October 26th

We are just 4 days shy of Joshua’s 1st birthday. How is it possible I’ve lived without my son longer than I lived with him? How is it possible that it’s been a year (a whole entire year) since he was born and subsequently died?

Time flies. When Joshua died, time stood still. I didn’t know what to do with the days, hours, and minutes that lie ahead of me. Once I found how to stand on my own two feet again, life continued like it had before. Day after day went by, months passed in a blink of an eye, and here we are a year later.

Oh how I wish Sunday could be different. I would do anything, absolutely anything, to have him here with us; to watch him take his first steps and to watch him devour his birthday cake complete with a frosting covered face.

Instead, I’m not quite sure what Sunday holds for us. I’ve been dreading this day since October began. On October 1st, I had a fairly decent meltdown. Work was torturous that day. It’s a rare occasion that my husband is home before I am but he was that day (thankfully). I went upstairs to our room to change out of my work clothes and when I didn’t come down right away, he came to check on me. I was crying so hard that I could barely get words out. We sat on the bed and talked for a bit. I didn’t realize that simply changing from September to October would hit me so hard. But last October was filled with so much anticipation of the pending arrival of our baby. I was so excited to meet the baby, to find out if the baby was a boy or girl, and to finally after a year of trying and 9 months of being pregnant, to have a baby in my arms. Last October was so different.

Fear also set in as last October 1st, everything was fine. Just like it is now, being pregnant with our second. Everything seems to be going well. But as I know from experience, it doesn’t always turn out fine. I got a chill of fear that what if this happens again? On October 1st, I was scared it would. We’ve made it this far and what if we come home empty handed again?

As we come nearer to his birthday, I’m feeling a bit more calm. I’m feeling good about my current pregnancy and even caught myself daydreaming about what life will be like once she arrives (I haven’t let myself do that yet). I’m hoping Sunday can be a happy day, full of remembrance and love for someone who has changed our lives for the better.

I miss Joshua. Every day. I pray that God gives him great things to do in Heaven! Whether it’s watching over someone, being someone’s guardian angel, or whatever else he could be doing up there. I hope he’s making a difference.

I love Joshua. More than I ever expected. I love him as if he were here on Earth. I love him unconditionally. And I will continue to love him all the way up to the day when we are together again.

Happy birthday sweet baby! I hope Heaven is filled with balloons and all the cake you can eat. We’ll be celebrating your life here on Earth but I’m sure your party in Heaven will be much superior.

I love you Joshua!

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10 Months

Yesterday marked 10 months since Joshua was born and subsequently died.  10 months.  That’s a hard number to swallow.  I cannot believe it.  In fact, I didn’t even realize that yesterday was the 26th.  Shortly after I got to work, my mom text me.

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I touches me that my mom remembers.  And almost hurts that I didn’t.  I felt badly for not knowing it was the 26th.  In the beginning, I dreaded days.  I dreaded the weekends and counted the weeks since Joshua was born.  Now it feels like each day is the same.  There is no fearing a Friday or Saturday to arrive (the day I went into the hospital and the day he was born).  There is no looking at the calendar in anticipation that the 26th is arriving soon.  It’s just a day like any other.  Part of me is happy and quite relieved I can say that.  The other part of me feels like I’m losing touch of my son when I don’t fiercely recognize these days.

Last week my cousin had a baby.  There have been plenty of births after Joshua, but this one hit me.  Not because I’m particularly close to my cousin, I don’t know what it was, but that night was hard on me.  I cried.  A lot.  The ugly, out loud, snot running down my face, can’t breathe kind of cry.  I couldn’t stop it.  The crying started on the couch, just watching TV.  Nothing triggered it.  I just couldn’t help but think how unfair it was that Joshua died.  Why me?  Why him?  Those questions I asked every day in the beginning.  I went up stairs into his room and brought out his photos.  This simultaneously made it better and worse.  The crying got worse, but my heart felt a little better.  I’ve looked at those photos a thousand times, but on that particular day looking at the photos made me feel like I was reliving the day.  I felt like I was right back in the pain the days after his death.  I wanted to text my husband to come home but didn’t want to bother him at his work function.

After I got all the deep down sobs out, I went to the bathroom to blow my nose and make sure my mascara wasn’t all over my face.  I went back downstairs to get my mind off things.  My husband came home shortly after.  He immediately knew something was wrong and asked me about it.  I just hugged him and said, “I miss Joshua.  It’s just not fair.”  He said, “I know, I miss him too.  He was too perfect for earth and God needed him for something bigger.  We have our little girl coming soon and Joshua will be watching over her.  You should have called me if you were having a bad night, I would have come home.”  It was comforting to know he missed Joshua too, but I didn’t like how he changed the subject to the new baby.  “I know, but that doesn’t make me miss him any less, in fact, sometimes it makes me miss him more,” I responded.

Getting closer and closer to our little girl’s arrival makes me miss Joshua more.  Her big kicks remind me of him.  Dreaming of (or dreading) her birth makes me missing him more as well.  I still have a hard time imagining what it’ll be like with a living baby at home.  Some days are so great.  Of course I miss him every day and try to tell him that I love him multiple times, but some days just feel normal now.  Then there are other days like last week when I just can’t stop the tears.  It’ll never be fair that Joshua died.  It’ll never be okay.  My pain won’t go away from not having him in my life.  Although, I know that I wouldn’t be pregnant right know if it wasn’t for his death.  I know this baby has a place in our lives that was meant to be, just like Joshua, and she wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that tragic event 10 months ago.

10 months ago was the best and worst day of my life.  I don’t know that many people would understand that and that’s okay.  10 months ago we had our son.  He was the most perfect and beautiful baby I’ve ever seen (I may be a little biased!).  I miss him.  We had 6 hours with him.  I wish we had the last 10 months.  I miss touching his soft skin and that soft hair.  I miss looking at his cute little lips, long eyelashes, and perfect nose.  I miss him.  I love him.  I always will.

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Announcing my Pregnancy after Loss – Mixed Feelings

I admit, it was hard for me to write that first post about my pregnancy.  Still, only 2 blogs since the announcement, it’s hard for me to talk about things that may hurt someone reading it.  Up until now, my blog has revolved around the stillbirth of my son and the pain that’s surrounded it.  I didn’t know how to announce my pregnancy to my friends or those who follow my blog but I knew it had to come out sooner or later.  My life is evolving.  It’s growing into something I never planned.  I planned to be pregnant a year before I was but it took a year for me to get pregnant.  I planned to have a 6 month old right now, not to be pregnant with my second child because my first died.  I planned to get pregnant the month we started trying again.  But life doesn’t always go the way we plan and I have to believe that’s for a good reason.

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I am truly sorry if my announcement has caused a tinge of pain to any of my followers or friends.  I’m hoping that isn’t the case, but I was afraid it may happen.  Those feelings are okay and they’re acceptable.  I understand, I’ve felt it before.  The pain of seeing that someone else is pregnant while I am not.  I know that feeling.  I’ve been happy for that person and sad for myself.  Loathing the fact that they can have happiness again and I’m just not there yet.  Avoiding their blogs and focusing on others that are still in my shoes.  If it’s easier for some to not follow my blog at this moment in time, I’m okay with that because I understand.

My blog is about my journey through the stillbirth of my son and that will not change.  My son is the reason I created this blog.  My son is the reason we are having another child so quickly.  My son is the reason I’m a mom.

Reading blogs of others in similar life circumstances has helped me tremendously through my deep, deep sorrow and helps me today as my grief comes and goes.  The community we have here has help me feel less alone, feel more sane, and has help me feel more me again.  For that, I thank all of you!  Your support has been amazing!

I’m hoping to jump into new writing.  Writing of my experiences of life after death where our second baby can bring renewed happiness and renewed strength.  I write that hoping that this is all roses and butterflies but I know that’s not the case.  I’m happy and sad, excited and scared.  I know this will be a long road until a baby is safe in my arms – breathing.  This is my life and this is my journey!

Emotional Weekend (Triggers)

Saturday, April 26th marked 6 months since our baby died.  6 months since he nearly viewed this earth outside of my womb.  6 months since our lives were turned upside down.  However, Saturday was a good day.  My husband and I made eggs, bacon, and toast and enjoyed the morning together.  And later in the afternoon, after a good nap, we went on a long walk with the dogs.  We didn’t discuss the past 6 months or the sadness, but we remembered our baby and made it a point to have a happy day.

Sunday, the hospital held a perinatal memorial service.  On the way there, my husband said he hoped the service wasn’t too sad.  He doesn’t want to remember the sadness.  Part of me wanted to be mad at him but I understood.  I know how positive my husband is and how great he is at seeing the positive in things – that’s something I love about him and something that’s helped me so greatly through these last 6 months.

We walked into the hospital and at the same time multiple pregnant moms were walking out.  They must have just gotten done with a labor and delivery class.  Poor timing to have the perinatal service at the same time all these beautifully pregnant women are enjoying their upcoming bundles of joy.  It was okay though, it reminded me how happy and excited we were when we were in that class.

We walked down the hall and turned the corner to where the service was being held.  I wanted to break down.  I did everything to hold back tears.  We sat down among the other parents.  The couple behind us was all sniffles the whole service.  Right before service started, the tears came.  It felt so fresh again, like I was back 6 months ago.  I had to stop myself before it turned into an uncontrollable audible cry.  I was almost there.  I could feel that ugly loud cry about to come just like it did the days after Joshua passed.

The service was beautiful!  The hospital did such a great job remembering our babies and made it known how important they were in all of our lives.  Not just as parents, but our babies were important to the nurses, to the hospital, and to the world.  We had the opportunity to walk up and say the name of our babies.  I had my husband do it – I wasn’t strong enough.  Then we were able to plant a dahlia bulb in memory of our babies.  I love these flowers!  I had them in the floral arrangements at our wedding.  I can only hope I planted it the proper way so it grows (I do not have a green thumb).

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I couldn’t help but wonder everyone’s story.  How did their babies die?  Does anyone have the same story that we do?  Was anyone there at the same time we were?  I wanted to chat with others there, but I didn’t know what to say.  How do you strike up small talk at a perinatal service?  “How are you today?  Crumby weather, huh?”  I couldn’t think of anything appropriate to say so my husband and I kept to ourselves.

There were so many pregnant moms again.  It was encouraging to see happiness again and new life where life had been taken away.  Happily I can say, one of those moms is me.  Not visible yet, only 8 weeks, but excited for the prospect of new life.  Excited for a sibling for Joshua.

We told my parents this weekend (we told my in-laws last weekend).  We recently got a new car and they hadn’t seen it yet, so we put the car seat in the back.  When they opened the door to the back seat, I told them I wanted to make sure the car seat fit since we’ll be needing it in December.  My parents started bawling.  My mom said that God was probably tired of hearing from her, begging for another grandbaby from us.

We are happy and scared, but more happy than scared.  I’m happy to be carrying new life.  A huge weight has been lifted from me.  Going through this process again brings back happy memories of Joshua, all the great times we had together.  But it also makes me sad to think that I’m going through this again so soon because Joshua is no longer here.

Here’s to hoping (and lots of praying) that these next 7 months go smoothly and we are able to take home our happy and healthy baby.

6 Months

Saturday, April 26th will mark the 6 month anniversary of Joshua’s birth and death.  It’s hard to imagine having a 6 month old baby right now.  As much as I want it and as much as I pictured my life differently 6 months ago, today I cannot picture it any differently than what it is now.  It makes me sad to think that I cannot picture my life with a 6 month old since that’s what I want so badly, but since I haven’t experienced it, I have no idea what it’d be like.

It’s been 6 months since we said hello and goodbye to our son.  6 months since our lives were turned upside down.  6 months since the best and worst day of my life.  6 months since I last saw his precious face and touched his soft skin.  6 months from when I thought the title of “mom” included late nights, spit ups, and dirty diapers to what it now means to me as mourning and loving someone who’s not here.

6 months down.  It feels like I’m recovering from an addiction when I say that.  6 months ago, I didn’t want to accept my “new life”.  This wasn’t how my life was supposed to go and I didn’t want to to be branded as the lady who’s baby died.  I didn’t want to leave the house because I felt everyone knew, like it was written across my forehead.  I didn’t want to be sad the rest of my life because a part of our family was missing.

These last 6 months seemed to have gone by in the blink of an eye.  Yet, 6 months seems lifetimes ago.  I’m not quite sure how I survived.  One day at a time.  One step at a time.  One tear at a time.  God has gotten me through the worst of it and I continue to lean on Him for strength.

“Rejoice in the Lord always.  I will say it again: Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

“Call to me and I will answer you.” Jeremiah 33:3

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'” Jeremiah 29:11

I know God is real and I know God is good, but there were times I didn’t believe it.  Even reading these verses sometimes makes me think “yeah right”.  The Bible says the Lord has plans to not harm us, but I feel like my life was harmed.  If God is so good, why did this happen to me?  If God is real, why didn’t he answer my prayers to revive my baby?  But I know God has a purpose for my life and for Joshua’s life.  I may not figure it out in this life, but I know that I will see Joshua again and I know I will one day be provided an answer to all the why’s.

6 months ago, I couldn’t tell you any answers to the why’s.  I wouldn’t have been able to tell you any good that’s come out of my son dying.  But 6 month into my “new normal”, I can tell you that I’m stronger.  I’m a better wife, daughter, and friend.  I know life is precious and I don’t take it for granted.  I’m able to help others who have been through something similar and able to comfort those who have lost loved ones.  I don’t take crap from others, I know life is too short to do so.  I know I would have been a good mom to Joshua, but I know I will be an even better mom to our future children.

6 months later, I miss my son no less, I love him more, and I will continue to strive to remember him.  Love you Joshua!

Joshua’s Room

While I was preparing for Joshua to arrive, I would go into his room, open the cabinet and the closet and stare.  Then rearrange.  I think I rearranged the cabinet and closet more times than I could count.  When he passed, I did the same thing.  I put the things I didn’t need right now on higher shelves.  I put the diapers away that I had opened in preparation for a newborn.  I returned everything I had bought myself along with a few gifts (unopened diapers, pack n play, extra car seat base, breast pump, monitor, bath time items, and some books).  I wanted everything out that I could.  I’m glad it was only big things like those that I can re-purchase easily.  Things that might be a new style by the time our next baby would arrive.  Things I can even purchase after the next baby would arrive.  I have everything I need for a newborn.

It makes me happy to look at those items we purchased for Joshua.  They remind me of how happy I was to become a family of 3 (5 if you include our dogs).  The little clothes I bought for him and were given to us bring back happy memories.  In the beginning, I closed the door and didn’t want to look in his room.  I wanted to move out of our house, out of the state, and start a new life.  Today I’m happy to look at Joshua’s belongings.  His things remind me of happy days and of hope I have for that happiness in another baby.  Not one that will replace Joshua (because no one could), but one that will fill our family and fill a void I have in my heart and arms.

After a couple weeks, I was able to open the door to his nursery again.  His room looked empty.  Nothing on the walls, no baby, no crying, no mess for me to leave for days because I’m too tired and busy with a newborn.  I made it a point to complete the nursery.  I put up pictures of Joshua and the Joshua 1:9 verse that my husband gave to me for Christmas.  I painted the bookshelf that we were using in another room, and put it in place.  I purchased little stand to place by the rocking chair.  Even though I knew I wouldn’t need this room for another 9+ months, however long it took for God to bless us with another baby, it was comforting completing his room.

Here is a photo of Joshua’s room.  The room that our dogs still like to hang out in.  We like to think they know Joshua is still here with us, even though he never spent time in that room outside the womb.  This photo was taken on a very sunny day, by my phone, so not the best of quality.  And yes, there are stuffed animals in the bed to make it seem less empty.  By the time baby # 2 decides to come, those will be gone.

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God Talking to Me

Last night I stood by the side of my bed before hopping in and decided my dry hands needed lotion.  I got the lotion out of the nightstand drawer and put a dollop on my hand.  While I slathered on my lotion, I looked at the Jesus Calling devotional sitting on the nightstand that was given to us after Joshua died.  I prayed, Lord, please guide me to open this devotional to a page where I can feel the words speaking to me.  Now, I really wanted this.  So many times I’ve prayed this same prayer and opened a devotional or the Bible to a random page and find nothing that relates to my current state.

Last night was different.

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God orchestrates the events of my life with a purpose in mind.  I know with certainty that Joshua’s life – and death – has a purpose.  One I may never fully know until I’m reunited with God and Joshua in Heaven.  God “orchestrates” my life, as in a beautiful symphony.  Joshua life was perfect.  It touches my life in so many ways, even though his beautiful song was one only lived inside of me.

When I encounter a rough patch, God’s light is still shining.  Oh boy have I encountered a rough patch in my life!  Yes, my life is bumpy right now.  Up, down, left, right.  I don’t know where I’m going.  What I do know is that without God, I would be going no where.  During my sadness, I don’t always feel God’s presence.  Maybe it’s because I don’t want to feel Him.  Maybe it’s because life gets in the way.  Maybe it’s because grief clouds my vision.  He is there.  Countless times I’ve cried out, “Why me, God?  Why Joshua?  Where are You, God?  Why can’t I feel You?  I’m sad and feel alone, where are You now?  I need You.”

“But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29

God is with us every day, every second, every moment of our life!  Watching us, seeking us, loving us – waiting for us to do the same for Him.

When you don’t feel God, know He is still there.  He is still beautifully and carefully orchestrating your life.  I see God as the conductor of life’s orchestra, directing us along the paths we are destined to be on and when we follow His lead, the result is exquisite.

God’s Guarantee

I recently started following Joyce Meyer on Facebook.  I love seeing her encouraging words and feel that God is speaking directly to me through those words.  On Saturday she posted “God’s Guarantee”.  This one can relate to so many.

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For me, the post could not have come at a better time.  God nudged me start following Joyce Meyer on Facebook on Saturday – over any other day – simply to see this post.  This post connected with me because she’s referencing Joshua, which happens to also be our baby’s name.

My husband gave me a frame with the Joshua 1:9 quote for Christmas and that verse rings true to me.  Do not be dismayed, do not be discouraged, for I am with you always.  Even in the midst of heartache when I feel alone, God is with me.  When I’m feeling discouraged, God tells me He’s by my side and I don’t need to feel down.

I can’t help but read the ending prayer over and over again.  I can truly feel God talking to me through this.

“Lord, of all the blessings in life, the greatest one I ask You for is that You will be with me as You were with Joshua.  I can do without a lot of things, but not without You.  Amen.”

I feel that God is speaking to me through this prayer, letting me know that our baby, Joshua, is okay.  Joshua is with God.  God loves Joshua.  God was with Joshua when he died and God is with me as I grieve.  And as I grieve, I must remember that I cannot get through this without God.

God is our strength to get us through any difficulty in life.

Watching Over Us

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Grief hits you at the most random times.  Yesterday I felt amazing.  I was happy with life and feeling blessed for Joshua’s life.  Then I was watching the Olympics and a P&G Moms commercial came on.  I love those commercials, but I started bawling.

Today I miss my baby.

This morning a friend posted a video on Facebook of her daughter laughing.  Her daughter is just 3 weeks younger than Joshua.  I couldn’t help but think, I wonder if he’d be laughing right now.  I wonder what his smile would look like.  One day I will know when we are reunited in Heaven.  Every day leading up to that I can only imagine what he would look like, smell like, be like.

We are a week shy of Joshua being born 4 months ago.  I wonder what it would be like with a 4 month old.  I wonder how my life would be different.  I wonder what he would be like and what milestones he would have accomplished by now.  Smiling, laughing, rolling over.

I believe in God.  I believe in a bright future.  And I have high hopes that one day I will be a mom of a living child.  One where I will enjoy all the smiles, laughter, and milestones.

I know God has a plan for my life and I know that Joshua was no fluke in that plan.  Joshua was planned.  Joshua’s life had purpose.  God blessed us with him for many reasons; some of which I don’t know of yet but hope to see down the road.  I feel blessed to have had Joshua in our lives.  Though today I am missing him, I know he his here.  Only the bereaved mamas can say that their children are with them at all times.  Living children leave the home to go to school, play with friends, go to college, get married – our children are with us every day of our lives watching over us.   

A Day of Love

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Valentine’s Day – a day of love, a day to express your love for someone, and a day for you to feel loved.

Today I celebrate my love for my husband, my son, and my dogs.  My heart bursts with love for you!!

Many mothers talk about how there is an instant love for your baby once you see him or her.  For me, that was immediately true.  I loved Joshua while he was growing inside me, but the moment he was in my arms, he stole my heart.  It was an instant, unconditional, forever love.  (To my husband, if he reads this, I love you more than words can express and I always will!  I don’t want you to feel left out.)

Though we only got 41 weeks with our baby, all of which were in my tummy, I wouldn’t change it for the world.  I miss my son every day.  I wish he was in my arms.  But if I hadn’t gotten pregnant, I wouldn’t have experienced that love.  I wouldn’t have had him.  He has forever changed my outlook on life and love.  For that, I am grateful.

So on this day of love, though my baby isn’t in my arms, I can feel him.  He’s watching over me and I know he is aware of how much I love him – I tell him every day!