happens?

How can we carry the burden of knowing

the world can be cruel and dangerous,

the future so unpredictable?

How do we grieve with empty arms

and a head filled with echoing memories?

 

We are stronger than we know,

and this is how we show it:

Holding

each other,

giving comfort in the midst of pain.

Loving more fiercely,

through our actions and the things we say.

Making the world just a little bit better,

every single day.

Never taking life for granted,

knowing that it can be snatched away.

 

This world may bring deep darkness,

but we are the bearers of light.

We’ll join our flames together,

and shine in the blackest of nights.”

 

Deborah experienced the loss of her grandson, Liam, in January of 2019. She has two grown children, both adopted, and two grandchildren. Deborah lives with her husband, Keith, and dog, Kovu. Now that she is retired Deborah volunteers with several heart-health focused organizations. She is the author of the book “A Journey of the Heart: Learning to Thrive, Not Just Survive, With Congenital Heart Disease.

Lauren’s Story – Part 1

From the time I was a very little girl I have always carried a baby doll around. My baby doll’s name was Stephanie and my extremely generous parents allowed me to get every accessory a kid needed for their baby doll including a stroller, bassinet, and a bunch of clothes. Stephanie came every where with me and I kept a journal for her because one day I saw my baby book and knew I just had to start a baby book for Stephanie. My whole life I wanted to be a Mom.

After many failed attempts at finding my forever partner, he showed up, at the perfect time. We wed two years later and were so excited to start our adventure. We were older and knew we wanted kids right away. About three months after our wedding, we decided to start trying for kids. We were excited, nervous but blinded to any issues that may occur because no one thinks it will happen to them. Honestly, I never really knew the chances or statics of something happening because no one talks about them. One month down, nothing. Two months down, no baby. Three months down, still no pink lines. I started to get nervous – was I one in four? I kept telling my Mom that something was wrong, and she kept telling me “I had a baby at 40 and I only had a 2% chance of getting pregnant – and I did! We are fertile! Don’t worry!” I kept saying “we are fertile” over and over again but nothing was happening.

After a few doctors’ appointments and investing in a watch that helps time your fertile window better we finally got the best news ever – two pink lines. There it was – the start of our family. The start to our next chapter. We were ecstatic. We couldn’t wait to see our little one on the screen so we can tell our family that we were pregnant. I scheduled a private ultrasound at 7 weeks so we could have an ultrasound picture to take home with us when we shared the news. We went to the ultrasound appointment, saw a tiny little blimp on the screen. That was our baby. We went home that weekend and shared the news to all our friends and family at 7 weeks and 4 days. WE WERE PREGNANT! FINALLY! I started to look at baby items, ordered maternity clothes, and started to plan our lives with this baby in it.

The time came to go see our baby again and confirm the due date – we were 10 weeks on the dot. My husband and I waited in the room so excited that we would get to see our little bean again. The doctor came in – the time was finally here. She was searching around for the baby – I kept looking over at the screen with a huge smile on my face. After what felt like hours, but really was only 30 seconds, she looked at me and said “I’m going to have to go and get another doctor to come take a look at this. I’m not sure if something is wrong or if you are measuring smaller but since I am a midwife, I will need a doctor to come in and take a look. I’m so sorry.” She took the probe out and we waited. I looked at my husband with tears in my eyes. I knew. My husband kept trying to tell me that everything was okay, but I knew. After 20 minutes of waiting for the doctor to finally come in, he took a look and said the dreaded words that I will never forget, “I’m sorry ma’am but your baby does not have a heartbeat.” I cried. I was in shock. He asked if I wanted a picture of the baby and I got so angry that I yelled at him to take the probe out because I wanted to go home! I left the OB not with the cute little sonogram picture and the excitement of a future with my husband and this baby but with pain, sadness, fear, and anger. I remember my husband telling me that he had to go back to work to finish a few things but begged me to just go home and wait for him. He hugged me – told me everything was going to be okay. I sat there in my car crying for the longest time. What happened? What did I do to make this pregnancy not viable? Immediately you start thinking oh its probably because I continued to run in the first weeks. Or maybe it was because I laid wrong on the couch. I was certain it was because I did something wrong.

I opted to take the Cytotec pills to pass the pregnancy. I had been carrying a baby that had passed for almost 3 weeks so letting it pass naturally was too hard for me and the idea of getting surgery to pass it was too scary for me. I went home, took the day to mourn and cry. I woke up the next day and took the first pill, then waited. It all happened pretty quickly. I cried and hugged my dog, my loyal companion who never left my side through it all. I knew when I had passed the baby – it was bigger than the other clots. I said a prayer, cried more and laid back down on the couch. My Mom kept calling, my brothers, sister-in-law all checked in. I felt like I kept telling them I’m okay just so I could get off the phone. I just needed time. I was angry. I kept asking God why me? What did I do in my life that was so bad that I deserved this? My husband was my rock through this all. He held me when I cried, he kept telling me it wasn’t my fault and that we would be okay. He listened to me question God’s decision and never once judged me for getting so angry that our baby was taken from us. He coped on his own and always had a positive outlook because he knew we would get our baby.

We took a month off and decided to go to Disney to get our mind off things. After such a devastating experience we could see just a tiny bit of hope and happiness for the future. I knew our future of being parents was super uncertain now and that the naiveness of being pregnant and expecting a baby as the outcome had been taken from us. After another month of trying, we waited. The dreaded two week wait. On the first day of my missed period, I took a test – negative. Okay, that’s fine. We’ll try again next month. Four days passed and still no period. I took another test – still negative. On day five of no period, I called my husband and told him something was wrong because I wasn’t getting a period. I was certain that the miscarriage had messed things up and told him I needed to make a doctor’s appointment. After getting off the phone with him I decided to take the one last pregnancy test I had to just confirm it was still negative and then I would promptly call the doctors. After waiting 2 minutes for the test to do its thing – there it was. TWO PINK LINES. We were pregnant, again. In March of 2019 we welcomed our first rainbow baby, Grace Herbert.

When the waves crashed down on me

This is a poem I wrote on August 22nd, National Rainbow Baby Day. My daughter Lucy is my rainbow baby. The name Lucy means “of light.” She is the light that came to us and cleared our storm. -Kate

When the waves crashed down on me

When the waves crashed down on me, my breath escaped me.

Desperate, I gasped and reached for the surface.

 

For much of my life, I had coasted through unscathed.

I worked hard. I enjoyed my time.

 

I fell in love. I got married.

Our love overflowed and created endless possibilities. 

 

First pregnancy. Tears of joy.

Ready to meet our first child.

 

Cue the waves of words I never imagined I’d hear.

Not viable. Empty womb. Blighted ovum. D&C. 

 

The waves crashed over me and held me there. 

Immobile. Defeated.

 

I struggled to swim as the clouds grew dark. 

I reached for my husband’s hand.

 

He had changed too. Alone. Afraid. Confused.

We leaned into each other and let the waves bind us closer. 

 

Strength returned. Love inspired. There was light.

Tried again. Positive test. Familiar feelings.

 

As hope pulled me from the deep, blood appeared. 

Cue the waves. Darkness returned.

 

Chemical pregnancy. Clots. 

Pain. Defeat. Confusion.

 

Thrown deeper into the waves.

Pushed further away from hope.

 

Lost in a sea of despair. 

My mind thundered. My heart rained.

 

Months of talk. Months of research.

Months of trying to make sense of something that seemed nonsensical.

 

Each wave strengthened our resolve.

Implemented lessons learned.

 

Positive test. Fear. So much fear.

Blood tests. Progesterone. 

Hope. Hope. Hope.

 

Full term

Calm waves. Clear skies.

 

Rainbow.

Light.

Lucy. 

Finding Life’s Joy

A friend posted this recently and it really impacted me.

38 years ago this month I lost twin boys. I was two weeks shy of my due date. They were my fifth pregnancy and the only one to last past five months. It was devastating. I think about who they would be often. Life is wickedly wonderful. Now I’m a Nana and a GiGi. Life has a way of being more beautiful than tragic. Hold on to what gives you joy then spread that joy to whoever you can.”

Yes, this journey called life is full of twists and turns. But it is full of hope. We need to have the courage and strength to believe that things will get better. In the midst of dealing with loss it is often hard to crawl out from despair, but we do because we must. We do because we believe and trust that better days are ahead.

One feeling we should rid ourselves of is guilt. When the clouds start to lift, we often feel guilty that we are beginning to experience some joy and happiness. We can remember our lost ones with love, knowing that they are at peace. We are honoring their memory by living our lives to the fullest.

I just love the phrase “wickedly wonderful.” In spite of, or perhaps because of, the difficulties and hardships we experience in life we often bounce back stronger and with a renewed zest for life. We genuinely appreciate and are thankful for what we have. We want to help others get through their pain by giving them hope and encouragement. My friend realizes this, and I do now as well. I was so devastated when I lost my grandson. All I could see was the pain and anguish in my son’s and daughter-in-law’s faces. But a little over a year ago, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy. To see the joy on all their faces when they come visit just fills my heart with happiness. Yes, our grief may be strong, but eventually it will be joined by joy.

Deborah experienced the loss of her grandson, Liam, in January of 2019. She has two grown children, both adopted, and two grandchildren. Deborah lives with her husband, Keith, and dog, Kovu. Now that she is retired Deborah volunteers with several heart-health focused organizations. She is the author of the book “A Journey of the Heart: Learning to Thrive, Not Just Survive, With Congenital Heart Disease.

On Grief by Deborah

It can come out of nowhere. You’re doing fine and boom, grief hits you like a ton of bricks. And it can hit you during happy times as well as sad times. I find holidays particularly difficult, as I grieve not only for the loss of loved ones but for past times and what could have been. While I looked with love and joy at my two grandkids Winry and Rory this Easter, I still grieved for my stillborn grandson Liam.

People talk about “waves of grief,” but I think it is more like an ocean, always present. Sometimes the waves are choppy, and we feel grief intensely. Other times the water is calm, but the grief is still there.

We grieve not only death, but intangible things such as loss of family traditions as our elders pass, loss of health, and so on. We need to acknowledge and work through our grief when it hits — not doing so can affect us physically and emotionally.

One grief poem which speaks to me is “For Grief,” written by John O’Donohue. For me, it addresses the choppy seas and calm seas of grief.

For Grief
by John O’Donohue

When you lose someone you love,
Your life becomes strange,
The ground beneath you becomes fragile,
Your thoughts make your eyes unsure;
And some dead echo drags your voice down
Where words have no confidence
Your heart has grown heavy with loss;
And though this loss has wounded others too,
No one knows what has been taken from you
When the silence of absence deepens.

Flickers of guilt kindle regret
For all that was left unsaid or undone.

There are days when you wake up happy;
Again inside the fullness of life,
Until the moment breaks
And you are thrown back
Onto the black tide of loss.
Days when you have your heart back,
You are able to function well
Until in the middle of work or encounter,
Suddenly with no warning,
You are ambushed by grief.

It becomes hard to trust yourself.
All you can depend on now is that
Sorrow will remain faithful to itself.
More than you, it knows its way
And will find the right time
To pull and pull the rope of grief
Until that coiled hill of tears
Has reduced to its last drop.

Gradually, you will learn acquaintance
With the invisible form of your departed;
And when the work of grief is done,
The wound of loss will heal
And you will have learned
To wean your eyes
From that gap in the air
And be able to enter the hearth
In your soul where your loved one
Has awaited your return
All the time.

Deborah experienced the loss of her grandson, Liam, in January of 2019. She has two grown children, both adopted, and two grandchildren. Deborah lives with her husband, Keith, and dog, Kovu. Now that she is retired Deborah volunteers with several heart-health focused organizations. She is the author of the book “A Journey of the Heart: Learning to Thrive, Not Just Survive, With Congenital Heart Disease.

Nyana’s Story

My name is Nyana Rice. I was so excited when I found out I was expecting again. I already have a 3 year old daughter and I was hoping and praying for another baby girl. Unfortunately the day I went to find out if I was having a baby girl or boy I was told some bad news. When the ultrasound started and she told me I was having a girl I was so excited, I just couldn’t wait to tell my family. My world came crashing down when the doctor told me my baby would never make it full term, and if she did she would only live a few hours or a couple days. I had to make the most hardest decision of my life. To this day my heart is shattered. I was 5 months pregnant when I lost my baby girl Madelyn Rose. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her, or think of all the what ifs.