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My Sweet Angel

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

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Christmas Preparations

We decorated our tree tonight.  Each of the kids have their own ornaments and they put their own up as well as some of mine (my grandmother used to make us ornaments every year, so I have a TON!) and some "family" ones also.  Even Ella was able to participate this year.  She is only 2, so she only has a few ornaments of her own, but there were plenty for her to put on.

Elise would be 3, she should be putting her own ornaments on.  Instead it is up to one of us to do it.  

This is an ornament I received from the hospital where she was born at their 
October 15 Celebration in 2009.  I wrote her name on it

I had this ornament made with her birth stats.  Every baby needs one of these!  
This one is of an angel on a cloud. 

 We all have balls with our names and birth year on them...

This is our family ornament...

Of course she has a stocking also.  Her's contains a book about Angels and 
letters that I write to her every year.

The holidays are always so bittersweet.  I find myself enjoying them more and more each year, which often times turns into guilt, that I'm not missing her enough, but I know that is all in my head.  I miss her every single day.  There are points in time that the grief is overwhelming and then there are times when her memory brings me great pride and happiness.  But I think it is those moments when I catch myself enjoying something, like decorating the tree, and am not actively thinking of her until something reminds me that it hits me hard.
If I've learned nothing else over the last 3 years, it is to allow myself to feel what I do without judgement.  This journey I am on is mine alone.  Others have walked a similar path and can relate, others have not and can not.  Many walk beside me with love and support, but in the end, it is all on me and I must allow the emotions that come to do so without interference and move through them.  I am learning each day how to embrace some of them and let go of others, but it is still something I struggle with.

I started writing this the night we did it, obviously, but the words were not coming, so I had to put it aside for a while (as I do with many posts, unfortunately)  During this time I had our Christmas Cards made and I thought I'd share that with you as well...

The top middle is a picture of the marker in the yard with Elise's name and date beside the tree we planted for her.  The bottom right was taken this October 15 when we lit a candle for Elise and the "Wave of Light".  I also include her name on anything I give/send from the family.  As I've said before, she was, is, and always will be a member of our family!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Worth Repeating

I have so many new followers on Facebook, I am so grateful for the support!  I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the blog for you/them.  I don't expect anyone to read the whole thing from start to end, it is rather depressing and upsetting, not to mention time consuming.  Yet, I know there are some folks who have done just that, some more than once and I am humbled by your choice to take this journey with me.  For everyone else, I thought I'd lay out some of the basics for you here real quick.

The blog came to be as an extension of my Facebook page.  I had joined Facebook just 2 months before Elise was born, so I was still very "into" it.  I, of course, had many status updates about my pregnancy and my grief, but I also shared MANY "notes" about what I was going through.  I had wanted to make a blog for Elise for a long time, but was worried I wouldn't be able to tend to it as I'd like.  I haven't and that upsets me, it's like a visual reminder of the lack of time I can purposely devote to her, but I am OK with it.  I forgive myself for it.  I started the blog just shy of 2 years after losing Elise.  As of today it has been around for almost 2 years itself.  I took all those Facebook notes and copied them over as entries on the blog.  Many are songs or poems or other "borrowed" writings that you can look through at your leisure, if you so desire.  Maybe one day I'll put the all into 1 blog post too.  I'll add it to my list of drafts.

But for now, onto the topic at hand:

Obviously it all starts with Elise's Birth Story, the day I thought I was going into labor to have my fourth child 4 weeks early...I wrote it just 2 days after delivering Elise, it is filled with raw emotion yet I attempted to stay focused on the facts.

Four days later was Elise's Memorial.

Two weeks later, I wrote about how I was feeling.

During this week I finished grad school.  I did my exit Interview and turned in my final project.  I knew I was cutting it close with Elise's due date just a week away, but I had hoped and prayed she would wait until the day after my Interview to be born...So, Now what?

Just another short week later was Elise's Due Date.

Then all of a sudden it was two months later.

This is a post I made at almost five months later.

And then I announced my pregnancy with Ella.

Before I knew it it was 6 months later.

Autumn, my 5 year old,  puts things in perspective.

As the new year (2010) approached, I asked my friends for help...

Nine months later, I almost missed it!

This year, Good Friday came before her "angelversary".

We celebrated Elise's first Angelversary by releasing butterflies with friends and family.

Here, 2 years later, I reflect on the actual day Elise died.

On her second Angelversary I shared some new media.

Emily, Mike and I went to hear Dr. Joanne Cacciatore speak courtesy of The Sweet Pea Project on April 6, that year.  It was such an amazing evening, I still haven't finished writing the blog entry about it, BUT just a few days later, we, the kids and I, released butterflies we raised for Elise near her tree.

I spent the next 6 months working almost non-stop on Elise's Event for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

Here, I reflect on the event.

Unfortunately, not much has been written on here since then.  I don't even have the post for her third angelversay, where we released lanterns, finished and published.  Boy, that really hits hard.  I spend a lot of my "Elise" time back on Facebook and the page for the blog, but I really need to get those things back over here again.  I'll put that too on my list of things to do...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reflecting on October 15, 2012

I posted last year, after Elise's Event, about my history with International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (October 15), but I want to take some time to "update" on how I saw things this year.
First of all, I am overwhelmed, grateful, and humbled by all the support I was shown.  People I barely know or haven't seen in years lit candles for me and Elise.  It meant so very much to me.  Friends gathered with me to share their babies over dinner, other friends sent messages, posts, and more to let me know they were thinking of me.  Elise is loved.  Her life is remembered!  How awesome is that?!?!
Second, the number of people who spoke out about the day was completely amazing!  Of course there were those, like me, who speak out often and I "expected" to see their posts and their pictures.  But then there were so many more...People speaking of losses I didn't know about (maybe no one or only a very few people knew)...People who have never experienced a loss supporting those who have...I am still in awe!
I want to thank you for reading this, for sharing in my journey, for helping to keep the memory of my little girl alive.  She was never able to breathe the air in this world, but she has made an impact on it.  I am so blessed to have been given the privilege to be her mommy.  Naturally, I would love to still be ignorant to the fact that not all pregnancies end with healthy, living babies, but if I had to endure the pain, it is somewhat reassuring to know that it is helping others.
I've shared these pictures on Facebook, but want to get it on here as well.  It is Elise's candle from last year, along with others candle's and some "new" names...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ella's Baptism Part 2

As I sit at my desk to write this, there is a picture of Elise to my right.  It doesn't "belong" here, it is just where it was sat after Autumn took it to school for her "about me" project the first week.  It was never put back away.  I like to think it's a sign.  I find signs all the time.  Maybe I make them up, for comfort, but comfort they bring so I cling to them.
This day has weighed heavily on my mind.  All the pieces have fallen into place so perfectly.  When I finally decided it was Ella's time to be baptized and knew who I wanted to do it, he agreed.  When we tried to pick a date last Spring, we couldn't coordinate between him, myself and Ella's Godparents.  When I knew the date I wanted in the Fall, there was already another commitment on my calendar, but  it ended up being changed and this date fit perfectly!  16 years ago on Sunday, September 15, my oldest daughter Emily was baptized at 3 months old.  I just knew Ella's had to be either the 15th or the 16th.  My dad was supposed to schedule surgery for sometime this month and I was able to talk him into waiting until after his birthday (September 14), not yet knowing if I would be able to have her Baptism this weekend or not.  It turns out he may not need the surgery as immediately as thought anyway (thank the Lord!).  The date fell into place. 
When I announced the date, there was drama.  Yes, it bothered me that people are so quick to jump to conclusions and create drama about such a special event, but I'm over it, really over it all.  And now with my grandmother's passing less than 2 weeks ago, it seems even more ridiculous for the drama to be around.  But it is NOT MY problem, it is theirs.
As usual, I have been so busy with life, so much has happened in the last few weeks with the kids' school, my mommy group, Autumn's early Birthday party, and the above mentioned events, I haven't really had time to think about the actual Baptism.  But now it is hitting me.  The sheer number of people who are attending to show their love and support is overwhelming.  I am so humbled by their encouragement.  But now that the day is here, it dawns on me what will happen.  My 2 year old will be baptized, by the same man and in the same manner as my newborn baby who died before living outside my body was.  I barely remember Elise's baptism, but what if seeing him do Ella's brings it back.  Will it make me smile or cry?  Probably both.  I wouldn't have this done any other way, but I am scared to death and will truly cherish those in attendance who understand and do not judge.
Again, it is that realization that if Elise did not die, Ella would not be here.  They are both my children, I love them equally, but not the same.  I wouldn't trade either one for the other.  My circumstances are what they are and I no longer wallow in pitty over it, but rater embrace it and cherish it for what it is, for who it has made me and for how lucky I am to be the voice of not just Elise, but of other stillborn babies and grieving mothers.
I know that Elise and the Lord will be present in my house today.  I know that they will both give me strength to feel the range of emotions that will undoubtedly flow through me both during and after this celebration.  I just know that, like most things, I will be too busy dealing with the details of the event to actually experience it until it is over and all is quiet again.  I will miss my daughter a little bit more today and tonight, but I will have comfort in knowing that the Lord is taking care of us all and again, that I have such an amazing support system in place to help me through it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.  There will be more I'm sure.  There already is more I want to say, but neither the Lord or Elise are going to be cooking food or cleaning the house for Ella's baptism and even though I know my friends would have gladly, OK, maybe not gladly, come help if I had asked them too, I didn't. :)
Oh, and so many of you reading will not be in attendance today, but know that I am still aware of your support and encouragement.  You all mean so much to me and I thank Elise all the time for the people she has brought into my life and those that she has brought closer to me than before.  I know who you are and I thank you!!!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ella's Baptism

It just wasn't very important for me to have Ella baptized when she was born.  I don't know why, I don't even think there was a reason why, really.  I guess I just had enough going on with a new baby, grief, marriage, 3 other children, etc, it just wasn't very high on the priority list.  We weren't big church goers, I don't even have a church that I call home.  All four of my children were baptized a different religion...the oldest, Lutheran, the middle, Catholic, the boy, Methodist, and Elise, non denominational.  Yes, she was baptized in the hospital the night I delivered her...I'd pay money, and a lot of it, to have a recording of that now.  The hospital sent in the Chaplin on call to speak with us and he asked if we wanted her baptized.  We liked him a lot.  We asked him to officiate her Memorial Service later that week, Good Friday to be exact, and he did.  Almost everyone in attendance commented on how wonderful he was.  I wanted him to Baptize Ella.  I thought it would be fitting.  I asked and he said yes!  The hardest part was coordinating a date between him, her Godparents and us, but we finally have it set and I can't wait!
I wish there wasn't so much drama surrounding it.  Why a single person has felt the need to continually create drama about it is beyond me.  But it is what it is and I can't change others, so I move forward knowing that the people who love Ella and support me will be there for her on her special day.
I'm not big on mailing out invitations anymore.  I just don't have the time to get them made, address them and mail them.  Am I lazy, maybe, but busy seems more like it!  There are a few people who I do need to mail an invitation to.  Most of them are out of town and not easily accessible online, so I bought some blank notecards with a cross on the front and figured I'd just print an invitation to put inside.  I did a quick search for ideas and found this quote, not once, but TWICE:

May the Lord give His angel 
charge over you,
to guide you in all your ways.
Psalm 91:11

Maybe I'm crazy, but it took my breath away.  I don't care if I'm crazy, I like thinking that you are indeed watching over us all.  So drama or no drama, I'm going to bed with hope in my heart that Elise will be there with us as Pastor Nick baptizes her baby sister in just over a month.  

If you are local and reading this, you are welcome to join us.  I only officially invited  my family and immediate friends, but anyone who would like to attend is welcome.  The support from my friends is truly amazing and the only thing that keeps me going some days!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

I cried today

Not a day goes by that I don't think about you, Elise.  It's kinda funny how you don't even need to be here literally pulling on my pant leg, calling my name, or climbing on me for me to feel you and see you and think about you.  I miss you terribly, but I don't dwell on you not being here.  Thinking of you makes me happy, not sad.  I like remembering you and sharing you with others.  I love you so much, like any mother loves her child.
Since you aren't here pulling on me, climbing on me and yelling in my face, I don't often have time to focus solely on you.  Thoughts of you run through my mind at random times.  Lately, as your angelversary approaches (I just had to add that word to my computer's dictionary :)) and as I plan Ella's birthday I think of you a little more and have even had to "snap" back into reality from daydreaming about you.  I was also contacted this week by an Internet Reporter for an article about my Pinterest board about you and grief and healing  Then there was the monthly support group meeting where I shared your story.  It was the first time in a long time that I told your story to someone who didn't know.  I didn't cry talking about you and the days before and after we lost you, but I could feel the lump in my stomach.  I went to sleep thinking a little more about you than usual.  Then this morning I was up at 530 again, thinking about you and the days surrounding your death and the tears just started to flow.  It wasn't so much that I was sad, it was just a release of emotions.  I was just lying in bed, tears streaming down my face, a literal ache in my empty arms, thinking about the events of almost 3 years ago and how I wish things were different!  Don't get me wrong, I am OK with how things have turned out.  I am grateful to be your mom and have embraced my role as an advocate for all babies gone too soon.  I wouldn't change any of it, but oh how I dream about things just being different.
As usual, those other kids are straggling in one by one interrupting my concentration, but I think I OK to stop and post.  I have so many started posts waiting to be uploaded, I don't want this one to end up there as well.
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