Skip to main content


Showing posts from 2013


I don't like to make too many resolutions. It's hard for me stick to them and then I feel guilty. But this year I have a few things I really want to accomplish.   1. Finish my book - I'm ready to finish it and see if I can find a market. I've had the name of a literary agent and a list of submission guidelines on my desk for over a year. My initial goal was to have it done and submitted before Ainsleigh was born, but I was too busy falling apart to complete it. I don't have a lot of time during the day to write, but the evenings are wide open. To finish I need to read through my blog. I am really dreading that task, but I am tired of looking at the stack of half-finished pages on the edge of my desk. I feel like I might have something worthwhile if I can just focus and make it coherent.  2. Be more frugal - This is a tandem resolution. I really  want to move out of this house. I love our neighborhood, but I want a bigger kitchen, a second bathroom and room fo

less stuff, more love {giveaway}

I have a hard time letting go of things. I hoard - mildly - and stuff things in closets because I may need it / want it / use it ... someday. I have a really hard time letting go of books. Even if I didn't like it, even if I'm never going to read it again I hold onto it. Books on a shelf make me so happy. I couldn't live in a home without books everywhere. Last night I was organizing and rearranging things and I began a pile of books. Then I added a pile of clothes. This morning I began selling furniture we've been meaning to get rid of for a while. Our upstairs looks like a used furniture shop. It's time for a lot of it to go. I've spent the day organizing, rearranging, giving away, selling and tossing things. It feels so good.  I was halfway joking this morning when I said, "I want to start the year with less stuff, more love," but it is really nice to watch stuff leave the house.  While cleaning I found a journal/workbook to help one work throu

the next step

I've been in a fog these last few days. I'm somewhere between 'this may be the thing that breaks me' and 'God will use this in our lives and everything will be okay.' I find myself leaning toward the second option more than the first, which makes me feel better about my mental health. I keep coming back to the idea that Ainsleigh's diagnosis is a small blot on the landscape of crisis we have traversed as a family, but then the thought of it consumes me over and over like a constantly cresting wave and I lose that idea of smallness. I think I just have to accept that I need to drown in the hugeness of it for a while. Once again I find myself rearranging images in my mind because the sweet little life I imagined for my child can't be everything I hoped it would be. And I know good can spill forth from loss and unexpectedness because I have lived and walked that road, but right now I can't see the good; I'm still lost in the forest of what ifs an

big (somewhat scary) news

Ainsleigh's follow up to the follow up hearing screen was this morning. Ainsleigh can hear well in her right ear, but she is severely to profoundly deaf in her left ear.  When we were in the hospital and she failed to pass her hearing screen I said to J, "Hearing loss? We can do that. She's alive." And yes, we can handle this, just like we handle B's allergies, but there is a lot of information coming at us right now and I'm very overwhelmed. I knew something was wrong. I had the same feeling as when Charlotte died. I went into the appointment expecting bad news, but when two audiologists came in and quietly leaned forward to deliver the diagnosis it still hit me hard. One of the audiologists reached forward to touch my knee and I thought, Oh no, not the gentle pat! I've been on the receiving end of the gentle pat/arm squeeze far too often.   Then it was a whole lot of words and phrases:  There is a 30% chance she will lose hearing in her other ear,

I don't care

That is exactly it. I don't care. I feel blank. Just ... blank. Wrapping presents. Finishing up the Christmas shopping. Thinking about prepping for holiday meals. Don't care, don't care, don't care. I should be grateful - period - to have Ainsleigh here this Christmas, but there are things that did not come up when B was born that are coming up now and I am smack in the middle of it and it sucks. This does not feel like postpartum depression. After B was born I felt CA-RAY-ZEEEEEE. In January after he was born I finally began counseling because I wasn't functioning. This doesn't feel like that. I'm functioning, but I feel really disconnected. We were out to dinner tonight and a woman walking through the restaurant caught my eye. It took me a moment to realize she was looking at me because I had been staring at her. I wasn't seeing her though. I was staring off into space, eyes glazed over, mind empty, doing nothing other than brea

my ocean

There are not enough hours in the day. By the time B is in bed Ainsleigh is having her colicky time, or she is eating every hour, or I want to sit down and watch television with J, or read a book, or take a shower so I push my writing to the side. And as a result I feel like I've lost an anchor I desperately need. Which is why this morning when Ainsleigh woke up at 5:30 I didn't sit up in bed with her in my arms and hope she would fall asleep again. I got up, went downstairs, turned on the lights on the enormous tree and wrote a little bit. This is the time of year when I turn back to the book I've been working on for years. 2014 is the year; I'm going to finish the stupid thing because I can't have it sitting in the back of my mind anymore. Yesterday I drove to the bookstore where I used to work. Every year I do a huge chunk of my Christmas shopping there because I like the store and want it to stay in business. And when I worked there people were kind enough

one month

Ainsleigh is almost six weeks! I want to do monthly pictures like I did for Bennett so I quickly snapped a couple today even though it's a little late. Ainsleigh is doing really well. Days can be hard because she is awake a lot and wants to be held (plus she seems to have a touch of colic in the evenings) but she dos so well at night I can handle the hard days. Bennett and I are doing much better. The adjustment period was rough, but we have a good routine now. I'm getting better at taking him on outings, which he really needs. Although this insane weather we are having is making it very difficult to leave the house. In some ways having two is not as hard as I thought it would be, but in other ways it is MUCH harder than I imagined.


Last night I posted the following on the facebook page I maintain for this blog: We went to J's holiday party for his work this evening. When asked how many children I have I said three without hesitation. And when we were talking about babies I included Charlotte. I talked about my births and trauma during labor and delivery. I was honest about my experience. In the middle of the conversation I wondered if I was saying too much, but most of his co-workers know our story. I wa nt to make space in these conversations for all my children. So I do. I'm open about what we lost. I'm honest and unapologetic when I talk about her. And I think that's okay. This is who I am. If you ask me about my children I will tell you about all of them. And I will show you a picture on my phone that includes all three of my children because it's important to me to include her. I refuse to pretend Charlotte didn't exist because the fact of her death is uncomfortable. It makes m

oh bennett

We do this game at story time called "Elevator." You put your kiddo in your lap, pretend to press a button -"ding!" then lift them up in the air before setting them gently on the floor - first floor, second floor, third floor, fourth floor, down!" I don't know if that little explanation makes sense, but I hope you get the general idea.  The other day Bennett was really struggling so I sat him down on the couch and said, "What is going on? Why are you pushing Mama's buttons? What do you need from me?" Bennett looked at me with confusion, then understanding dawned on his face. He reached his hand forward, pushed an imaginary button and said, "Ding!" ********** J took B to the store a few days ago. When he came home he asked me if Bennett pointed to items and yelled, "get it out!" while we were shopping. I said, "no, maybe it's a new thing." Yesterday at Costco when Bennett asked for a snack I pulled

on toddlers and boundaries

I bought a time out rug today. And then I spent the afternoon marching B over to the rug and explaining the concept. We were using the crib for a long time, but he thought time out was bounce time so I had to come up with something else. This is one if those dangerous posts because a) the discipline topic is a minefield and b) the parent to a dead baby must be grateful concept is a constant struggle for me, BUT I'm just going to say it: toddlers are infuriating. They're cute and entertaining, but they are also tiny humans who have to learn how to become adult people, and a huge component of that process is learning what a boundary is and why they exist. And they have to relearn the concept every minute of every day. Unfortunately I can't just say, "adults don't throw fits when they don't get their way. You will be an adult someday, please stop." Because a toddler could care less about reason and logic. And because a lot of adults - myself included - thro

christmas tree hunt

It's too big. It's always too big. Although this year we have a width problem instead of a height issue. I'm not very good at decorating so I buy a statement tree, but this year half the living room is tree. At least it was only $10. It was $20, but we had a coupon. Yay Oregon !

give thanks

We spent our day with my side of the family. At the end of the Thanksgiving meal we shared what we're thankful for. I cried, and I'm not sure I made much sense, but I talked about how thankful I am for my children. Four years ago as we slogged through our first Thanksgiving without Charlotte I was broken and sad. I couldn't fathom being happy again. I try to be honest and authentic when I write. I do my best to be true to my sorrow and joy, but enough time has passed that I'm afraid the grief is somewhat overshadowed. Just the other day I realized that some of you have been following our story for four years. While this is a really good place to be in I want those of you who are struggling to be thankful to remember that I have struggled too. I know pain, grief, and how it feels to wish you could set one more place at the holiday table. We are in a joyful season, but if you are not do not feel guilty. Have hope. My dream of having living children - and especially

I see you in my dreams

There is something about my living babies newborn heads that takes me back to my first born. In the middle of the night I cradle Ainsleigh's head - after nursing, when I wake up scared (it still happens all these years later), when the fear of losing these precious people makes sleep impossible, when baby girl is a little fussy and won't settle - and I think of Charlotte. I remember her head because it is the part of her I touched the longest when she still had breath in her lungs and a beating heart. I held it as I pushed at the end of my labor, and when she was handed to me the feeling of her head cradled in my hand was branded on my heart. It is the easiest memory of her to recall. So much has faded, but I can still vividly remember her tiny head pressed against my chest with my left hand. Baby sleep brings triggers. There are pictures of Ainsleigh I take then hastily delete because she looks dead. In these pictures Ainsleigh's mouth hangs open

christmas list: help me choose

Which one? a) b) Also: J's work party is coming up, which usually equals frantic shopping and outfit choosing (a tradition we all cherish and look forward to, yes?) but it's on the 6th of December this year and I am not in the mood for shopping. I thought about wearing my maternity skinny jeans (this is Oregon, you can absolutely get away with jeans at any function) but they are ripping in more than one place and the potential threat of showing my undergarments to J's co-workers is far too great. I'm probably going to end up frantically throwing something together the day of. Normally this would make me feel intense anxiety, but the brilliant thing about being less than a month postpartum is that I don't care. My only goal is to be sour milk  smell and spit-up on the shoulder free (this may be a tall order).


I have a lot more confidence this time around, but I still have moments of panic where I wonder what I'm doing and if everything I am doing is wrong.  Sometimes when I see pictures of kids in other time zones napping/sleeping I get jealous. I think, Hey that's not fair, we're on the West Coast, we have two more hours until bedtime! I love the forty-eight hour postpartum time in the hospital. I don't sleep very much, but that birth high is so lovely, and it's very quiet. And I'm so darn glad the labor is over I feel like I'm on vacation. Food is just a phone call away, and a nurse will bring a warm blanket if you ask nicely. It's blissful. I want more children. It's not going to happen, but if pregnancy/birth was easier for me I would have one more. And I know I said this after Bennett's birth too, but this time I am officially calling it (unless the Lord has other plans). I'm not willing to put my family through another round of the

beneath the surface

I went to my support group Thursday night. My mom stays over once a week for now. It helps me immensely to have an extra set of hands as I try to figure out leaving the house with two little ones. Since my mom was willing to sit and hold Ainsleigh in the coffee shop where we meet I was able to attend my monthly support group. There aren't words to explain or express how helpful those meetings are. They are tough too. I usually need a few days to recover after a meeting. It's good to spend a few hours a month in a place where the term 'dead baby' doesn't make people wince or sigh. It's a relief to know there are others who understand. I know so many online, but to look into someone's eyes and see pain reflected back is a different experience. One that requires courage and bravery, but is so worth it if one can pull it together enough to crawl through the door. The day to day has been immensely difficult. Bennett and I are struggling to find our footing.

can I have chocolate for dinner?

This parenting two children thing .. WOW. Will someone please hold me while I cry? I think Bennett is doing really well all things considered, but I had no idea he could be so defiant. Kiddo has me crying in the bathroom and sneaking chocolate from the kitchen cupboard at 9 in the morning. I hate that half - or maybe even more than that?! - of our interactions are negative right now, but I know this is just the transition period. It will get better. This morning I had Ainsleigh's two week well check (sweet cheeks weighed in at 8 lbs 7 oz, sheesh!) then I went to the hospital to visit J and get a blood draw. B had a special grandma morning, which was good for both of us. I think we needed a break from each other. We spend our days sitting in the house staring at one another and getting on each other's nerves, but I can't yet fathom how I am going to get all three of us out the door without assistance.  I don't know if I could get through a week without our little c

ainsleigh's birth {part two}

This part of Ainsleigh's birth is not nearly as clear. I don't know when my water broke, or how long I labored before requesting the epidural. I know we arrived at the hospital at 8:00 am and that Ainsleigh was born at 8:58 pm, but other than those definite times I don't know what happened when. I may get this next part all out of order, but that's okay. My main goal is to write out my thoughts and impressions of her birth. HERE is part one . After my water broke I walked the room for a while. The pressure was really intense. I think this is the first time the nurses and midwives prepped for delivery. It seemed like she was close to being born. After a while I decided to get in the tub, which was SO nice. It relieved a lot of the pressure. The contractions still weren't bad, but the pressure was really intense and the water helped ease a lot of the discomfort I was feeling. I was hovering on the edge of transition - that's when things get really painful for