Dec 31, 2013

Let There Be Peace on Earth (and let it begin with me)


I just spent the better part of an hour reading the comments from an essay written by an atheist about celebrating Christmas. The essay itself was, for me, unremarkable. It was the comment section that left me breathless.

The comments, as I'm sure you can imagine if you've ever read comments online, range from ridiculous to moderately sane, from atheists, agnostics, and Christians alike. To be fair, I did not read them all (so maybe there were more pleasant or sane ones than those I read), but overall it left me feeling really sad.

I don't understand why people don't just get along. Why we all can't just respect each other. Why we all feel the need to be rude and resentful or judge and criticize other people.

I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. But just because I believe these things doesn't mean I can't respect and even love someone who doesn't. It doesn't matter if Jesus was the first person to ever preach about goodness and kindness (I am pretty confident he wasn't). Whether or not your belief in goodness and kindness comes from Jesus or Buddha or the humanity itself really doesn't matter to me. (And it shouldn't matter to anyone else.)

Isn't that what is most important?

I don't know. Perhaps I am being blasphemes for thinking I can be a Christian and think it's more important to be a good person than to believe in God. But I guess I think it's okay. I'm sure some (many) could find fault in this. I'm sure some (many) could claim I am "cherry-picking" my Christianity. And to that I say oh well. My personal faith (and any possible challenges about my faith) are my own.

I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. I also happen to believe in being kind, compassionate, and loving. And I know numerous people (some close friends) who don't believe in God but also believe in kindness, compassion, and love. Whether or not they believe in God has no influence on whether or not they are my friend. And I'm pretty sure they would say the same about me.

What would the world be like if we all were the same, all believed the same? I just wish we could respect our differing opinions as opposed to argue.

Just as an aside: I have had plenty of times I've initiated conflict and been very judgmental (especially talking politics) so I'm not pretending I'm above anything or anyone. I just wish we could all be nice to each other.

If you believe in being a good person, and I believe in being a good person, whether that belief comes from one place or another shouldn't matter. If we both claim to be good people, shouldn't we be nice to each other?

Yes. Just yes.

As this year is ending and a new one is beginning I am sending love and respect out into the universe.

Whatever you believe or don't believe I wish for you: love for your neighbor, love for yourself, and peace in your heart this coming new year.

xoxo, christine



Dec 15, 2013

Do You See What I See?

I didn't want to do Christmas cards this year. I don't want to do Christmas cards. Every other holiday tradition feels joyful. I wanted to cut down a Christmas tree, decorate the house, bake cookies, because all of those things are important traditions I want my girls to have and enjoy. But Christmas cards? I'm just not feeling it this year. Whether or not we send those out don't really affect the kind of Christmas memories my children have.

I don't feel like sending out a card full of happy smiling faces when I feel like our year hasn't been all that happy. Oh, yes, we have been blessed with many happy moments throughout the year, but overall well, the year sucked. Sending out cards doesn't feel right to me, nor important.

My husband, on the other hand, takes comfort in sending out cards to his family and friends (who he doesn't see regularly) to let them know that we are all alive and okay. (Whether or not we are okay is debatable to me.) But I understand his need, even if it is different than my own.

This week Adam made some cards, and at the last minute he ordered a few for me, but I'm not sure whether or not I'll actually address them and send them out. I felt guilty when he was putting in his order that only some of our friends and family would get a card and others (namely, mine) would not. But aside from the guilt I don't know why I did it, because I just don't want to send cards. I don't. I really, truly don't.

Most things I am holding on to and even excited about because I have the girls to think about and be excited with. Christmas cards? I just don't want to think about sending something out without Calvin's name on it. It feels like I'm pretending our year was all smiles when I feel like it was mostly tears. Like I am pretending this past year was something different than it actually was.

(So, you're probably not going to get a Christmas card from me.)

xoxo, christine

Dec 10, 2013

Winter Wonderland

So, I read an article about "secrets for happier holidays" and one of the recommendations was to find the single thing you value most (ie. Is it spending as much time with family as possible? Drinking eggnog? Stress-free joy? Etc.).

While I would love to declare that stress-free joy is at the top of my list (oh how I long for stress-free), the thing I value most about this holiday season is making memories and keeping traditions with my children. Unfortunately, stress-free joy does not go hand-in-hand with children, so I'm going to have to let that go. Anyway, the whole point of it all is that this way I'm making a choice about what is most important and I shouldn't feel resentful for what all goes into these memory making and traditions because it is what is most important to me.

Here's to not letting the stress of gingerbread houses and rearranging Christmas decorations get to me.

* * *

Despite the disgustingly cold weather, we snuck in one tradition this past weekend of going out to a tree farm and cutting down our own tree. It was nose-numbing cold, but Hope didn't seem to notice as she frolicked through the snow and pointed out possible trees to take home.

It is most definitely winter here, even though the calendar claims we still have eleven days until it's official. The temperatures in the negatives, the mounds of snow, and the ice-covered roads call the meteorologists bluff of Winter Solstice.






* * *

On another note, I've been half-successful with my holiday fasting I proclaimed in my previous post. I will happily report that I have not played Candy Crush since, and have spent significantly less time on the computer while watching television. I am, however, still checking Facebook and email (although not as frequently). I have yet to have some awe-inspiring epiphany or magical moment of clarity, but at the same time I do feel a little more focused than I have in the past weeks.

* * *

I wish I could say that December so far has been all joy and excitement and family and fun. But, even though there's been significant amounts of stress, it has been good. The girls are so excited about every little thing and it's hard for that excitement not to rub off on me too.

Time to gather up the girls to decorate the tree. Another memory to make.

xoxo, christine

Dec 3, 2013

Holiday Fasting

I think I need a technology break. Or at least a cut-back. I am feeling tired and emotional, and am wasting way too much time playing Candy Crush, checking Facebook, and just dinking around on the internet.

It seems silly to make some sort of statement about taking a technology break, especially here on a blog. But I am writing about it, simply because I'm hopeful it will help me follow through with my fast. (Also hopefully no one while think I'm being rude if I don't respond on Facebook for awhile.)

It's not that I want to stop completely, but I feel like I'm living such a distracted life, I can't just do one thing at a time. It's gotten so bad that I'm crushing candies on the iPad while watching television and I'm not really focused on either thing. Plus, I lay in bed at night and can't get visions of striped candies wiping out rows of red and green and yellow out of my head.

Of course, I'm totally okay with doing two things at once when I'm having a conversation with my daughter while driving, or listening to music while cooking, but I just don't feel very present in my life. And I'm not okay with that. This holiday season seems like the perfect time of year to take a technology fast and just be.

If you don't hear a lot from me (mostly via Facebook since I haven't been blogging very regularly anyway), it's because I'm enjoying my December with my family. And taking some time to read. And take more photos. And journal. And just be.



xoxo, christine

Nov 24, 2013

The Wizard of Oz and Black Friday

We are sitting downstairs watching The Wizard of Oz. The girls are tucked snug in bed, dreaming of dance parties and whipped cream and a long weekend with family.

There is something comforting about the movie. About the familiar music from my childhood: rainbows and brains and hearts. About Dorothy's sweet disposition and innocence.

There is something simple. And I am missing simple.

I am sad that Thanksgiving is becoming overshadowed by Black Friday. Or rather, that Black Friday is a black hole that is expanding and expanding and expanding. Don't get me wrong, I've partaken in, and even enjoyed Black Friday. I will do it again this year because every year we are with my husband's family for Thanksgiving the women go out on Black Friday. I enjoy it more for the time spent with these special women than for the actual shopping, but we've done it several years and will go out again this year. It's part of our holiday tradition. I LOVE holiday tradition.

But for some reason, maybe this is just a natural part of getting older (and let's just say "wiser" for arguments sake), the whole consumerism and commercialism of the holiday season is getting to me. My shoulders feel heavy, I feel burdened by our society that puts so much importance on stuff and things.

I miss simple.

I want more simple.

I will go out on Black Friday. I will drink a warm coffee, wait in long lines, and enjoy making more memories of our tradition of braving the crowds. But I pledge that this year and every year, I will not go out shopping on Thanksgiving.

What is so important about this holiday of thanks is being with the people you are most thankful for. I want to be with those people. And I want the employees at Wal Mart (and other various stores) to be with their families too.

I may seem hypocritical, desiring simplicity and less consumerism yet taking part in Black Friday. I'd like to think of it more as one of my many complexities (even oxymorons) that make me human. Besides, like I said, I'm a sucker for tradition.

Here's to "more simple" for us all.

xoxo, christine

Nov 19, 2013

Light in the Darkness

It is amazing to me, that everything that has happened can happen yet I can still think in some ways I was lucky.

But it is true. I am lucky.

We had time to prepare. We knew we would lose our baby. We knew he would die. Although we were blinded by our twenty-week ultrasound and the amniocentesis finding, that knowledge gave us time to prepare. And I'm not saying that knowing we would lose him made losing him any easier, I'm just saying that in that sense I feel lucky. Of course, preparing ourselves did nothing to dampen the grief.

And yet, we had a reason. We knew we would lose him.

We did not have his crib set up and ready. So we did not have to stare at an empty crib when he was gone.

We did not have tiny newborn clothes washed in Dreft and neatly folded. So we did not have little unworn onsies to pack away.

We did not have our bouncy chair out of storage or an infant car seat in our car. So we did not have a bouncy chair or car seat to shove under our stairs and out of sight.

We knew he would leave us, so we had nothing ready for him to stay with us.

I am lucky that for two precious months he was still with us, yet I knew he would be leaving. And as hard as it was not knowing when that time would come, I got to savor every tiny flutter, every kiss on the belly from my three-year-old, every raspberry from my five-year-old. I got to prepare myself and our family that we would not be bringing him home. That he would die.

The grief it is settling around me. It is pushing on me, sometimes quietly and other times still loud and hard. Sometimes I think I am finally floating, taking deep breaths of air, and out of nowhere I am pushed (or is it pulled?) back down, trying to gasp a quick breath before going under.

It is scary. It is hard. It is grief.

But I keep getting back up to the surface, fighting for a new breath. Seeing some light, feeling that light on my face, knowing that there will be more moments of going under the water, of darkness, but at that moment there is light.

There is light.

xoxo, christine


Nov 11, 2013

Not Ready

I have been sitting here in front of a blank page for...I don't know (a half hour? an hour?), trying to think of something to write. Trying to find that little spark of thought, of creativity. That little spark that has been hiding from me lately, dancing around my mind while I fumble and pant and try to catch it. I've got nothing.

I journal regularly right now, but writing for an audience I just feel stuck or empty. My words and thoughts don't feel elegant and flowy, they feel chopped and random, if they come out at all. Do I write about my day? What I've been doing with the girls? Do I write a funny anecdote? Do I have a funny anecdote?



In some ways I feel like I must not be noticing my life as much if I can't find things to write about. Am I just going through the motions completely unaware of what's really going on? But then, I don't know that's true because in other ways I feel like I am living a LOT more consciously lately, over-aware of how I'm interacting with people, especially my children.

On Sunday we colored together. Usually when they're drawing or cutting or playdoughing and they want me around I just sit at the table and watch, but Sunday afternoon I took a page from a Christmas coloring book, surrounded myself with crayons and starting coloring. I think it took the girls by surprise (myself too). Mommy, you're coloring!? Hope asked. She immediately found a page from the same Christmas book and settled in next to me, and then Paige was not far behind her. We mulled over colors, compared the characters on our pages (Hope had a reindeer, I had a reindeer and elves, and Paige had the jackpot with a reindeer, elves, and Santa), and filled those pages until our fingers were stiff. It was one of my favorite parts of the weekend.




I love the holiday season. I love the twinkly lights, the carrying on and tweaking of traditions, the family chaos, the holiday after holiday, the magic of snow. I love it. I love it. I love it. But this year I am approaching it with a little less excitement and a lot more dread.

Last week after we marked Calvin's due date, I realized that I am not ready for the holidays. And not because it's-coming-so-fast and let's-get-to-Thanksgiving-before-we-think-about-Christmas. No, I am not ready for this holiday season because I am not ready to celebrate these big moments minus one. I don't want it to be Thanksgiving Without Calvin and Christmas Without Calvin.

I don't know how it is that I can be dreading the next couple of months while eagerly anticipating the radio station playing Christmas music. I'm not ready for all the holiday cheer, and yet I can't help but be excited for this time of year. I want it to be a joyful time. I want it to be happy and fun and full of magic. And it will. I know it will. But it also won't. And I guess I'm just not ready for that, mostly because I don't know what "that" will look like.

And now my previously blank page has words and my slightly-less fuzzy brain is again fuzzy. (Which I'm pretty sure means it's time for bed.)

xoxo, christine


Nov 4, 2013

My Love Will Find You

Dear Calvin,

Today was your due date. I wish you were here. I wish I could hug you and kiss you and snuggle you again. You and your siblings are the best things that ever happened to me, that I have been a part of. You make my life richer, more complete.

I hope that you know how much I love you. How much I miss you. How sorry I am for not being able to keep you here with me. I hope that you know I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

Having you and losing you has made me more of myself. (Perhaps that sounds convoluted or crazy, but I think it's true.)

Your life has already taught me so much. It gives me more appreciation for what I have, and better perspective on what's important. Your strength inspires me.

My dear, sweet baby boy, I miss you. I miss you terribly. But I hope that you know, I hope that you feel, wherever you are, my love will find you.

xoxo, Mommy


Nov 2, 2013

It Could Have Been Halloween


Back when I was in the first half of my pregnancy (you know, before we knew that something was wrong), I told people my due date was Halloween. According to some online due date calculator October 31st was supposed to be my due date, and I had a little fun telling people that come late October we would have a little witch or a little devil.

Even after my first visit with the doctor, when she put our baby due November 4th, I continued to tell people the 31st because, well, it didn't really seem to matter. I knew the baby would be coming at some point around that time, and since babies rarely make an appearance on that expected date I didn't really think it was a big deal.

After Calvin's diagnosis, all talk of a due date disappeared. It would be a miracle for him to make it to forty-weeks. Heck, it was a miracle that he was still alive at that twenty-week ultrasound that changed everything. I forgot that I had been telling people we were expecting him on Halloween because our world was flipped upside down with devastation, fear, and knowing we could lose him any day.

On Thursday, Halloween, I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from a friend who remembered what I had told her. I also had a message from another friend. I can not tell you how touched I was to be thought of. How the realization of their mindfulness, the fact that they chose to remember and acknowledge my son, brought tears to my eyes. Even though since losing Calvin I've been thinking of his due date as November 4th, this whole week (basically since Halloween) will be hard. So it is amazing to have people who surround me with so much love.

Before dressing the girls for the evening, I briefly let my mind dream of the "what ifs" and wondered if we might've had a newborn to tote around trick-or-treating, or if I might've been in the hospital and missed the girls' candy collecting entirely.

But it doesn't do any good to think of the "might have beens" and the "what ifs". Our reality is that he was never meant to live to see his due date, so I can't really imagine what it "should've" been because I guess the way that it is, is the way it is supposed to be. It hurts. And I'm not okay with it. But this is what my life is. Mother to a dead son.

On Monday we will start a ritual. Something to acknowledge Calvin's life and his infinite presence in our lives. Maybe light a candle, look at a few of the photos with the girls, take down his things from the hospital and touch them.

And then... I don't know what. Then I will continue to do the best that I can and take one day at a time.

xoxo, christine


Oct 23, 2013

A Picture Worth a Thousand Tears

We got to see photos that were taken from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep after Calvin was delivered. I am so grateful that we were able to have a photographer come in and capture a few precious moments with our son. These photos will be treasured forever.

But I am broken all over.

And I am disappointed. In the weeks of waiting, expectations managed to creep into my subconscious convincing me that these photos would be of something that didn't exist. That somehow our baby would look less like he did on August 17th and more like he should if he were full-term and healthy. That somehow within the past ten weeks, our reality that day consisted of a baby that the girls could have visited, should have visited. That somehow our photos would conjure the same warm-hearted feelings I get when looking at professional photographs of families walking hand-in-hand through falling leaves, little hands pressed with eager anticipation on a mother's round belly, moments of happiness and joy that I am so used to being posted everywhere I turn.

I look at these photos and a numbness settles over me. Is this really us? It is so strange to vividly remember sitting on that hospital bed posing for that picture, yet feeling a disconnect to who that person was. I know that these are the exact people we were, he is the exact baby that I remember delivering, and yet it's like an entirely different universe. It feels like yesterday and a lifetime ago.

I am ripping in two.

I think part of my disappointment is simply grief. Looking at all these photos opens the wound that was scarring. It is fresh and raw. I have been so eager to get these photos back that I didn't stop to think of how hard it would be too.

But I am incredibly thankful for what our photographer gave us. Even if she could magically make our photos different, I would never want her to. The photos are perfect, I know, because they capture our reality. They capture our time with Calvin just as it was. They capture the three of us in the moments we shared. They capture our heartache. And our love.

xoxo, christine

Oct 22, 2013

The Windy City



I had a long weekend in Chicago with my husband. With everything we've been going through, it was some much needed uninterrupted "couple" time. The last time I was in Chicago was in high school, so it was fun to do some exploring, but I discovered a few things too.

First of all, I could totally picture us living in Chicago. Do you ever do that? Whenever I go somewhere new I try to imagine what it would be like for our family to live there. Some places I can see the possibilities and other places all I can see is "Oh, hell no." The only problem with Chicago is that if we ever actually lived there I'd have to take daily dramamine just to get around. That L Train is crazy for my inner ear. Holy motion-sickness, Batman!

Also, as much as I enjoyed myself, it was very hard to be away from the girls. I'm kind of assuming that it's because of everything we've been through with losing Calvin, but I just want to keep my girls close lately. I still have moments that I fear I am going crazy (as in, give me a break from mommying all day!), but at the same time I desperately want to keep them physically close to me right now. It's like I have to hold on to what's important, and they are most important.

Another thing: while traveling without kids has it's benefits (mostly that it's way easier), I found myself thinking about what they would enjoy about Chicago. And all the cute photo-opps we'd have.

Finally, I love love love to travel, and I love love love home just as much. Being in Chicago renewed in me a desire to go to new places while simultaneously reminding me of my appreciation for having a place to call home. A place that is comfortable and happy.

xoxo, christine

Also? Apparently I actually like deep dish pizza. Who knew?

Oct 7, 2013

Blurry Vision

Now that October is here there is an increase in the weight on my shoulders with each passing day. As we inch closer to the end of the month, closer to my due date with Calvin, the days are heavy and cloudy.

I tried to explain to my husband last night how I've been feeling -- like everything is tainted. Like every experience has a little bit of dust, a little bit of gray covering it. Like I am viewing the world through a pair of glasses with the wrong prescription. Everything is a little blurry, and my eyes have to work super hard to focus, giving myself a headache, and then they just can't do it anymore and I have to give my eyes a break and close them, until I am strong enough to open them again and start all over.

Except it's not my eyes, it's my heart.

It takes a lot of work and energy to function in a blurry world and so after awhile it catches up to me and I have to give myself a break from being strong. This is grief. And I think it is all part of the normal process. But to anyone who worries, you can rest assured that I am seeing my therapist regularly, so if I do happen to lose my footing, she will be there to help break my fall.

It is hard not to think about what we don't have. That I am not pregnant. That we do not have to get the nursery ready. That I do not need to buy boy baby clothes. That we need nothing baby-related anymore. And even though we have no reason to believe I can't get pregnant again, we have no reason to think we won't be blessed with another baby, I find myself with the attitude that we can't and we won't. That we might as well just get rid of all our baby things now.

I wish that things were different. In so many ways, I wish things were different. I know that I control what is written here, but writing is also reflection for me, and as much as I don't want this place to be gloomy, it feels fake to pretend. I want to be able to focus on the things that bring me joy, because there are many things that bring me joy. But even amongst the joy, my heart is heavy. And so I write what is on my heart, even when, day after day, it is sorrowful.

I love October. I love the fall. But with the new season of crisp air, apples, and sweaters looms the day I should have brought my son into the world - ALIVE. They day we should have met and cried and gazed into each other's eyes saying,

There you are. I know you. I love you.

I miss him.

xoxo, christine



Oct 3, 2013

Thin Skin

Thursdays are rough, I think because we're tired from getting through the first three days of the week, and also because it's a really busy day with preschool, Kindergarten, and dance class. Today, though, was the roughest Thursday we've had yet.

It's a long story, but basically I made a decision that I hadn't thought out, and then shortly after changed my mind without thinking it through again, which then caused Hope to be very upset. I mean, EXTREMELY upset. I made a mistake. I was wrong. This was a not-well-thought-out decision, and it was made simply because I was tired. And I feel awful that I caused her pain. That I hurt her. So, once she calmed down we talked about how I was sorry and that mommies make mistakes too. I suppose it was a good learning moment, for both of us.

The thing is, what makes me the saddest about the whole situation is that I caused Hope's first field trip to leave a sour taste in her mouth. And when people ask her if she had fun, she tells them no, not because she didn't have fun on the actual field trip, but because of how the day ended. The first experience I got being a part of Hope's Kindergarten year and I messed it up. And that breaks my heart.

And that she is mad at me, and that she told me she does not want me to go on a field trip with her ever again, break my heart. I mean, it really breaks my heart. Of course, I know this is just a blip on the radar of our relationship. There will be many, many moments in her childhood and adolescence when she is mad at me. But I think this particular situation hurts so much because I know I was in the wrong.

I have a hard time getting over that. I have a hard time forgiving myself for those mistakes.

But then I wonder, if I'm having a hard time handling this little moment now, when she's five, how in the world will I have a strong enough heart to make it when she's a fifteen-year-old screaming that she hates me?

I'm not sure my skin is thick enough for teenagers. Of course, as long as I don't beat myself up for the next several years, I do have those same years to build up a thicker skin. There might be hope for me yet.

But until then, I will ask for forgiveness and try move on. And really try to keep myself from repeatedly asking Hope if she's forgiven me and if I can come volunteer at her classroom again. Because whether she wants me to or not, I'm gonna be there . I'd just rather that she want me there too.


xoxo, christine


Sep 29, 2013

There's an Elephant in the Room

I have a hard time knowing how to answer when someone asks, "How are you doing?" It's not necessarily because I don't want to talk about what's been going on or how I'm feeling, but just that I don't really know what to say. I don't always know how I'm doing. And most of my processing, crying, and thinking things through occur at night with the stillness and quiet of laying in bed.

Also, I've discovered that I've become the friend who makes outings awkward and uncomfortable. I don't like to use the word "hate" very often, but I'm pretty sure I hate that I bring a big elephant into the room with me. I drag it around behind me, my elephant who is chained to my ankle (or rather, my heart), and everyone is keenly aware he is there but no one wants to say anything. My "baby-who-died" elephant. I don't want to make people uncomfortable, but he is a part of me now. And I hope that at some point my elephant becomes less awkward, and even though I hate his awkwardness, I guess you could say that I love him. Because he is my story. And I would rather have my strange and difficult "baby-who-died" elephant than nothing at all.

(Am I losing you here as I delve deeper into this whole "elephant" thing? I'm getting a little caught up and carried away in this the symbolism.)

And it's hard. It's hard and uncomfortable and awkward, for all of us. I don't blame anyone, because I'm sure before all this happened I would be the exact same way. And maybe not all people who've lost babies and loved ones would agree, but I say just bring it up. Don't be afraid that bringing up my baby will remind me of his death because he will always be in my mind. I know that you might be afraid that I don't want to talk about it, but that's okay. Please. Ask. (Just choose gentle words.) And if I don't want to talk about it I will let you know.

There are so many things about this that are hard, I am continually being taken by surprise. I suppose if I had thought about it, I would've realized that I have an elephant permanently attached to my heart, but of course I'm so stuck in my own head and my own world that I didn't even notice when he appeared.


xoxo christine

As an aside: I can't decide if I like using this elephant analogy or not (even though I keep using it). We bought a stuffed animal elephant for our baby while we were in San Diego this past spring. It was long before we knew anything other than that we were happy to be adding to our family. The elephant is Calvin's and will always be his. I used "elephant in the room" simply because everyone knows what that means, but if Calvin's animal is an elephant I'm not sure that I want this ache (and awkwardness) to be associated with that. On the other hand, maybe I can think of my heartache as his stuffed elephant always being with me.

Sep 27, 2013

The Universe and Hobbes

I have been trying to write a blog post all week. There are so many thoughts and emotions tangled together in my mind, every time I get started I don't seem able to put down a coherent or cohesive text.

The service we had for Calvin felt good. We had our immediate family together in a small chapel with a few meaningful songs and comforting words spoken. I know that he didn't need any of it to be welcomed into heaven, but it sure brought some peace to my heart and soul. In fact, it felt oddly refreshing to cry together as a family.

It is still not easy, though. I think there is something to my thought last week of never healing but just feeling less broken. Or maybe you do heal, but it's like a scar where the injury itself is healed but the area is never the same. The skin is more sensitive and a reminder of the pain.

I don't know. Just a thought.

Yesterday at Paige's dance class I overheard a cute little pregnant woman mention that she had six weeks left. Masochist that I seem to be, I immediately checked the calendar to confirm that yes, she is due the same week I was with Calvin. When I got home Adam informed me that a coworker of his is adopting a baby that was born on August 17, the day I delivered Calvin. These things, they sting. It hurts, not because of what they have, but because of what we don't have.

Sometimes I wonder if the universe is trying to tell us that we weren't mean to have three children here on earth. Sorry guys, three's just too much for you, so STOP TRYING. I know it's more than a little ridiculous, this thought, but it still creeps into the corners of my mind sometimes.

Anyway, we're all doing okay, I guess. Taking one day at a time...every day.

And yesterday we got a package from a friend who made a Hobbes for our Calvin. Because every Calvin needs a Hobbes.

Happy Weekend.

xoxo christine

Sep 19, 2013

Less Broken and Broken and Friday Photos

It was a bit of a rough week. We marked one month since delivering Calvin on Tuesday, and my emotions took me by surprise. (Although I'm not quite sure why, as anyone who knows me well will agree that I'm an emotional person.) The following day I got a tattoo of Calvin's footprints on my wrist. My first tattoo. It feels like a step in the right direction of Healing.

But of course Healing is a process. (And maybe one is never "healed" but just "less broken"?)

Tonight I had a meeting where we wrote down the members of our families. When I took a paper for each of my girls I thought, this breaks my heart. It felt really unfair that I didn't need another piece for Calvin. (In fact, I felt like I should even have four.)

I feel incredibly sad and empty tonight.

And now I have no way to transition into photos from our week. So I'm just going to dump them here and pretend that this post is really well put together, even thought it's so obviously not.



She had her first day of tennis last week... and loved it. 


I finally got around to setting up an area with some of our reminders of Calvin. The elephant we bought for him in San Diego, the hat he wore at the hospital, and his tiny footprints.


It's their favorite place to eat lunch.


A beautiful memorial to my son.


xoxo, christine


Sep 17, 2013

One Month


Today marks one month since I delivered Calvin. One month ago his little heart had stopped. One month ago he was no longer in the safety and coziness of my womb.

I miss him. I miss the girls kissing my belly and telling Calvin goodnight and whispering, I love you, Calvin into my belly button. I miss feeling his body nestled against my hips.

It feels harder today, to know that our baby didn't get to be healthy. That our baby didn't get to come home. Mostly I don't like to ask, "Why did this happen to us?" because I feel like it implies it should have happened to someone else. Mostly I don't feel angry, because I know God didn't "do" this. Mostly I just feel sad that things couldn't have been different.

Tomorrow Adam and I are meeting with our church to formalize the memorial service planned for this weekend. I can't quite wrap my head around the idea that we are planning a service for our dead son. But I am glad we can do this, have a service for him. Have a service for us, really.

I miss him today. Just like I missed him yesterday and just like I will miss him tomorrow.


I love you, little guy. I'm sorry I couldn't do more for you. But I do love you, so very much.

xoxo, christine

Sep 13, 2013

Friday Photos

I've decided (for this week, anyway) to end on a happy note, with photos of what we've been up to this past week. There is joy amidst the sorrow, laughter as well as tears. I feel blessed to have such wonderful girls to help keep me going.


She got her ears pierced on Saturday. And then Sunday morning one of them fell out and she refused to let me push it back in. Now I have a beautiful new pair of pink sparkly heart earrings. (And she won't be getting her ears repierced anytime soon.)



Preschool orientation.


Wednesday we had an impromptu jaunt through the sprinklers.


Working together on the Leapster.


First day of preschool.


Happy Friday!

xoxo, christine

Sep 12, 2013

Iceberg, Straight Ahead!

**I wrote this the other night, basically a stream of consciousness, similar to a journal entry. It is just the tip of the iceberg.**


The other day my therapist asked if I talk about Calvin when I think about him. I don't. And she suggested that I start. The thing is, I don't even know what to say. That I miss "before" when my friend was sending me texts with name suggestions because I was having a hard time finding ones I really liked? That a week and a half after we lost Calvin, when the girls were throwing pennies in a fountain and making wishes I thought, I know my wish, and no amount of pennies will bring Calvin back? That I regret not giving him more kisses when I delivered him? That I miss the girls talking about him and giving my belly kisses and telling baby Calvin good-night? That even though I try not to make a big deal out of it, my heart breaks a little bit when Hope doesn't want to talk about him and when Paige brings him up? That we're meeting with the church next week to plan his memorial service and I don't even want to think about it? That come November, long after most everyone else has forgotten, I will be relieving it all, mourning an uncelebrated due date? That this holiday season I will be reeling from knowing (yet again) we should have a new baby in our family? That even though my brain tells me that he knows how much I love him, my heart hurts from fearing he doesn't? That every article I read, every sermon I hear, I am looking for how it pertains to me and my grief? That I desperately want him to come to me in a dream? That the other day I randomly told a woman that before we get a dog I want to have three kids and then I wanted to kick myself and cry? That when I see a family with three or more kids I think oh how lucky!? That this whole thing has me questioning my faith, not because I think, "How could God let this happen?" but because I know it wasn't God's doing but just a random fluke of biology? That even with those questions, I have to believe that he is in heaven because I can't stand the thought of anything else?

xoxo, christine

Sep 10, 2013

Her Lips Are Sealed

Trying to get information out of my Kindergartner is harder than wrestling my kids down for their doctor's shots. Every day after she gets of the bus, when I ask her what she did that day her response is a shrug of the shoulders and an I don't know.

I don't know how many hours I've already spent (she's only been in school for a week), asking questions and getting the bare minimum of responses. I try to ask non yes or no questions knowing that otherwise there will be no elaboration.

Most often I find myself asking those yes or no questions and filling in the information for her. Did you have circle time today? Yes. What did you talk about at circle time? Blank stare. Did you talk about getting to know each other and the letter A? Yes.




I'm beginning to wonder if the answers she gives me are actually accurate or if she's just saying Yes to appease me and get me to shut up. I could ask her if she danced on the backs of elephants and she'd probably tell me yes just to get me to leave her alone.

I've thought about denying her after school snack until she tells me about her day. Or, even better (or maybe worse), offering her a piece of candy to talk. Desperate times here, people.

It is definitely hard to go from feeling so connected and aware of her days and experiences at preschool to blindly stepping into Kindergarten. She seems to be having the time of her life (she was disappointed that there was no school over the weekend -- which I'm very glad about), and I am the one feeling anxious and bittersweet about this next stage of her life.




It's a big change. And while I love to see her so happy and excited, it is hard for me to know that her days at home with me are coming to an end. Of course, this is how it goes, I'm sure, with the first child. By the time Paige gets around to Kindergarten maybe I'll be pushing her out the door.

But probably not. This momma just likes to know what's going on. And I will continue to bug my five-year-old as much as I can so that she knows that I care. And when she does finally want to talk to me about her day, I am all ears.

xoxo, christine

Sep 8, 2013

In the Dark of the Night

The sun goes down. The stars slowly start to twinkle. It is quiet. But mostly, there is darkness.

It is night.

At night there are boogeymen and bad dreams and scary things lurking in dark corners waiting to come out. Night time means monsters under the bed and racing thoughts of all the bad things that might happen.

Since losing Calvin, I have had an overwhelming heaviness that something bad is going to happen to our family. Something else bad. It is a big giant, rotten watermelon sitting in my gut, eating away at my insides.

When I met with my therapist and told her of my irrational fears about something horrible happening to one of my daughters and how I just know I could never be able to deal with it, she reminded me that before this summer I probably thought I would never be strong enough to go through an experience like my pregnancy and loss of Calvin. She's right. I thought, and felt my shoulders instantly relax.

About twenty minutes later, on my drive home, the anxiety came back at about about two thousand percent. Wait a second. Maybe that's why this happened. Maybe that's why we lost Calvin. It was God's way of showing me that I'm a stronger person than I realize. What if it was His way of trying to prepare me for something even more devastating to happen? Immediately, all those terrifying scenarios of bad things that could happen to my two living children, filled my mind.

Mostly, I am able to keep worst-case scenarios at bay during the day. But at night? In the quiet and stillness and dark? They come creeping out of the shadowed corners.

My boogeyman is not of the under-the-bed-monster variety. My boogeyman slips into my mind and fills it with all the ways my children can get hurt. It reminds me that as much as I want to be able to protect them from everything bad, I can not, and there will be things in life that cause them hurt.

My boogeyman taunts me with visions of bruises turning into terminal cancer, school lockdowns, kidnappings, and things I can't even get myself to put down on paper. He encourages my imagination and tells me over and over that there is no rhyme or reason about bad things happening, that just because it feels like your family has been through enough, life just doesn't work that way. More bad things can come.

He slides toward the watermelon in my gut, injecting it with poison, making it bigger and heavier. Making sure I know that it is there. That my gut is telling me something is wrong. Something else is coming.

I want to say that I know it will all be okay. That everything is fine and it's just a mixture of anxiety and grief. But even today, with the sun streaming in and the girls playing on the floor at my feet, I can't say that, because I don't know. No one knows. Maybe there is something waiting around the corner, another journey that feels impossible to navigate, but maybe not.

I just don't know.

All I know is that at night, in the dark, my boogeyman is waiting.

xoxo christine


Sep 5, 2013

Firsts

We survived the week. I survived the week. (Even though we still technically have Friday to complete, I'm going to go ahead and assume that we survive that too.)

Adam is back to work. It feels like it always did. The biggest adjustment for me has been feeling completely and totally D-O-N-E by the time he gets home. I find myself a bit crabby with the girls while we're trying to get dinner made. Actually, now that I think about it, I guess my adjustment of Adam being gone all day again has not been that great. It's fine during the day, but by the end of the day (and now week) I feel utterly burnt out. My patient level is almost down to zero. Not sure what I can do to fix that, but I have to figure something out. My impatience is embarrassing (not to mention taxing on my husband, I'm sure).

Kindergarten has been pretty successful. Hope was excited to go back on her second day, which I'd say is a good sign. Our one mishap was that the bus completely missed her stop today, so I drove her and thus she was late. Not a huge deal in the whole scheme of things, but to a five-year-old whose world is only just beginning to expand, it might as well have been the end of the world. Oh, the crying and the tears! She was devastated not to get to ride the bus to school today, and was still crying when I left her at school. (Luckily there was a smile on her face by the end of the day, so we'll just go ahead and call it okay.)

First day of Kindergarten

My little three-year-old teenager started dance tonight. What cuteness! With her tights and big tutu, not to mention the ballet shoes and bun in her hair, she was just about the most adorable ballerina I've ever seen. We avoided a meltdown when, on the way to class, I discovered that Paige was expecting to put on a recital...today. She was a little put out to discover that she has to have class and practice first, but she seemed to get over it in time to stretch and jump and point her toes.


First day of dance

I am just exhausted. With all the Kindergarten first-day anxiety (mine, not my five-year-old's) and trying to remember our new schedule, I couldn't fall asleep until after three in the morning on Tuesday. I am having a hard time adjusting to the idea that the stay-at-home part of Hope's life is ending. And along with that, how infrequently I will get to see all of my mom friends who weathered those early years with me. With kids at different schools and different schedules, I fear that this school year is going to seem pretty lonely.

Next week Paige starts preschool and Hope has her first tennis lesson. Slowly we will find our pace and get into a routine.

But, we're here. We made it.

That's enough to be thankful for.

xoxo, christine

Sep 2, 2013

It is Reality

It is the start of September. The start of school. The start of pumpkin flavored coffee and bagels.

The start of our new reality.

Our past two weeks have been like a mini-break from real life. Now tomorrow it starts up again. I am dreading Adam going back to work. As I mentioned before, his work giving him this time off has been a huge blessing. The time we've had together as a family has been so needed, and I've just wanted to wrap the four of us together.

But while I've been soaking up my family, I've been neglecting other things (um, mostly other people). I'm afraid that I have not been good at answering or responding to messages and texts. And now that Adam's going back to work and I will find myself without him all day, I'm afraid that I've hurt people's feelings and isolated myself.

Reality is coming and it is booming like a drum.

There is so much going on right now, I don't even know what to do with myself. And I'm having a hard time falling asleep at night. As soon as my head hits the pillow my mind seems to speed up. All day long I am dragging and ready to nap on the couch, but come ten or eleven o'clock and my brain decides that there is too much to do and think about to allow my body to rest.

I hear it coming, getting louder and louder, right outside the door.

It is Reality after losing Calvin. And I am not ready.

xoxo christine




Aug 30, 2013

It Keeps Going On

It is pretty amazing how one's emotions can change within the span of a day or two. A couple nights ago I was overcome with the fear that I am becoming more disconnected from Calvin, and with that the implication that I just don't love him as much. And although I know it not to be true, I could not let go of the idea that Calvin was slipping away from me.

Earlier today I felt pretty okay, and this afternoon I just sort of flatlined. My insides are just jumbled up and all knotted together. I have no desire to go out and do anything, and yet I have no desire to be home either. It's like I don't particularly want to participate in anything that's going on right now.

And yet, everything just keeps going. Me right along with it.

The house gets cleaned, laundry gets washed, appointments are made, school supplies are purchased. We eat, we sleep, we do it all again.

I'm preparing myself for the bump in the road that is next week. Adam goes back to work after two weeks home and Hope starts Kindergarten. Having Adam home for so long after losing Calvin is an amazing grace. We have had more time together than I think we ever have, which has been such a blessing during our immediate grief.

Most likely, it will be good that Hope starting school will be a distraction that Adam is back to work, and Adam being back at work will be a distraction that Hope is starting school. I'm afraid that I'm not too eager for either situation.

But, whether I want it to or not, whether I like it or not, everything keeps going. And I will let it carry me along with it, until I feel strong enough to keep going for myself.

xoxo christine


Aug 21, 2013

Broken


I am sad.

My heart is broken.

If only I felt as at peace as my previous post suggests. I am not at peace, not yet, although I imagine I will get there at some point, some day, some time. But that time is not now.

I am shattered.

When we got the news, I thought I had no words, and I am struck wordless again. There is no way anything on earth can explain what it feels like for a heart to shatter, for a soul to break apart.

I know it is not my fault, it is not anyone's fault, but all I could say when I held him was I'm sorry. Over and over and over again. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.

How do I say goodbye to a baby I didn't even get to say hello to?

xoxo christine

Aug 19, 2013

Gone

I close my eyes.

There is a meadow. It is amber or maybe emerald. That part I am unsure of, but the rest I see with clarity.

He is young, maybe two, with bare feet and overalls. He is perfect.

His towhead is shaggy, tickling his white eyelashes. His eyes are the color of a cloudless sky. And his smile, it is as bright as the sun.

In the distance there are other children. Cousins and a brother or sister who have gone before him. They are laughing and playing.

He looks at me and waves, his smile shining. Our hearts connect and I feel it. He knows our love.

Then he turns and goes to them. They are calling his name. Caaal-viiin! C'mere, Calvin! They run away together swinging arms and giggling.

He is happy. He is at peace.

Our sweet baby boy, Calvin John, was born already an angel on Saturday August 17th 2013. He was eleven magnificent ounces and ten amazing inches. And our miracle angel in every way.

"Some people dream of angels. We held one in our arms."

xoxo christine

Aug 14, 2013

Push and Pull

Just set the girls up in the other room with play-dough. I'm hoping for a little bit of rest time this afternoon, which I guess is kind of funny considering it's hasn't exactly been a strenuous day or anything. As much as I dislike play-dough (and all the clean up afterwards), that $2.99 for a few new containers feels well worth it, even if the quiet playing only lasts minutes.

We are all doing fine, taking one day at a time, and all that blah blah blah. I can't believe it's already approaching the middle of August. I realized the other day that I have spent the majority of the summer in pants and long sleeves (mostly of the cardigan variety). Sure, some of it may have to do with how (in)frequently my legs are shaven, and our weather has been on the more mild side recently, but the reality is, I think I feel more protected. Like that extra layer over my body some how softens the edges of life or something.

Every night in bed I think, Please give me wisdom. Give me strength. Give me patience. Give me mercy. It's become my evening mantra. Wisdom. Strength. Patience. Mercy. Wisdom. Strength. Patience. Mercy. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I don't feel any wiser or stronger, and I certainly don't feel more patient. (Who knows about that who mercy thing?) But I guess it must be doing something because I have made it this far, and it's going on nine weeks now. Before all of this I would've never thought I was a strong enough person to handle something so big. Yet here I am. Here we are.

I love this baby. I love Calvin. But there are days that I just want to be done. That being pregnant and holding on and not knowing the how or when of his death feels like too much. But even in that same breath I know that once he is gone I will long to be pregnant with him again, because at least then he is alive. At least then he is with us.

The dichotomy of emotions, the push and pull of his life and death, the guilt with every fleeting thought... it is hard. It is hard and painful and sad and frustrating.

Perhaps I need to give us a little more credit though. Give myself a little more credit. Because it is hard, but we are doing it. We are still here. And we may not be better for it yet. But I have to believe that at some point we will get there.

xoxo christine

Aug 7, 2013

And Then There's Today

Last Friday, when we went in for our weekly doctor appointment, Calvin was measuring twenty-two weeks. I was also currently twenty-seven weeks pregnant.

From the beginning, or at least, the beginning of us knowing something was wrong back at our ultrasound, our baby boy was measuring two to three weeks behind schedule. Something that at twenty-weeks is a pretty big red flag. And even at our next ultrasound a month later, he was still behind by the same amount, but obviously also growing. This most recent ultrasound showed his growth has slowed. Quite a bit.

And to be honest, it didn't feel like a huge shock. I've known all along that he won't survive and so any "new" thing they throw at us just sort of seems to go along with the whole "it is what it is" deal. I've been strong. I've dealt with it.

But today? Today I'm not strong. Today I am weak and exhausted and one big hot mess. I'm not emotional, just way too tired to care about much and feeling intense amounts of irritation and hostility. Perhaps this is that Anger Stage that everyone talks about?

I feel like I need a three day break from being a parent and pregnant. It's sounds horrible, I feel, because I love my children (all three of them) very much, but I need three days to just wallow and sleep and take care of myself first.

I am tired. I'm tired of wondering in every restful moment if I'm feeling a contraction. I'm tired of bleeding (because apparently this pregnancy for me means bleeding Every. Single. Day.). I'm tired of worrying about my blood pressure. I'm tired of feeling nauseated all day long. I'm tired of not having the energy to do as much. I'm tired of knowing that at the end of this pregnancy (whenever that is) we will not be bringing home a beautiful baby boy but will be planning a memorial service and picking out an urn.

I'm tired of being strong.

And as I write these words, and feel these feelings, I know it is okay. That I am okay. That I will continue to be strong. That I will never regret our decision. But it sure doesn't stop me from having bad days.

I suppose that's how it is though, with grief, heck, with life. There are good days and bad days and then there are just all the other days. We're just plugging along. Taking our good days and bad days and all those in between. Here's hoping tomorrow is better than today.

xoxo christine

To read all posts regarding Calvin and our situation you can go here. Our baby boy suffers from a condition called Triploidy. There is very little information out there, but here is where we found the most helpful and knowledgeable information on the subject. It's a six page PDF though, so be forewarned.

Aug 2, 2013

And He Shall Be Named...

Last night, as I was laying in bed, I wrote a blog post in my head. This not an uncommon thing for me to do as I unwind and try to fall asleep. Of course, this morning it was completely gone, which is just as well because it was pretty choppy and scattered. I suppose that's just how I am lately, random and all over the place. Not a whole lot of rhythm to things these days.

You know how a few weeks ago I mentioned how I felt like it was the beginning of the end? Yeah, well, I still feel like that, even though over two weeks have gone by. The bleeding and/or spotting is pretty standard and consistent now, and even though our weekly doctor visits have shown nothing new, I just keep feeling like it's just round the corner. Like one of those trails where you think, surely around this next turn will be the end, but then there is another twist and another turn and it just keeps going and going and you have no idea how many more twists and turns there are until the end.

Every night I go to bed keenly aware of every twitch and cramp, wondering if my body is signaling that labor is eminent. And every night I remind myself that if I go into labor the pain will wake me up so there's no point in laying awake and timing contractions, which, I might add, are not even really contractions to begin with. And every night when I wake up to use the bathroom I go through the whole thing again, finally falling asleep and waking up every morning thinking, well, I obviously wasn't in labor. It certainly makes night feel like one of the hardest times of day.

In related news, we are sharing his name. It feels weird to me because we are not sex-of-the-baby-finder-outers and we aren't really name-sharers. But this whole pregnancy changes the game and even though it feels a little strange to hear other people refer to him by name, it is what we want for this pregnancy and this baby. There are so many things we are missing with him, the use of his name in present tense will not be one of them.

So, his name is Calvin John. Calvin is one of Adam's favorites, from his childhood idol Cal Ripken Jr. and John is after Adam's paternal grandfather. Of course, to Hope he is still Chubby, and Paige has taken to calling him California (cute, I think, because we refer to him as Cal, and after our spring vacation there it feels natural for -ifornia to come next). I have occasionally referred to him as CJ and found out recently that my oldest niece (without knowing I've used it) does the same. It warms my heart that our family has nicknames for him already.

I don't know what will happen. I don't know when it will happen. But I know that this baby is loved. Truly and deeply. And I am always grateful for that.


xoxo christine

Jul 26, 2013

It's a Favorite this Summer

Just sharing a few photos of our summer outings. Can you tell what the girls request every day?



















xoxo christine

Jul 17, 2013

The Waiting and the Wondering


Here's the thing. This whole thing, it just kind of... is. Yes, it's sucky and horrible and devastating and sad and unfair and all those other things, but it also is just the way that it is. There is nothing we can do, nothing anyone can do (or say) that changes anything. Right now, my overwhelming feeling is just... it is what it is. This what life is right now, this is what this pregnancy is right now, this is what Is.

The good thing about it all (sometimes you can find a good thing even in all the crap), is that we have time. And we may not know how much time that is (which is most definitely NOT a good thing for the planner inside me), but there has been time. Time to feel our baby move, to see the girls kiss my belly and tell him secrets, to get ultrasound pictures of him, to give him silly names (Hope calls him Chubby and Paige goes back and forth between Chubby and Hairy Daddy's Stomach), to make up stories about what he's "saying" when we go over a bump or when Hope blows raspberries on my belly.

We've had time to make memories, and that feels like a good thing.

And, even though with each bleeding episode the doctor hasn't been able to find a reason or signs of impending labor, it's starting to feel like the beginning of the end to me. (Of course, I hope I'm completely wrong and it's just my paranoia...) But I am terrified. I'm afraid of the unknown. Am I going into labor today? Will it be tomorrow? Do we have days, or weeks, or even months? What will labor look like? Will my doctor end up delivering him? What kind of nurses will I have? Will he be born breathing? Or will he already be gone? What will he look like? Will we have time with him?

The questions are never-ending, and the unknown answers eat away at me. I love this baby so much and I want to keep him for as long as possible, yet the waiting and the not-knowing are so incredibly hard. It's a roller coaster that is constantly going down, with a few tiny bumps up along the way. We're just on the ride, not knowing quite when we'll hit the bottom, until we can hopefully start to make our way up again.

xoxo christine

Jul 14, 2013

Not Much New

I don't have much to say, except that I feel like I should be "checking in" here at least once a week in an effort to assure people I'm not spending my days curled in the fetal position, rocking in the corner. Which, now you can now confirm, is not what is going on.

Here is some of what's going on:

Hope started swim lessons last week. Her attitude is a drastic change from last year. She seems comfortable in the water and with the instructors. I even see her smiling. Of course, when I ask what she likes best about the lesson she just shrugs her shoulders and mumbles Nothing. Sometimes I'll prod and talk about things I saw her doing and other times just let it go. She seems to love being in the water even if she doesn't want to talk about it.

An impromptu visit to the doctor midweek revealed nothing serious, just that our sweet baby boy is growing and his heart is beating strong. Even though I'm only twenty-four weeks we're up to once a week visits to the doctor because of an increased risk of developing pre-eclampsia and the specialist's concerns. So, luckily nothing was wrong, but it certainly gave Adam and I a large dose of anxious fear on our way to the appointment.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to rot my brain with a bit of smutty television.

xoxo christine

Jul 6, 2013

Life's a Crapshoot

The truth is, today is a sucky day. Yes, I am feeling relatively better after spending time with a friend, because that's what I need, those friends who hug and comfort you one minute, but just as quickly smile and distract you the next. It's easy for me to wallow and forget and curse the universe and feel so isolated and alone, and to forget that there are people out there who can lift me up, who just being around make me feel relief. So, yes, I am feeling better now than I was two hours ago.

But today the universe still feels pretty shitty.

Sure, some of that has to do with my situation, but to be honest, my heart is feeling extra heavy right now for another friend who is going through something hard herself. I ache and I cry, and I curse at the world because it feels like because of my shitty hand, none of my friends should be dealt a shitty hand. My loss should be enough so that no one else should be getting bad news.

I know that's not how it works. That's not how life works. Just because I've gotten a crap of a deal with this pregnancy doesn't mean that other people I love won't have crap thrown at them. But it's so unfair. It's too much. Why can't I shoulder the pain for everyone, since I'm already going through this? Why do people I love and care about have to be feeling pain too?

I don't know what to do. I don't know what to say. I want to gather up all my loves and squeeze them and hold them and put them into a happy bubble where nothing sad can weigh on their shoulders. It's a horrible cliché, I know. And I realize without sadness there couldn't be happiness, and this is all a part of life, and blah, blah, blah. But right now all I want to do is scream and yell and stomp my feet and throw a super-sized temper tantrum at the unfairness of it all.

xoxo christine

Jul 4, 2013

We Interrupt this Heaviness

...to bring you a bit of silliness.


The girls and I were in the car together a few days ago, driving to a friend's house. They decided to play I Spy in order to help the time pass. At one point, unknown to both Hope and me, the game turned from I Spy into Guess What I'm Thinking Of.

Paige: I spy with my little eye, something that is hairy.

Hope: Is it my hair?

Paige: Nope.

Me: Is it my hair?

Paige: Nope... It's DADDY'S HAIRY LEGS!

[insert three girls bursting into giggles]


xoxo christine

Jul 2, 2013

Just Hanging On

We are all still hanging in here, lest you fear my silence means something else. Just doing our best to take one day at a time, especially me.

The girls are doing what I can only assume is okay. We told them about the baby almost right away, the day we got the preliminary results, and they are coping in what feels like normal to me for a five-year-old and three-year-old.

There has been a lot of mentioning how "the baby will die" and "the baby will be dead" by Paige, and Hope pretty much avoids the topic, occasionally telling Paige to stop because talking about the baby dying makes her sad.  Hope spent about a week hesitant to touch, kiss, or mention my belly, but has recently starting giving my belly raspberries. We all giggle at the thought of the baby laughing inside at the vibrations. Paige told me the other day that she is going to give the baby one of her pacifiers.

These moments, they simultaneously bring me joy and sorrow. I love that we are talking about and enjoying our baby boy right now. But my heart aches for all the things we no longer talk about and plan. No more looking forward to next summer when the baby will be big enough to ride in the swing on our new swing set. No more preparing Paige that her crib will become her baby brother's. No more discussions on realistic expectations for what newborn babies can (and can't) do.

Today was the first time that seeing Hope around a baby made me feel anything but happy. A piece of my heart broke off as I thought about just how much she loves to be around babies, how much she wants to make them smile, how much she wants to be the helper.

She was supposed to become a big sister doubly over this fall, and now she won't. Friends of ours will go on to have new babies in their families and we will visit and love those new babies, but every time we have to say goodbye I wonder if Hope will be remembering that we were supposed to have a baby too, but he didn't get to come home.

I worry about them, my two sweet daughters, and how this loss will affect them. I know they are tough. I know they are resilient. I know they will be fine. But I still worry.

We all just keep on hanging in here, taking one day at a time, and doing our best. It's all there really is to do.

xoxo christine

Jun 25, 2013

The Clock Keeps Ticking

Yesterday I took the girls to the splash park. It was good for them to get out (and away from the television for awhile) and good for me to get them out (and away from my guilt of them being in front of the television).


The day wasn't as hot and humid as I was expecting, certainly not a day for me to get wet, but Hope jumped right in. Paige, on the other hand, only sprinkled her toes and spent most of the time sitting with me, laying on the towel, and snacking. My three-year-old teenager.


We had fun though, until we packed it in because of the rain, and even though I was tired it felt good to get out of the house, to do a little distracting. Although I do not regret my decision, this waiting and wondering is hard. In many ways I want to stay pregnant forever, because the longer I'm pregnant the longer my son is still here with me. But the unknown of when we will lose him, how much longer we have him for, is so difficult. It's like I'm watching the second hand of clock, tick-tick-tick, just holding my breath afraid that this next 'tick' will be the time the clock stops. It's a lot of breath holding.


So sometimes smiling, sometimes getting away from my instinct to curl up in bed and stay there all day, sometimes reminding myself that I can still manage to parent even when I don't want to, sometimes not letting my mind go there, can be good. Even if it only lasts two hours.

xoxo christine




Jun 24, 2013

Whatever

Life is funny. (Not funny ha-ha, but funny not-actually-humorous-but-more-of-a-strange-and-even-sucky-sometimes-thing.) Not too long ago I was feeling pretty down about myself and who I was, or rather, wasn't. How hard it sometimes felt to see people accomplishing things that I wanted to accomplish, or even just accomplishing anything, because, well, who was I? (Really, what had I even accomplished?)

And now? None of it really matters. Isn't it amazing how everything in life matters, yet nothing matters? Right now the Not Mattering is not in a good I-have-my-priorities-right kind of way, but more in a whatever-who-cares-nothing-matters kind of way.

I know that this will all make me a better person, but it's not really doing that for me yet. The girls are watching too much TV, and their diets are really not balanced, and there are times I feel minuscule amounts of guilt (perhaps that's a step in the right direction?), but mostly I Just.Don't.Care. It's hard for me to feel much more than "whatever" about anything right now.

On the way to our twenty-week ultrasound last week, when we were blissfully unaware of what was to come, I was feeling frustrated and annoyed because my husband kept talking about house projects and keeping/getting our house ready to sell, even though we aren't anywhere near (five years?) to selling. Oh how nice it would be to go back to that.

I am selfish right now, and really, for the most part, I'm okay with that. I just don't have the energy to care much. It may sound horrible, but it just kind of is the way it is right now. In time I'm sure I'll be bursting with other emotions, but this moment in time, this moment in my life, it's just a lot of blahs and whatevers.

xoxo christine

To read the first part of this story go here. If you don't want to miss an update you can like And it is Love on Facebook. But no pressure. :)

Jun 21, 2013

Decisions, Decisions, and Fear

We decided to just wait and let things happen on their own. I can understand and fully respect making a different choice, you have to do what is right for you and your family, and this is what feels right for us.

He is a boy. In a healthy pregnancy we would not have found out the sex (we didn't with either of the girls), but we both decided that this pretty much changes everything. So when we got the results of our amniocentesis back it was one of my first questions.

My hollowness is sometimes filled up with fear. I desperately want to be able to hold this baby (whenever he comes) and I am terrified that I won't get to. So if you're the praying/wishing/hoping type, that would be much appreciated. I think it's one of the only things I'm holding onto right now, being able to touch him, even if he is already gone.

Thank you to those who have reached out to us with calls, messages, texts, thoughts, and/or prayers. It means the world to us to have so many people supporting us right now.

xoxo christine

You can read the start of this story, here.

(If you don't already you can like And it is Love on Facebook if you're are interested in periodic news and updates.)