Monday, December 10, 2012


Some dates are so significant. And sometimes I hate that. It's one thing if the date is a birthday or anniversary--a happy event. But when it's the anniversary of your baby's death, or the due date of a baby who didn't make it, then dates kind of suck.

Today is a significant date for two reasons. First, it is six months since I miscarried Charlie. And second, today should have been Charlie's due date. Double whammy. Just another chapter in the book of Things Are Not the Way They Should Be

And subsequent loss is such a tricky thing. Because beyond the emotions of missing Charlie and wishing I really was 40 weeks pregnant, there is this counterpart that says, "There should never have been a Charlie! Hannah should be here, and she should be 9 months old." But she's not. So there was a Charlie. And now there's not.

Christmas butterflies courtesy of Carly Marie.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Bean Sprout Baby!

Last fall, I taught myself how to crochet. And as the fall progressed with all of its craziness, crocheting became very therapeutic.

After the holidays last year, I decided my very unofficial New Year's resolution would be to open an etsy shop in 2012. At with just a couple of months left in the year, I've done it!

Please, take a look! Enjoy! :)

Monday, November 05, 2012

one year

Grief is funny.

Not "ha ha" funny. It's unpredictable and annoying. It's necessary. It's messy.

If someone had sat me down on November 2nd last year and said, "Here's what you've got to look forward to in the next year. Here are the losses, challenges, and CRAP that await you," I don't think I would have necessarily welcomed that news with open arms. "Bring it on! Let's see what we can handle!" No. Please just let me keep living my normal, easy life. Please.

However, looking BACK at this past year from here, having survived it, I'd do it again. What? Yes. I'd do it all again because we've not only lost this year. We have gained. We have been gifted with so much. Amidst the pain, there has been life. There has been hope. We have felt God near us in ways that we never have before.

Rather than get into this more in writing, I will share the video from this weekend's services. I was honored to  share our story during our annual "Novembering" services. It was a very sweet, humbling time.

My portion starts around 14:20 and runs roughly 9 minutes. But if you can spare the half hour, I think Steve's intro and closing are really poignant, and Wayne's story is very sweet as well. And the video ends with the scrolling list of names that our community has lost over the past year. Even when you don't know someone on the list, it's always such an emotional part of the service. Both Charlie's and Hannah's names are on the list, which Elizabeth Hunnicutt accompanied with her amazing song, "Grows Hope."

(Sorry you'll have to deal with following a link. My non-premiere vimeo account won't let me embed) :)

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Fall Garden

In fall
the garden is spent
having given its all.

Cucumber vines lie exhausted on the ground
Tomato plants list to one side
Cornstalks stand dignified and empty
Sunflower faces droop earthward, 
shades of their former selves.

All that has not been claimed lies moldering in the dirt--
          a bruised tomato, a forsaken pepper...
                    a misshapen pumpkin, a trampled stalk of beans.
What came from earth is returning
to the place from whence it came.

There is an intimacy here,
          in the fall garden,
                    gazing at living things in their demise.
I want to avert my eyes, avoid this tender grief.
Is this life or is this death? I cannot tell.

Ah, but there is beauty here
          amid all this death and dying.
To have given one's self fully
at least once
that is the thing.

To have spent oneself in an explosion of color
          to have offered one's body for food,
                    one's very soul for nourishment...
It is an unseemly generosity,
beauty of another kind.

In fall
the garden says, "This is my life, given for you." 
And we are fed.

Ruth Haley Barton

Saturday, October 27, 2012


On Thursday afternoon this week, I got an email from one of our pastors. He asked if I'd be willing to share some of our story during our annual Novembering (remembering lost loved ones) services next weekend. As in, during the main service. In our not-so-tiny church.

I said yes.

And then I felt like I was going to throw up for about the next hour.

But I knew as soon as he asked that it was something I needed to do. As I told him, any opportunity I have to tell our story and maybe help one person through our experience, it means that our babies haven't died in vain. That there is a reason for everything we've gone through in the last almost-year.

It's going to be a crazy weekend. The services are November 3rd and 4th. Last year, we found out Hannah had died on November 3rd and my induction began on the 4th. What a difference a year makes. We are also set to celebrate Hannah's birthday on the 4th, as well as attend a brick dedication ceremony where Hannah's brick is because we had one placed for Charlie as well. And then Monday is her actual birthday, and I'm sure I'll be a mess. Maybe I'll go to bed Monday night and, by the grace of God, wake up on Friday. Is that really too much to ask? ;)

Anyway, I'd greatly appreciate your prayers--right now, as I write out my story, for clarity. And next weekend, as I actually share, for peace and clarity. And that I wouldn't throw up, pretty much....

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 15th

In October, 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, stating:

"When a child loses his parent, he is called an orphan. When a spouse loses her partner, she is called a widow. When parents lose their child, there isn't a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirth, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes."

The co-founders of decided on October 15th as a day where communities could better understand the pain of those grieving the loss of a child or children--a day to reflect on their pain and embrace them in love.

If you or someone you love has lost a child, you are invited to light a candle tonight at 7:00pm (in any time zone) for one hour to honor those lives lost.

All historical information given is courtesy of

Saturday, October 13, 2012

This is why

After an unfortunate run in yesterday with an anonymous comment on an old blog post, I came across this post today on Franchesca's blog. And it could not have been better timed. THIS is why I write. And it's why I don't just write about the pretty, comfortable stuff. Because grief isn't pretty or comfortable. It's messy. And unpredictable.

And so I'll KEEP writing. Just try and stop me. ;)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Last year

My dear friend Amy coined a phrase that I find myself using a lot lately.

The ghosts of autumns past.

Normally the change in the temperature, the emergence of fall decor, and the too-early-emergence of Christmas decor/music/etc would be a welcome shift from summer. But now it just conjures up painful memories.

We're getting to the point in the year that, one year ago, our lives changed forever. So the next month is full of dates that were just normal days one year ago, but that will now forever be significant.

One year ago today was my 20-week ultrasound. We got to see our precious baby (choosing to keep the gender a surprise) and marveled at God's handiwork of tiny fingers and toes. Halfway to March 1! We ate a celebratory brunch at IHOP. :)

I remember a scrapbooking retreat, a girls' night out, a parent-teacher conference. And I was pregnant. Blissfully unaware that just weeks later, I no longer would be.

Halloween is probably the hardest day to think about at this point. That was the last time I really felt Hannah move. It was the last big event before the rest of that awful week unfolded.

And then my mind moves beyond November 5th. To the first surreal days of this new journey. To fitting into regular jeans way too soon. To picking up my daughter's ashes. To a trip to Duluth as a newly bereaved family. To surviving Thanksgiving. To dreading December and the happiness of Christmas. Because I wasn't happy. I was broken. And mad. And not pregnant anymore.

So what do these ghosts of autumns past do? They make me want to crawl in a hole. To put on my yoga pants and take a nap for about a month. To hide. To wallow. To despair. But really? That would just be giving in to these ghosts. These ghosts that have no authority to touch me in the slightest way.

So here's to not giving these ghosts power. Because I truly believe in the One who wants more for me than to dwell on how hard things were last year. One who encourages us to have hope in the future and believe there are bright days ahead.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hannah's birthday

November 5th is quickly approaching. And since there's nothing I can do to stop that date from getting here, I'm trying to embrace it and think of the ways we can celebrate her very brief life.

In March, I had some very sweet friends honor Hannah's due date by releasing pink balloons. It was the most touching gesture, and I love the idea of doing it again for her birthday. Our family will be visiting the Angel of Hope statue where Hannah's brick is placed and releasing a pink balloon from there. If YOU would like to join us virtually, you are invited to release one pink balloon on either November 4th or 5th. (Just because it's easier to get our family together on a Sunday rather than a weeknight, we will be celebrating and releasing on Sunday the 4th). If you do release a pink balloon, I'd LOVE a picture of it! Feel free to email it to me at or post it on Facebook and tag me.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Prayer flags

A few weeks ago, Carly Marie posted something on Facebook about a project she was taking on in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on October 15th. She is inviting people to make prayer flags and send them to her so she can construct banners out of all of them for a ceremony she will hold at the beach (in Australia, where she writes all of the names in the sand). Well, a few of us decided to make flags and send them together to save on shipping. :) Our shipping day is Friday, so I figured this afternoon that I better get them done. And this is what I came up with! I knew I wanted their names and dates, and I added Bible verses to them. I had bought a few other things to decorate them, but I liked how simple they were with just the embroidery and a little bit of ribbon. So I decided they were done. :) Can't wait to mail them!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Missing out

Once in a while, I am hit with how much of Hannah's life we are missing out on. Jack is downstairs cleaning his room right now and I just heard him say her name. And then I imagined how we'd be hearing her name if she were here. "Hannah just rolled over!" "Mom, Hannah needs a new diaper." "Hey, I think Hannah just woke up." She should have joined us in March, so she'd be about six months right now. We'd be starting solid food. We'd be making her laugh. She'd be blowing raspberries and developing a distinct personality.

Sometimes I feel like I'm doing really well. And then sometimes I feel like this post happened a lifetime ago. I'm mad that I don't get to use her name to talk to her on a daily basis. And then my iTunes plays Steven Curtis Chapman's "Not Home Yet" and I remember that life on this earth is such a blip on the screen compared to what waits for us when we die.

But it still sucks sometimes.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Color Me Mine

A couple of weeks ago, my friend RaeAnne invited us to join them at Color Me Mine (a paint-your-own pottery studio in Maple Grove) on Sunday the 19th in honor of August 19th Day of Hope. Instead of all four of us going, I decided to take Jack with me for some art time. :) Luckily we were some of the first ones there because it took us a while to pick out what we wanted to make. Jack finally settled on a basketball piggy bank, and I picked out two small boxes, as well as letters to adhere to the top for Hannah and Charlie. It was a really fun experience--wonderful to sit and chat with RaeAnne, awesome to do something artistic with my little artist, and amazing to make something for my sweet babies who live in heaven.

On Tuesday, we got a phone call from Color Me Mine that our stuff was done and we could pick it up! So we did right away, because Jack was REALLY anxious to see his basketball. :) I don't have a picture of that yet, but here are Hannah and Charlie's boxes that I made!

Friday, August 10, 2012

So many feelings!

If I were still pregnant with Charlie, I'd be approaching the point in my pregnancy at which I lost Hannah. But I'm not pregnant. So this day/week that I anticipated being very difficult is, instead, quite different. I'm obviously thinking about what we were going through last November as we approached the 23-week mark. But since I'm not carrying another life, I'm obviously not fearing another loss. So it's mostly facing a date that should have been significant in my pregnancy after a loss. But now it will be just another day.

We spent the better portion of the last week up north with my family. It was a great time of relaxation and fun, and I had some time to do some reading. In addition to plodding along in Anne of Avonlea, I also brought Turn My Mourning into Dancing by Henri Nouwen, which I've been reading on and off for a while now. It's SO good, and has the potential of being a really quick read, but it's also so RICH. I feel like I can only handle a little at a time. Anyway, reading some of it this week has been quite timely and refreshing. I feel like things are starting to heal. And while I would give anything to still be pregnant with my sweet Charlie, I know that there is some healing from our first loss that is still taking place--healing that wouldn't be taking place if I was still pregnant right now. So for that, I am thankful. The future feels hopeful again.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Molly Bears

Shortly after Hannah died, I heard of a ministry called Molly Bears. They make weighted teddy bears for people who have lost babies (to weigh as much as your baby did). Their waiting list is opened up once a month, so I signed up at the end of November to request a Hannah bear. At number 1628 on the waiting list, I knew it would be a while (the waiting list is sadly up to over 4000). So I waited patiently until a few friends got their bears recently because I knew I wasn't too far behind them. And sure enough, earlier this week, I got an email notification that mine had shipped!

The really amazing part is that when we lost Charlie, I emailed them to ask if there was any way to add to my "order" rather than adding another bear to the end of the waiting list. Within minutes, they emailed back to say they'd be able to add a Charlie bear to our Hannah bear, who was already in production.

This morning, I happened to check the tracking number they gave me, and it said "out for delivery." And I didn't even care when the mail carrier banged on our door and woke Leah up. :) I sneaked the box into our bedroom to open it alone. The first thing I noticed was that the bears matched. Clearly one girl and one boy, but they were family. And although my babies were not meant for life on this earth, they are brother and sister, and it's only fitting that they should look like it. The second thing I noticed, as I lifted the Hannah bear out of the box, was how heavy 14 ounces felt. I remember Hannah feeling very light (after having nine and a half pound babies, anything would have felt light), and I assumed my Hannah bear would just feel like a normal teddy bear and wouldn't require much of whatever they use for weighting the bears. But there is a significant weight to her, and I love it.

Here are my babies! 

What Molly Bears does is so amazing, and they do it as volunteers of a non-profit. If you are at all interested in donating or learning more, please visit their website

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hope and Hearts Run

In a little over a month, we are going to take place in the 7th annual Hope and Hearts event, benefiting the Missing GRACE Foundation. Missing GRACE  provides resources and support to aid families who have experienced a pregnancy or infant loss, infertility, or adoption challenges and to advocate for proper management of pregnancies for all women. And as you know, we were very blessed to have Missing GRACE at the hospital when Hannah was stillborn. We've also benefited from their support group and other resources available at their Center for GRACE in Rogers.

On September 8, 2012, we will be walking in the Memorial Walk to honor our babies Hannah and Charlie, who are waiting for us in heaven. And if you are interested in joining us, there are a number of ways you can participate!

If you want to be there the day of the event, you can walk or run in the 5K or Memorial walk. ***If you are interested in walking with us as part of Team Hannah and Charlie, please let me know!*** You can also choose from a number of volunteer opportunities that day.

If you aren't able to be with us but still want to participate, you can make a donation! This is a link to the Team Hannah and Charlie fundraising page:
Missing GRACE has been such a huge support for us in the last nine months, and I can't think of a more worthy cause at this point in our lives.

You can check out a more detailed list of all of the ways to get involved here:

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at
Thanks so much!

Friday, July 20, 2012

10 years

Ten YEARS. That's nearly a third of my LIFE. :)

Ten years ago, while storms raged outside the doors and windows of our sweet little church, Dan and I became husband and wife.

The last ten years have held a lot. Joy. Heartache. Excitement. Sadness. Hope. But I can say with confidence that there's no one else in the world that I'd rather have spent the last decade with.

I love you, my dear! Ten years is a pretty big deal. But I can't wait for the next 50. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

three years

Leah Margaret!

You are THREE!!! I can hardly believe that just three years ago we were doing this:

And now we're doing this: 

We had a lovely, low-key Dora celebration over the weekend, complete with a Dora cake and LOTS of Dora presents. :) 

When I think about the last year of your life, it's so obvious how much you've changed. You've grown physically, and you have SUCH a little personality. It's beautiful. Like your daddy says, we're pretty sure God put a little ray of sunshine in you when He made you! You are simply delightful.

In addition to Dora, you are all about babies. In fact, you apparently have one in your belly! And tickling you too hard isn't good for the baby, as you have informed us more than once. ;) You also love to be in the water, and that's definitely a new thing this year. When we get our kiddie pool out, you are in it the whole time we're out there. And we've taken a couple of trips to the beach that you have thoroughly enjoyed.

One of your best friends truly is your brother Jack, which makes this mothers heart so happy. It's amazing to watch the two of you playing around, laughing, and being creative together. Not that you don't have your sibling "moments," but you are mostly pretty friendly. And the third piece of your friendship puzzle is definitely Lucy the cat. Whether she likes it or not (but usually she enjoys the attention), she is definitely the pawn in many of your games.

We are so looking forward to the rest of the summer and the next year with you. So excited to see what God has in store for you. We're so thankful for the beauty, energy, and life that you add to our family. Bless you in the coming year, sweet girl. 

We love you!

Monday, July 09, 2012


I have been slowly collecting paper, printing pictures, and saving special notes. But tonight, just over eight months after Hannah's birth and death, I finally started her memory book.

Sure, it's just the first page. But I have a feeling this will be a lengthy process. Beginning was a necessary first step.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

The heartbreak

My friend RaeAnne posted this article on Facebook and it's too good not to share. I found myself nodding along to so much of it.

I could particularly identify with these:
It's resisting the urge to smack the clueless individuals who compare your situation to the death of their dog or who tell you you'll have another baby, as if children are somehow replaceable.
It's being shut out of play groups for perpetuity. It's skipping social events with expectant and newly minted mothers because, as a walking worst-case scenario, you don't want to put a damper on the party.

It's listening to other women gripe about motherhood and realizing that you no longer relate to their petty parental complaints because, frankly, when you've buried a baby, a sleepless night with a vomiting toddler sounds something like a gift.
Infant loss is pruning from your life the friends and relatives who ignore or minimize your loss. It's recognizing that, while they may not mean to be hurtful, the fact that they don't know any better doesn't make their utter lack of empathy one whit easier to bear.
Infant loss is more than an empty cradle. It's a life sentence.

Friday, June 29, 2012

It was a boy!

My midwife called about an hour ago. They were able to test the baby itself after I miscarried, and they got the results back this morning. There were 46 chromosomes, and they were able to see an x and a y. Baby Charlie was a boy! Of course, I knew it all along, but it feels pretty amazing to know for sure. It makes a very intangible loss feel more real. It was our son.  

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

On this day last year, I peed on a stick and learned that a third child would be joining our family!


Friday, June 15, 2012


It's been a little over seven months since Hannah died. Except that seven months came and went before I even realized it. June 5th is the first "fifth" of the month that has gone by without me noticing. By the 7th or 8th, I realized that I had missed it.

At first, I was kind of sad. Maybe even mad. How could I not realize it was the fifth? How could it just slip by without me noticing?

And then it felt healing. It became clear that I'm getting to the point where I'm not focusing on dates. I have to actually think about how many months it has been when someone asks me.

Deep down, I know that I'll never forget the important stuff. Like what my daughter looked like. And how it felt to finally hold her. And how much it hurts that she's not here.

But I know that we're making strides in healing. And that feels good too.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Baby Charlie

Well, I am very sad to have to let you know that our sweet Hannah has a sibling in heaven. Last weekend, at 14 weeks pregnant with our rainbow baby, I ended up in the ER with some bleeding. They couldn't find a heartbeat, and an ultrasound showed that the baby had stopped growing at about 11 1/2 weeks. Thankfully, I miscarried naturally at home the next day.

We named the baby Charlie. We don't know if it is Charles or Charlotte, but it seemed appropriate to give the baby a name. Charlie had been our boy name when I was pregnant with Hannah, and it kind of carried over into this pregnancy. And recently I'd thought about how cute it would be for a girl, too.

We're so sad to have to say goodbye to another baby. But we're reminded that we're not in charge. God has bigger plans and so much grace, and He's so much bigger than our pain.  ♥ 

Fear not

"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior"

Isaiah 43:1-3

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Time does not heal

I came across this lovely blog post today.

"If you know someone who has lost a child, don't assume they are 'over it.' It's something that never goes away."

Monday, June 04, 2012

Angel of Hope

Back in December, we attended the Angel of Hope annual candlelight vigil. There are over 100 angel statues in the United States, and one of the two in Minnesota happens to be at the Maple Grove Arboretum. Each year on December 6th, they have a candlelight vigil to honor children who have passed away.

Through the city of Maple Grove, you can purchase one of the bricks around the base of the angel statue to honor your lost loved one. After being blessed with people's generosity at Hannah's memorial service, we decided to use a portion of the money to buy a brick. I knew it would be installed sometime late spring and assumed we would just have to go find it sometime on our own.

About a month ago, I received an invitation to a memorial brick dedication. They do this twice a year to honor the bricks that are installed in the spring and fall. So yesterday, we got to see Hannah's brick and honor her sweet life in one more way.

This is the angel statue.

And my sweet Jack and Leah placing flowers on Hannah's brick.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Thoughts on six months

My friend Beth shared this post from another blogger about the six month mark after losing a child. I can identify with so much of it, so I want to share it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My silly kids

The other day, Dan and I were remembering a video we had of Jack singing at about age three. We watched it together and all got a big kick out of it.

Leah especially loved it and wanted to make her own version today!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Grief graphs

I came across these graphs made by a fellow bereaved mother on Babycenter the other day, and I wanted to share them.

Most of us think of grief like the first graph. We assume that grief gradually decreases as time goes on.

But grief is really more like the second graph. The "peaks" of grief remain as intense, or almost as intense, while the "good times" get longer and the peaks of grief get shorter. 

This illustrates something that is so hard for me right now. I feel like so many people just want us to be all better. To be at the bottom of the first graph--where enough time has gone by, so our grief is not as intense. But we will never be all better. The second graph will go on forever. 

In the beginning, I described it as two steps forward, one step back. We're in this constant motion of slowly moving forward. But some days (or longer), it's two steps forward, two steps back, over and over again while we just stay in the same place. Sometimes we graduate to three steps forward, but there's always that one step back. I anticipate that in the future, we'll get to ten steps forward, one step back. And so on. Walking in this grief for the rest of our lives, learning how to heal, but never getting all better.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

I love them

Sometimes I am struck by just how much I ADORE my children. Jackson will do something that makes me realize how much he's growing up and everything he's learning. Leah will sing a song in a silly voice and make us all laugh. Or we'll read a book together and crack up at the end even though we've read it a million times before.

And then I get mad that I'm not continually falling madly in love with Hannah. Don't get me wrong--it was love at first sight. And I'll never forget everything about her sweet little body. But I don't get to KNOW her on this earth. I won't hear her laugh or watch her build an impressive tower of Legos. I won't sit and read her a book for the millionth time.

But then I remember that I'll get to spend an eternity with all of my babies. And I trust that God will use that vastness to redeem what we lost on this earth.

Monday, May 07, 2012


"If you know someone who has lost a child, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died--you're not reminding them. They didn't forget they died. What you're reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and that is a great gift." 

~ Elizabeth Edwards

Sunday, May 06, 2012

International Bereaved Mothers Day

To my fellow bereaved mothers.

You are beautiful.

This is not a group that any of us wants to be a part of. To have to wait a lifetime before we can meet our sweet child or children.

But whether we hold our babies in our arms or our hearts, we are mothers. God chose us for this very special job. He has trusted us to carry a life that will spend its entirety with Him.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

six months

It's been six months since Hannah came into our lives. Six months since we welcomed her into our family and then gave her to Jesus. Six months since we cradled her earthly body, while her heavenly body was being cradled by the Lord.

Six months since we said hello, goodbye.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Mother's Day

The next two weekends are significant for babylost moms everywhere. Sunday, May 6th is International Bereaved Mother's Day, and Sunday, May 13th is, of course, Mother's Day.

My friend Beth wrote a lovely blog post today, and rather than try to rewrite what she did, I want to share it with you.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


"Gratitude in its deepest sense means to live life as a gift to be received thankfully. And true gratitude embraces all of life: the good and the bad, the joyful and the painful, the holy and the not-so-holy. We do this because we become aware of God's life, God's presence in the middle of all that happens."

Henri Nouwen

Friday, April 20, 2012

Good company

Our whole family went to a baby shower tonight.

Now, normally a baby shower wouldn't be a super exciting event for us. For one, I don't know that baby showers are EVER super exciting for men. :) And besides, we should have our own newborn baby right now, and I don't particularly enjoy being reminded of the fact that we don't at an event that is celebrating someone else's baby.

HOWEVER, this baby shower was different. The family of honor welcomed a sweet baby girl last month after losing their son at 20 weeks in the fall of 2010. This is the mama friend who cried with me on the phone the night before we were induced with sweet Hannah and told me about the Missing Grace Foundation.

Not only was this family familiar with the pain of pregnancy loss. Every other family at the shower knew the same pain. This group of friends met while attending the support groups at Missing Grace and they've so wonderfully taken us under their wings in the last five months.

There's something very humbling and comforting about being with people who have been where you've been. And, frankly, it's a really crappy thing that we all have in common. But once you are in this "club," you're so glad that the club exists. Because, heaven help us if we had to get through this mess of grief and pain without someone there to say, "I know what this is like. I know how much this sucks. I know how you feel."

Even when this exhausted new mama tells of her sleepless nights and possibly colicky baby's fussiness, you know it's still from a place of knowing how incredibly lucky she is to be holding this precious life. And of wishing she'd had the chance to spend sleepless nights rocking her fussy baby boy a year and a half ago.

So, welcome to the world, Adeline Beatrice. We're so glad you're here!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Samuel Evan

My sweet Hannah has a new friend in heaven. I was connected with RaeAnne through a former co-worker and I've followed her story since December. It's an amazing, beautiful story of strength and faith. Samuel was born on Saturday and went home to Jesus a few hours later.
If you'd like to read their story, RaeAnne has been blogging at Nothing Without You and has a wonderful way with words.
RaeAnne, I'm so sorry you have to join so many of us on this journey as a bereaved mother. <3

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wisdom from "Sacred Marriage"

"What I am saying is not simply the old Puritan truism that 'suffering teaches.' I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches. If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise, since everyone suffers. To suffering must be added mourning, understanding, patience, love, openness, and the willingness to remain vulnerable."
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh

"If we live without an eternal perspective, earthly trials become larger than life. Without the hope of heaven or the sense of the importance of growing character and refinement, there is nothing to prepare for, nothing to look forward to; it is like practicing and practicing, but never getting to actually play a game."
-Gary Thomas

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Our lives are full of losses—losses of dreams and losses of friends and losses of family and losses of hopes. Over time, there are more and more things we can be negative about. Resentment makes us cling to our failures or disappointments and complain about the losses in our lives. Resentment gives us a hardened heart, and we become resentful people.

Gratitude in its deepest sense means to live life as a gift to be received gratefully. But gratitude as the gospel speaks about it embraces all of life: the good and the bad, the joyful and the painful, the holy and the not so holy.

Jesus calls us to gratitude. He calls us to recognize that gladness and sadness are never separate, that joy and sorrow really belong together, and that mourning and dancing are part of the same movement. That is why Jesus calls us to be grateful for every moment that we have lived and to claim our unique journey as God's way to mold our hearts to greater conformity with God's own.

Henri Nouwen

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Where Mourning and Dancing Touch Each Other"

Based on the title of my blog, I thought yesterday's Bread for the Journey reading from Henri Nouwen was appropriate. :)

"[There is] a time for mourning, a time for dancing" (Ecclesiastes 3:4). But mourning and dancing are never fully separated. Their times do not necessarily follow each other. In fact, their times may become one time. Mourning may turn into dancing and dancing into mourning without showing a clear point where one ends and the other starts.
Often our grief allows us to choreograph our dance while our dance creates the space for our grief. We lose a beloved friend, and in the midst of our tears we discover an unknown joy. We celebrate a success, and in the midst of the party we feel deep sadness. Mourning and dancing, grief and laughter, sadness and gladness--they belong together as the sad-faced clown and the happy-faced clown, who make us both cry and laugh. Let's trust that the beauty of our lives become visible where mourning and dancing touch each other.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Great is thy faithfulness

Strength for today
And bright hope for tomorrow

Those are my prayers this week.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

six years

My dear Jackson boy,

SIX YEARS OLD???? Impossible. But it's true! You have been blessing us with your life for six whole years. And WHAT did we ever do without you in our family? I'm not really sure.

Six years ago, at 1:36 in the morning, you FINALLY entered the world and made me a mom. And we have SO enjoyed what you have added to our family. You are funny, and artistic, and so sweet and sensitive. You always have the most witty comeback or a hug at the perfect moment.

And MY, you are a tall drink of water. :) You're a kindergartner now, but I'm pretty sure you're the tallest in your class. It's pretty awesome! And speaking of kindergarten, you are so smart. It's just amazing to watch you learning how to read and telling us all about the new things you're learning. The other day in Michaels, you picked up a wooden ball and said, "I know what shape this is." Expecting to hear "circle," I said, "Cool, what is it?" And you said, "A sphere." :) You went on to tell me all about cubes and cones and cylinders. Smarty pants.

This year was your first "friend" birthday party. On Saturday, you and seven friends celebrated outside on the deck (thank you, unseasonably warm Minnesota March) with pizza, games, crafts, and cake. It was awesome, and it is so cool to watch you with your friends. You can be quite the comedian!

I adore your sensitive side and I hope it never goes away. You care so deeply about others. Your heart is so beautiful and I love the way you love. Your sister, who is definitely your biggest fan, also appreciates your tender heart. :) That's not to say you never argue, but you really are great friends and it's so fun to watch.

So, my dear boy, here's to another year. Twelve months to watch you continue to grow and mature. We love you SO much and are so grateful that you are in our family. Happy SIXTH birthday, buddy!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

The (almost) Birthday Boy!

Could someone please tell my BABY boy to stop posing next to a cake with a SIX on it? Because if he thinks he's actually SIX years old, well, that's just impossible.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Audacity of Hope

I've had hope on the brain since I posted the song yesterday. And then I visited Angie Smith's blog this morning and I just have to share her most recent post with you.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ah, spring

Just a week after that glorious snowfall, we've had a couple of lovely warm days. Today got into the mid-60s and this is the 5-day forecast:

Heavenly, right? My mom and I were talking about it today--it's days like these that promise hope. Usually it's after a long, hard winter. But even after this "fake" winter we've had, the hope of spring is still a magical thing.

Nichole Nordeman has a song called "Every Season" and the spring verse is so wonderful and hopeful:

"And everything that’s new has bravely surfaced
Teaching us to breathe
What was frozen through is newly purposed
Turning all things green"

I feel like this verse. Bravely surfacing after four months of a frozen, buried state. Learning to breathe.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

So, I got a tattoo

I've actually wanted to get a tattoo for a while, and I knew I wanted it to be something to do with peace. "Erin" is actually derived from the Greek word for peace (Eirene) and I've always loved that. When I decided that I wanted a "peace" tattoo, I felt like I had to wait for the perfect time in my life when I felt at complete peace and all was well in my world. Well, THAT never happened. ;)

Then we lost Hannah. And even though it was one of the most tragic events in our lives, there was an overriding feeling of peace. The moment the ultrasound tech left the room and Dan prayed for peace, peace came. And it truly was the peace that passes understanding. Because there was no logical reason that I should have felt anything but sadness and despair and anger. And we still felt those things. But God always brought us back to peace. To a promise that he is in control and is a big God who knows our hearts and faithfully carries us.

Then Carly Marie, the woman who writes lost babies' names in the sand, created the peace dove sand drawing (as seen on the memorial service invitation). And I loved it. So I took the picture to an appointment at Beloved Studios a couple of weeks ago and my artist Sarah drew a couple of possibilities for me, incorporating the kids' initials. So when I got there on Thursday, she showed me a couple of things and made a few adjustments and it was perfect! It was also really important to me to have this done on Hannah's due date. It's obviously a very significant date and I felt like I needed to do something big on (or around, because I certainly don't birth babies on their due dates) this date.

That's my story. And here's my ink. :) (It's on my inner forearm).

Saturday, March 03, 2012

letter to Hannah

I read this at Hannah's memorial service this morning.

My dear Hannah girl,

Your due date was this week. The day that I have anticipated since we knew you were growing inside me. As soon as we knew you were on your way, I wondered about a lot—like how close you’d come to Jack’s birthday. I wondered how long I’d be in labor with you. I wondered whether our first “surprise” baby would be a boy or girl! I wondered if you’d have hair. I wondered how big you’d be. It never occurred to me to wonder if you’d actually make it to your due date. To wonder if we’d have the privilege of bringing you home from the hospital. To wonder if you were anything but absolutely perfect.

I think it’s safe to say that our lives changed forever on November 3rd. To find out that you were not going to join our family on this earth after all. To find out that for some reason, God chose to take you to heaven before you got to be ours. To find out that the only time I’d have to hold you, you’d already be gone. You see, God had bigger plans for you. Unfortunately for us, those plans didn’t include life on earth. And something that brought me peace from day one was knowing that there is a much bigger picture that we can only see a part of. God sees it all.

Your tiny body was placed in my arms at 2:05 am on November 5th, and I couldn’t believe how small you were. But you need to know that even though you weighed less than one pound, your weight in this world was significant. Your life mattered. And with all due respect to my other babies, you were the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen. You might not have had a perfect button nose or chubby legs. But you bore the image of the One who made you. And that, my dear, is where true beauty lies.

In the four months since we said hello and goodbye, we’ve missed you so much. It’s amazing the depth of pain and loss we feel for someone who never even took a breath in this world. But it’s not just mourning the 23 weeks of your existence. We’re mourning the hopes and dreams that we had for you. You were going to be our third and final baby. You were going to be a baby sister to Jack and Leah. You were going to grow into a beautiful young woman and have babies of your own someday. We are missing out on not knowing your personality. Your quirks. Your fears and dreams. We will miss getting to know you. We will miss reading to you and singing with you.

Your brother and sister love to talk about you. Jackson wants to know if you are an artist like him. Leah wants to know what color your eyes are. She’s pretty sure they are blue like hers and Mommy’s. She loves holding our Hannah bear. She sings to it and talks to it like she’s talking to her baby sister.

Our lives have changed and our hearts are sad, but we know deep down that you’re the lucky one. As one of my favorite new songs says, “I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies and what they must sound like. But I will rest in knowing heaven is your home and it’s all you’ll ever know.” You will never know the pain of this world. Heaven, in all its perfection, is the only home you will ever know! And you get to hang out with the One who MADE you! His was the first face you saw. And as He holds your hand, he also carries us and holds us close. God is good, Hannah Marie. He is so good.

A friend asked me a hypothetical question a couple of months ago. Would we ever go back and change our circumstances if given the chance? To decide not to carry you if we knew from the beginning that you wouldn’t be ours forever? My answer was “Of COURSE not!” I got to spend 23 glorious weeks carrying you and loving you and learning from you. And you taught all of us so much in your short life and death. You taught me how to be brave. You taught us what it meant to feel peace in the midst of despair. To actually comprehend the peace that passes all understanding. You taught me how to love more deeply. You taught me how to be a better mom to Jack and Leah. Thank you.

And now, could you do me a favor? Could you go find my Mimi and give her a kiss? And my Poppa? And Grandpa? And Uncle Robin? And could you go hug Julie? And Michele? And Marie? And Nick? And if you need some playmates, go find Dana, and Isaiah, and Grace, and Brendan, and Ethan, and Abigail, and Eve, and Noah, and Chase, and Joshua, and the countless other babies who left entirely too soon.

Psalm 27:13, 14 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Hannah Marie, I love you.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


These fingers.

These fingers should be wrapping themselves around mine right now. They should be strong and connected to a perfect baby body who lived in me for nine whole months.

Love my girl. Wish we were spending her due date in anticipation of her arrival. ♥

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ah, that's more like it

This has been the most non-wintry winter in Minnesota. Well, we finally got a good dumping of the white stuff over night (enough to call off school, even!). I love how everything looks so clean and white.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Psalm 27:13, 14

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Dear Hannah

Your best friend Veda was born last night.

Unfortunately, you don't get to play with her yet.

I can't wait to hold her and watch her grow up. And tell her all about the best friend waiting for her in heaven.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Love this

‎"During pregnancy, cells sneak across the placenta. The fetus's cells enter the mother and the mother's cells enter the baby --and stay there for life. In mothers, fetal cells often take residence in her lungs, spinal cord, skin, thyroid gland, liver, intestine, cervix, gallbladder, spleen, lymph nodes, and blood vessels. The baby's cells may also live a lifetime in Mom's heart and brain. Implicated in health and disease, fetal cells may also behind some of the mind-shifts that happen in motherhood." ♥ Our babies are always with us...literally ♥

Friday, February 17, 2012

Pain is no measure

I was driving home tonight listening to Sara Groves, and I just love this song.

I especially love "Pain is no measure of his faithfulness" and "I am nodding my head an emphatic yes to all that you have for me."

Beauty for Ashes

I looked at Hannah's ashes.

When we had her cremated, the funeral home gave the ashes to us in a little white box. Her name was printed on a boring white sticker. It was clear that we were going to have to find something prettier to put her ashes in, particularly by the time we had her memorial service, but also because we're planning on keeping them in our house (rather than interring them). We looked and looked, mostly online, and found a couple of possibilities. I tried looking in a couple of stores around here, but let's face it--shopping for something to hold your daughter's ashes is a sucky thing to have to do. My mom said she'd look around at the design center where she works, and she found a lovely stone box that the owner of the store GAVE her as a gift for us.

So, since we finally had something we loved for Hannah's ashes, I decided it was time to open the little white box. The box always felt light, but there was nothing to prepare me for how little space her ashes actually take up. They are in a little plastic bag with a tag from the funeral home on it. It's almost nothing. It's profound to think that someone who has had such a huge impact in our lives was reduced to a very small amount of dust.

The next day, I came across this quote on Pinterest (that I had previously seen shortly after we lost Hannah):

The combination of the quote and my experience the night before made me think of Isaiah 61:3
"...and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor."

And then the verse made me think of this song. Please excuse the video, but trust me when I say it was the best available! But really, the sound doesn't line up with the video, so you're better off just listening to it. Or reading the lyrics.

Crystal Lewis-Beauty For Ashes - Crystal Lewis and ; Ron Kenoly(In English)Video Clip from fernandomartinez on GodTube.

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When sorrow seems to surround you
When suffering hangs heavy oer your head
Know that tomorrow brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fearGladness for mourning
Peace for despair

When what youve done keeps you from moving on
When fear wants to make itself at home in your heart
Know that forgiveness brings
Wholeness and healing
God knows your need
Just believe what He said

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fearGladness for mourning
Peace for despair

I once was lost but God has found me
Though I was bound Ive been set free
Ive been made righteous in His sight
A display of His splendor all can see

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fear
Gladness for mourning
Peace for despair

Thursday, February 16, 2012

We don't despair

Sacrifice is absolutely essential for human growth; yet the abiding disposition of sacrifice is rarely established without some experience of suffering. Of course suffering itself does not make one holy and can even lead to despair. Despair is suffering that fails to teach.

Thomas Keating

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


God of history and of my heart
so much has happened to me
during these whirlwind days:
I've known death and birth;
I've been brave and scared;
I've hurt, I've helped;

I've been honest, I've lied;
I've destroyed, I've created;
I've been with people, I've been lonely;
I've been loyal, I've betrayed;
I've decided, I've waffled;
I've laughed and I've cried.
You know my frail heart
and my frayed history -
and now another day begins.

O God help me to believe in beginnings
and in my beginning again,
no matter how often I've failed before.

Ted Loder

Friday, February 10, 2012


It's been over three months, and there are still some days where the shock hits me as hard as it did the first day.

Wait, what? We actually lost a baby? I had to listen to my midwife tell me that the baby inside of me had died? I had to deliver a stillborn baby girl? That was me? Impossible. That kind of stuff happens to other people. Not me.

I should be 37 weeks pregnant right now. And I'm not. And the pain of that is getting harder and harder to deal with. I want to be complaining about cankles and heartburn. I want to be washing baby clothes and buying newborn diapers and packing a hospital bag.

And as painful as right now feels, I know it's only going to get worse as we approach March 1. Because after that, she should be here. Right now I should just be pregnant, and that hurts in its own way. But once we hit that due date, I will always be able to figure out how old Hannah should be. What size clothes she should be in. What grade she should be starting.

And it's still all so hard to believe.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

When you lose a baby

A page I follow on Facebook linked to this today and it's really good. So I'm sharing it here. :)

Sunday, February 05, 2012


My cousin sent me a few song files when we lost Hannah. I listened to all of them right away and have come back to them once in a while. Today, I found this one and have listened to it at least five times since this afternoon.

If there's one thing I have felt consistently since November 5, it's weary. Sometimes it's a very physical feeling of exhaustion. Sometimes it's very emotional. It's just weary. And there's no other word that does the feeling justice.

I love the third verse:
Hast Thou not bid me seek Thy face,
And shall I seek in vain?
And can the ear of sovereign grace,
Be deaf when I complain?
No still the ear of sovereign grace,
Attends the mourner's prayer
Oh may I ever find access,
To breathe my sorrows there

He asks us to seek his face. But he doesn't just let us seek in vain. He's THERE when we seek him. Sometimes that's just hard to remember.

Choose Joy

"Joy is what makes life worth living, but for many joy seems hard to find. They complain that their lives are sorrowful and depressing. What then brings the joy we so much desire? Are some people just lucky, while others have run out of luck? Strange as it may sound, we can choose joy. Two people can be part of the same event, but one may choose to live it quite differently from the other. One may choose to trust that what happened, painful as it may be, holds a promise. The other may choose despair and be destroyed by it.
"What makes us human is precisely this freedom of choice."
Henri Nouwen

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Delight yourselves in the Lord
Yes, and find your joy in Him
Be known for your gentleness
And never forget the nearness of our God
And don't worry - whatever is going to come
Just tell God every detail
And the peace of God that no one understands will come to you
No, don't worry
Just tell Him every detail and His peace will come to you

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Living with Hope

So much easier said than done, but how I LONG to live with hope.

"Optimism and hope are radically different attitudes. Optimism is the expectation that things--the weather, human relationships, the economy, the political situation, and so on--will get better. Hope is the trust that God will fulfill God's promises to us in a way that leads us to true freedom. The optimist speaks about concrete changes in the future. The person of hope lives in the moment with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in good hands.
All the great spiritual leaders in history were people of hope. Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Mary, Jesus, Rumi, Gandhi, and Dorothy Day all lived with a promise in their hearts that guided them toward the future without the need to know exactly what it would look like. Let's live with hope."

Henri Nouwen

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's all she'll ever know

I was driving last night, listening to "Glory Baby" (aka, my Hannah Song), and the bridge made me almost have to pull the car over.

I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies
and what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home
And it’s all you’ll ever know

Shortly after we lost Hannah, someone who had experienced pregnancy loss told us something that was comforting to her was knowing that her babies would never know the pain of this world. All Hannah will ever know is heaven! For selfish reasons, I wish she could have knows just a little bit of time on this earth so I could really KNOW her. But I WILL know her completely someday. :)

Thursday, January 05, 2012

2 months

I actually didn't even realize it until I was getting Leah down for a nap and couldn't even get through "Sunshine" without crying. Then the date popped into my head and I kind of lost it.
"What happened, Mommy?"
"Mommy's sad."
I lay down with her for a while and she took my hand and held it and then played with the tears dropping from my face onto her pillow.

We got a lovely package from a couple on Fergus Falls, and in it is a book called "The One Year Book of Hope." One of the first entries is called "Your Tears Matter to God." Thank goodness.
Ps 56:8 "You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book."

Miss you, sweet girl.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

All Things New

Happy 2012! Today has felt like the most decent day in a while. Maybe it's the feeling of a new beginning in a new year. Maybe it was the fact that the kids slept until 9:00. :)
I was driving this afternoon (which was dumb because it was SO windy) and listening to a Watermark CD that I got from a friend for Christmas. The first song was one I had heard before, but like so many other things since we've lost Hannah, it sounded new. I can't find a video or recording to share, but here are the lyrics.

All Things New
Blue skies that take me back to being a child
Trees with leaves that turn the colors I love
A heart that's beating to Your melodies ringing
And I am a miracle 'cause heaven is a part of me
And You are the song that I'm singing

I was created to love You
I was created to need You
I was created to know You
And I am a miracle 'cause heaven is a part of me
And You are the air that I'm breathin'

Because of who You are and who I am in you
You make all things pure
Because of who You are and who I am in You
You make all things true
You make all things new

And I'm so thankful for this life that I know
That I am no longer what I was
Because of Your love
And the beauty of the cross
I can see Your work in me
All things new
All things new in me
All things ne
All things new in me