2012: Capture Your Grief: Day 21

Day 21. Altar/Shrine/Sacred Space Share a photo of your special place in your home/garden for your baby/ies/child/ren.

My thoughts: I don’t know if I necessarily have a sacred place. Maybe their burial area will eventually feel that way to me. For now their ashes live here (they’re box is behind the picture frame in this photo). I have my trio of candles and the peace lily from my grandma’s funeral where I put the three little dragonfly garden decorations. I see them every day. I tried to hide this photo after the funeral but my daughter wouldn’t let me put it in the box, “No mommy we need to see the babies!” It ripped my heart out at first. I dodged this area with my eyes every day. Now I look at it with pain but mixed with joy. I can look at their features instead of just the pain they represent in the hole in my heart. I pause here daily. They are beautiful and perfect in every way and I’m thankful for this place in my home – the center of my home. This is the first time I’m sharing their picture and I do it with slight hesitation. The world wide web is a dangerous place at times so I post this with prayers that this image is respected to every extent possible. I share it with hopes that people can see how perfect they are and love them with us. (We love you Alexis Marie, Elliot Nathan, and Alice Mae Wourms).

2012: Capture Your Grief: Day 20

Day 20. Charity/Organization Share your favourite charity or organization that has touched your heart on this road of grief. If you don’t have a photograph to share, just simply post the link to their website!

My thoughts: I have two organizations that have meant the world to me. The first is called Threads of Love. This is the group who made the beautifully handmade, perfect little gowns and bonnets for my babies. They also each had a flannel blanket and a hand knit blanket. I don’t know if those are from this group or if the nurses just added those for us. I can’t even put into words what these things mean to us. They are all I have that they touched and wore. I’ve typed this sentence three times and I just can’t put it into words. So I won’t try. They are priceless to me and I struggled washing them. I’m thankful for the love and care my mom took washing and pressing them – and for my dad’s phone call to remind me to ask for them from the funeral home. I plan to donate some of the money from the funeral to this organization. If you’d like to give as well there is a link on the site here. Please donate in their memory.

The second organization that has meant the world to me is CarlyMarie’s Project Heal names in the sand. The woman who hosted this conversation/inspiration blessed me with each baby’s name written in the sand at sunset and I cherish them as well. I made the print above for a canvas wrap and it’s on my bedroom wall. I love seeing their names together.

SIX YEARS AGO TODAY: Post ectopic surgery. Another friend’s wedding. Another bridesmaid dress taken out and still too small post-surgery. Thankful for the groom’s father who ordered the ushers to help me throughout the day. I sat through most of the ceremony and reception.

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY = 7 weeks pregnant: Second ultrasound and meeting with the perinatologist. We refused selective reduction and she said this to us, “It would be terribly sad for you to lose these babies before 24 weeks (there’s a 15-30% chance of natural miscarriage up to 24 weeks which is the point of possible survivability for babies), but if they were born between 24-28 weeks and survived, you’d have 3 very sick babies to take care of for the rest of your life. Not one sick baby. Three.”

2012: Capture Your Grief: Day 18

Day 18. Your Family Portrait Take a photo of you with your family, work out a way to incorporate your baby/ies/child/ren who are no longer physically with you anymore. You could hold up photos of them or even just hold their names with you. What does your family look like now? Is it just you left here? Do you have a large family? Is it just you and your partner?

My thoughts: This picture was taken right after the funeral. I wanted a picture of our family that day even though it felt wrong to smile at this moment. I wanted to find joy for Nora that day. She is a reminder of all that we are thankful for in the gifts God has given us even in the midst of such pain. One little lamb for each of them.

2012: Capture Your Grief: Day 17

Day 17. Anniversary/Birthday/Due Dates Share a photo of what you did for your baby/ies/child/rens special day. Did you hide away in bed? Did you have a cake? Did you have a party? What did you do?

My thoughts: Their due date, June 8th, was a hard day for me this year but not as I expected it to be at all. We had thought about burying them this day but it just didn’t evolve that way and looking back I’m ok with that. Instead I was in Rochester, MN at my brother’s house enjoying the summer sun with family. Nate wasn’t able to join me so it felt a little odd that day. We filled the day with fun in the water and my daughter, Nora, had SO much fun chasing bubbles. How could a day be sad watching that crazy, little girl? I’m happy I have a picture of pure joy from that day. I went to bed alone that night. A few months after we lost our babies I was feeling panicked about losing the few memories that I had of them. I still feel that way. I asked the family and friends who met them those two days to write a letter to me sharing their memories. To somehow help me put a patchwork of memories together to amount to something MORE than what I could recall. To help me replace the horrible memories I was shoving away with the ways that my children affected others. My mom gave me her letter that day and I read it before bed and cried myself to sleep. Not “ugly crying” as I like to call it. Just silent tears missing them trying to imagine what my children would have looked like at full term. I’m thankful for her memories and the sweet poem that she wrote for them (I love you mom):

Hide and Seek in Heaven
By Jane Neveau

After the three new little ones came

Jesus said, “Who wants to play a game?”

“I do”, “I do”, they were far from meek

“I’ll count” he said, “you hide and I’ll seek.”

Alice Mae ran for the choir loft

She loved to feel the robes so soft

Alexis was off to the director’s stand

She could hide behind and still wave her hand

Elliot loved the drums lively beat

It’s so easy to hide by the base drummer’s feet

Hiding and playing, they lost track of time

Until midst the music, came His call sublime,

“Beloved ——— Beloved ———-!”

“All-e, All-e….. all in Free!!!!”

I love you….. From Grama Jane

2012: Capture Your Grief: Day 16

Day 16. Release Balloons, lanterns, butterflies, doves.

My thoughts: Last weekend we celebrated my nephew’s birthday. Last year at this time we shared the news of our trio with my side of the family so living that anniversary was tough. That said we successfully lived the day with joy for my not-so-little-anymore eleven year old nephew. We spent that evening talking with my parents and siblings about a burial plot that we’d chosen for ourselves and the possibility of all of us sharing the area with one monument stone. Tough conversations to have, but we did it. The next day we drove everyone to the little slice of land in the beautiful cemetery we chose. The kids all fed the ducks (and WOW how those little guys have grown! Take a look at the awesome shot below of them all flying across the pond. What a site!) Then we made our way to the burial area and I took out some special friends – the little lambs from their funeral. I dressed them in the little winter hats that my niece and nephew made for the babies. Their little smiles warm my heart. My sis-in-laws picked up balloons for the day (one for each of the babies we’ve lost – yellow for the first two, pink for Alice and Alexis, blue for Elliot – which worked out perfectly as each child there got one to hold/release). I grabbed my camera to capture the moment and struggled with words. I didn’t want to say it. I choked out the words to let them fly and the battery on my camera died. Of course it did. I snapped two pictures and then felt defeated. I didn’t feel like I could enjoy the moment because of the stupid camera. But then I looked up at the balloons as they were drifting further away (how did they get so far away so fast?) and we all sort of held our breath as we noticed one of the pink balloons was caught in the branches of a nearby tree. The kids were upset. So I sat and stared at it. I just let myself look at it there with all the others barely in view on the horizon. It stayed. It let me breathe and just BE. The tears hit – hard. My daughter ran up to me asking why everyone was so sad. And then my brother yelled, “There it goes!” – and the last little pink balloon was set free from the branches and I watched it float away ’til it disappeared from site. Somehow we were blessed with an extension of a moment that otherwise would have been gone too soon. One little balloon.

2012: Capture Your Grief: Day 15

Day 15. WAVE of LIGHT Today is October 15th Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Light a candle at 7pm to help create a continuous wave of light around the world for 24 hours. Photograph your light!

My thoughts: My daughter is loving the candles and quickly turned all the lights off to fully enjoy their glow. I love that it means something to her tonight too. I love imagining the wave of light circling the Earth uniting grieving parents, families and friends through every time zone. I LOVE this. Are you burning a candle tonight?
• The “You Are Special Plate” that I got from a friend on our wedding day. I love it with this candle.
• Three candles that sit with the beautiful box that Nathan made for their ashes. It’s become part of my every day and I struggle thinking of parting with it.

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY = 6 weeks pregnant: We surprised my family with the news that I was pregnant – followed by the news that there were three.

2012: Capture Your Grief: Day 14

Day 14. Community Our community is so amazing, but with that being said, none of us want to be a member. Share a photo of a community gathering or event that you have attended.

My thoughts: I don’t have a photo of community gathering yet. Maybe some day. The one thing we’ve done to participate in the community of baby/pregnancy loss is attending the grief group at our local hospital. It was excruciating to walk through the doors of that hospital for the first time but each month we attend gets a little easier. Connecting with other parents who understand has been healing. I don’t have a proper adjective for what those times are like because “good” doesn’t seem to fit but “bad” doesn’t either. I’m settling on “needed” and hoping that makes sense. Carly said it well above. Nobody wants to be a member of this club but if you are, reaching out to others does help. They “get it” like others can’t.
Today’s been a hard day for me. One year ago today we found out we were having three. I had a panic attack. I was in shock. I freaked out on the phone to friends and then tried to stuff it all to share with family the next day – then had another panic attack that day.
Today we showed my family the burial plot that we’d like to buy for the babies and made agreements for all of us to share that area together. While we were there we did a beautiful balloon release and although it was by far one of the most wonderful moments – it broke my heart all over again. I’ve had a hard time this evening thinking of friends and family who are pregnant right now and walking the year I was supposed to have, celebrating the things I was supposed to be celebrating and living in fear for them at the same time. I feel my joy for them has been stolen along with so many other things and I get angry about that as well. It’s hard to live in BOTH communities but I’m determined to find a way to do it – for the old me – and the new me – and for them as they’ve been such support to ME.

ONE YEAR AGO TODAY = 6 weeks pregnant: We had our first ultrasound and found out there were three. Their first picture.