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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Grief Can Be a Gift...Honest..

After the kids are in bed, I sit comfortably in my overly fluffy recliner when I get my chance to relax from the long day. As I sit here, I am surrounded by different memorial items that remind me of my precious daughter, Dakota. Images of her lifeless body beautifully positioned line my walls. Angel figurines line my shelves. A butterfly wind chime hangs from the floor lamp that's surrounded with a rainbow scarf. All of these bring me to tears when I actually sit and look at them. The corner shelf that sits behind me holds the plaster molds of the only thing that makes me feel close to her...her hands and feet. I pick them up, gently hold them and caress them while wishing it was really her that I was touching. Oh, to feel her skin against mine again. My heart breaks many times over during a single day for my daughter who was taken too soon from me. At times when I am in a slump and overloaded with grief, I'll grab my phone, put my ear buds in, and play the songs I have saved under a playlist just for her. There in that comfy chair, I cry for the daughter I only have spiritually. 

Day after day, for the past year and eight months, I've mourned the loss of my daughter. I sit and wonder when will this pain end? When will I be over the grieving and the pain of her absence? 

I've lost loved ones before. However, it's completely different losing your daughter compared to an Uncle or Grandparent. Grief lingers on for years after the loss of a child. I'm well aware of this because I know other angel parents who have been on this path for sixteen or more years. Guess what, they still feel the same way they did on the day they learned of their loss. 

In society, it seems as if one is expected to feel grief and mourn for several months after the loss. After a few months, it seems as if grieving for longer periods of time is unacceptable. It's like by then the person should be over it by then. Beyond the few month mark, a lot of people go back to life the way they lived it before the loss and assume those closest to the passed, has moved on too. 

I am here to tell you that way of thinking couldn't be more wrong. The loss of a child leaves a void in your life and in your heart for years to come. I believe it'll remain there until you're reunited with the child you never had the chance to know. 

Now that a year has passed and we're slowly making our way to the two-year mark, grieving for me has went from doing it openly to doing it in the privacy of my own home. (Normally in the shower because for some reason it's embarrassing to cry for my daughter.) There are only a select few that I choose to discuss my pain and grief with now. A year ago, I was shouting it to anyone that would listen. 

Is it okay to admit that I still feel the same way today as I did on the day I found out she didn't have her precious heartbeat?

I've been praying for the Lord to ease this pain and to make the grief manageable. I ask him to make it manageable and not take it fully away because I believe with the grief, I have been brought closer to him. I believe the grief that has been given to me is....a gift. 

The shattered heart, endless tears, the endless yanking at the strings of your heart, and the screams of overwhelming pain would be something that would make anyone want to run away from. It'd make anyone want to turn away and run in the opposite direction. But if we're willing, if we are open to accepting this gift from the Lord, this gift of grief, we will discover the blessings which are hidden within the creases of grief. 

When we (human beings) were created, we were created to live in the beautiful Garden of Eden without the feelings of loss let alone any grief. We weren't designed to experience the hardship we face today. Grief tends to focus on the eternal values in life by making us remember the lessons were taught in the moments of the loss of our child. It helps us see exactly what matters and want doesn't. It tends to help us value our time here on earth and guides us to use every second with purpose. Before the experience of grief, God and Heaven seem to be in the back of our minds, buried beneath a to-do list, as well as our hopes and dreams list. Grief pushes God and Heaven to the front of our minds and we tend to focus more on Him once we have experienced loss. Loss reminds us that in our time, we will be united with our loved ones in Heaven one day. Thus, giving us hope. 

To experience grief like I have, to the extent that I have has taught me a valuable lesson and made me think of things that had never crossed my mind before. I find myself dreaming of the day I get to pass from this life into the waiting arms of Jesus Christ. I find myself dreaming of what a day that will be. I imagine how the warmth of the sun will warm me as I experience true happiness for the first time. Once again, grief is a gift.

Death tends to remind us of our time here on earth and it reminds us that life isn't promised. Tomorrow isn't promised. Therefore, in our midst of grief we long to live a full life that's pleasing to our Lord and Savior. It makes us take a look at our priorities we have for ourselves and adjust them accordingly. It motivates us to be more disciplined in Christ and live a life full of faith. Grief's gift is a reality check. 

The loss of my child took me to the end of my strength which made me rely fully on God's strength to get by. I can't stop grieving for my daughter. I feel powerless against the overwhelming feelings that I have. It's only through God's strength that I have made it this far. It's His strength that helps me face a new day and with that all the new challenges that I come across. 

I have found grief as a gift through relationships. When we experience a deep loss, like the one I did, we tend to feel needier than what we once were. Therefore, not only do we find strong relationships with those who the Lord placed in our lives, but we also build a stronger relationship with Him. Grief leads us to pray more, thus building the relationship that matters the most. My relationship with Christ. Prayer always brings us closer to Christ. It inspires us to communicate with Him, because He's the ONLY one who can comfort us the way we need. The voids we feel are filled only by Him. Although the Lord won't remove those voids from our lives, he will fill them and embrace us with his love, strength, and compassion. Grief helps us to value our loved ones who are still here with us more. It shows us that they are meant to be here with you to give you a physical sense of being and comfort. It helps us to value these people because the grief made it easy to see their value in our life. Aren't we supposed to look at others as the Lord would? Grief helps us to do that. It gives us a glimpse into how we are supposed to live life ALL THE TIME, not just in the time of hardships. 

By viewing grief as a gift, we open ourselves for the Lord and for the blessings He has in store for us!
I truly can't wait to experience the blessing of Life with the grief I will carry on until I am resting in the arms of my Savior. 



Monday, February 9, 2015

ATTENTION

Over the next week or so, my blog will be going through some changes. It's a new year, so it's time for a new look. Please bare with me while I get switched over to the new styles. Thank you.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Expecting After a Loss...This is for you!


My reaction for when I first saw my son and he started crying. A moment in my life I will never forget.







Dear Grieving Pregnant Mommy,

Let me start by saying that if you haven't been following my journey you probably don't already know that I am a mother of an angel who gave birth to her rainbow baby five months ago. So, it hasn't been that long since I was where you are now. The feelings that you are feeling...yes they are normal. Quite normal to be honest. If you find yourself crying, go for it. It's okay to cry. Believe me, the pregnancy journey after a loss is an emotional on. Boy, oh boy let me tell you what a day it will be when you give birth to your rainbow baby and your precious bundle of joy is handed to you....ALIVE!!!! 

I honestly didn't think I would reach that point. I found myself thinking about how I would handle going "through it again." How would I react? Could I handle it if I lost this baby I was carrying in the same womb who failed me almost a year before? I thought about the different things I would want for his funeral that we didn't have for our angel, Dakota. I couldn't even bring myself to think of having a shower for him because I didn't want all these items sitting around my house reminding me of what isn't. Just like the same baby items sit from Dakota's shower reminding me of what we lost. 

For some reason, planning a funeral over a baby shower was easier for me. It wasn't very long ago that I was forced to have a funeral and I wasn't prepared. This time around, I was going to be prepared. I even went to the extent of having the same funeral home's number, address, and what not in my hospital bag. I had the take taker of the cemetery's number, too. I didn't make this known to those around me because all they would have said was... it's going to be all right. That's one thing that I heard, time and time again. "Everything is going to be all right. Have faith in God." 

Up until I gave birth to our rainbow, I didn't prepare at all. Yes, we ended up having a small baby shower for him. But everything sat as it was when it was carried from the car. Gift bags cluttered my living room, as well as a crib that hadn't been set up. Bottles weren't cleaned and sterile. Diapers were still unwrapped. I just couldn't bring myself to set up and prepare for bringing baby home. In all honesty, I felt as if it were going to be time wasted. 

I didn't purchase anything for our son during the pregnancy, until my husband decided to go to the all town yard sale. Of course, I dreamed of seeing my son in the different outfits, shoes, and other baby items we saw during our walk around town, but I couldn't bring myself to buy any of it. My husband on the other hand saw the need to get ready for our son. He arranged the pick up of all the clothes he purchased that day. I couldn't handle it. I walked away.

That, too, is okay. I only did what I knew I was able to handle and you can too. Don't feel ashamed for being scared. You have every right to be. You will have people telling you that you can't live in the fear or be scared to prepare for the very different future you'll be facing. However, they really do not know what we know. Right? They really haven't experienced death like we have. We are always grieving and I believe we will never stop. We know what it's like to feel death come from our bodies, which were once full of life. We know heartbreak that won't ever end.

I can personally tell you that the journey through pregnancy after a loss is another trying period within your life, but totally worth it. Believe me, my pregnancy with my rainbow was very trying. On top of all the fear and worry, the pregnancy didn't go without complications. At about seven months into the pregnancy with my rainbow, I found out that I had polyhydramnios. It occurs in about one in every 100 pregnancies. It can lead to developmental abnormalities or pregnancy complications.Of course, on top of worrying about my son and him dying before I got to meet him, I now had even more stacked against me. I had to worry about going into labor prematurely. I had to worry about a prolapsed cord during labor when my water broke. If a prolapsed cord happened, my son would be cut off from his oxygen supply and his nutrients. This scared the crap out of me. 

So, when I tell you it's worth it when you FINALLY hear your screaming baby...IT'S SO WORTH IT!!!! 




***Keep a look out for my writing updates on my book, Journey to Our Rainbow (working title) here on my author blog. ***





Thursday, February 5, 2015

What I Want You to Know About Anxiety

Anxiety (aNGˈzīədē/) noun- a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks. It's a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.


I suffer with anxiety. I believe that those who also suffer from this disorder would agree when I say that it's not only difficult for us but for those around us too. I have created a list of things I think others without anxiety should know.


1. Anxious people are grateful for their loved ones. At times those who are around those who suffer from anxiety would say that they are ungrateful or a killjoy. In reality that's partly understandable. Anxious people are the champions at coming to the worst possible conclusion almost instantly. IN a round about way, that's not really who I am. That's not what we are. In fact, when I'm not having a anxious day, I can be pretty optimistic. I love life and I'm thankful for life. I am very grateful for what I have and for what the Lord has blessed me with. Please realize that I don't mean to focus on the bad. Most of the time I just can't help it. 

I have a few words for my friends and family. I am grateful for you. I appreciate you. You (especially my husband) are the light at the end of the tunnel that I look forward to embracing. You try your hardest to understand me and you are willing to stay by my side. So, thank you.  

2. It's hard for me to shake some of my fears, so please don't try to make me. I know that at times they may seem a bit crazy. I find myself thinking of crazy "what if" moments all the time. I can't push them away and they always seem to creep up on me when I am alone. I think about what might happen when I'm home alone. I think about what might happen while my family and I are out driving. I think about what might happen to my children. All of these thoughts, mostly bad thoughts follow. I think of different scenarios that could happen and they vividly play out in my mind. I can't help it. These just happen.



***


Please remember that those who have anxiety issues never mean some of their actions. They just happen. Then we dwell on those actions later when we realize that we should have acted differently. I'm here to tell you and help you see that our disposition has nothing to do with you. Please don't get angry at us. Anxiety itself is pretty exhausting when I sit ruminating about everything that possibly could have done wrong, are doing wrong, or could do wrong. I cry at times. It's an emotional roller coaster. Remember this. 

If you suffer from anxiety, what are some ways you cope?

If you don't, how do you plan to help someone you know who may be anxious?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Bringing Home Our Rainbow Baby: After Loss



Pregnancy is a time of happiness and joy. For many, it's full of fear and worry. When a couple brings home their new baby after losing one, life changes again. The fear and worry don't go away once baby comes into the world screaming and full of life. The fear and worry just shift to other things in focus. Many questions I have asked was: Will he die too? Is he still breathing? Oh no, what if he dies of SIDS?

As a mother of loss and a rainbow, here are a few things that I want my family and friends to know:

1. I'm more confused now more than ever. At times I may think I'm holding my angel when I'm really holding my rainbow. It's confusing because I'm holding my rainbow baby while missing another baby. Certain facial expressions that my rainbow makes has me doing flashbacks in my mind of my angel. Believe me, it sounds crazy but I'm not crazy. So, when I try to express my feelings to you, just listen. I know my baby is dead and isn't coming back. I understand that my rainbow is a completely different baby. It's hard enough on me without the judgement of others.

2. I'm still grieving.  Some may think this way and it's wrong. However, just because I have this brand new bundle of joy in my arms, doesn't mean that I don't miss my angel. I hate how people describe grieving as a process. Just as I have read before, a process is something that has an end. When grieving the child you lost, there will NEVER be an end. Some may think that just because I have a living and breathing child in my arms, all should be better. Nope, actually this takes me back to number one and adds to the confusion. The questions I once asked when I first lost my angel come back once again. Why is my rainbow here with me and my angel couldn't be? What would life be like if my angel was here with my rainbow? These are just a few examples.

3. My heart longs for my angel and at times I want her. Don't get me wrong. I love my rainbow baby with my all being. It's not that I don't want him. Believe me I went through hell to have him here. There was A LOT of tears, fear, and pain to get where I am today. I worked with every ounce of who I am to ensure that on my end, my rainbow came into this world alive. I just wish with ever fiber of my soul that my angel was still here with us.

4. Fear and anxiety is still here but it's stronger. I'm really scared. Actually, this is my normal. For the past year this has been my life. Starting in October of 2013, I was scared that I wouldn't get pregnant. The anxiety took over with each pregnancy test. Then once I saw the test come back with a positive, the fear and anxiety shifted. I worried during the entire nine months and thought only about, "What if it happened again?" When I was about nine months pregnant, the fear and anxiety rocketed sky high. I learned that I had polyhydramnios. I was put on bed rest because this made me at a higher risk for preterm labor and once again the chances of another stillborn went up. I had two appointments each week from that point on. Labor came and I was induced. Fear and anxiety was at it's max and pushing itself to the limits. Up until the moment I heard his first cry, this was all that I felt.

Now that he's here.... that doesn't mean it went away. I worry about him ALL THE TIME. As I stated in the start of this post, I don't believe this will fully go away.

5. I have a hard time with others holding my rainbow or trusting them with him. The moment I'm asked, "Oh, can I hold him?" Or when someone reaches out and takes him from my arms, panic sets in. I'm super scared that something could happen which would result in his untimely death. There are so many sicknesses and diseases being talked about within the news, I'm worried that he'd catch it since he's only had two rounds of his immunization shots. Plus, he's still little and his immune system is still developing.

MOST OF ALL, I still need you. Please don't go. All may seem well. The heartaches is still there now more than it ever was. Don't drift away from me. I'm really not okay. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cyber School is a Go...



Sunshine will officially start her classes online tomorrow with PA Cyber School. So far it seems as if she will enjoy it. We went in to the face to face and got our phone call last week. Her last day in public school was last Wednesday. She got her laptop, scanner, and pen/tablet during the weekend. The only items we are waiting on are her books and gym gear. 

She's really excited but I'm a little nervous. I really want her to succeed. I have different things in mind that will make it fun. However, I'm working on the not so fun part. Creating a schedule that works with her new way of schooling. 

Class is from 8:30 in the morning to 2:00 in the afternoon. Between 12 PM and 1 PM is an hour break, in addition to the breaks her teacher will give her during the day. 

Parents are part of each step with this way of schooling, which I really like because normally I didn't know what Sunshine was doing at school until she brought home tests. I was able to help her study with her spelling, vocabulary, and math during the week. However, I wasn't aware of what was going on for other classes. 

I'll give periodic updates with her and how she's doing during the last part of the year. So, keep a look out for the Cyber updates. 

If you're in PA and would like to know more about online schooling, please visit here. PA CYBER

IF you're interested in online learning for your child, please check to see if it's offered online. You could check with your child's school or use Google. 

Thank you for reading..... until next time......

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Year....New Hopes & Goals... Part Two

*** This post is in continuation from my previous update. ***
 
 
 
Thank you for joining me again and taking a moment to read this post. I'll be giving you a general update on Rainbow and the rest of the family.
 
Rainbow is now 4 months old and doing very well. He does have a cold and hasn't been feeling well. Thanks to this crazy weather. It doesn't help when yesterday was 50 degrees out and today it's about 20 degrees. It's freezing!!
 
Baby boy has been such a blessing. I smile each morning when I see his beautiful face. My life semi feels complete when I look at the two children I have with me. I love seeing Sunshine interact with Rainbow. She's such a good sister to him.
 
Baby boy has been laughing out loud. He's learned how to roll over onto his right side. He's tried banana's and pears at the four month mark and tolerated them rather well. At the end of the month, he goes in to see the doctor for his four month shots. So, please keep him in your thoughts and prayers until then.
 
As for me and my husband, we are doing the best we can considering the circumstances we have found ourselves in. Life is stressful but we are working together to ride the stress waves of life. The job I mentioned at the end of last year fell through. He had his start date and they called to tell him they have to wait to start him. They were put under a hiring freeze, which leaves Hubby with the crappy company he works for now.
 
Please keep him in your prayers for this job. Word is that they'll be reopening hiring at the company my husband wants to work for at the end of the month. My family NEEDS this job. My children don't see their Daddy enough and the company doesn't care for their employees. Every day that my husband works here, he's put in danger. However, he can't just leave because we will lose everything we have without him working.
 
I'm doing the best I can. I wish I had it in me to find the time to write more and be better at what I do. I have so many books in the works for my readers, which I'll give an over view of on my author blog. Feel free to take a look.... HERE.
 
I'm still breastfeeding Rainbow. We have reached our four month goal and now we have a six month goal. This has been such an amazing journey with him.
 
Besides the stress and what not of my life, I can't complain when the Lord has blessed me so much. He gave me an amazing husband. He helped me through the most difficult time in my life when I lost my daughter. Then, he blessed me with my rainbow, which I repeatedly prayed for. **Thank you Lord for being so good to me!*
 
Well, this is the overview update. I'll be back soon with another update. Please pray that I can make it to the cyber school appointment this coming Thursday, which means I have to reschedule Sunshine's appointment with the doctor but her schooling is rather important.