...my journey through the valleys and over the mountains as i learn to live with the 'new' reality of losing xavier ian. this is a place i can jot down thoughts, feelings, and things i am learning through this journey of life.

if my dreams came true...

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

since the nightmare began...

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Friday, December 31, 2010

2011 here we come...

so, it all began with a phone call from my husband this morning that ended in an argument. then one child is kicking and screaming because i will not undress her and put her on the potty. the other child is trying to discipline me for not 'helping' the little one. this is not how i wanted 2010 to end! please let 2011 begin on a quieter note.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

merry christmas...

so 2010 is nearly over. yesterday we had christmas with andy's side and i got to hold a four month old baby boy for an extended period of time. i forgot what a baby feels like, smells like, makes me feel! i am in such a different place this year than i was last year. i have grown so much and changed (hopefully for the better). i still feel overwhelmed (a lot), but i am beginning to live again. i am beginning to do whatever it is i need to do for myself because if i neglect myself then i am no good to anybody!

so, on this christmas day i am reminded that God paid the ultimate price for my sins. i can't even imagine sending my only child to die, to face all the pain of the world, to be tortured - just so some ungrateful creature i created could live eternally with me?! so, i know that God understands how it feels to lose a child to death, but He also realizes what it feels like to be reunited with that child for an eternity and that is what i must focus on...eternity. wow! that is why i struggle so much on this grief journey - because i am only human and it is hard to look toward eternity when i'm stuck in the here & now on earth. the more i try to be Godly the more satan attacks and puts up roadblocks and the more i have to rely on God to get me through to the other side.

over the past year i have struggled with depression, my living situation, my spouse, my children, and my job. i'm guessing that if i spoke to 100 other people all of them would have struggled with some of those same things at some point in time over the past year. my situation; my struggles are not unique - people have been dealing with similar situations since the beginning of time and that is how i know God understands what i am going through. i am clearly in a better place today (emotionally and spiritually) than i was a year ago. i'm hoping that this coming year holds many blessings for me and even more growth. i am on a journey i never imagined i would be on, but i am headed exactly where i always thought i would be - toward a creative, meaningful life here on earth and an eternity in heaven with my family & friends!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

finally feeling a bit of joy...

so, a month and a half after starting meds i'm feeling quite a bit better. i'm even able to be joyful about some things. as christmas draws near i'm choosing to be happy. i'm going to biblical counseling which has also helped immensely with my mood. my relationship with God is better too.

i'm not blogging as much. i'm still reading blogs, but i am finding that i'm just not needing as much online support these days. it's still nice to have all of my online blm friends on facebook and be able to cry with each other or laugh with each other or pray for each other, but i just wanted to let anyone who has been reading my blog know that my posts are going to be more sporadic for awhile until my life becomes a little less busy. while i'm not feeling nearly as overwhelmed lately i am feeling like my life is very full of things...some that help me feel better, some that teach me lessons, and some that seem to just be roadblocks to where i want to be.

i'm allowing myself to be creative. i'm getting to know myself again. i'm starting to live in this 'new normal' and i think things are going to be okay. in fact, i know things are going to be alright because i've got some great support online, in real life, and of course God will still carry me when i don't have the strength to stand. things are looking up just in time for christmas.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


well, i didn't finish all my november thanksgiving posts. november is a really hard month for me and i kind of just gave out in the middle. i'm back in the blogging world now though and i think i would like to post things that bring me joy in december...so, today naps bring me joy! i especially like it when my daughter naps with me because she tucks her feet under me to keep them warm and shares my pillow. we'll see how far i make it this month, but i don't plan on posting everyday like last month.

Monday, November 15, 2010

thankful: days twelve, thirteen, fourteen, & fifteen...

...so i'm really not very good at blogging everyday! lol

day twelve: today i am thankful for the kids i work with & my coworkers. the work i do is incredibly rewarding! i love forming relationships with the kids and being able to share my faith with them and hearing about their own faith! i'm also so thankful for my co-workers who are just as willing to help the kids as i am and share their faith!

day thirteen: today i am thankful for the weekend. i can so use a break and i am really looking forward to this weekend to relax!

day fourteen: today i am thankful for my pastor. sometimes sermons just really hit home and feel like they were written just for you! today was one of those days. so glad that God works through my pastor to speak to me!

day fifteen: today i am thankful for parents sharing hope, the support group i attend for bereaved parents who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant loss. i am so looking forward to our meeting tonight!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

thankful: days eight, nine, ten, & eleven...

i'm sorry, i got a bit behind...

day eight: i am thankful for my daughter who still allows me to snuggle her sometimes.

day nine: i am thankful that i work with so many good people who are willing to listen when i need an ear!

day ten: i am thankful for the amish kids i work with; for their faith and all that we learn from each other everyday!

day eleven: i am thankful for my brother who is a marine and recently joined us back in the states!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

thankful: day six & seven...

day six: today i am thankful for an awesome co-worker doing more than her fair share so i could just talk with the residents! sometimes the paperwork is just sooo overwhelming!

day seven: today i am thankful for friends at church who are willing to lend an ear. also, i'm incredibly thankful for prayer & being told that i am being prayed for.

Friday, November 5, 2010

thankful: day five...

today i am thankful for technology. the internet & my cell phone allows me to keep in touch with family, others on this grief journey, and old friends.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

thankful: day four...

today i am thankful for kroger & shell teaming up to give me ten cents off each gallon of gas! now i just have to make this full tank of gas last til next payday, over a week away...sigh.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

thankful: day three...

today i am thankful for

today a poem i wrote is featured.
you can visit the page for november 3, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

thankful: day one & two...

i'm going to try and post things i am thankful for throughout november - so, here i go with the first two days here...

november 1

i am thankful for naps. i have a cold or something and i slept most of the weekend. i still wasn't feeling well monday morning, so i was very thankful that my daughter layed down for a nap and i was able to take one too!

november 2

i am thankful that michael listened this morning as i woke up at 6:55 and the bus comes at 7:05. he jumped right out of bed, got dressed, and didn't argue at all!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

still life 365 - ten questions - rituals

What daily rituals do you perform in memory of your baby?

I don’t perform daily rituals.

Do you have a yearly ritual you perform during your child's birthday? If so, what is it?

no, and it’s not that I wouldn’t love to do something, but I would be alone – my husband would not be there with me. I would love to have a memorial garden and light candles and release balloons, but not alone; not with everyone near me thinking I’m crazy. I want to be able to perform rituals without feeling like there is something wrong with me for remembering my child.

Has anyone performed a ritual in your child's honor that has been meaningful to you and why?

on october 15 several facebook friends lit a candle for xavier. It meant the world to me that women I had never met in person would do that for xavier – would remember him when lighting candles for their own losses.

How does your religion, either of just childhood or adulthood or both, honor death? How was your loss honored?

I am a christian and attend a grace brethren church. growing up I attended a united Methodist church, but all the same I am a Christian. We had a memorial service for xavier a couple of weeks after he was stillborn. I set up a table with all the memories and a few families from church came along with my family & andy’s family. my pastor spoke and I kept thinking about the baby girl that had been born to a family in our church earlier that day. mostly I remember that a friend showed up to support me and how good that felt. we honored xavier by having a small memorial service, and then I brought the box of memories home.

for a while I had a small memorial with xavier’s footprints and some other items set up on our cd tower, but I didn’t want to share it with anyone that didn’t share my grief – so I moved it to the bedroom. soon I decided I didn’t want to share it with my husband either or rather my husband didn’t want to be reminded of xavier. so, now the box with all of my memories of xavier sit beside my bed in my bedroom.

Do you feel particularly connected to any time of the year to honor your child?

I feel particularly connected in the fall starting around my birthday (october 9) til thanksgiving. I was so excited that I was going to have a baby close enough to thanksgiving that I would get thanksgiving, christmas, and new year’s off – then he was gone! I was so looking forward to my birthday when I would be incredibly pregnant – but it never happened. I was really looking forward to having a distraction from remembering my granddad passing away the previous year – and I only added to the sadness. I feel more connected because of all the hopes I had before he was born – then he was stillborn and my hopes were dashed! so, I honor xavier inwardly by thinking of him and wearing jewelry that reminds me of him and looking at his pictures. I honor xavier by remembering him.

Do any holidays have any important significance to your grief? If so, how?

xavier was due november 2009, so I would have actually been off work for thanksgiving, christmas, and new year’s (normally I work every other holiday). instead I was at work trying to keep my mind off of my dead son. my granddad died in 2008 and xavier was going to be the bright spot in our holiday season – then he was just another reminder of sadness. so, the holidays are incredibly hard for me.

What are ways in which you perform private rituals for your child? (I mean, talking to him/her in the morning, wishing on a star, or something only you know about, etc.)

I have some jewelry that I wear to remember him. I have a dragonfly ring and a diamond necklace & ring that represents michael, andi, & xavier to me. when I wear the jewelry I think of xavier often.

Have you felt a connection to other cultures and religions and how they deal with death?
Have you incorporated the religious traditions of another culture into your private ceremonies and rituals for your child?

no. I would love to set up a memorial for xavier, but I just don’t feel safe putting my feelings out there right now; not with my husband and knowing how he feels.

Does creating art feel like a ritual to you? If so, could you explain it further?

I don’t think creating art feels like a ritual to me. I create art when I need to get feelings out, but I don’t think it’s a ritual.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

i am surviving...

i am surviving...to no credit of my own.

without God i wouldn't even be able to breathe.

my world is at a standstill while everyone else continues on as though everything is fine.

...nothing will ever be fine again - my baby is dead.

i believed and had faith in God before losing xavier, but now i truly believe in God and put my faith in Him because He is carrying me along right now - i am doing none of this on my own.

i am weary. i just want to give up, to start all over. i want my baby.

the weight of 'my world' is on my shoulders and i'm really feeling it today.

i am selfish - it takes all of my energy to just get out of bed in the morning.

i walk around in a daze.

my morals are too high to do anything stupid to numb the pain. so, i continue to struggle each day.

i continue to 'live' if you want to call it living. it's not the carefree living i used to do - it's a very bitter and jaded living. babies die. now i know. sometimes i wish i didn't.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

my birthday...

this past saturday was my birthday. i'm 31. it doesn't really feel any different than 30, or 29 for that matter. since xavier died holidays all feel the same - bittersweet. there is reason to both celebrate and grieve every holiday. someone is missing and while i don't cry all day anymore i still remember and it wears on me throughout the day, everyday, especially holidays.

Monday, October 4, 2010

sixteen months...

sixteen months ago today xavier ian was stillborn! no wonder today is so horrible...not only is it a monday, but it is the sixteen month anniversary of losing xavier. how sad.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

september ~ ten questions ~ trees

  1. When you saw the theme of trees for the month of September, what immediately came to your mind?
    I have a ‘tree’ of thanksgiving hanging on the wall in my bedroom and I thought of that.

2. What kinds of words do you associate with trees?
~ beautiful ~ strong ~ rooted ~

3. Of these words, do you associate any with yourself?
I believe I am rooted and strong and beautiful! I am rooted in Christ Jesus and strong enough to have been allowed to experience this grief and a beautiful mother!

4. Have you been an outdoorsy person throughout your life?
I am not an outdoorsy person. I enjoy it on occasion and when I was younger I enjoyed it more than I do now, but I am not an outdoorsy person!

5. How has your relationship with nature changed since your loss(es)?
I am constantly looking at the clouds. I used to occasionally look at the sky and think, “how pretty,” but now I search the clouds – looking for a glimpse of Xavier looking down on me!

6. Did you plant a tree or bush in honor of your child?
No, but I would love to plant a little garden for him if we ever buy our own house! I think it would be wonderful to have a place to go and just sit in beauty while being able to think of Xavier; a place just for him.

7. If you have planted a tree for your child, in what ways do you incorporate the tree into your life? If you haven't, what natural images do you associate with your loss? (Do you tend to it? Do you meditate or reflect under it? Do you places flowers by it?)
In the weeks following Xavier’s stillbirth I remember just sitting outside and staring at the grass, the flowers, and the trees…I remember realizing their beauty and thinking about how fragile life really is and how I have absolutely no control of anything. God created all the grass, flowers, and trees and God is in control – I don’t have to worry.

8. Trees have also been used to represent families. Talk a bit about your own family tree.
I decline to answer this question.

9. What are your feelings now about family trees and exploring your own lineage?
It would be really neat to know more about my family tree, but I’m not intrigued enough to engage in a search. When my granddad died one of my aunts made a dvd slideshow of all these old pictures of my grandparents, great-grandparents, and numerous other relatives I know little or nothing about. I love watching that dvd. I love seeing the old pictures.

10. The rings of trees fascinate me. I remember learning that in hard years, the rings were smaller, or darker than in years of good water. Describe the rings of your tree.
I decline to answer this question at this time.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

it's been a hard day...

today was a hard day. we rearranged the living room and sorted through all the toys - throwing away broken ones. ...so many memories and so many broken memories (memories that could have been).

i was rewarded for my difficult day. we went to olive garden for dinner. now i'm awake way too late with too much on my mind and nobody awake to talk.

today i was a roller coaster of emotions all day. some days are just harder than others i guess.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

i would love to write something profound; something that everyone would read and think, "i wish i had thought that up," but i have nothing profound to say.
i'm still breathing. i get up every morning and follow a daily routine most days. i still take care of my children and love them. i still think about xavier ian EVERY day! sometimes i cry, but not as often as i once did. sometimes i can't function, but those days are fewer and further between. i don't know how i'm still breathing, but i am. actually i do know how i'm still breathing - GOD! praise Jesus - even when i don't feel like it! He has carried me through the past fifteen months and continues to carry me on hard days.
most of the time i just feel as though i don't fit into a certain group of people. i'm a bit disconnected from the world. i am a daughter who calls home not often enough. i am a sister who doesn't acknowledge appreciation for my siblings often enough. i am a friend who forgets more often than remembers. i am a coworker who doesn't always pull my own weight. i am a wife full of flaws. i am a mommy to both living and dead children.
i thought learning how to mother living children was difficult until i had to learn to mother a dead one. some people don't understand the need to mother a dead child. even i can't explain it, but i know that there are many out there who also struggle with how to mother a dead child and not look crazy to the rest of the world. how do you keep the memory alive without looking crazy? how do you honor your child without neglecting those that are living? how do you tell the world that, even though they never stopped moving & breathing, it is a miracle every day you get out of bed, take a breath, and function even somewhat normally because your child is dead? how do you ever accept this 'new normal' and begin really truly living again?

Sunday, August 29, 2010


xavier ian swords
was stillborn
1 year
2 months
3 weeks
4 days ago.
how sad... :(

Saturday, August 28, 2010

stilllife365 a again...

here's the second piece of my artwork on stilllife365

'my world'

please visit the link and enjoy!

here's a link to the

1st 'my world'

and the

mirror inspired artwork


Friday, August 27, 2010

can crying be a hobby?

(this picture looks how i feel so often - dressed all pretty on the outside, but wailing on the inside; i just hurt so bad)

crying can be
a hobby,
it's been
my hobby
of choice

Friday, August 20, 2010


so yesterday was august 19, 2010 - for any babylost mama a very special day!
day of hope

so yesterday was also august 19, 2010 - michael's first day of kindergarten!

with every milestone i remember xavier and think of the milestones he'll never reach, like kindergarten. i guess that's why holidays are so bittersweet for me now. as i see michael & andi happy i think of xavier and all that he is missing here on earth. i just keep thinking that this isn't how it is suppose to be. maybe i'm selfish, but i want my baby and my own home and to make my own rules. instead i'm grieving, living with my in-laws, and therefore living under someone else's rules. i'm lost and i can't seem to find my way. i feel stuck. this is not how life is suppose to be and it makes me angry that this is how my life is right now. i'm angry that i'm to blame for being in this situation and i'm sad.

here are some pictures of michael's first day of kindergarten!

Monday, August 16, 2010


i finally submitted some artwork to stilllife365...

you can check it out here

my world, michelle swords


mid-month challenge: august

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

fourteen months...

i'm not sure where time has gone. it's been fourteen months since losing xavier and i have been a mess all day. we were cooking tonight at work, so that helped to keep my mind off of things, but now i am going to have to lay quietly in a dark room and try to go to sleep...i'll probably cry.

grief sucks!

Saturday, July 31, 2010


I WON! carly had a giveaway and i won one of the many prizes!

this is carly's daughter, scarlet, who helped her draw the winners.

here's what i won!

Monday, July 26, 2010

alright, i've wanted to write for a while now, but every time i sit down the words just do not flow! it's so frustrating!!! i've been crying a lot because i've been thinking too much. i've been crying myself to sleep at night.

over the weekend we went over our budget and realized that it's going to be a long time before we can afford to get a house of our own or even rent our own space! currently we are living with my in-laws and i hate not having my own space! i hate not having my own rules! i hate feeling like i'm in the way! i'm discouraged that our money situation is getting better at the pace of a snail. i secretly have a goal to be out of here by next summer. unless things drastically change i can see that we'll be here well past next summer! sometimes i just want to SCREAM! every now and again (when i'm alone in the car) i do SCREAM! it just feels good to get all that energy out.

my grief has never been only about losing xavier. my grief has always been about losing xavier, losing the life i dreamed of, losing myself after i finally thought i had found myself, and realizing the man i married has changed into someone that i don't recognize over the years. the last few weeks have been amazing as andy and i have been rediscovering who we each are and getting to know each other again, but it doesn't change losing xavier - it doesn't change that i miss this life i never got to know. i feel cheated. i am sad, but i do feel real joy sometimes. night is harder than day. i know i am healing - i know my grief is changing - i know i am growing. this is life and i'm trying to live it, but sometimes it's hard to just get out of bed in the morning. i suspect that i'm always going to have days when it's hard to get out of bed in the morning, nights that i cry myself to sleep, and thoughts of what could have been when it's too quiet in the world...but i know that those times are going to be fewer and further between as time goes on. i haven't forgotten xavier ian; i'm just learning how to live again (without what could have been)! this is my new normal and i may never like it, but i'm learning to live it.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

tuesday - ugh!

i don't know what is wrong today! i have no reason to be sad, but i am. i'm moody and overly emotional and i hate it!

the kids were at my parent's over the weekend and we are picking them up tonight. it's a good day. i have no reason to be moody or sad, but i am!

i'm glad i have today off and i don't have to work. wednesday when i work we are cooking chicken quesadillas and i am looking forward to that. i love cooking with the residents. it keeps me busy. it keeps my mind off xavier.

apparently tuesdays are the day i grieve hardest!
today is tuesday - ugh!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

return to the real world...

june 29, 2010
so last week we were on vacation. it was wonderful to be able to just relax [and we did] and have time alone with my husband. we enjoyed spending time together and didn't argue at all! i'm not sure i can tell you the last time we spend so much time together without arguing...

unfortunately vacations don't last forever and we have now returned to the real world. i was irritable on the way home and as soon as we walked into the house i was immediately overwhelmed. i felt all the stress and tension that we had left behind when we left on vacation.

june 30, 2010
today the man i married; the man i rediscovered on vacation is gone again. i am lonely.
today, two days after our vacation - everything is back to normal, our 'new normal' and i HATE it!

july 1, 2010
last night or this morning...i'm not sure what time it was...andy & i had a talk. things are better. i know that he needs time to cool off when he is upset and i know that i get overly emotional about EVERYTHING!

i think life is bipolar! or my relationship with andy is bipolar...we seem to have extreme highs and extreme lows. losing xavier has made the last year complicated to say the least! i just want my own space! i want to have a normal life; whatever normal is! i want to be a different person, but that can't happen. this is the life God has given me and i must choose to live it giving glory to God along the way, in spite of everything that happens. and while i wish my life were simpler i know that i wouldn't really be happy with that either, because whatever hand we are dealt we want something else. today i'm just struggling with contentment and trying to stay positive!

if i don't blog again before; happy 4th of july weekend!

Monday, June 21, 2010

the second year...

tonight at the support group i attend, parents sharing hope, we were talking about the second year [after losing a baby] and how it is sometimes harder than the first year. i think the second year is harder than the first because all the memories there are no happy memories, just sad ones...

the first year you think, "a year ago today..." and you are remembering life. the second year you think, "a year ago today..." and you are remembering death. the first year you are remembering hopes and dreams. the second year you are remembering shattered hopes and dreams. the first year you are raw. the second year you are scarred.

i think i have taken my grief and found a very healthy outlet...art. recently i have really started to work through my grief using artwork! i have to thank julie for that...she is a recreational therapist at my work and my idea for 'my world' was sparked through her. art is so incredibly healing.

i also started a blog to write names; hangin' with xavier on the fridge

i am starting to be joyful every now and again. it's not easy. since the one year mark i've noticed that i think about xavier ALL OF THE TIME! it's like all the feelings are flooding over me again, but this time i already know what they feel like and they fade a bit quicker. the feelings are just as intense, but for less time. life is a journey...you must choose to move forward or backward or sideways, but you cannot stand still.

my pastor has been preaching on the beatitudes...i am blessed. God blesses me. God blesses others through me. God blesses me through others.
"blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" matthew 5:4

please visit...

you can send name requests to xaviersfridgefriends@gmail.com
i'm looking forward to giving blm's out there a little name memorial!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

no comment...

so, i've been reading all the blogs i follow [and some i don't follow] and i haven't left too many comments. i've been a little down this week and just didn't feel like commenting (as whatever i would have commented would have been jaded and sarcastic - which doesn't always come through without tone of voice), but know that i am reading and thinking of all of you [blm] and praying. sometimes life is just so very sad...

'how sad'

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

shattered shell...

~shattered shell~
she is hollow inside, shattered on the outside.
there are negative feelings and positive feelings.
one false move and she may shatter.

Friday, June 4, 2010

happy bittersweet birthday xavier...

these are two pictures of xavier's name i received today. they make me smile!

monica ~ thank you so much

narelle ~ thank you so much

if you haven't lost a child...

if you haven't lost a child and you have happened upon this blog...read this. a fellow babylost mama wrote it and i think it explains everything!

God is good...

i have an amazing pastor or rather i should say that God works through him in amazing ways. over the past year he has delivered quite a few sermons that spoke directly to me. i have been e-mailing my pastor (poor guy, he learns things about me in e-mails that he would probably rather not know) and occasionally he e-mails back. he usually prays and sometimes includes bible verses when he returns my e-mails...i wanted to share some of them with you all because they have really been comforting to me. i hope you can find comfort in them too.

Romans 8 (i'll highlight bits and pieces)
{15-17} For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
{18} For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
{24-25} For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for waht he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
{26-27} In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, becasuse He intercedes for the saints accoring to the will of God.
{28} And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
{38-39} For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separeate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians 10:5-6
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.

Ephesians 3:14-19
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you , according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

anyway, it's officially been one year since xavier was born too soon.
i am alive.
i will survive.
it said so in a book.
i'll just continue to put one foot in front of the other and when i don't have the strength to continue on God will carry me...He is an amazing Father! i have felt His peace and comfort and love so many days over the past year. i have grown closer to Him through losing xavier...how sad [that i had to lose a child to grow closer to God].

Thursday, June 3, 2010

michael remembers...

michael remembers xavier...

michael does workbook pages everyday (to get ready for kindergarten) and he cut and glued these hearts one day, then gave it to me for 'my baby in heaven,' i said, "you mean xavier." he said, "yes, that's the one."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

the storm...

...the calm before the storm...
a friend from college came to visit the other day. i haven't seen her in a year and a half. it was so good to see her again and forget my problems, if only for a moment, but now it's back to reality.

...the storm...
i follow a lot of blogs. i'm always in awe of women who can write about what they are learning; who can post bible verses; who seem to have so much hope. i wonder if i really am depressed and need medication. i wonder if things would be different were we able to get pregnant again.

i wonder if...

i am so thankful for the blogs i follow that mention God and prayer and unselfishly speak of others who are hurting. i need to see that because it gives me hope that one day i will be more like i was before losing xavier.

i discovered tonight at work that the way i feel and the way i portray myself are completely different. people really don't see my pain. i can hide when i want to. i can appear to function. i'm like an alcoholic, only my addiction is grief. i've learned how to pretend that everything is okay on the outside while i'm gasping for breath on the inside. this is sixteen all over again!

i am bitter. i am angry. i am lost. this is not where i imagined my life would be right now. this is not where i want my life to be right now.

life isn't fair.
lIfe Isn't faIr.
lIfE Isn't fAIr!
lIFE Isn't FAIr!

i'm really struggling right now. i'm stuggling with my grief. i'm struggling with being a good mom. i'm struggling with my relationship with God. i'm struggling with my marriage. i'm struggling with my living situation. i'm struggling to find hope & faith because i'm feeling so lost.

the calm before the storm...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

butterfly mommies june giveaway...

With your other children, or with your rainbow babies, (though we love them deeply, though we have developed this life-gripping fear of things happening to them), have any of you felt a degree of disconnect with them after your loss? Have you noticed yourself holding back just a bit on your heart connections with them or even other's that you love?

i definitely feel a disconnect. in the beginning i was so sad i just couldn't connect and now i don't know...maybe because i went so long holding back it's hard to really connect. i have great moments, but it's not like it was before xavier. my biggest disconnect is with my husband, but i think that has a lot to do with how we each felt about the pregnancy, then the loss. the past year has been incredibly difficult and there have been a lot of changes in my life and there is just so much to deal with that i've shut down, withdrawn, and ignored to escape reality. i'm still trying to figure out how to balance it all. i'm still trying to figure out what this 'new normal' looks like. i'm still trying to find myself in all of this and sometimes it's very frustrating that for every step forward i'm taking three steps back. so, in answer to the original questions...yes i feel a disconnect and yes i hold back and sometimes i feel like i'm losing all the most important things to me, but i am not the same person i used to be...i can never be that naive person again and i must learn how to go on the way i am now and find myself again (this 'new' me).

Friday, May 28, 2010

one week...

just one more week...til this past year of grief is over and the second year of grief will begin.
just one more week...and i'm not even dreading it, yet.

michael has been very focused on death. no five year old should be so educated on death. five year olds should be naive. instead, when he plays he will say things like, "i have a cemetary in my backyard." often he will ask a question about xavier and he usually says xavier's name now, not just 'the baby' and i'm glad for that. michael also mentions that i will die before he does and he will bury me in his backyard because he would just miss me too much otherwise. so, he is beginning to understand that death is a part of life. death is a part of life that was never meant to be. i hope i am helping to give him a healthy view of death and life and grief.

andi doesn't talk so much about any of it anymore. i guess they take turns and it is michael's turn now.

so, just one more week...til andy's cousin gets married.
maybe a marriage is a good omen and the second year of grief will actually have more happiness than sadness...i'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

just around the corner (06.04.2010)...

in just a few short days it will have been one year.

i haven't blogged in awhile because i've been doing pretty well and when things are going well i tend to not write [i don't need an outlet when all is well], but in reality is all well? my baby died! that is not well or good or right! about a million other things have happened in the past year as well and none of them are well or good or right...at least in my eyes. i know when i get to heaven i'll understand, but here on earth i can't...even were God to explain it to me right here & right now i don't think i could comprehend His words.

i've been blue a bit lately, but that is nothing new.

a friend came to visit yesterday and it was so good to see her. i don't get out much, so having a day off to spend with her was wonderful! she kept asking how i was doing. i answered different ways throughout the day, but i started to wonder, "how am i doing?" i'm going through the motions and doing what needs to be done, but not always present. i'm completing my tasks at work, but i can't remember anything it seems...days all run together [if i don't write it down i seem to forget it] and i feel so disorganized. my attitude is horrible a majority of the time. i'm in slump with my prayer life. i don't read the bible much. i almost feel as though i've put my life on hold until things are better, but better isn't coming or i can't see it at least. i need to start living again, find my 'new normal' and...
she also asked what she could do to help. i don't know. i don't know what i need. a better question is how can i improve my memory or how can i be present or how can i be truly happy ever again? if i knew the answers to those questions then i'd know how she could help.

it's almost summer. the weather has been beautiful and i'm so reminded of those days just after losing xavier. i'd sit outside and stare at the beauty like i was seeing it again for the first time and perhaps i was seeing it for the for the first time...the first time after being knocked down into a pit so deep i'm not sure i'll ever get out of it. this year i see the beauty, but it's not the first time and i'm encouraged that such beauty can be in a world so flawed. it's almost summer and i'm still sad...hopefully one day xavier will not equal sad for me, but that day is not today.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

how sad...

don't think that i'm totally depressed & angry all the time, because i'm not. i tend to blog when i 'm sad & mad because that's when i need to get the feelings out. when i'm happy i don't feel the need to write anything down, rather i express happiness through my actions.

...how sad...

this seems to be my motto right now. life is bittersweet. every happy thing that i do with michael & andi makes me sad because i'll never get that chance with xavier. andi would have loved to have been a big sister. almost daily we have the discussion that the baby's heart died. today i asked her if she remembers the baby's name and she did. someday i'll show michael & andi pictures of xavier, but that's a long time off. andi is such a good big sister, keeping xavier's memory alive, loving her little brother that she never even met. i am so proud of her; trying to put her little mind around xavier's death. i just wish i could help her better understand.

a discussion of comments happened on facebook after i posted the the status update, "eleven months..." two days ago. i was a bit overwhelmed by everything. i spoke with andy about this yesterday morning and apparently his family feels that eleven months is too long to still be grieving the loss of a less than half term fetus! his mom thought it was too long a few months ago. apparently it doesn't make sense to them to write xavier's name and take pictures of it. apparently i am wrong and they are right! well, xavier is my child and he is a part of this family and i don't know how to live without him, so i continue to remember him. he was my baby. he IS my BABY. ten fingers, ten toes, a beautiful tiny nose, earbuds...i am so angry that somebody could say he was not even a baby, but just a half term fetus! taking pictures of xavier's name is a way to remember him and it just feels good to see his name. they don't understand and that is why i need so much support from my online friends and church family. shouldn't the people i live with be the most understanding? shouldn't the people i live with be supportive? no wonder i feel all alone when i am at home, i am all alone (of course God is always with me, but i'm talking humans here).

xavier dying was only the beginning of my world being shattered (i say shattered rather than turned upside down because when something is turned upside down it can be turned right side up again; where if something is shattered it is impossible to fix or will show where it has been glued or taped back together)...
in fact xavier dying was not the beginning. becoming pregnant with xavier was the beginning because that is when andy and i started to argue and pull away from each other. then we lost xavier and i was devastated and andy was relieved. we sold all of our baby stuff in a yardsale and i was reminded that there will be no more babies. units merged at work. we moved in with andy's parents to try and get on track financially (allow me to remind you these are the people who do not understand). michael turned five. i moved to a brand new unit at work. andi turned three. in less than one month it will have been one year since losing xavier.
and that is the short version of the past year of my life. i am not only dealing with losing xavier, but also trying to hold my marriage together, learning to live in someone else's house, figuring out this new population at work, my children are growing up, and there will be no more babies.

just when i thought i found myself i realized that i don't know who my husband is anymore. just when my life seems to be less complicated and on track, it jumps off track. my 29th year was tragic. my 30th year didn't magically get better, so i had to pick up the glue and try to start putting the shattered pieces of my life back together. counseling is so hard. marriage is so hard. focusing at work is so hard. unfortunately i don't have the luxury of taking time off to go to some deserted island and figure everything out. i have to continue functioning while i'm working through the mess of my life. i am overwhelmed.

i'm not asking for sympathy. i don't want you to feel sorry for me. i'm not different than you. i'm not trying to make myself a victim. i'm just trying to figure all of this out and that is why i blog. hopefully i can help someone else along the way. so, i cry and pray and attempt to appear normal when i feel so broken inside. i wear my emotions on my shirtsleeve at times and try to be as honest as necessary. i am doing my best at being the authentic me while trying to figure out who the authentic me is.

and now that i have blogged about it i feel a bit better. thank you for reading my ramblings. thank you for supporting, for loving, for encouraging me. i especially thank you for praying. God has very big hands as i know i am not the only one He has been carrying this past year.

Monday, May 3, 2010

butterfly mommy ~ may giveaway question...

Here's how it works, we will post a question, you can either comment back or add your name to the McLinky. This will link us up to your blog post, where you answered our question. We choose a winner each month for a special prize giveaway. Each gift is different, so keep coming back and entering! Here is the question:

How have your relationships been affected by your loss? (with God, your husband, yours and your husband's parents, your siblings, your living children, and/or friendships?)

GOD ~ my relationship with God is so much better now than it was in the months possibly even years before losing xavier. my relationship with God had grown stale and i had quit trusting God so much...i had quit feeling God so much. i was trying to do things on my own. after losing xavier i couldn't do anything on my own. i felt a peace about losing xavier that i can only explain as God comforting me. i felt God holding me up, carrying me, and comforting me. worship has also changed for me. i am not ashamed to do what i feel i should do during worship at church. i cry nearly every sunday. i take notes instead of just sitting there listening. sometimes i journal during church! praise and worship music is especially moving to me now, especially songs about glory. i'm not sure i was ever angry at God after losing xavier...God was my only refuge and comfort. my prayer life has been strengthened since losing xavier and my relationship with God refreshed.

ANDY~ my relationship with my husband has been a roller-coaster ride and i think we're wearing blindfolds because i never know what's coming next. we have struggled to come together and support each other over the past year. i'm not going to go into a lot of detail here, but we are not just looking at different pages in the same book; we are looking at different books. i've possibly cried as much over my marriage as i have over losing xavier. marriage is hard work and it isn't getting any easier, but we love each other and we are still working on our marriage.

MY PARENTS ~ i don't know that my relationship with my parents has really changed all that much since losing xavier. i still think we have a very strong relationship and i'm very glad for that.

MY IN-LAWS ~ we moved in with my in-laws five months after losing xavier and that probably has more to do with our relationship now than losing xavier. i don't have a very good relationship with my in-laws and i'll leave it at that.

MY SIBLINGS ~ not much has changed between my brother and myself, but my sister sends me cards and comments on my facebook status updates. so, i guess i'm a bit closer to my sister than i was before losing xavier.

MY CHILDREN ~ michael is five & andi is three. i love my children and feel blessed to have them. i'm not sure how i would have been able to continue without them after losing xavier. i don't want them to grow up. i hold my daughter more. michael talks about death more. he talks about us dying before him and andi. he says he would bury me in the backyard if i died because he would want me close and miss me too much. andi continues to ask if there is a baby in my belly and we have to talk about how the baby died. i appreciate my children so much more now.

FRIENDS ~ i have wonderful friends. my friends at work were very supportive in the beginning. i have some high school and college friends that were very helpful in the beginning and we still keep in touch a bit better than before losing xavier. i have some new friends that actually understand my loss because they have experienced loss. i don't think my relationships have changed so much as i have added new relationships.

If you could convey to others one thing about yourself that would help them understand what you both need to maintain your relationship what would that be?

i need to know that i am loved. i need to know that others remember xavier. i need contact whether that be through e-mail, snail mail, facebook messages, etc. i am fragile and while i may appear to be functioning normally, it takes a lot of energy to continue to appear to be functioning normally. inside i am thinking about xavier often and struggle to keep my mind on whatever it is i'm suppose to be concentrating on. at times it feels at though i'm living a double life, the life on the outside that others see and the life on the inside that only God knows.

eleven months ago - today...

eleven months ago today my life changed forever. i went to the doctor and there was no heartbeat. i made phone calls sitting in my car before leaving the doctor. i cried all day off and on. i didn't eat. i had an ultrasound in the afternoon to confirm that there was no heartbeat. i was admitted to the hospital. xavier ian was born just after 1am eleven months ago tomorrow.

i feel as though i've lost the last eleven months of my life. i have good days and i have sad days and i have blah days. on good days things are great and on sad days things couldn't possible be worse and on blah days i just breathe waiting to see if it will turn into a good or sad day.

today is a blah day.

by the way...yesterday was international babylost mother's day. maybe i'll post more about how i celebrated later. happy belated babylost mother's day to all you babylost mommies! *HUGS*

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

...in honor of national infertility week...and a challenge from lis...

disclaimer: i do not suffer from infertility, but lis sent out this challenge, so here i go...

myths and facts about infertility (with my opinion thrown in!) from RESOLVE

Myth: Infertility is a women's problem.
: This is untrue. It surprises most people to learn that infertility is a female problem in 35% of the cases, a male problem in 35% of the cases, a combined problem of the couple in 20% of cases, and unexplained in 10% of cases. It is essential that both the man and the woman be evaluated during an infertility work-up.

i actually did know this, but i agree that people generally think there's something wrong with the woman rather than the man and that's not true at all!

Myth: Everyone seems to get pregnant at the drop of a hat.
Fact: More than five million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. When you seek support, you will find that you are not alone. Join RESOLVE, a support group, or talk with others who are struggling to build a family, so that you won't feel isolated.
michelle: i'm not naive enough to believe this, although we did get pregnant quickly with michael and as soon as michael stopped nursing we got pregnant with andi. xavier was a surprise, but apparently not meant to be this side of heaven.
Myth: It's all in your head! Why don't you relax or take a vacation. Then you'll get pregnant!
Fact: Infertility is a disease or condition of the reproductive system. While relaxing may help you with your overall quality of life, the stress and deep emotions you feel are the result of infertility, not the cause of it. Improved medical techniques have made it easier to diagnose infertility problems.
michelle: i've actually heard people say this and they are still not pregnant, so obviously it is a myth. although can you imagine if some resort decided to start advertising that if you took a vacation there you'd get pregnant...they could make quite a bit of money off a scam like that...

Myth: Don't worry so much -- it just takes time. You'll get pregnant if you're just patient.
Fact: Infertility is a medical problem that may be treated. At least 50% of those who complete an infertility evaluation will respond to treatment with a successful pregnancy. Some infertility problems respond with higher or lower success rates. Those who do not seek help have a "spontaneous cure rate" of about 5% after a year of infertility.
michelle: yeah, if you have an infertility problem then get some help...it makes sense. i didn't realize the 50% stat though.

Myth: If you adopt a baby you'll get pregnant!
Fact: This is one of the most painful myths for couples to hear. First it suggests that adoption is only a means to an end, not an happy and successful end in itself. Second, it is simply not true. Studies reveal that the rate for achieving pregnancy after adopting is the same as for those who do not adopt.
michelle: i've actually heard of a story like this. of course it was coincidental, but it made me wonder. it's good to see that it is only a myth. there are so many babies that need to be adopted, it's too bad it costs so much money.

Myth: Why don't you just forget it and adopt? After all, there are so many babies out there who need homes!
Fact: For many, adoption is a happy resolution to infertility. However, most people explore medical treatment for infertility prior to considering adoption. In addition, traditional adoption options have changed, and adoption can be more costly and time-consuming than expected. It is, however, still possible to adopt the healthy baby of your dreams. There are also many older children and children with special needs available for adoption.
michelle: i can't imagine someone telling someone who want to get pregnant that they should just adopt. yes, you would have a baby, but if your dream was to give birth you'll still feel a void. adoption is great, but needs to be wanted and accepted TOTALLY!

Myth: Maybe you two are doing something wrong!
Fact: Infertility is a medical condition, not a sexual disorder.
michelle: i have nothing to say to this except, "how dumb do you think someone is that they can't even have sex right?!"

Myth: My partner might leave me because of our infertility.
Fact: The majority of couples do survive the infertility crisis, learning in the process new ways of relating to each other, which deepens their relationship in years to follow.
michelle: if you really meant your marriage vows, then you are in it for better or for worse (with baby or without baby) and you'll be willing to work on your marriage. marriage is hard work!

Myth: Perhaps this is God's way of telling you that you two aren't meant to be parents!
Fact: It is particularly difficult to hear this when you are struggling with infertility. You know what loving parents you would be, and it is painful to have to explain to others that you have a medical problem.
michelle: seriously?! how could anyone say this to someone? anytime someone tells me that something is possibly God's way of telling me something i just want to hit them! first if God is trying to tell me something, let me figure it out on my own. secondly, don't make assumptions about what God is trying to tell me.

Myth: Infertility is nature's way of controlling population.
Fact: Zero population growth is a goal pursued in a time of world overpopulation, but it still allows for couples to replace themselves with two children. Individuals or couples can certainly elect the option to be child free or to raise a single child. Infertility, for those who desire children, denies them the opportunity to choose.
michelle: wow! that is harsh. i've never heard anyone say anything like this.

Myth: I shouldn't take a month off from infertility treatment for any reason... I just know that this next month will be THE one!
Fact: It is important periodically to reassess your treatment and your parenting goal. Continuity in treatment is important, but sometimes a break can provide needed rest and renewal for the next steps.
michelle: it makes sense that taking time off would be helpful, especially if you've been doing one treatment for awhile and it's not working. i mean, why continue something that isn't working for 'x' amount of time...that seems silly to me. think about cancer, does the doctor say, "here's the one treatment we have and we'll continue doing it until you are cured or die?" no. the doctor tries one treatment and if that doesn't work tries another and if that doesn't work keeps trying. yes, you shouldn't give up, but that doesn't mean you should continue doing something that isn't working.

Myth: I'll be labeled a 'trouble maker' if I ask too many questions.
Fact: The physician/patient team is important. You need to be informed about what treatments are available. What is right for one couple may not be right for another, either physically, financially, or emotionally. Don't be afraid to ask questions of your doctor.
A second opinion can be helpful. If needed, discuss this option with your physician.
michelle: if your doctor labels you a 'trouble maker' for asking too many questions, then it's time to get a new doctor!

Myth: I know I'll never be able to stop treatment until I have a pregnancy.
Fact: Pregnancy is not the only pathway to parenthood. You may begin to think more about parenthood than about pregnancy. You may long for your life to get back to normal. You may consider child free living or begin to think of other ways to build a family.
michelle: imagine losing the baby. then i'm guessing that you will never be able to stop until you have a living baby. yes, there are other ways to parenthood, but again if your dream is to give birth you'll possibly have to accept parenthood without birth.

Myth: I've lost interest in my job, hobbies, and my friends because of infertility. No one understands! My life will never be the same!
Fact: Infertility is a life crisis -- it has a rippling effect on all areas of your life. It is normal to feel a sense of failure that can affect your self-esteem and self-image. You will move through this crisis. It is a process, and it may mean letting go of initial dreams. Throughout this process, stay informed about the wide range of options and connect with others facing similar experiences.
michelle: i'm sure it's just like everything else. it seems impossible while you're in it, but you will come through and have stories to tell and hopefully be a better person for it. AND if you have a positive outcome all the more you'll appreciate your baby!