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My Sweet Angel

My Sweet Angel
4/6/09 4:45 pm 4 lbs 1 oz 17 inches

Friday, July 25, 2014

It's time...

I promised myself when I started this blog for Elise that I would not taint it with this information, but it's time to get it out.  Most people have no idea and I'm tired of pretending.

It pisses me off that people think that Elise's death caused my marriage to end.  While devastating, yes, it is such a small part of why.  It also pisses me off that people think because I stayed married for 4 years after her death that it had nothing to do with its ending.
My husband began cheating on me on my son's 2nd birthday, when I was in the third trimester of my fourth pregnancy (Elise).  It was a difficult pregnancy with physical complications (I had a blood clot in my leg and was on blood thinners among other things) as well as the normal life trials and tribulations of being pregnant with a 12 year old, a 4 year old, and a 2 year old.  I was also finishing my internship for my masters degree at this time.
When I went into labor 4 weeks early, my husband continued on to work that day to see his girlfriend leaving me at home to find a sitter for my small children and head to the hospital to deliver my baby.  Only 30 minutes after she was stillborn, he left me in the delivery room holding her dead body to go out in the hallway to call his girlfriend.  The next morning he again left me in a hospital bed with no baby to hold while he went and called her from Target where he was supposed to be printing pictures of her to show her siblings.  Just 5 days later, at Elise's memorial service, his girlfriend was there.  I found all this out 3 weeks later when I accidentally discovered his affair he told me he was leaving us to be with her.  I kicked him out.  He had no where to go so he stayed at a friend's house while his family was on vacation, but when they returned he again had no where to go so he came back home.  We went back and forth for months splitting up and trying to stay together.  He swore he was sorry and he now wanted to make our marriage better.  Needless to say, I got pregnant.  It was just 3 months after Elise's death and only 1 month after I found out about my husband's infidelity.  I couldn't get divorced now so we gave it our all.  We went to counseling both individually and together.  We implemented strategies to make our marriage stronger and to recover from his affair and deal with our grief over Elise's death.  It didn't last long before everything was back to "normal" the way it had always been.  Mike still insisted he wanted this marriage to work and of course I did too, but every few months we'd argue about how nothing is changing.  Nothing is getting better, in fact as time was going on it was getting worse.  Each year just continued to suck.
I woke up last Spring around Elise's 4th angelversary and finally realized that things were never going to change in my marriage.  It was now long enough.  My husband will never be able to do the things he needed to do to repair the damage he had done in betraying me during the most difficult time in my life.  We would never be able to be happy together as a married couple.  So this time, instead of asking him, I told him it was time for us to separate.  And now here we are divorcing.  Over the last 4 years we had talked about divorce and he always said he did not want to be a part time parent to our children.  For the first 9 months he wasn't.  He saw them at least one day just about every weekend and a couple evenings during the week.  We had a very amicable relationship.  Often he would stay here at "our" house on the couch overnight to be with them.  Then he got a girlfriend.  Don't get me wrong, I was happy to know that he had found another person to spend time with, I had that and it was amazing, but within a month he began choosing her over his children.  He is now content with being a part time parent.  He has said those words to me.  He has chosen to only see the children approximately 20% of the month and nothing more.  I am now working part time for the first time in 10 years and he refuses to "watch" his children unless it is his self selected visitation days.  Often leaving them in the care of my boyfriend.  When his visitation time is over, it's over, he's done and leaves.  It has been a very difficult few months for me juggling the children, household responsibilities, working, etc, but I've never felt better as a woman.  I am a better person and mother than I have been in the last 5 years. I don't know what the future holds for me or my children, but I do know one thing:  I was strong in my decision to finally do what is right and best for all of us and in the end it will all be okay!  We will get through this and not just survive, but thrive!
As with every post I write, I finally decided to make this one to create understanding.  For 5 years now I have been unable to solely think about my little girl.  And I don't know if I ever will be able to.  Without fail a memory of what my husband did to me during the only time I had with my daughter sneaks into my mind.  It's not fair.  It's not fair to me or to her, but it is what it is and now everyone knows and I don't have to hide it any longer.

Monday, March 10, 2014

This year doesn't suck (as much)

Every year as March rolls around I am always so conflicted.  I'm usually working on plans for Ella and Andrew and Elise's birthdays.  2 of them are "happy" and one is the opposite, but I stay busy and try not to dwell.  Then as April comes and goes I tend to reevaluate my life.  I look at where I was in April/May 2008 (innocent) April/May 2009 (destroyed) 2010 (confused) 2011 (some normalcy) 2012 (wanting more) 2013 (waking up) 2014 (moving on).  It was last year that I started to see a glimpse of the "old" me....the me before Elise's death.  I was certainly a much different person, but the fog was lifting.  I was finally craving living again and here I am another year later living!  It will be 5 years since my life changed so dramatically and I'm finally moving in the right direction!  I still miss her so much and always wonder what might have been, but it doesn't consume me.  I was down on myself this year for not going through with my plan for a big fundraiser for her birthday this year. but now I've realized I've given her something even better...a healthy mom, moving toward happiness, continuing to keep her spirit alive and raise awareness.  I know she would be proud and really, that's all I want as a mom...for my kids to know they are loved and for them to be able to look up to me for courage and strength, like I do them every day!
Very strange to be able to write without crying and also having the last few "unprovoked" cries to be "happy" ones. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Stupid glasses

Life has been in fast forward for the last few months.  So many changes and things needing my immediate attention, I haven't had time to sit down and think for more than a few seconds, so naturally I haven't had time to write.  Today I still don't, but I had to...
I think of Elise every single day, some days more in depth than others.  I miss her every single day, some days more deeply than others.  Today is one of those days.  The stupid what ifs, what might have been...
There is a running joke in my family that poor eyesight skips a kid.  I've had glasses since I started school.  My oldest had muscle realignment surgery at 3 and currently wears contacts at 17.  My 9 year old has great eyesight.  My 6 year old has been wearing glasses since 2 and keeps one eye dilated (in lieu of a patch) to strengthen his weak eye.  So the question always was would Elise or her rainbow sister need glasses.  We've taken the now 3 year old for biannual checkups just in case and today it was suggested she get glasses.  It didn't take long for the thought of Elise to rise in my mind.  I tried not to focus on it as my other girls needed my attention at the moment, but any time there was any sort of downtime that's where my mind wandered to.  I bet Elise wouldn't have needed glasses, it would have skipped her, just like we thought.  Stupid thing to be thinking about, I know, I mean really, I don't care about my kids needing them (that 3 year old is gonna be super cute in them!) but just another reminder of my little girl who is not here living life with us, experiencing the mundane adventures that all children get to experience.
Then the guilt sets in.  Why is this bothering me so much, her memory.  Have I been neglecting her?  Of course not.  The 3 year old and I were just talking about her last night.  The kids were just recently fighting over who got to sleep with her bear... 
Her birthday, that's it.  It's coming up soon and I wanted to do a big fundraiser for her, but its not going to happen and that has been killing me.  I'm so angry at myself, but I know in the end, I just can't pull it together this year.  But I should, for her, she deserves it.  It's a no win situation and either way I know I'll beat myself up over whatever happens.  That's part of being a mom, I guess.  Always wishing you could do more, always feeling like you should have done more.  Only it's multiplied when that's all you have and you are the only one fighting to keep your child alive in some small way, if only for yourself.
It all comes back to missing that sweet face and being so damn angry at how things turned out sometimes.  But I refuse to focus on the anger and instead focus on the love that I have for my little girl and all that her life blessed me with.  I couldn't live any other way.
Thanks for the cry, stupid glasses!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Today I'm blessed



It’s October 15th, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, again.  I have been blessed with the opportunity today to have no real responsibilities and to be able to focus on just Elise.  It’s only noon and I’m exhausted.  I’ve been reading and thinking and even “talking” to her all morning.  I’m receiving comments and messages from friends and loved ones and I’m trying hard not to take it personal when some who I thought would be there for me today are not.  I don’t get nearly enough time, let alone days, to focus on Elise, but like her birthday, I make sure I do today.  I am meeting friends for dinner again tonight.  This will be our second year getting together on this date to celebrate our babies together.   Last year (and the year before) I reflected on this day and again I wanted to take some time to do so now that it has been 4 years.
I continue to feel blessed by Elise.  She has brought so many people and so many opportunities into my life.  I am so extremely grateful to have been chosen to be her mom.  My life has been a whirlwind of events over the last 4 years.  Sad to say, but most have been not so great and kept me down and out for most of that time.  But something happened just after her birthday last year.  I started to see my “old” self again.  It was a new me, yes, but it was more like the “old” me than I have seen in years.  I liked it and I wanted to keep it going.  So I’ve been fighting and digging to keep her.  It has been hard, it still is hard most days, but in the end I know it will be worth it…to get my life back, the one I stopped living in 2009.  I am excited by what is to come.  I’m not going to lie, I’m also scared as hell, but I have faith that it is all going to work out.
Now I can only speak for myself and my experience, but I did want to share that yes, I too, had that moment of brightness in my grief where I could see myself and all that I had to gain by moving forward.  I haven’t forgotten about Elise, I don’t miss her any less, I still have days of crippling sadness, but I am moving up and on.  The death of my daughter most certainly has shaped who I am, but it most certainly has not defined who I am. That I am still working on...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Unexpected Moments of Reflection

Tonight I was blessed with something I never get...alone time!  Being the mom of 4 physical children ranging in age from 3-17 is a generally busy job.  To get a break I usually have to leave the house and get into something.  Tonight my oldest carted the younger 3 to visit my dad leaving me home alone in an empty house.  I didn't know what to do with myself!  I cleaned up some (nothing major!) and even took a little nap on the couch watching TV that I wanted to watch, but then the first hour was over and I still had 3 more!  I was thinking how ironic it was that I was bored without those children I always complain never give me a moment to myself.  I naturally thought of Elise, one of my children, but not one who tugs on my pant legs or yells Mommy from the other side of the house.  This lead to thinking about all the events surrounding her pregnancy and death and the four years since. 
Of course I wonder who she would be today.  What would she look like?  What would she be into?  Would she be rotten or a sweetheart?  Would I have spoiled her the way I did her rainbow baby sister, making her rotten?  Would she be excited to be going to preschool this year?  Would she wake up at the crack of dawn or be a good sleeper?  Would she like fruit and vegetables or pizza and pasta?  So many things I wonder about her
Then there are those other things I wonder about...How would my life be different had she been born perfectly healthy as I had expected?  So much changed in April of 2009.  So much more than the death of my daughter.  I was forever changed.  I wonder, would I still be oblivious to so many of the horrors of life?  Would I still be where I am staring down turning 36 in a few weeks?  I promised to never taint Elise's blog with the other events of that time or the events that have followed, but they have all changed my relationship with so many people.  Some for the best, some not.  I've met people I never would have met if everything that happened in 2009 and since didn't happen.  I've fought with people I wouldn't have fought with if I wasn't who I was because of that time in my life.  I've come to love people I wouldn't love if my life course wasn't what it was.  Who knows if those things still would have happened.  NONE of them are because of Elise, just around her and part of my dealings with her death.  I just can't help but wonder what if.  And sometimes still, those what ifs bring me to my knees with tears in my eyes. 
I guess this is why I stay so busy all the time.  It's those unexpected moments of down time when I start to reflect on the last 4 years that my heart just hurts and I can't contain the tears and the knot in my stomach.  I miss you my sweet Elise and all that your life would have brought to this world!

Monday, July 1, 2013

A big sister remembers


My oldest daughter wrote this on October 1, 2011.  I just came across it on her Facebook page recently and thought I'd share it here.  She was only 12 when we lost Elise.  As the years go on, the loss of her little sister affects her more and more...


Needless to say, yesterday was a rough day. For a lot of reasons. And of course, sitting in drama, someone decides to read this as a monologue. Literally brought tears to my eyes.

Elizabeth Childers

DUST of my dust,
And dust with my dust,
O, child who died as you entered the world,
Dead with my death!
Not knowing Breath, though you tried so hard,         
With a heart that beat when you lived with me,
And stopped when you left me for Life.
It is well, my child. For you never traveled
The long, long way that begins with school days,
When little fingers blur under the tears   
That fall on the crooked letters.
And the earliest wound, when a little mate
Leaves you alone for another;
And sickness, and the face of Fear by the bed;
The death of a father or mother;  
 Or shame for them, or poverty;
The maiden sorrow of school days ended;
And eyeless Nature that makes you drink
From the cup of Love, though you know it’s poisoned;
To whom would your flower-face have been lifted?  
 Botanist, weakling? Cry of what blood to yours?—
Pure or foul, for it makes no matter,
It’s blood that calls to our blood.
And then your children—oh, what might they be?
And what your sorrow? Child! Child!   
Death is better than Life!


I don't think anyone will understand the meaning of that monologue, I don't even think the girl reading it knew what it was about. And hey, maybe its not even about what I think its about, but isn't that the beauty of poetry?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Return to Zero

A few months ago I heard through the grapevine, aka Facebook, that there was a movie being produced that centered around stillbirth.  Great, I thought,  but I know there have been others and not much has come of them.  Then I found out this one was different, it was a "real" Hollywood film,  with real actors, hmmm.  THEN I read the synopsis and almost fell over...wait, that's my life!  AWESOME!  I'm looking forward to this!  THEN, I found out about an amazing opportunity to have Elise included in the film credits!  Of course a movie of this topic is not getting the big bucks banking that Hollywood movies usually do, so the movie people are asking for help from "the babyloss community" (and other citizens) and in return are offering the opportunity to dedicate an “In Loving Memory of…” credit at the end of the film. The donation amount for this is $250.  Not a whole lot of money, but still, a WHOLE LOT of money!  I have been debating back and forth, then the deadline started to roll around and I started thinking about it more.  Now the deadline is in just 3 days and I've decided I really want to do it.  Elise is worth $250 (and a whole lot more) but I have to be realistic in that I also have 4 living children to think about and for me, $250 is a bit of a financial strain on our family.  Then (the teacher in me is cringing at my non use of varied transition words!) I remembered Madison and how many people came together to help her out.  Yeah, this situation is totally different, but as I browsed the funding site for her when it was first created, I found that people were asking for funding for all sorts of stuff, so I thought, why not me?  Why not Elise?  I only need $250.  That's only $5 from 50 people or $10 from 25 or $20 from 13!  I have over 400 friends on Facebook!  I'm also in the Fundraising mode as I have been working on Elise's Bingo and other things for the mom's group I help run.  I've been asking for money for months, but not for me, not for Elise.  This time, the money would directly benefit us, why not ask?  What can it hurt?  So here it is, my request for your help and support.  Please help me share this request, not just to get me money, but to share my sweet Elise's story and to promote this wonderful film project.  Thank you!
http://www.gofundme.com/2fvess

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Miracle for Madison

I don't usually post this kind of stuff, but this little girl and her family could use all the prayers she can get.  I barely know her, but I do and I can't even begin to imagine what they are going through.  For her to be "fine" one day and then being checked for brain activity the next is horrific!  Please, take a moment and say a prayer for them, if you do that sort of thing.  And when you check out the link below, don't look at it as another request for money, that is not why I am sharing it, but look at all the people who are coming together to support this family during this trying time.  Many do not even know this sweet girl or her family.  Though I sometimes wonder, this is proof that humanity has not lost all it's compassion.  It is a great reminder for us all that the world does care and that, as we all know, life is short, you gotta make it count!  Thanks for reading...
http://www.gofundme.com/25odkg?pc=fb_cr

Just 2 days after being diagnosed with Leukemia, it was determined that Maddie's brain had no activity and the next day she took her last breath here on earth.  Please continue to keep her family and friends in your thoughts.
 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Why I blog

I was talking with another mama the other day about why I blog.  Is it for me or for others?  What do I get from it?  What do I hope others get from it?

In my very first post on the blog, I said that I was "creating a written tribute to my sweet angel"  That is how it started, the blogging part anyway.  Before that, came all the Facebook posts though.  Those were more for information.  People wanted to know how Elise died, but who wants to ask someone that?  So I posted it.  That way people didn't have to ask.  Then I shared songs, poems, other pieces of writings others have shared to try to explain how I was feeling.  Every once in a while, I would throw in my own thoughts, but it was mostly words borrowed from others, again, just trying to share what I was going through.
Then I caught up to real time and was able to focus more on my own words.  My words to Elise and about Elise.  My words about me and how I was feeling.  But why?  Why was I doing this?  To journal my thoughts, yes, I needed an outlet to get it all out, everything I was thinking and feeling.  But why not in a notebook or in a Word Document, why online?  In a word, understanding.  My hope was, is, to create understanding among people.  People who have not experienced a loss, what it is like, and people who have to know that someone out there does understand what they are thinking and feeling.
Putting myself out there like this, is a double edged sword.  I have had countless people tell me that my willingness to speak up about my loss has made them more comfortable to also speak up or just deal with their own loss in general.  Then there are those who use my words against me or as an opportunity to twist them to their own advantage.  I have never been anything but honest, with myself and my readers, and I am truly grateful for those who choose to walk this path with me in understanding, whatever their underlying motives are.  I know some do it to support me, some to support themselves and I am humbled by both!  I blog for me and for you.  I get to release my feelings and I get to help others understand.  I get to keep my angel alive, if only through memory!  I wish I was able to do so more regularly and with slightly less trepidation and slightly better mechanics, but it is what it is and I'll take it!  I do it all in Elise's Honor!
Thanks for reading and remembering my Sweet Elise! :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Elise's Birthday Bingo!

I announced the details on Facebook less than 2 weeks ago and have already sold out over half of the event!  I am so humbled by the support from friends and family!  Here are the details if you would like to attend or donate (or help with soliciting donations! :))


Join us to celebrate Elise's 4th Birthday with a BINGO benefiting ChesapeakeMommies.com, a local mom's group in Harford and Cecil Counties that has been of tremendous support to me during and since Elise's death.

Bingo will be held at the Bel Air American Legion Post #55,
115 N Bond St, Bel Air, MD 21014, (across from the Bel Air Bakery) on Saturday, April 6, 2013 from 6-9 pm.

Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door for 15 games of Bingo
UPDATE:  WE ARE SOLD OUT!!!
Extra "cards" will be available to those who have a ticket as well as a 50/50 and probably even some raffles!
This is a family friendly event, bring the kids!

There will be light food and drink for sale during the event as well.
Hope to see you there!

As of now, the event is only listed here, on ChesapeakeMommies, and on Facebook.


Elise's Honor and ChesapekeMommies would like to thank the following companies/individuals, in no particular order, for their donations to our BINGO Fundraiser on April 6.  Be sure to keep checking back as the list will continue to be updated until the event has passed!

Susanne Howard
The Nance Family
Jess Sparwasser
Julie Hauhn
Jennifer Powell
Gerry Outten
Steven Outten 
Luise McCants
Stacy Parlett
Shelly Layfield
Laura Knapp 
Danielle Lowry-Suit
Amanda Johnson
Laura Barcena
Rachel Myers
Sarah Rawlings
Melanie Watson
Julie Foresta 
Judy Churn 
Stephanie Murphy, Island Escapes Therapeutic Massage
Jackie McDonald Tastefully Simple
Stroller Strides of Harford County
Chick Fil A Forest Hill
Chesapeake Children’s Museum  
Sight and Sound Theater
Jan Brett
Highlights Magazine
Bertucci's Italian Restaurant
Aberdeen Ironirds
Historic Ships in Baltimore 
Redbox
Origami Owl with Amanda Johnson
Pinkclyx
Open Door Cafe
Scholastic Books
Ellies Beautiful Bows
The Cheesecake Factory
31 with Rachel Myers
PinkEpromise
Woodhall Wine Cellars
Tracy Parron Photography
Delaware Children’s Museum
Little Huckleberry 
Green Mountain Coffee
Boyle Buick 
31 with Jenn Flory
Chuck E Cheese Bel Air 
Bengies Drive In Theatre 
Forest Hill Lanes
Coffee Coffee
Flavor Cupcakery
My Gym Bel Air
Healthbridge Chiropractic 
Fundamentals  
The Pampered Chef with Colleen Cornacchione 
Pure Romance by Melissa N 
Texas Roadhouse Fallston 
Center Stage 
Pink Zebra with Karen Hildebrandt 
Lil B's Pretties  
Jarrettsville Creamery and Deli
Jamberry Nails with Dani Lynn 
Kiddie Crusoe 
31 with Lisa Yingling 
Bel Air Honda
A3 Studio Kids 
Pampered Chef with Michelle Cissel 
TZ Burps 
Taylor Made Contracting
API Auto Repair
Advanced Eye Care
31 with Stacy Parlett
Massage Envy Bel Air 
Northern Chesapeake Insurance
Ticket Liquidator
Scentsy with Chrystie Crawford-Smick
Linganore Winecellars
Saxons Diamond Centers
Fire and Ice White Marsh Mall
Red Lobster Bel Air
Outback Canton
Bob Bauer, Affinity Mortgage
Schwans 
Sweet Mallowy Love 
Kristian Marie Photography 
Get Hooked 





 

 
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