Wednesday, October 1, 2014

#TryAllTheDiapers Giveaway extravaganza!

So many of you know I love cloth diapers.
I've been cloth diapering for 4 years now. (woah!)
So I'm very happy to be part of a massive cloth diaper giveaway.
Join in on the fun with an awesome group of cloth diapering bloggers and #winallthediapers!

Good luck and have fun!
And feel free to share it with all your friends!
Did I mention there will be 30 prizes won in this giveaway. Oh yeah it's gonna be good.

#TryAlltheDiapers Sponsors and Bloggers
Welcome to the #TryAlltheDiapers Cloth Diaper Extravaganza hosted by Maman Loup's Den and co-hosted by According to Carolyn and This West Coast Mommy!
Special thanks to lo-wren for the idea and for getting the fluffy ball rolling with many sponsors!
This huge cloth diapering giveaway event will have 30 winners - one per prize. Some of the prizes are open to both Canada and the US, US only, or Canada only. Check out this incredible list of sponsors and the wonderful prizes they're bringing to you.
***Note that there is a separate entry form for Canada/US prizes, Canada-only prizes and US-only prizes***

Canada/US

Organic Cotton Change Pad from Öko Creations - $29 Practical, portable, pretty… and perfectly eco-friendly: Öko Creations’ change pads fit this description to a… P! Made of soft, organic cotton and backed with waterproof recycled polyester laminate, these gorgeous change pads are compact enough for even a tiny diaper bag but attractive enough to leave out 24/7 on the change table. Bummis Fitted Diaper from Bear Bums - $26 Bear Bums provides all the best brands of cloth diapers, Tula baby carriers, and baby gear to discerning parents in Canada and the US. Owner Lindsay offers amazing customer service and personalized attention whenever you shop here! Bear Bums is generously sponsoring a Bummis flannel fitted diaper in winner's choice of girl, boy, or gender neutral print. Bummis flannel fitteds are a trim and super absorbent fitted diaper made from organic cotton sherpa and adorable printed flannel. These made in Canada diapers fit babies 10-30+ pounds and require a cover to be waterproof. Diaper Rite One-Size Pocket and Diaper Rite One-Size Cover from Zephyr Hill Blog - $20 As a mother of seven, I love to save money while diapering my children with cute, high-quality products. Diaper Rite, sold exclusively at Diaper Junction (affiliate link), is one of my favorite brands! You can read my Diaper Rite review to see how well they fit and perform. One winner will receive a Diaper Rite pocket in Sun (orange) and a Diaper Rite cover in Grass (green)! Eco-friendly Cloth Wipes from Thankful for Thorns - $30 These wonderfully soft and durable wipes are the most cost-effective alternative to disposable wipes. They are suitable for almost any need that a household will come across.
  • Set of 24 two ply wipes in the pattern(s) of winner's choice
  • Measure 7" X 8"
  • 100% Cotton Flannel
  • Stitched Finished Edges
The usage of cloths as an alternative to disposable baby wipes is quite economical and easy to use. Many people use a solution or spray the wipes with water before wiping. Personally I just wet my cloth wipes with water as needed. Usually 1-2 for a messy diaper. If you're already using cloth diapers this is an easy alternative to disposable wipes as you're already doing diaper laundry! Simply throw in with your dirty diapers and wash. Take just a little extra time and you can even accordion fold them so they'll pop out of a wipes container just like a disposable. Winner can choose the pattern(s) for the wipes as well as the stitching color. Ditch the Disposables: The Big Book of Cloth Diaper Savings and Mother-Ease Wizard Uno in Size Medium from Thinking About Cloth Diapers - $30 Thinking About Cloth Diapers has recently published Ditch the Disposables: The Big Book of Cloth Diaper Savings, a digital coupon book full of special cloth diaper and accessory discounts, savings and freebies! One lucky winner will receive a copy Ditch the Disposables. The winner will also receive one Mother-Ease Wizard Uno in size Medium (fits approx 18-27 lbs). The Mother-Ease Wizard Uno is a slim fitting all-in-one diaper with an ultra-absorbent stay-dry inner core. Thanks to its unique design, wash water flows through easily, making for easier washing and quicker drying times. This diaper has won awards in Europe and Australia but has been a well-kept secret in North America. 2 One Size Pocket Diapers from Sankofa Diapers - $28 Sankofa Diapers is a one size pocket diaper with bamboo blend inserts that feature the unique ability to stack your inserts based on if you have a front wetter (boy) or middle wetter (girl) to give the protection where your baby needs it the most. Sankofa is offering 2 diapers in boy, girl or gender neutral print (in stock) with two bamboo blend inserts.

US Only

OS Bamboo Fitted Diaper from Wonderful Bambino - $20 If you’ve not had the chance to try Wonderful Bambino’s Bamboo diaper products, what are you waiting for? Made from incredibly soft, 100% bamboo terry, Wonderful Bambino makes a range of cloth diapering products: fitted diapers, inserts, prefolds, and cloth wipes. If you’re looking for a reliable overnight diapering option, then Wonderful Bambino’s bamboo fitted is perfect for you! One lucky reader will win a one size bamboo fitted, in the color of his/her choice. Wet Bag, Pail Liner, and Pocket Diaper from Buttler Bottoms - $20 Buttler Bottoms is your one-stop shop for all things cloth diaper! This husband and wife team have created a cloth diaper store that has everything you’ll need to cloth diaper, from birth through potty training. With several natural fiber options, there’s truly something for everyone! One lucky winner will receive a wet bag, pail liner, and pocket diaper, in his/her choice of in-stock prints! 2 Classic Covers from Gen-Y - $34 GEN-Y Classic covers are virtually leak proof and very easy to use. An inner layer of PUL acts as a waterproof barrier, but is soft and flexible. The waist and legs are gathered so nothing escapes your diaper. Our binding is super soft, non-wicking jersey for your little one's comfort. Poly-resin snap closures allow air circulation, are more difficult for your baby to undo, and won't snag or wear out with time. Machine wash/dry with your other diapers... What's not to love? GEN-Y products are made in the USA. Tiny Tush Trim Hemp OS Fitted, Thirsties Duo Wrap, Planetwise Wipes Pouch, and Green Mountain Diapers Wipes from Re-Diaper.com - $41 Re-Diaper.com is one of lo-wren’s favorite places to shop for gently used (and often new) diapers. If you’re looking to de-stash, or looking for an affordable way to add to your cloth diaper stash, you need to shop Re-Diaper.com; buy used with confidence! Re-Diaper is giving away an amazing diapering package:
  • (1) Tiny Tush Trim Hemp OS Fitted in Like New condition (prepped, but never used)
  • (1) Thirsties Duo Wrap in Sz 2 (mango); New with Tags
  • (1) Planetwise Wipes pouch (orange woods print) in Like New condition
  • 12 pack of 2 sided terry wipes from Green Mountain Diaper in Like New condition
Hybrid Diaper Custom Slot from Little C’s Fluff - $36 Caylin is the WAHM behind Little C’s Fluff. Little C's specializes in quality, handmade, CPISA certified cloth diapers and children's clothing. She is donating a custom slot for a hybrid fitted. If you win you choose what print and colors you like best for your little one's bum. Gender Neutral Hybrid Diaper from Cuddle Butts - $27 Cuddle Butts is a company that provides an alternative to disposable diapers for the earth conscience mom and her baby. Offering solutions to diaper your baby without all the harsh chemicals of mainstream disposable diapers and wipes. Cuddle Butts will be donating a gender neutral hybrid diaper. The hybrid is made of two layers of poly polar fleece and an outside material of woven cotton, the soaker consists of organic bamboo fleece that is topped with bamboo velour. Check out a review of a Cuddle Butts diaper. Buttons Trial Pack from Give it Love - $21 Buttons Diapers offers quality, affordable, and adorable all-in-two cloth diapers for the modern baby. The Trial Pack from Buttons Diapers includes one (1) one-size diaper cover and three (3) daytime inserts. Buttons Diapers is an all-in-two diaper with two sizes of snap-in inserts. For more information, check out the Buttons Diapers Review from The Parenting Patch. Osocozy AIO Diaper and Wipes from Northern Natural Mom & Baby - $32 Northern Natural Mom & Baby is Retro Modern Melissa's local cloth diaper dealer. Northern Natural offers a layaway option, rewards, cloth diaper classes, and online shopping. The prize is an Osocozy AIO & pack of Osocozy wipes. Tiny Tush Diaper and Fuzzibunz Wet Bag from Irresistibly Green - $40 Tiny Tush One Size Pocket Diaper of in stock color or print and a white Fuzzibunz In & Out Wet Bag: Irresistibly Green is all about the eco-conscious family. We strive to provide eco-friendly products for the green minded family. From cloth diapers to reusable home goods, there are so many ways to reduce our impact on this Earth. Modern day cloth diapering has never been easier. Irresistibly Green offers products to serve your cloth diapering needs such as cloth diapers, diaper covers, and many cloth diapering accessories. Along with several styles of cloth diapers, including pocket diapers, all-in-ones, fitteds, one-size, and covers, they also offer cloth wipes, wet bags, pail liners, wipe solutions, liners, diaper doublers, and inserts. With many variations and brands, there is a cloth solution for everyone. In Stock Diaper Cover and Soaker from Little Owl Baby - $29 Little Owl Baby is a USA made, online cloth diaper retailer based in Simi Valley, CA. They offer quality all-in-two diapers that are sized to meet the needs of your growing baby. I fell in love with these diapers because of the quality and how long my daughter has been able to wear them. You can read my review of these diapers. One winner will receive one in stock Little Owl Baby diaper cover and one soaker. Wipes and Cloth Advocacy Onesie from The Bee Hive Buzz - $30 Momma Bee's Cloth Wipes are soft 100% Cotton Flannel, 2-Ply for absorbancy and softness and locally WAHM made by Momma Bee at The Bee Hive Buzz. Winner will receive 1 set of wipes along with one Cloth Royalty Tee! Winner can choose either cotton onesie or t-shirt up to size 3T and can choose between "Queen of Cloth" or "King of Cloth" text. Exclusive, Limited Edition Prototype Boingo Baby Cloth Diaper and Set of Boingo Baby Fasteners from Boingo Baby - $20+ That's right, this diaper is one of a kind--a prototype of a diaper planned for distribution. It may contain minor flaws and that makes this diaper even more valuable. Boingo Baby needs your support to make this vision possible. Join the Kickstarter event, see the planned prints, and make a contribution to the cause! Check out the new diaper here! Babywearing Drool Pads from Home Faking It - $20 Home Faking It is run by stay at home mother of three who specializes in homemade goods, baby shower gifts, party crafts, and much more. Home Faking It is donating babywearing drool pads for the giveaway! 1 Bag Cloth Diaper Powder and 1 Bag All Sport from Molly's Suds - $28 1 Coconut Stick and 1 Eco Bottom Liners from Eco Sprouts - $20 Diaper Dawgs Spray Collar from Green Team Distribution - $15 Diaper Rash Remedy Tube and Jar from Grandma El's - $25 Zen Rocks Necklace and Independent Teething Toy from Eyla's Imports - $15

Canada Only

AppleCheeks Bamboo Bundle from Lil’ Monkey Cheeks - $29 Lil' Monkey Cheeks is an online cloth diaper and maternity-product retailer based in Whitby, Ontario. Owner, Renee, offers personalized service to each and every one of her customers, sending along some tea and a personal note with even the smallest fluffy mail! She is offering an AppleCheeks Bamboo Little Bundle in the colour and size of the winner's choice. Hanging Diaper Pail from Funky Fluff - $24 Funky Fluff’s new hanging wet bag is the perfect solution for dirty diaper storage! Holds at least three day’s worth of diapers: great for home and travel! Check out Maman Loup’s review. Funky Fluff Stay Dry 2.0 in Bubbles from Lagoon Baby - $22 Funky Fluff’s Stay Dry 2.0 is a versatile, trim-fitting diaper that can work as a pocket, AIO or AI2. It’s one of Maman Loup’s favourites. Check out her review. Blueberry Deluxe Pocket Diaper from Cozy Bums -$28 Cozy Bums is your Canadian source for modern cloth diapers! If you're looking for one of the best selections in the country, Cozy Bums is the place to go. You can find a full complement of products by AppleCheeks, AMP, Best Bottom, bumGenius, Blueberry, Thirsties, Charlie Banana, and more! For this event, Cozy Bums is offering up a Blueberry Deluxe pocket diaper in the winner's choice of print! Check out the Blueberry Deluxe pockets review at Cloth Diaper Addicts. Nuggles Tuck-Wrap-Go Cover and Choice of Nuggles Wet Bag or Multi-Use Wallet from Itsy Bitsy Necessities - $32 Itsy Bitsy Necessities is about to celebrate 2000 fans on Facebook! In the meantime, they're offering up a Nuggles Tuck-Wrap-Go cover and your choice of a Nuggles Wet Bag or Multi-Use Wallet! Monkey Doodlez Swim Diaper and BambinoBUMS Travel Duo Wet Bag from Calgary Cloth Diaper Depot - $34 Fresh off a busy trip to the Baby Expo in Vegas, Miranda at Calgary Cloth Diaper Depot made it just in time to offer a Monkey Doodlez swim diaper and a BambinoBUMS Travel Duo wet bag. Perfect for the pool or that sunny vacation you're planning!

Whew! All these fantastic prizes total over $800! We've got three Giveaway Tools widgets, but it's easy to enter. Just fill out the appropriate widgets, based on where you live. One is for EVERYONE in the US and Canada, the second is only for our American friends, and the third is reserved for our Canadian friends. Good luck, have fun, and enjoy the fluff!  
Canada & US
(Don't forget to enter the Canada-only or US-only giveaways below!)
 
US Only
 
(Keep scrolling down for the Canada only giveaway!)
 
 
Canada Only
  Thank you to all our participating bloggers: Maman Loup's Den, This West Coast Mommy, According to Carolyn, lo-wren, Parenting Patch, Cloth Diaper Addicts, Retro Modern Melissa, Irresistibly Green, Modern Cloth Momma, The Pierogie Mama, The Bee Hive Buzz, Zephyr Hill Blog, Cloth Diaper Guru, Thankful for Thorns, and Thinking About Cloth Diapers. Disclosure: Maman Loup's Den, According to Carolyn, This West Coast Mommy, and participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations. One prize per participant. Please see Giveaway Tools form for full Terms & Conditions. If you have any questions or concerns, e-mail Lindsay at mamanloupsden(at)gmail(dot)com.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Loss and the life that follows.

It's been six months since we lost Zoe.
Six Months.
It's almost impossible to believe.
Half a year has gone by.

I think often about where I would be in my pregnancy with her now.
I would only have seven weeks left till my due date.
I think about the things we would be doing to prepare for her arrival.

We grieved hard when we lost our baby.
I got lost in a sea of depression for months.
I moved about in a fog day in and day out.
Blogging about everything helped my heart to process and to heal.

My heart felt so raw and so broken for a really long time.
It felt like I would never feel remotely ok again.
I wanted to hide away. To stay in bed all day.

I had a lot of support from so many people.
People who I had never met sent me little things to remember my daughter by.
So many privet messages, emails, comments, and even cards to let me know that I wasn't forgotten and neither was my child.

And I did begin to heal.

I remember one night sitting with a couple of girl friends drinking coffee.
We were talking about how my husband and I were doing after our loss.
The question got brought up about if we would have any more babies.
My answer was that I really didn't know.
I told them that my heart wasn't ready to try for that again.
Thinking of getting pregnant again and the thought of another loss was almost unbearable.
But I did confess that if it did happen I would be ok with it.

That was one of the last conversations we had on the subject for a while.
I stepped away from the blog world for a while needing time for my heart to just be quite.
The beginning of August my husband and I had planned a week long trip.
We needed to get away. To reconnect. To just be husband and wife for a while again.
To temporarily leave the roles of parenthood, jobs, and every day life.

Around two weeks before our planned trip I began to have pain in my back.
I didn't think too much of it as I have issues with my si joint from my first pregnancy.
But the pain got worse.
We were going to be driving out of state.
We had plans in place that couldn't be refunded
I began to not feel well at all.
I waited till the Monday the week we were to leave hoping maybe that I would wake up feeling better.
That morning I woke my husband up and told him my fears.

I was late.
I was having a lot of one sided pain.
I was scared.
An ectopic pregnancy?...
Could I really do this?
Could I go through this again?
Could our hearts really handle this?

And what about our trip?
We had been planning this for months.
Our marriage needed us to get away and reconnect
but it wouldn't be possible if my fears were coming true.

We agreed I would make a Dr's appointment for that day and find out what was going on.
At first I couldn't get in that day.
My usual midwife was fully booked and the other midwife in her practice was off that day.
I asked if my son's Dr was by chance available. She happens to be a friend and I knew if  I was going to have to hear that kind of news that day I would prefer it to be a friend.
But they couldn't get me in till late. And my husband would be at work.
I had to figure out what to do with the kids or come up with a different plan.
I called my mom but she was headed with my sister to a Dr's appointment and wouldn't be able to make it in time.

So I panicked.
I decided to go to urgent care.
I just needed to know.

On the drive there I considered just stopping at a drug store to buy a home pregnancy test
but I had told my husband I was going to urgent care so that's probably what I should just do. Plus if it was positive and I had to wait for a dr's appointment till later
I knew my mind would go crazy.
After a few minutes in the waiting room I was called back into an exam room.
I answered a lot of questions.
Then I waited.
After a while the nurse came it.

Positive.

The pregnancy test came back positive.
They were sending me for an ultrasound to see if they could locate anything.
I cried on and off.
Waiting in the waiting room for the ultrasound was so lonely.
I tried hard to keep my tears to myself.
A husband, wife, and mother all sat down.
I don't think I've ever been more grateful for a complete stranger as I was in that moment.

He cracked endless jokes and his care free demeanor pulled everyone in the room in.
I started laughing and then sobbing. They asked me what was wrong and I shared my fears as well as the fact that we had lost a baby earlier in the year.
I told them I felt like they were angels sent there for me that day.

I was finally called back into the large ultrasound room.
I couldn't believe how large it was. The lights were dim and there was a nice couch for family or friends to sit on. I thought of how nice it would have been to have a place like that for healthy pregnancy sonograms. But I felt in my heart that wouldn't be the case for us.
After a very long ultrasound with no conclusive answers my friend and doctor called me.
She wanted me to keep my appointment later that day.
The only things that could for sure be seen was a cyst on my left ovary, a dilated Fallopian tube, and no baby could be located.

I tried to keep my composure as I walked out of the room and into the waiting room.
The tech I'd had was wonderful but I felt like I didn't have any real answers still.
The strangers in the waiting room asked if I knew anything.
I shook my head no.
They told me they would be praying for me and the baby I was possibly carrying.

My husband called into work.
I ran to get some blood work done.
I called a friend from church to see if she could watch the boys for us so my husband could go to the appointment with me. She was more than happy to do so.

We went to the appointment and talked for a long time with Dr. C.
After a long discussion we decided to repeat blood work again in 48 hours and if anything got worse to go directly to an ER but she felt confident that I was just very early in pregnancy and that the cyst was causing the pain.
With permission from my Dr we decided to go forward with our vacation plans.
She told us to go, have a lot of fun, relax, and to enjoy every bit of vacation.
So that's what we did.

Our vacation was wonderful.
We needed it more than we realized.
The kids had fun with their grandparents.
My husband and I laughed harder than we had in months.
We talked and connected.

We came home from vacation and I had to have another round of blood work done.
My doctor called me as soon as the results came in.
The first round of blood work said that my HCG numbers were in the 450 range.
In 48 hours they were hoping to see them double.
By having them double it would make my chances of an ectopic pregnancy smaller.
They doubled in the 48 hours.
When I had the next round of blood work she was hoping that my numbers would be at least to a 6,000. They ended up coming back at over 14,000. Things were looking good.
We had another sono and the baby was so tiny. The size of a grain of rice.
My dates were off. No one could believe I knew I was pregnant as early as I did.

I have since had another sonogram done and the baby is looking wonderful.
We told our boys. Bug doesn't really understand as he's 2 but Monkey is over the moon about this baby. He prays for the baby every single night that the baby grows healthy and strong and that it's a girl. Apparently he wants a sister really badly.



I plan to write more about our journey of pregnancy after loss.
How we talked to Monkey about the new life growing inside of mommy after having only told him a month earlier that we had lost a baby.
I plan to get back into the groove of regular blogging about other things as well.
But for a few more posts my heart needs this space.
Thank you all so much for all of your love and support both in loss and in new life.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Storming the castle and other cool moves.

I thought I was doing pretty well.
I cried less.
I laughed more.
I didn't forget but it didn't hurt as much to remember.
I played with my sons while thinking of my daughter.
I was engaged and present with them.
I didn't feel like being physically sick when the 13th rolled around this month.
I could actually look at my friend's 25 week pregnancy update without completely losing it.
I even looked wistfully at her belly picture thinking about what my belly would have looked like as I would have been 25 weeks along as well.

Then Wednesday came.

I felt withdrawn.
I wanted nothing more than to go back to bed.
I wanted to hide away.
I wanted to get lost in the online world.
I didn't want my husband to go to work because the thought of the boys needing me was overwhelming.
I tried to keep it together. I really did.

But then my husband gave me the look and asked me the question.
"What's wrong?...."
I tried to brush him off and just tell him I was in a funk.
Just a weird mood that I couldn't shake.
"You miss her a lot today....don't you?..."
And that's when I lost it.

Tears came.
I couldn't stop them.
I couldn't hold it back anymore.
It felt like my secret was out.

I tried to hide it from the boys.
Tried to keep it together for them.

I'm not sure if our 4 year old asked my husband or if my husband just told him,
but he knew mommy's heart was sad.
He bound into the kitchen, dimples showing, arms open wide, and embraced me.
He wrapped his sweet little arms around my neck and held me as I held him.

"Mommy, I know your heart is sad today. So here's the deal..." In his typical 4 year old fashion he lays out a plan for our day full of snuggles and movies, extra hugs and kisses, and helping out with his brother.

I cried on and off all day.
I tried to hide it as best I could.
We snuggled and watched a movie.
Even Bug, who is usually on the go, climbed up to snuggle me completely on his own.

As I worked on making dinner that night I cried while cutting up onions.
I didn't think it was noticed as Monkey didn't say anything and wouldn't really look at me.
But as we ate dinner he said, "Wow mommy! These onions are TASTYYY! Even if they did make your eyes cry."

Oh that boy.

I decided we would end the day a little happier.
We walked to the doughnut shop.
Ice coffee for mommy and a doughnut to share for the boys.
"THIS is a happy ending to a sad heart day." -Monkey
We brought back our treats and watched Turbo.
And yes, I cried some more.

The next day Monkey asked me if my heart was still sad.
When I told him it was feeling much better, he looked proud and accomplished.
He told me that we would snuggle more that day to help my heart be even less sad.
As I watched my boys play sweetly together with their castle set, well as sweetly as they can while storming the castle gates, I couldn't help but imagine what it would have been like in two years. Monkey 6, Bug 4, Zoe 2. The three of them storming the castle gates together, slaying dragons, and taking on the world.

Later that night he asked me why my heart was sad.
I didn't know how to answer him.
He had asked me questions before.
I told him that mommy just missed some people a lot.
He asked me who I missed.
I didn't want to lie to him.
I didn't know what other questions may come if I told him I missed his sister.
I didn't feel it was fair to my husband for me to tell our son alone.
I told him I missed his daddy a lot that day.
I was relived that I hadn't had to lie but that I didn't have to tell him everything.
He asked me who else I missed.
People. I said people. That's plural.
I told him I also missed his Mima.
He asked me who else.
I knew he wanted the full truth.

I had so many thoughts.
How do I do this? How do I tell my oldest son that he has a baby sister in heaven?
What is the right thing to do? Do I tell him? Is telling him that news for me or him?
What might that do to him? Why isn't there a manual for this?!

I quickly changed the topic and got him distracted with something else.
I felt relived at first but quickly realized he just needed to know the full truth.
I told my husband that night about the conversation that took place.
We just sat together in silent sadness.
Sad for the life we have lost with our daughter.
Sad for the sister our sons are missing out on.

Today was a beautiful day.
The sun was shining.
Unplanned, my husband and I took Monkey into the backyard and sat at the picnic table together.
We began telling him how there had been a baby in mommy's tummy.
We told him how she's now with Jesus.
We reminded him of when mommy was really sick and he helped feed his brother dinner and friends and family brought us some dinners.
We told him what his sister's name was.
We told him we love her and miss her and how that makes us sad.

He listened intently.
His sweet little 4 year old mind trying to take it all in.
He asked us if we'll ever get to hold her.
He asked us if she was going to come back.

We told him that it doesn't work that way.
We told him we'll hold her some day when we go to live in heaven with Jesus too.
We told him how happy she is in heaven with Jesus.
We told him that it's ok to be sad and to miss her.
We told him it's ok to talk about Zoe and ask us questions.

He flashed his dimple smile and his eyes lit up as he said,
"Zoe would have loved me. I would have taught her all sorts of cool things."
And with that he took off into the backyard, showing off his ninja moves, and other cool things he would have taught his little sister.

We did the best we knew how.
And for now, that was enough.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Is God still Faithful?

The night my heart was breaking and I was losing our baby I created a playlist.
I titled it "Sad" because that's how I felt.
I began to add song after song.
I listened to the playlist I had created every day.

I had a deadline to meet for a dog expo I would be attending at the end of April.
I focused on sewing and listening to the playlist.
One day I really heard the lyrics to one of the songs I had added to my playlist.

"I am broken, I am bleeding
I am scared and I’m confused...

I am weary, unbelieving

God, please help my unbelief

'Cause You are faithful

Yes, You are faithful"



I listened.
Broken.
That had been the word I had been  using to describe exactly how I felt inside.
Bleeding.
Physically my body had bled and it felt like my heart would never stop bleeding.
Scared. 
I was terrified. Had I caused this? Just days before I had carried my oldest son's bike through the house and outside for him to ride it. As I picked it up and carried it, "hmmm, should I be doing this? I wonder if its really wise for me to be carrying this bike."
Confused. 
I was so confused as to why God would give us a baby we initially didn't want, but fell in love with, then take her away.
Weary.
I was weary to the core. A deep kind of tired that no amount of sleep could touch.


"I will proclaim it to the world
I will declare it to my heart
I'll sing it when the sun is shining
I will scream it in the dark

You are faithful
You are faithful
When You give and when You take away
Even then, still Your Name is Faithful"


I have to confess that I had times when I really questioned God.
I remember listening to this song and thinking, "I know in my head that God is faithful but my heart is so broken right now that I think it's forgotten."

It felt easy to tell the world that God was faithful but I had moments where deep inside my very being I wasn't so sure if I still felt and believed that.
He had given us a baby that was then taken away.
Just after I had given God my heart in a way I never had before my world was rocked to the core.
Was God still really faithful in those moments?
I wondered why He couldn't ease me into this new life.

As I listened to the words I thought through how easy it was for me to share God and what I claimed to believe while in Africa. But now? Sure, I could still tell others what I though I should say or what I thought they wanted to hear, but deep down inside me I wasn't so sure.
I was shaken to my core.

As a teenager I had been able to shout it from the mountain top.
Now as a mother who had just lost a child I had a hard time whispering it to my heart.
It didn't seem fair. He gave me this baby and then took her away? How could He still be faithful?


"And with everything inside of me

I am choosing to believe

You are faithful"

We had friends over for group one Sunday afternoon and while honestly I don't remember much else about the conversation I do remember what my friend Melissa shared.
She talked about how they sang "Christ Is Enough" by Hillsong. The chorus,
"I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. No turning back."
She went on to talk about how we have chosen this life. 
We have chosen to follow Jesus. Are we going to live like it or are we going to turn back like Lot's wife? (You know, the woman who looked back and was turned into a pillar of salt? yeah her.)

Isn't that like us though? To want to just stay with what we're use to.
To want to go back when we come upon something difficult.

So I decided I would declare it to my heart.
I would scream in the dark places that I was walking through that God was still faithful.
And now as I look back during some of the darkest days in my life I can see His presence.
I can see the ways in which He was faithful and reminded me He hadn't left.

So I will continue to say yes.
I will continue to say that God is faithful.
I will continue to believe.



Photo Credit



And just in case you want to listen to the song you can click this link: https://play.spotify.com/track/7ki9WVWIhTOZT3ucoDX5MC







Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Waking up and walking out of the fog

Three months.
For three months I have walked around in a fog.
I've been tired to the core.
I have gone to bed at the end of the day and though "I don't remember what we did today....at all."
I have felt a deep brokenness that no amount of time can heal.
I have felt an emptiness that no amount of stuff could fill.
I have grieved over the loss of my child harder than any other loss I have ever experienced and I have lost a lot in 24 years.

I felt like winter would never end.
I felt like the sun would never shine again.
I cried for days on end.
I would fall asleep with a wet spot on  my pillow from my tears and wake up wishing the weight in my chest would go away.

I felt like my world was crashing in around me.
I felt like I was suffocating in my own life.
I called it a successful day when we all got out of pjs.
I couldn't even begin to think about trying to keep up with the house.
Most days I simply wanted to stay in bed.

I was confused how people who had lost babies before could be so callous and cliche.
Yet, friends who had never experienced that loss didn't feel the need to say anything and simply embraced me.

I became "that blogger", you know, the ones who write about miscarriages and baby loss.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I hit publish on the post about the life we almost had.
A lot of days I didn't want to keep writing.
I seriously considered walking away from my blog entirely.
But then something happened that I never expected.
Community.
I began to get messages from other baby loss moms full of love and support.
And then I received a message from someone who needed to know she wasn't alone.
So because of all of you I kept going.

I will never just "get over" having lost a baby.
A part of my family is missing.
I will never go a single day without thinking of my sweet girl.
I will always wonder what it would be like to have her in the mix.
I will always wonder.

But I realized a few things recently.
I don't have to just get over it and move on with life.
I do have to keep moving forward.

Moving forward doesn't mean moving on 
and it certainly doesn't mean forgetting.

I will carry my girl with me everywhere, every single day, for the rest of my life.
I will never forget her.

But something happened recently.
I feel like I woke up.
The sun was shining.
The fog was gone.
It doesn't hurt quite as much.
I don't feel quite as raw and broken.
I'm still grieving. I still hurt.
But I don't feel like I'm suffocating.

Time hasn't healed my broken heart, God has.
Stuff hasn't filled the emptiness I've felt deep inside, Jesus has.

I'm not saying that this has been easy or that all of a sudden I feel normal again.
I know I will have days that are really difficult.
I have several friends who are all due when I should have been.
It will be very bittersweet to hold their babies.
I don't know what the future holds for me or my family
but I feel like I'm beginning to live again.

The sun is shining.
Winter has ended.
Spring is here and summer is coming.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The question without answers.

It's amazing how much changes in the course of four years.
Four years ago today I was 10 days overdue with my first child.
I went through the disappointment of false labor and then a failed induction.
I came home the second time after having been on pitocin for 8 hours and decided to go help out at a youth event at our church because I didn't want to do nothing while waiting.
At the time eating a spicy chicken wing sub and playing 4 square with a bunch of teens sounded like a lot more fun.

Four years ago today I was unable to sleep because I knew the next day I was going in for my second induction and he would be born within 24 hours after the start of the induction.
I would finally be holding my sweet little boy.

He's grown into such a sweet, caring, loving, and affectionate boy.
He is so intuitive and observant.
He's quick to run and check on other's if he thinks they could be hurt.
He's one to sit and snuggle while watching a movie.
He loves to make you laugh and hugs and kisses are always on tap.

The day our world changed he never left my side.
I didn't know what to tell him about what was going on so I simply told him mommy didn't feel good and that I had to rest a lot.
I spent the day laying on the couch and he spent the day snuggled up close to me.
He was quick to get up and help his younger brother just so I didn't have to get up.
I'll never forget the way he told me "Momma, I'll feed brother dinner tonight so you can go lay back down."

When I finally began to start physically feeling better he would ask me often if I was ok.
He would ask me if I needed to lay down.
And he began asking me how my heart felt.
He knew I was sad deep inside but that I wasn't sick anymore.

Then about a month ago he started talking about what he wants for his life.
He told me that he wants to get married and be a daddy.
And then he started talking about "his little girl."
He started telling me things that he wants to do with her and things she'll like.

But then he surprised me one day by saying that I should have a little girl.

The first time he said something about me having a baby I just quickly changed the subject.
I just couldn't even imagine another baby. I didn't wan to replace the one we lost.
He has continued to bring up having a little sister and the way he would protect her and teach her cool things.

Ever since losing our daughter I have wrestled with how to talk to my oldest son about it.
Tomorrow is his fourth birthday but today he grew up.

We sat together in our favorite chair to read a couple of books when he asked me the question.

him: "Mommy? Is there a baby in your tummy?"
I looked over at him to see his eyes looking at my stomach with eyes that pleaded for a yes. Before I could answer he reached down and touched my stomach as if hoping to feel something.
me: "No buddy, there is not a baby in my tummy."
His eyes looked confused, still looking at my stomach, and he pulled his hand away.
him: "Oh. I thought there was."
How do I answer this? How do I talk to him about his baby sitter that he'll never meet or hold this side of heaven? 
me: "There was a baby in there, but not anymore sweetie."
him: "I know mommy. There were two babies in there. First there was me and then there was brother. But I thought maybe there was a baby in your tummy now."
He looked at me with a sad smile. I could tell he was confused. Unsure how to ask the question. I looked back at him wanting to answer his questions only I realized these were questions without answers.
me: "Why did you ask if there was a baby in my tummy?"
him: "I just thought there was so I just wanted to know."
He then climbed off my lap and left the room.

I watched him as he walked away.
His physical demeanor different than when the conversation had started.
His heart was sad and he didn't know why.

The rest of the night has been spent with him close to my side.
He asked me how my heart was feeling. I told him my heart was sad.
He told me his heart is sad too. He asked me if I missed daddy because he misses him too.
Extra hugs and kisses.
Bedtime was a little bit later.

My son turns four tomorrow but he grew up a little bit more today.





Tuesday, May 13, 2014

When Mother's Day Hurts


I remember my first mother's day in May 2010.
I was pregnant with our first child.
Full of wonder and excitement.
My belly growing more every day.
The feeling of the kicks, punches, and hiccups I would feel from him every day.

I was a little jealous of my husband because I was still pregnant for
mother's day but our son would be born before father's day.
Yes, I was a mother already but it felt like it didn't count because he wasn't born yet.

I look back and think back to that first mother's day and think how naive and silly I was to think that just because my child wasn't in my arms I was less of a mother.
I remember on that first mother's day my husband cooked a delicious dinner for me.
We had just returned from our trip to Arizona for my husband's college graduation.
So many firsts in that first year of marriage.

The next three mother's days were all ones that I looked forward to.
My sweet husband always made a wonderful dinner and made me take a "day off."
Guilty free naps or time to read a book.

But this year?
This year it's different.
This year Mother's day was painful.
I cried on and off the two days leading up to Mother's day.
I just wanted to skip it.
Could I just sleep through the day and ignore it completely?
I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and realized I looked pregnant but I'm not.
I didn't want anyone to wish me a "Happy Mother's Day" because honestly I'm not happy.
And I feel guilty for saying that because I know I've been blessed with two wonderful boys but it doesn't make it hurt less.
There is still an ache in my heart for the child that I'm missing.
There is still a brokenness that I can't shake.

I had a conversation with someone just before Mother's day.
She asked me about the title of my blog.
Thankful For Thorns.
I told her how it's being thankful for even the hard stuff in life.
I quoted the lyrics that my blog title came from.
"Everybody loves a rose, but will you be thankful for the thorns."
And then I confessed to a perfect stranger that I'm having a really difficult time
living out that title.
How can I be thankful to have lost a child?

I never realized before this year how Mother's day could be painful.
All of my previous mother's days were ones I looked forward to.
As a kid/teen we almost always went out to dinner with family and spent the whole day together. Sometimes we would go to the mall after dinner or we would to back to my aunt's house. Either way Mother's day and Father's day were always fun celebrations.
Then I became a mother myself and in my own joy I completely overlooked countless other's pain.

Children without mothers.
Mothers without children.
The walking wounded with hearts that are broken.
For so many it's a day full of hurt.
It reminds so many of what they've lost.
It reminds many of what they never had the chance to have.

Mother's day was a popular day to announce pregnancies.
New babies due to arrive late October early November.
Babies that will be born close to the day my daughter should have been.
My heart aches.
I'm genuinely happy and excited for them but I would be lying if I said my heart didn't hurt with each announcement. I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn't jealous or that I was completely fine with this. I would be lying if I said I was ok with this broken road I'm walking on.

Grief is a strange thing.
It hits you when you least expect it.
It leaves you feeling deflated and empty.
It makes you feel crazy and angry.
It causes you to cry when you were just laughing.
And the whole time you just wonder if it's ok to feel the way you do.
My dear friend can I just tell you; Yes, it's ok to feel the way you do.
Yes, it's ok to cry, to be angry, to laugh, to be happy.
And I promise, you're not crazy.
I wish I could give each and every person who is hurting this mother's day a huge hug.
Know that you're not alone.

I'm still grieving. I still cry. I still feel alone. But I grieve with hope.
I have the hope of knowing my sweet daughter is in the arms of Jesus.
I have the hope that someday I will finally meet her.
I have the hope that God has a plan even though I don't understand it.
I have hope.
I pray that if your heart is hurting today that you have that hope too.