Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The bitterness of the sweet

You know, if you would have told me 7 months ago that I would be smiling real smiles, finding hope through helping others find theirs, and seeing brighter days ahead through lots of stormy clouds...I might have not believed you.

I don't particularly find myself writing more about good days than bad or bad days than good, I just write about what I'm feeling  each step of the way even when I'm having trouble putting one foot in front of the other.

Whether a bad day or good, I'm always finding myself on a sort of...tightrope. Like everyday is a balancing act. Maybe it's more like a teeter totter. I'm up, I'm down. If I'm down and really sad, I push up and find myself as equally as high as I was low less than a second ago. Every emotion now, is felt ten fold. All my joys are simply amazing and my pain hurts worse than it ever has before.

I often find myself wondering if you guys (the readers) think that I'm glamorizing my grief. While it's true that I don't find it necessary to discuss my deepest and darkest moments, I promise that I try to be as honest as I can be without scaring you. I talk a lot about hope and finding peace in brighter days ahead but there are days that are really scary too. Just remember, all that glitters in not gold. Even when I'm looking like I'm having the time of my life, inside, I'm secretly I'm asking Brody if it's okay to laugh and smile this hard without him.

It is so hard to explain this, in some ways...I'm happier than I have ever been in my life. I feel like some things are really coming together, the way I had always dreamt of but under circumstances that are an absolute nightmare.

I'm writing again. A passion I have had as long as I can remember. I'm writing something that is available to a whole other world...the Internet. A little scary? Um....yes, but for some reason, now, scary has become something I like to try and overcome.I've found amazing friends that I probably would not have found if my son was alive. That is a bittersweet feeling if I've ever felt one.  I'm helping people. I have always loved helping people. Some of my favorite jobs were ones that I was helping others. Essentially, that is why I have a minor in Psychology. I had dreams of helping others who needed help, but just never could pinpoint where my passion was. Lastly, I'm running my own online business. That kinda sounds silly for me to say. B Bands has given me such an opportunity to help others in a way that could not be possible any other way.

I miss him, I miss him all day, everyday. I wonder what he would look like today being the ripe old age of 7 months. I wonder if he would have my green eyes or Adam's bright blue eyes.

I miss you Brody Michael, but I want to thank you for making the best out of this situation that is truly heartbreaking.

"Your absence has gone through me like a tread through a needle...Everything I do is stitched with it's color" - W.S. Merwin

Sunday, March 25, 2012

little beach baby

This is the only outfit Brody ever wore. My future attempts at getting Daddy to say yes to argyle sweaters and golf hats were shattered that day I was handed the most beautiful angel I had ever seen in a crocheted gown and a little blue hat that hardly fit him and his tiny frame.

All tucked away in his memory box, neatly placed the same way each time with a seashell on top.

I remember it pretty clearly actually. The nurse walked in and asked if I wanted him to be baptized. Without hesitation, I replied "yes". Randy, my father in law was already holding him and tried to give him back to me. I insisted he held him while being baptized. I wasn't sure why, but I knew it felt right for me. Maybe it was because Brody had an overwhelming resemblance to his Pop or maybe it was the tears in Randy's eyes, or maybe it was because Randy is like a father to me. I'm not sure but it just felt right.

He was baptized with a seashell. I never asked why, I never wondered, I just watched as the water dripped from the shell to his forehead that I had just kissed ever so gently.

I had so many dreams of Brody being my little beach baby and loving the ocean just as much as his mommy and there he was being baptized with a seashell.

When Adam and I were in Siesta Key Florida in October, I picked up each shell with a different kind of enthusiasm for shells. Each one reminded me of Brody and I had actually never felt closer to him in those days spent in Florida.

Well, we are returning to Florida next month. I'm anxious to feel the closeness but kinda scared at the same time. What if its not the same, what if its like Christmas and lacks the spirit I worked so hard on finding.

I had planned on taking some pictures for the blog but then Jesica had suggested I did something pretty neat and special while I was there. I am pretty excited to announce that I will be doing a seashell release. If you are dedicated reader of the Frog Blog, you probably remember the balloon release Adam and I did in October. This will be similar to that, only there will be no snow and lots of sunshine.

I am going to be writing the names of the angels lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss on seashells with non toxic, waterproof markers and sending them into the ocean. Of course this release has a  special meaning to me because of the shell used to baptize my little angel.

Same sort of "rules" or I guess, "anti rules" apply here. I will send a sea shell for your angel no matter the gestational age, no matter the circumstances lost, and no matter if I have never met you in my life or if you are my best friend.

Please send your baby names to, contact me on facebook, or txt me if you know me and I will be happy to include your precious angel along with Brody. I hope to get a ton of great pictures of the release and have a special post just as I did before.

Thank you in advance with trusting me to honor and remember you babies along with my little beach baby.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The "go to" girl

7 months today. I'm 7 months into being "that girl who's baby died". Does it make me some kind of expert on death or just death of babies? In some ways I would agree that it does and in other ways, I'm still learning every single day.

In the last few months, I have noticed a lot of people asking me for advice. "My friend lost her baby, what should I say?", My niece lost her baby, what can I do for her?", "I delivered my baby stillborn, where do I go from here?". I've become the "go to" girl for baby loss and I have to say, nothing makes my heart heal quite like being able to help someone else.

I remember slightly typing up an early blog post that read "I don't know if there is a silver lining to a dead baby". I will still agree that there is not a silver lining, but there is something very reassuring deep inside of me that says "This is where you belong and you are going in all the right directions". Call it what you will, I call it "God".

The biggest thing I've noticed about my grief is that it is always changing. One day, I can look it directly in the eyes and tell it "get out of my way, I have things to do today", and other days It takes a hold of me, throws me down and leaves me shuddering in the corner. It does not care what day it is, if I have something planned or somewhere to be. It doesn't care if the sun is shining and it is a beautiful day, a pillow covered in tears is what it wants... right then, right now. I've always hated surprises and I hate that one the most.

I have made it a point to tell the people who ask for my advice that no matter what anyone says, there are no rules in this journey...none. You do what you want and when you want. There is no timeline because time means nothing anymore. One day, you can feel strong and ready to face the world and the next you get thrown back to the day you buried your baby...tears wont stop....nothing helps....words are words and you don't want to hear them anyway.

For me, in this stage that I'm in now, I dislike different things than I did when I first starting writing The frog blog. Now, I dread "the pity face". You know, they tilt their head a little to the right, place their hand somewhere "comforting" and say "I'm so sorry". I'm grateful for their concern but it gets really exhausting. Let me make this clear, just because I don't want the puppy dog face, does not mean I don't want you to be sensitive to the fact that less than a year ago I buried my first born child. He was not a figment of my imagination, he was not a embryo, he can not be replaced by another baby ( mine or anyone else's). He was a baby.
Anyone else's meaning when I'm holding or looking at a baby, I'm not thinking of taking off running with it tucked in my shirt and heading to a different state and dying my hair black and renaming the baby Brody. One, I'm not crazy, two, I know very well that the only baby I want right now is mine and it is humanly impossible to get him back. Yes, I get a little sad when I see a baby and I become impossibly aware that mine is dead, but I'm impossibly aware of that all day, smiling, adorable little baby is going to make my day worse, I promise.

I know it is hard to spell out and draw a map for this experience but I think that is why I continue to write this blog. For me and for other grieving angel mommies. It's hard to look someone in the face and tell them how you feel and how you want to be treated. I know because, I still cannot do it. I can type and write until I'm blue in the face but to look at someone and tell them to stop tiptoeing around Brody and to just say his name is something I could just never do. I want to talk about him, I would talk about him all day everyday if I could and I probably do sometimes.

There are people who" just get it" and it always amazes me. I don't expect everyone to get it, actually I don't expect anything from anyone but let me tell you that it makes me appreciate the people who do a lot. For those of you who are curious as to how to act around me and other grieving mothers perhaps,  Here is a little example of what I mean:

One night, Adam and I were out by ourselves. We were surrounding by mostly Adam's guy friends. I was feeling very alone and realized the reason was because no one there was comfortable talking about Brody. I don't want to just talk about him but a lot of my life revolves around Brody. He is my inspiration for B  Bands and inspiration for my coming years. I want to be able to mention his name without getting looked at like I had just picked my nose and ate it for goodness sakes. I txt a friend and said " No one wants to talk about Brody :(", Her reply was " I will talk about him, I love that little shit". That's exactly what I needed, he was no longer the pink elephant in the room, he wasn't a distant memory, he was my son.

7 months today. Angelversaries aren't always bad. Today, I'm remembering, I'm saying his name out loud, and I'm smiling for the fact that I was totally blessed with an amazing little angel!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

my angel in the clouds

It's okay if others think he wasn't real, because to me he is the realest thing in my life. He was almost 3 pounds and 15 inches long. I held him, I kissed his little forehead and I held him tight. To me, he was real. Actually, he is still real to me. He exists all over. He is such a huge part of my everyday now. Maybe not in the same way he would have been if he was alive but in a much bigger and deeper way. He now exists in my heart ... and in the clouds.
I took this picture yesterday outside of my house. I walked outside and stopped in my tracks. I touched Adam's arm and said "look, it's an angel". I smiled so big and pulled out my phone to take the picture. I couldn't stop smiling.

I know not everyone can understand and I know not everyone agrees that there is an angel in this picture, and that is okay with me. I know the only way everyone could understand is if they went through this themselves and I wouldn't wish it upon anyone.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Summer looks scary now

It is absolutely beautiful outside. I'm looking out the window right now and there isn't a cloud in the sky. The sun is shining the birds are chirping and my eyes are filled with tears.

Ive been like this for days now and I just can't shake it. It is kinda strange for it to be so nice here in western PA at this time of year. I'm sure everyone is loving it but for me it's just a painful and cruel reminder that the last time the sun was shining so bright, I was glowing from pregnancy.

All my summer maternity clothes hang in my closet...untouched. I cant bring myself to put them away or even glance in their direction.

This time last year, I was just finding out that I was pregnant and sharing the happy news with everyone. I was five weeks when we made the announcement. "Everyone" says wait till your in your second trimester to announce because your risk of miscarriage decreases by like 90% or something like that. Well, a close friend said something to me that made so much sense. "If something does go wrong, you are gonna want everyone around you supporting you and you will have to tell them anyway". She was right.

And now...what did it matter anyway. I was an exception to the rule when it comes to statistics. Placental abruption occurs in a measly 1% of pregnancies worldwide...1%! And of that 1%, 24% of them experience a class three separation, which means the fetus dies. Statistically, I am an average and fairly healthy 29 year old and should have been more than capable of carrying and giving birth to a healthy bouncing baby boy. Statistics mean nothing to me anymore.

I remember every outfit I wore when I was pregnant and the thought of putting on those clothes this year scares the daylights out of me. How can I do that? I can't put myself in that position. The memories hurt enough on their own.

Pregnancy memories are so bittersweet. I miss it everyday. I pretty much miss everything about it. I miss something that almost killed me. That is a hard pill to swallow. I reminisce about the very thing that almost killed me and succeeded at killing my baby.

I'm so afraid of summer to arrive. Everything is gonna bring back those memories. Swimming, driving with the window down, air conditioning, and the sun shining.

I know Summer is gonna creep up on me like a bad day I never saw coming and it scares me. I feel like this year, the sun is gonna burn in whole a different way.

Friday, March 9, 2012

NOT having a baby...changes everything

I didn't write at all last week, so that makes it okay to write twice this week...right?

I say yes.

Plus, I can't help but find myself wondering today, wondering what life would be like if Brody were alive. I try pretty hard not to dwell on "what ifs", but today I woke up almost silenced by them....almost.

But I'm not sad, it's not a bad day. My mind is just wondering.

When I was pregnant, I worried a little if I was ready for all this. I only cried once about it, when I was 8 weeks along. The word "scared" sticks out in my journal like a sore thumb (insert picture of the word "scared" in my journal that will not upload today).

Brody was planned, very well planned. I felt like I had been waiting for him for years but when he existed inside of me, I knew something wasn't the way I had always planned.

You've seen the commercials, well I know I have. They leave me breathless..."Having a baby...changes everything". That's what they say but they don't tell you "Not having a baby, also, changes everything". 

Those commercial get me wondering. Would I have been a good mommy to an alive baby? If Brody were here, would I have been so frustrated and sleep deprived that I would have given up on my huge breastfeeding venture that I was bound and determined to succeed at? My life would look so different now and would I have liked it? Its what I wanted, its what I planned for but would I have doubted my decisions?

It's almost 7 months after Brody died and today I'm asking the question "was I ready to be a mommy of an angel?" That thought never crossed my mind when I was pregnant. I didn't write those fears down in my journal. Did I skip the chapter of "When pregnancy goes wrong" on purpose. I  was so busy preparing myself to become the best mom possible that I never prepared for becoming who I am now. An angel mommy I will always be.

I never asked myself that before, yet here I am embracing the reality of it, sobbing over the misery of a rainy day because it reminds me that my baby is dead yet smiling at the sun thinking its his way of smiling down upon me.

And the million dollar questions are in front of me. In my face, scaring me like the monster under my bed directly after I was told he didn't exist... Will I love future children with the same intensity that I love Brody? I don't know what its like the other way. I like the way I love him, I love the way he loves me. How do I love a baby that is alive, will it come natural?

Will a new and crying baby frustrate me or will I have a sense of calmness in knowing the alternative hurts more than a baby that keeps you up all night? Will I be overprotective or will the realization that nothing I do can protect my baby from what God has planned take over?

It's not a bad day, but a day where I miss Brody an awful lot. I miss my plans for him even if they would have been doubted at 3am feedings. I miss my future of looking like the mommies of real life babies that scream and cry. I even miss him kicking the crap out of my ribs and laying on my sciatic nerve. I miss you Brody Michael and I will forever and always.

Monday, March 5, 2012

bursting at the seams

If you are reading this, you probably know that the Leap Year Auction was a huge success. We raised over $1900.00 for March of Dimes and baby Austin's family! I want to thank everyone who was involved. The vendors and especially those of you who bid on the items. To me, you guys are amazing! A lot of you I know personally but some I do not and you all were so kind and generous to help out on something that is so near and dear to my heart when you have never even met me.

The night of the auction was truly unreal. I had been building myself up with anticipation, stuffing myself full with anxiety and excitement. When 7:09pm (That is when Brody was born) hit and the auction was live, I was so happy that my face hurt from smiling. Within the first hour, Almost every item had been bid on and I was watching the news feed on my facebook in complete shock. I could literally feel Brody beside me and I began bursting at the seams with pride... and Heaven....didn't feel that far away.

I will never know the feeling of complete and utter excitement and joy at Brody's first steps or first words but I imagine the feeling I had that night was the closest I am ever going to get. I pulled up the blog on another tab and listened to this music. I shed tears mixed of joy and pain. Tears that were so confused but they came out anyway. The pain of missing my baby and the equal amounts of joy that he was and still is my sweet baby boy and he was helping me do something so amzaing. I had an overwhelming feeling of warmth and calm come over me.

I knew everything I am doing is exactly what God had planned for me and that feeling has no words. I had this feeling that God wanted me to do this, like it was a job he had planned for me. Of course, I wonder why He trusts me with this job but I know I can't give up on Him or doubt that there is a reason.

I wish everyday was as good as that day was. I wish I could sense a bad day coming. Last Saturday, a bad day snuck up on me and I found myself on the greiving mother's site asking and begging for someone to talk to. All the mothers on the page are so kind and helpful. Someone posted this and it struck a cord with me "Loss is universal, grief is individual. We share a common loss but our journey is our own". In the middle of that dark moment, I didn't want to see the light at the end of the tunnel or the silver lining but looking back to it now, I think I found that quote for inspiration, inspiration for my journey.

The auction was huge and so amazing but of course now I'm thinking about what Brody and God have planned for me next ;)