Monday, October 07, 2013

Welcome, Baby Will!

I'm sitting here on my due date. Ever since we found out that another baby would be joining our family, we've looked forward to October 2nd. But we also assumed that we'd go past that date, since both Jack and Leah were born after 40 weeks. So imagine how delighted I am to be sitting here with my baby sleeping right next to me! Sweet baby boy decided to join us a couple of days early. This is his story.

I woke up at 2:30 in the morning on Sunday, September 29th with some sporadic contractions. I had actually gone to bed noticing them, but I was able to sleep through them for a couple of hours. I was awake from 2:30 until 5:00 and they went from 10 minutes apart to nearly nothing, so I went back to bed until the kids woke up around 7:00. We laid low all day Sunday, having contractions once in a while. By the end of the day, I was beginning to think we had another long labor ahead of us. I labored with Jack for 30 hours and with Leah for 28. I had really hoped to cut it down considerably this time. :)

I went to bed on Sunday night, again having some contractions that were manageable enough to sleep through for a little bit. By around 1:00 am, they were strong enough to keep me up. So I sat on my big exercise ball and listened to music and timed contractions. I'd had a feeling that things might pick up overnight, so I'd told Dan he should probably sleep downstairs so I didn't have to keep things quiet or dark. Contractions slowly progressed from 8 minutes apart to 5 minutes to 3 minutes. I knew they'd get stronger, but I was surprised at their frequency. I had been in contact with my midwife Kathrine for a couple of hours, and I woke Dan up at around 4:30 to help me. After an hour or so, we decided that we needed to make a decision about going to the hospital because if we missed a certain window of time, we'd wind up in about an hour of morning rush hour traffic. No thanks! So my dad came over to be with Jack and Leah and we left for the hospital at about 6:00 am.

We got to the hospital and checked in at the triage desk. A nurse hooked me up to the monitors for a little while and Kathrine checked me. I was at 3 cm and she could tell that the baby was still pretty high and needed to rotate a little bit in order to help me dilate more. I was a little bit discouraged at the number, and again was convinced that this meant another marathon labor ahead of me. Dan, Kathrine, and I walked around the hospital for a little bit to try to get things moving. Contractions had slowed down considerably since we'd left the house.

Once we were back from walking, I got back on the monitors for a few minutes and we chatted with Kathrine about what to do next. Since I wasn't progressing very quickly and I was at risk of getting over-exhausted before it was time for the real show to start, she suggested maybe going back home to rest (with a prescription for a stronger antihistamine to help me sleep). I knew this was a possibility, but I was also a little discouraged. But I was exhausted and knew that resting would be good. Before we did anything, she said, "Let me check you one more time." So she did and while she was, she said, "Hang on, I'm going to strip your membranes." So she did that and said, "Before I send you home, I want you to walk around for 30 minutes and come back here and we'll talk." So Dan and I left again and headed to get some breakfast. It was immediately evident that the membrane stripping (just the process of separating the bag of waters from the cervix--my waters were still in tact) definitely ramped up the contractions. I had three before we even left the building (we were headed to get breakfast in one of the Children's Hospital buildings), and I could hardly sit or eat without having to stop and focus on a contraction. After about a half hour, we headed back to my midwife. It was about 9:00 am at this point.

I again spent a little time on the monitors and Kathrine checked me. She said, "Okay, I'm happy with this. He's definitely starting to drop more. Let's see if we can get you in a room." I asked what my dilation was. "The number isn't important." I told her she sucked. :) But YAY, I was getting in a room and not going home!

We got into our room around 9:45. At 37 weeks, I had tested positive for Group B Strep. It doesn't mean much to carry it, but it's something that can be transmitted to the baby during delivery, so I had to have a round of IV antibiotics during labor. If things could be predicted well enough, they'd do the round of antibiotics exactly four hours before delivery. Unfortunately, we had no idea when he'd come. So they did the first round at 10:00 am and made plans to do a second round at 2:00 pm. My doula/photographer/cousin Renee came shortly after my first round of antibiotics were done. I continued to labor through extremely strong contractions. At one point I asked one of my nurses what my last dilation had been. She said 3-4 cm. I was surprised that was enough of a change to get us into a room, but pleased that it was better than nothing. But still--these felt like 7-8 cm contractions, NOT 3-4 cm contractions. That made me nervous.

After laboring for another hour or so, Kathrine checked me again. She said, "Oh, this is perfect. You're completely thinned out and soft, and he has rotated and dropped. Wonderful. Let's get in the tub!" I said, "Seriously? What am I dilated to?" She said, "The number doesn't matter. Let's get in the tub!" I told her she sucked again. :) As the tub was filling and the room was being transformed into "go time" mode, I overheard the nurses talking. They happen to need the actual numbers for my chart, and I heard them say something about 5-6. I thought, "Centimeters? There's no way I should be getting in the tub at only 5-6 cm." I know that sometimes the water can slow down labor, and that's really the last thing I wanted. But deep down, I would trust Kathrine with my life, so I trusted that she thought it was a good time to get in.

I got into the birth tub at around 11:35. The water felt amazing. The contractions didn't feel very different to me versus how they felt out of the water, but I could tell that the water helped me relax way more during the time between contractions. After being in the tub for about fifteen minutes, and during a particularly strong contraction, I said, "Um, urge to push! That can't be good!" In my head, I was still only 5-6 cm and I knew that if I felt the urge to push before I was completely dilated, I was going to have to fight that urge or risk making my cervix swell. Kathrine said, "That's fine--just go with it. Trust your body." So I let my body push involuntarily with the next couple of contractions. Before I knew it, his head was right there. And my bag of waters was still intact, which was amazing. I pushed out his head with one contraction and the water broke at that point. The rest of him came in one more push. (After Kathrine untangled the cord from around his neck--a nuchal cord is what took Hannah's life and I was fearful of seeing it again, even though it can happen and not be an issue at all). It was the most incredible feeling in the WORLD. I immediately pulled him up on me, and according to the photos that my cousin took, I started crying and stopped sometime a couple hours later. :) He was a little blue, which is common for water birth babies, since their head is still under water while their body is being born. And since the water had literally JUST broken, he had the amniotic sac stuck to his body. It was so crazy. (The fact that my water didn't break until his head was born was also good news on the Group B Strep front. They wanted the antibiotics in my system for at least four hours. We only got two. But Will never actually came in contact with the birth canal--he had the bag protecting him the whole time!)

William Joseph Bennett was born at 12:03 pm. I had gone from 5-6 cm to 10 cm in less than 20 minutes. And he was born about 10 minutes after I had the urge to push. From when I consider active labor started, he came in a reasonable 11 hours. Thankful he didn't follow in his siblings' footsteps on that one. :)

Once the umbilical cord had stopped pulsing, it was clamped for Dan to cut. We were separated and Dan was able to have some skin-to-skin time with Will while I got out of the tub to deliver the placenta. And while our experience up until this point was so ideal and amazing, the next 24 hours were a bit of a doozy. I ended up bleeding a little more than they would have liked, which made for a very "medical" postpartum recovery period. All in all, I lost about 2 1/2 liters of blood, but I luckily never needed an infusion.

Shortly after I delivered the placenta, Kathrine brought it over to me and said, "I need to show you something." She pointed out the cord going into the placenta and said, "This is what's called a Velamentous Cord Insertion." Basically, instead of the cord going INTO the placenta, it just attaches to the outside. (I had heard of it before because it's one of the issues they found with Grace, of The Missing Grace Foundation, after she was stillborn). It's (obviously) not always life-threatening, but it is concerning and it's something that should have been caught in an ultrasound. Kathrine said, "Let's just say this little guy had a guardian angel, and I think we both know who it was." And we cried. I looked up some more information about it when we were in our room later. When a VCI is caught via ultrasound, they will often induce labor early to avoid the chance that the placenta and cord will detach from each other. There are also often complications if a labor goes on too long. So what I got from that was that God clearly had his hand on this baby, and the fact that I went into labor on my own before 40 weeks and had a considerably shorter labor than my first two babies was not at all a coincidence. I was also initially frustrated that it hadn't been caught, but I after thinking about it, I believe that God was protecting me from knowing about it. It would have been one more anxiety-producing contribution to this pregnancy. It was as if he said, "Will is going to be fine. There's no reason to make Erin worry about one more thing."

All in all, this whole experience was very healing. No, it doesn't mean that we're that much more "over" losing Hannah or Charlie. But we have safely welcomed a rainbow baby into our family, and we couldn't be more thrilled to have him here!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The bereaved are not immune

When you lose a baby (or babies), you are not automatically ushered into a life where your current or future children always behave angelically. Where your pregnancy goes by quickly and without pesky symptoms. Where your life is perfect.

Bereaved parents are not immune to the humanness of this life.

When we first attempted to navigate through life after Hannah's death, I remember being really angry with people who complained about their perfect, healthy babies. Or their children who had the ability to cry and scream and throw tantrums. And honestly, sometimes I still get angry. Some people are clueless.

But mostly, I've been forced to walk a very thin line between the bereaved mother who misses her babies and knows what a gift her children are, and a frustrated mother who just wants her kids to stop fighting, dang it! And she'd also like this heartburn to let up. And to sleep uninterrupted by bathroom breaks and hip pain.

Last week I had to stop at Michaels for one item. As I tried to complete my transaction with the cashier, Jack and Leah were arguing over who got to carry the one item out of the store. After handing the woman my check card, I turned to them and said, "You guys. It is not a big deal. Please stop." The cashier finished and the woman in line behind me drummed up her snottiest voice, looked past me at my fighting children, glanced back at my belly and said, "And you want to have another?" No, it wasn't even a question. Imagine it more as, "And you want to have another," almost with a disapproving shake of her head.

I wasn't sure what to say. I think I just looked at her blankly, gave a small chuckle, and left the store. I wanted to say, "Oh, if you only knew what we've been through to 'have another.' Then maybe you'd keep your disgusting mouth shut!" But I didn't.

As I've sat with this experience for a week now, I have a kinder answer for this lovely woman.

Yes, I do want to have another. I want to have another because I understand the beauty that comes with new life. And I appreciate that beauty even more now that I've had to give two of those precious lives to the Lord.

I want to have another because I understand that these sibling arguments will cease and I will long for the day when I can watch them fight again.

I want to have another because I know that these annoying pregnancy maladies will end and I'll be left staring into the eyes of a baby I've longed for for over two years. Eyes I didn't get to stare into when I delivered Hannah or miscarried Charlie.

I want to have another, even though he may scream and cry and cause us all to lose a little sleep, because I'll remember that I would have given my right arm to hear my stillborn daughter make a sound.

So as much as I was taken aback by the rudeness of this woman, she has made me aware of something. That I know both sides. And that knowing and living both sides is a gift. One of those gifts that you wish you hadn't had to accept, but one of life's curve balls had other plans.

It's having perspective and having grace. And remembering that I'm human.

And not immune.

Monday, August 05, 2013

An update of sorts :)

Hmmm. I've inadvertently taken a two-month blogging break. Yeah, things are a little crazy around here :)

For one, we closed on a new house on June 4th. We spent a little over a month fixing it up (lots of paint and random projects) and moved in on July 13th. Now we're just getting settled and unpacked and trying to get used to the fact that we live on the other side of town from where we used to. Nearly every trip somewhere makes me think, "Okay, how do we get to _____ from here?" I think I'm finally getting the hang of it. And the house is just amazing and exactly what we needed. A fresh start.

Oh, and I'm in my third trimester of this very complicated rainbow pregnancy. Complicated because each day is very different and unpredictable. One day I can be really positive and confident and actually picture meeting the little guy. Enough that I can even wash, dry, and fold tiny baby clothes and buy some tiny diapers and make a hospital bag packing list. And then there are days when I wonder how on earth I can just assume that everything is going to be okay. And my mind thinks of all of the things that can go wrong between now and when he is supposed to be born.

One thing that has really helped is seeing a psychologist who deals with helping women heal from past traumatic birth experiences. While re-reading a book about childbirth a couple of months ago, I realized that the fact that my last hospital birth experience was delivering my stillborn daughter might play a pretty big part in my experience this time around. So I asked around and found a wonderful woman in St. Paul. And I feel much better about going into another labor experience being aware of the things that can come up, but also being aware that this baby is writing his own story.

Eight weeks left (or closer to ten if he follows in his siblings' footsteps). Either way, October is going to be here before we know it. Which is wonderful. I can't wait to meet this little man whose feet are currently kicking just about right through my belly. :) I can't wait for Jack and Leah to meet him--they are so in love already, rubbing my belly and talking to him. And I can't wait to tell him about his other brother and sister who made it possible for him to be a part of this family.

Sunday, June 09, 2013


It may appear to be a standard "belly shot."

This picture just happened to be taken last week when I reached 23 weeks and 2 days. A year and a half ago, 23 weeks and 2 days is when we met Hannah.

The whole week leading up to that day, I kept thinking "Hannah was probably gone by now." And as if on cue, baby boy would flip or kick to let me know that he was definitely not gone.

Our pastor was able to put some words to this complicated time for me in last week's sermon. We're studying Acts, and the last couple of weeks have focused on how we respond to storms. Sometimes we survive them, sometimes we can't avoid the bad waves and our boat is capsized.

The truth is, our boat DID capsize on November 5, 2011. I remember people telling me it was okay to be mad at God. And I knew that it was okay--that God could handle it. But I never felt that. I knew that somehow, in the midst of our pain, God was (and is) still good. And when we got pregnant again, we trusted a God we knew was good. And when that pregnancy ended too, we still trusted. What other option did we have? Sink in an ocean that had claimed our boat yet again?

My lightbulb moment last Sunday came when our pastor explained why we continue to trust when things go wrong, particularly repeatedly. We trust because he has proven to be trustworthy by the work he did on the cross. We're not just trusting because it's the right, godly thing to do.

So I've made it past the point where we said hello and goodbye to Hannah. This is the most pregnant I've been since March of 2009 when Leah was inside me. And obviously making it past this point doesn't guarantee us anything. We aren't promised a healthy, living baby just because we've made it to ___ weeks. But that doesn't mean that I have to spend the next 17 weeks in fear. I will continue to trust. To trust a God who is good. A God who gives good gifts. A God who will carry us through whatever lies ahead, whether than includes parenting this boy in this world or not. A God who has given us good reason to trust him.

*If you're interested in checking out the whole sermon, you can watch here:

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day

As I said on Facebook, Mother's Day is complicated. I understand both the joy and pain of this day.

I came across a blog last week and want to share part of the author's (Amy Young) post:

To those who gave birth this year to their first child—we celebrate with you
To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you
To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you
To those who experienced loss this year through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away—we mourn with you
To those who walk the hard path of infertility, fraught with pokes, prods, tears, and disappointment – we walk with you. Forgive us when we say foolish things. We don’t mean to make this harder than it is.
To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you
To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you
To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you
To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
To those who experienced abuse at the hands of your own mother – we acknowledge your experience
To those who lived through driving tests, medical tests, and the overall testing of motherhood – we are better for having you in our midst
To those who will have emptier nests in the upcoming year – we grieve and rejoice with you
And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising –we anticipate with you
This Mother’s Day, we walk with you. Mothering is not for the faint of heart and we have real warriors in our midst. We remember you.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Nothing can separate us

I was reading the One Year Book of Hope last night before bed and loved their "amplified" version of Romans 8:38-39, so I wanted to share it here. :)

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life [not cancer, a car accident, crime, or calamity], neither angels nor demons [not evil in the media or crazed psychopaths], neither the present nor the future [not any current crisis or any tragedy that may be in my future], nor any powers [not a demanding boss, a cruel dictator, or a blood-thirsty terrorist], neither height nor depth [not winning the lottery or losing my life savings], nor anything else in all creation [not a hole in the ozone, a forest fire or a hurricane, a hungry shark or a killer bee] will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book recommendations

I recently added two books to the Resources tab and wanted to review them briefly.

He Heard Hannah by Lynnette Kraft and Courtney Becker was brought up on a babyloss Facebook page and obviously caught my attention because of the title. And it was super cheap for the Kindle, so I grabbed it and ended up reading it last week. It's a fairly quick read and a really touching story. The book is written by both authors, each taking every other chapter. Lynnette and her husband have nine children, three of whom are in heaven. They lost two sons at or shortly after birth and their daughter Anna was born with a heart condition that they knew would eventually claim her life. Courtney (male) was the 911 dispatcher who talked Lynnette's husband Kyle through the last moments of Anna's life. This event completely altered the path of his life, and he eventually reconnected with the Krafts. The book is an amazing testament of how God can use the pain in our lives for good.

The One Year Book of Hope by Nancy Guthrie is a book I've had on my shelf for over a year. It came in a care package from a wonderful organization after we lost Hannah. It's by the same author as Holding onto Hope, which I read right before I lost Charlie and completely devoured and adored. It's a story of their grief journey, coupled with a study on the book of Job. The One Year Book of Hope is a daily devotional (but without dates, so you can start when you want and take as much time as you need). :) Each week has a different theme (such as "Brokenhearted," "Holy Spirit, Comforter," "Sovereignty of God," and "The Mysteries of Heaven") and begins with an introduction. There are then five days of related studies (with a scripture, prayer, and am opportunity for "digging deeper" in more scripture) and a closing day with reflection, meditation, and prayer. This book has been so refreshing, and I love digging in every day. If you're looking for something to read daily, I'd definitely recommend it.

Monday, March 04, 2013


I'm not about to tell people how they should grieve, but I do find myself saddened by the fact that more people don't live with hope. Being thrust into this babyloss community, I have a front-row seat to everyone's struggles. And sometimes those struggles are downright despair with no glimmer of hope anywhere.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have really hard days. I am sad that Hannah and Charlie aren't here. But there is always hope. The God who carried us through our losses still carries us today. I can't imagine how hard life would feel without Him.

The other night, I was driving home from St. Paul when this song came on the radio. It was totally a gift from God right when I needed it. A perfect reminder that He has been there all along. He IS constant, good, and sovereign.

You were reaching through the storm
walking on the water
even when I could not see
in the middle of it all
when I thought You were a thousand miles away
not for a moment did You forsake me
not for a moment did You forsake me

after all You are constant
after all You are only good
after all You are sovereign
not for a moment will You forsake me
not for a moment will You forsake me

You were singing in the dark
whispering Your promise
even when I could not hear
I was held in Your arms
carried for a thousand miles to show
Not for a moment did You forsake me

and every step every breath you are there
every tear every cry every prayer
in my hurt at my worst
when my world falls down
not for a moment will You forsake me
even in the dark
even when it's hard
you will never leave me
after all

not for a moment will You forsake me

Praying for friends today, wherever they are in their grief. Praying for hope.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Reflections on an unplugged weekend

I think it's fair to say that I've been rather disgusted by the overuse of social media and the personal devices that make it so easy to have everything we "need" right at our fingertips. From play dates where I had to compete for attention with someone's smart phone, to holiday gatherings where everyone was so plugged into their own little world, to this:

Really? And maybe this photo was doctored up, but the fact is that I don't think it would surprise anyone to see that the entire first family was on their phones during the inauguration. 

And then I came across this blog and these two posts in particular:

And while I'm not personally convicted by these posts, they do make me really sad. Because I see it, too. And it's not just the parents who are plugged in. It's the kids sitting at the restaurant (or the checkout lane at Target or the doctor's office waiting room), playing on their parents' (or even worse, their own) iPad or smart phone. 

Now, don't get me wrong. Plenty of the apps on our iPad and Dan's iPhone are games for the kids (and some are even educational--bonus). Not to mention the access to Netflix. But we definitely limit the amount of screen time that the kids get everyday. And we certainly aren't taking these devices out of the house in a regular basis. But both kids are quick to ask, "Can I play the iPad?" if they are even approaching "bored" territory in their day. And the answer is usually "No," or "Okay, but just for 5 minutes."

But then I got thinking. Are our (general American family "our") kids programmed to be entertained by something or someone every moment of the day? Yes, they are. I notice it when Jack has more than a couple of days off of school. He's not used to the lack of constant classroom stimulation. And just the fact that my kids alone are so quick to ask for something to play with/on before they even begin to try to entertain themselves with something else was eye-opening.

So, I proposed a weekend of technology detox.

And the best part is that my family didn't freak out at the idea. They actually welcomed it. And I secretly thought that they were in for a rude awakening. :) After chatting with my husband, we decided on this past weekend--Friday night through Sunday night. And while I didn't want it to feel like a structured "thing," these were our basic ground rules:

Both laptops and the iPad were turned off and put away in our bedroom. 

Since we don't have a landline, our cell phones were placed on the counter in case we needed to be reached and were taken with us if we left the house--but only to be used for answering the phone.

Our only television time would be two designated movie times, with all of us watching the same thing together. 

Thank you, redbox.

And that's it. We started when Dan came home from work on Friday. And we survived! In fact, it didn't feel THAT different from a normal weekend. Here are some thoughts/highlights.

Both kids (okay, mostly Leah) would ask to watch something or to play with the iPad, but as soon as I said, "No, we're not doing that this weekend," they said, "Okay," and moved on.

A lot of the things we did instead of relying on devices are things we do all the time anyway: we ate every meal together, we read, we cleaned, we played with Legos, we did homework, we colored, we did laundry, etc. Getting rid of the devices didn't open up this whole world of, "Oh my word, look at all the stuff I have time to do now that I'm not tied to my smart phone!" And for that I am grateful. It let me know that maybe our "plugged in-ness" is at a reasonable, moderate level.

It was so quiet. Sometimes I'll turn the TV on to watch the news and realize a couple of hours later that I never turned it off, and we just get used to that noise in the background. But the quiet is so amazing. Even constant music via iTunes or Pandora can make me crazy after a while. I just need to hear nothing. Except for the owl that lives in a tall tree somewhere in our backyard. So awesome. :)

Jackson did two things that made me smile. After already getting his allotted 30 minutes of reading done on Sunday, he grabbed another book and said, "Could you set the timer for 15 minutes? I'm going to keep reading." :) Then out of nowhere in the car, he said, "I think we should unplug every weekend." I said, "I like the way you think!"

Logging back on last night was most disappointing! As I scrolled through my newsfeed, I thought, "Seriously? This is what I missed?" You all could have been much more interesting! ;)

So, there you have it. Am I leaving facebook or swearing off the use of devices? No. Although I don't know that I'll ever have the desire to move on from my basic non-smart phone. The break was nice, and I'm sure  we'll do it again once in a while. But I am also coming away from the weekend knowing that we have our priorities pretty well lined-up. There's obviously always room for improvement, and some days and weeks are harder than others in this area.

I'd love to challenge you to try an unplugged weekend. And I'd love to hear how it goes!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Liebster Award

Sweet RaeAnne has nominated me for a Liebster Award!

This blog award is granted to up and coming bloggers with fewer than 200 followers who deserve some recognition and support to keep on blogging. What is a Liebster? Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.

RaeAnne has asked 11 questions for the 11 people she nominated for the award. Here are my answers. :)

1. What do you love most about your baby/ies?
I have four babies. Jackson is almost 7, and he's the baby who made me a mom. :) My favorite thing about Jack is his heart. He is so kind and tenderhearted. Leah is my first girl and is 3 1/2. As my husband says, God literally put a ray of sunshine in Leah when He made her. And it's true--she just radiates joy. My third baby is Hannah, and my favorite thing about her is how much she has enriched our lives, even though she died before she was even born. She brought life through her death. My fourth baby is Charlie, and I love that I knew he was a boy. It is a small thing, but after two losses and questioning how much I actually knew my  body and the things going on inside it, I was thrilled to learn that my mother's intuition had been right. :)

2. What character from a book would you like to meet (even fictional ones)? Why?
Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables. It's a story I've loved for so long, and I'm re-reading the books right now. And they're just so fun. Anne is just so unique and amazing. And Gilbert is the quintessential literary gentleman.

3. If someone could bring you a meal right now, what would it be?
Soup! I am all about soup right now, especially with these sub-zero temps we've been gifted with in mid-January Minnesota. Brrr. I love a good tomato soup. Or chicken noodle. I actually have two soups that I found on Pinterest on my menu for next week--potato soup and tortellini soup. Looking forward to those dinners!

4. What is the best thing someone has said to you after your loss?
I can't think of a specific thing, but just acknowledging the loss and not trying to explain it. Saying something is important--staying silent is painful. And trying to explain it is ridiculous and usually results in something hurtful.

5. What reminds you of your babies the most?
Footprints remind me of Hannah. Even when Leah sees footprints, she calls them "Hannah footprints." :) I don't have a specific thing that reminds me of Charlie. Definitely seeing their names or initials in other places.

6. What's your favorite song/book/movie?
Song: Wow, this is hard! I feel like I have to pick one out of a billion good ones. :) In regards to grief, I really love the Steven Curtis Chapman song "Not Home Yet." Just a great reminder that as painful as life on this earth without our babies is, it's a drop in the pond of the eternity we'll get to spend with them. THIS isn't home.
Book: To Kill a Mockingbird. It's the first book I remember reading for school and not hating. :) And it's just amazing.
Movie: The Sound of Music. Classic. I've probably seen it a hundred times, and it never gets old.

7. Who do you admire most?
Oof, another impossible question. I'm going to have to pick more than one. :) First, my mom. She's one of my best friends and there are many things I love about her, but I admire her for how she faced cancer. It's been almost 9 years since her diagnosis and she faced it with confidence and grace. And survived, so that's awesome too. :)
I also admire my husband for breaking free from generational crap, for lack of a better word, and being an amazing and present husband and father.

8. What's one thing you wish people knew about you?
Hmmm. I don't think there's much that people don't know! I'm an open book. ;)

9. If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go and what would you do?
Either Hawaii or the UK. Our honeymoon was in northern MN in July, so I've always wanted to take a tropical trip with Dan. We'd do absolutely nothing but lay in the sun and relax. :) And Dan went to England and Scottland when he was in college and has always wanted to return. So I think that would be another fun trip.

10. What's the best date night you and your spouse ever had?
Our anniversaries are always pretty awesome date nights. It usually involves a restaurant that we'd deem too expensive any other night of the year. :) Last year was our 10th anniversary and we had dinner at Fogo de Chao (which rocked) and then went to Comedy Sportz (a local improv group that we also saw on our first date). It was a pretty fun night!

11. If you could redo your wedding day, what would you change/what would you keep?
There isn't much I'd change. If anything, I'd choose a different season. We got married on the hottest day of the summer--the dew point was literally over 80 degrees (making the heat index like 115 or something). It was insane. I would have much preferred spring or fall, but since I was still in school, it was much easier to do it in the summer.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

For Ellen

One of my favorite famous people is Ellen DeGeneres. Her birthday is in January, and after a random viewer sent in a duct tape likeness of Ellen, Ellen decided to allow others to send in handmade "Ellens."

Well, how could I say no to that?

Meet crocheted Ellen.

Isn't she just irresistible? I know the skirt and the bow in her hair are a little far fetched, but I think the tennis shoes make up for it. And the hair was just plain ugly without the bow. :)

I'm also enclosing gifts for her nieces: an elephant for Eva and a pig for Perry.

Hehe! :)

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Time stands still

While running some errands with the kids last night, Jackson told me, "We're making a star at school, and we have to write five things that we remember about 2012. I wanted to write 'My mom lost a baby,' but my teacher said it had to be stuff about me."

I said, "Well, I bet we can think of some other things to put on it. But that was sweet of you to remember Charlie."

"No, I meant Hannah and Charlie."

"Well, we lost Charlie in 2012. Hannah was actually in 2011."

"Wow, it's been a long time. It doesn't feel like it."

Tell me about it, kid!

Sometimes the fact that it's been over a year since Hannah was stillborn makes my head spin. And now that we're past the six-month mark of losing Charlie, it's even crazier. And it doesn't always hit me just how much life has been lived in the last 14 months. Sometimes grief feels all-consuming.

But then we have an amazing breakfast date with friends. Or I get to snuggle with my newly non-napping Leah or listen to Jack, my budding reader, read me a book. And I remember that we have experienced a lot in the last year+. A lot of pain, but a lot of life. A lot of life.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Happy New Year!

I remember exactly what I said on Facebook on December 31, 2011. That 2011 had kicked my butt and I was looking forward to 2012 with hope and peace.

And then 2012 sort of kicked my butt too. Crap.

So now we're entering yet another year. 2013. And what am I?

Glad for a fresh start.

I'm trying really hard not to brace myself for another butt-kicking. It might come, but I'd rather trust that God will carry us through whatever he has for us, just as He has so faithfully the last year+.