Friday, February 27, 2009

Stumbling Block! Other People's Pregnancies

I received this email from Amber and related so much to what she says:

Something that has been difficult for me is that I had 2 other sisters who were pregnant while I was. One who was due in October and one who was due in January (almost exactly a month before me). When I lost Gunnar, it was so hard for me to even be around my sisters. Even though I was so happy for them, it was so hard. One sister had had several miscarriages and the other had been trying to get pregnant for over 3 years. They had both had their own struggles so they each deserved their happiness. When my first sister had her babies (twins!) in October, I couldn't even go around those babies for a long time. Of course I called her and made some meals for her, but it was so hard to be around them. I finally went to see them and in doing so, it helped heal my hurt a little. When I held each one of those beautiful miracles, I cried but it felt good to in a way "fill my void".

When I was pregnant with Gabriel my sister and sister-in-law were pregnant at the same time. Actually, with my 3 siblings and my husband's 4 sisters there has been one or the other of us pregnant at any given time for the past 12 years. There may have been others pregnant at that same time. I've mostly blocked it out.

That is kind of how my brain deals with people being pregnant, even now. Isn't that terrible? It is like I am pretending they aren't pregnant until they 'SHOW ME THE BABY' (do you hear me doing a Cuba Gooding accent from Jerry Maguire?) Sorry. I shouldn't make light of it. I don't mean to. But I no longer equate 'pregnant' with the end result of 'going to have a baby'. It's terrible. I know. So cynical. It makes my husband crazy.


I remember specifically my sister being pregnant because we had a conversation at that time about it. She felt so bad- terrible. Guilty, almost. That she was pregnant and I wasn't. It was easy for me to be magnanimous about it because she lives in Hawaii and I didn't have to see her big pregnant belly every day. I didn't begrudge her HER baby. I just wanted mine. If you know what I mean.

My other sister in law lives here, close by. And it WAS hard to be around her. And especially when her little baby came home. But she and my brother asked permission to give their baby 'Gabriel' for a middle name. How kind to honor him in that way. I know some people do not like others using their baby's names because a name is the only unique thing we are left with. But this was kindly done and I appreciate it.

I thought it interesting that Amber expressed it was healing to hold babies. I have heard others say that, too. For me, I can not hold other people's babies. Still, today, it is hard for me. I rarely do. I will ooh and aah over them but do not hold them.

Thanks so much to Amber for sharing this email with us.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Heart This

If you have never heard of Etsy you have a treat in store for you. Get a beverage, turn off your phone and settle in for some serious browsing and drooling.

Etsy is kind of like Ebay, but everything is handmade. I super love handmade.

Etsy is where I first came across Lindy Longhurst and her Serpent Mandalas Shop. You've heard me rave over her stuff before. Take a look again. Love love love the colors and characters. They speak to me.

But THIS is the shop I can not stay away from today. I keep going back to press my face against their window and drool. I so want one of these bangle bracelets for Mother's Day this year. Or THIS Mother's Circle PendantAnd you know what? I might just order it.

Mother's Day is always a toughie for me because Gabriel's anniversary falls that week before. But this year Gabriel's date is on Sunday. Mother's Day. Yeouch. So if I want to spend some money on myself I just may do that.

Anyway, back to shopping.

How about these delicious looking cupcakes? How cute are these? I have heard they are wonderful. I can't vouch for them myself because I can't justify spending $8.50 per cupcake. So I keep going back and looking at their shop. And licking my computer screen. But if anyone wants to know I'd like one of each. Especially the New Nut Job, Plain Jane in a Party Dress, and a PMS/Chocolate Overload. Thank you.

I'd love to hear what your favorite etsy sellers and items are.

Off to browse some more


Monday, February 23, 2009

Out of the Blue

I read quite a bit and watch TV even more so you'd think I'd be used to it, but even so I felt hit from all sides this weekend. See if you can find the common denominator in this book & movie.

On TV: the Ben Carson Story (movie of the book Gifted Hands- based on a true story of a pediatric neurologist who came from very humble beginnings) I saw a little bit of it but kept getting called away but I'm learning to love Cuba Gooding Jr.

New book I started reading: To See Every Bird on Earth (a father, a son and a lifelong obsession)

Yep. Babies that die in both of them.

I guess I could have seen it coming in the Ben Carson story but it wasn't one of his patients (as I would have expected), it was his wife waking him up in the middle of the night in a pool of blood to tell him she needs to go to the hospital. And the doctor coming out to tell him that they lost his twins.

The bird book really caught me off guard. The author is talking about how his grandparents met and came to this country and then when his grandmother gave birth to their first baby the doctors told the dad she had given birth to a monster and he should take the baby to the next room and leave it there. He lived 20 minutes. They named him ((Teddy)) I quit reading after this.

So many times books have babies that die in them. My favorite romance series Outlander. Pretty much any book by Jennifer Weiner (I don't remember it in In Her Shoes but I know her others)The last bookclub book my mom gave me to read (I can't even remember the title) and when she asked how I liked it I said "Couldn't get past the baby dying"

Babies die, we know that's true. So why do I feel blindsided every time I come across it in a book or movie? It was kind of a relief to switch over to watch Burn Notice (kind of a spy thriller tv show) where you know people might die but they won't likely be babies.

Any good books to recommend?


Sunday, February 22, 2009

Vote for me!

Imagine my surprise when I wandered over to the Blogger's Choice Awards and saw that my little ol' blog was nominated.

Thanks, guys!

I'm feeling the love. Sniff, sniff

Anyway, if you all wanted to go on over there and vote for me that would make me feel super special today. Click on the button over on the sidebar


Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pioneer Women

Soon after Gabriel died I went through a period where I was reading journals of pioneer women. I felt a relation with these women, in a small way. They suffered such trials, hardships and tragedy. Their everyday lives were filled with hard work and no conveniences or comforts. Add on top of that the dangers and risks.

Often they experience the death of their children. Children died in so many ways. Snake bites. Drinking the laudanum and overdosing. Tetnus, drowning, dying during birth- so many dying at birth.

These women buried their young ones, and were expected to be up and working the next day. I was particularly interested in the ones who were on the trail- walking on their way to their new homes, and leaving the small grave behind as they moved on. So so sad. So so hard. How did they do it? It is really too much to understand and bear.

And I am struck by the strength of women. To get up again. To try again. To put our heart out there and love again and risk loss.

Pioneer Women are my heroes.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Weaver

I had read a poem at one point that expressed the idea that our lives are like a tapestry. We only see the bottom- which is a big mess. The purpose of particular colors or pattern is unclear. It makes no sense to us. Only after death will we get to see the top- the reason for the colors and the order they were placed.

I had posted this on SHARE and a friend who does cross stitch said this made so much sense to her. I guess when you are working on a cross stitch piece you first do the bright colors and it is difficult to see the pattern- it isn't until you add the black threads to outline that the image emerges. You need that contrast. The black threads have a purpose, in addition to the colorful threads.

I do not do handicrafts. I do not have that talent (or patience!) but I relate to the image of the messy back. Once when I was about 10 in a church youth program they had us do an embroidery piece. I remember the tangled threads on the back (and mine was particularly bad- my friends didn't have nearly the difficulty I did).

Maybe I don't know all the reasons why. I hope someday to get to see the 'top' of the piece. The pattern of my life.

The Weaver
(I found two different names credited to this poem- not sure which is correct)
Benjamine Malachi Franklin/Grant Colfax Tullar

My life is but a weaving,
between my Lord and me,
I cannot choose the colors,
He worketh steadily.

Ofttimes He weaveth sorrow,
and I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper,
and I the underside.

Not till the loom is silent,
and the shuttles cease to fly,
Shall God unroll the canvas,
and explain the reason why

The dark threads are as needful
in the Weaver's skillful hand
As threads of gold and silver
in the pattern He has planned.

Another topic I've been avoiding- Religion

When I first started this blog I was pretty adamant I was going to avoid the whole religion topic. It can be so very divisive. And I wanted a place where people could come together.

A while ago I had someone send me a pretty nasty email. They had found my Pregnancy Loss Ribbons Awareness site and felt the need to question me further. They suspected I belonged to a particular religious group from one of the links on my resource page. They then told me they could not support me or my site because of that. They were very offended. Personally offended. Like I had knocked on their door and demanded their attention and tried to cram my beliefs down their throats. They then got very personal and told me I was not a Christian. And it went downhill from there.

So I usually try to tiptoe around the issue. About God. About Faith. I figure I have my beliefs in religion and you have yours and maybe they are the same and maybe they are different, but let's all be friends and help support each other as we learn to live without our children.

I occasionally read a comment or post that someone's faith is what pulled them through when they lost their child. How very wonderful. I am so glad that they have that support and strength. I know others do not. And this is what I kind of think about that.

I think maybe there are three types of people.

1. People who have religion and faith and feel that no matter what happens they can rely on God and trust him.

2. People who used to have religion and faith and currently feel very confused, conflicted, hurt and/or angry. They are not sure how or why a loving God would allow these things to happen.

3. People who do not have religion

My definitions may be off a bit. You will not believe how long this just took me to type those out substituting words like 'religion, faith, beliefs, and other alternate words. This is the best I can do for now.

I think we can all coexist together. I'm not trying to stir anything up. Really. Please don't take it that way.

People from group 1 and 3 LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear from others in their group. They feel strengthened and supported.

People from group 1 and 3 maybe don't want to hear from the other group. They either believe or they don't and probably will never change their minds about the topic. They may even get angry at the other group.

The people from group 2 probably sympathize with both group 1 and 3. And at some point they probably cross over to belong to either group 1 or 3.

So what does this have to do with anything? A lot, I think. At least a lot to explain about why I don't talk about religion much. Not because I don't have faith. But because I don't want to isolate or offend any of you who come here to get support about child loss and aren't looking for a Sunday school lesson.

But I do want to post occasionally about topics that touch on religion. I'd like to share my story. Sometimes I'd like to share books or quotes that are religion-y. I do want to share things that helped ME and some of them are indeed churchy.

So, I apologize to anyone who didn't sign up for that. Skip those posts. I'll try to give a heads up that it is coming.

I hope today is gentle for you.

Friday, February 13, 2009


I've been thinking about doing a post about depression for some time. I am kind of in two minds about it.

First of all, who has more right to be depressed than someone who has had a child die? If I want to hole up in my bedroom and watch M*A*S*H reruns and eat nothing but peanut butter sandwiches who is to say I can't? (I lost about 25 pounds the month after Gabriel died. Do you know you can lose weight by sleeping all day? Well, you can)

But here is the other side of it. At some point I need to put the peanut butter down, turn off the TV and get out again. I can't tell you when it is the right time to do that. Or even that you should. But for me, I knew it was time.

My doctor had put me on Zoloft before I even left the hospital. With my history, he just wanted me to have something to take the edge off. To make the highs not so high, to make the lows not so low. Tell a mom grieving her baby that there is a way to make the "lows not so low." I was scared not to take it. You mean if I don't take meds I could feel even crappier than I do now? Is that even possible?

Meds didn't really do anything for me. I didn't take them very long.

I never did try therapy. Maybe I should have. I never went to a support meeting in real life. It seemed that I was trying to schedule my grief to fall into 'every other Thursday from 7-8:30 pm'. And to talk about it in real life was way way too sad.

Some people DO respond well to therapy. Fantastic! I'd love to hear how you find a therapist you trust and relate to. I know I don't seem it but I am actually a very private person. It is easier to blog about my feelings than to share them face to face.

Instead, I turned to SHARE. The internet. Reading as many books as possible as I could. Trying to feel better.

When you are depressed, it is important to get help SOMEWHERE. So many times it seems that depression is just in my head. That I should be able to 'think happy thoughts' and get over it.

I did quite a bit of research online. And you know what?

Depression is considered a disease. Every bit as 'legitimate' as any other disease or other medial issue. If someone had a broken leg would I tell them to 'think happy thoughts and try to get over it'. No, I'd get them the help they need.

So how do you know if you are depressed rather than just feeling sad? This is the checklist provided by web md

difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
fatigue and decreased energy
feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
irritability, restlessness
loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
overeating or appetite loss
persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Sound familiar? These are also the signs and mindset of someone grieving.

I know I am starting that slippery slide to depression by some other signs. They are a little more subtle.

I start hearing everything with a critical ear. My husband asks "What's for dinner?" and I take it as a criticism. My mom says "I haven't talked to you for awhile" and I take it as a criticism.

I start being 'less careful'. Like I don't buckle my seatbelt. I don't stop completely at stopsigns.

Honestly, I think if someone is questioning if they need help they probably do. Ask someone to help you get the help you need. Tell your spouse or your mom or your best friend. Call your family doctor or your OB.

If you are having thoughts of suicide PLEASE call someone asap- the suicide hotline in your city or a close friend.

You can get more info on depression at web md

I hope today is gentle for you.

Storybook Keepsake Blanket

I wanted to show you this beautiful Storybook Keepsake Blanket How lovely! What a precious way to tell your baby's story.

I'm sorry I haven't posted much lately. I've been on a deadline from work and busy busy busy. Then I try to get on the computer and my husband has the nerve to ask where dinner is! (or clean clothes, or why the dishes haven't been done all week or was I thinking about maybe picking up around here a little bit??) Ok, he doesn't actually ask that. But he should. That guy is a saint.

I talk to you all day, in my head. Kind of scary. I'll post soon. And don't forget you've still got a few more days to enter the giveaway.

Hope you are being good to yourself! You deserve it.

peace- emily

Monday, February 9, 2009

Remembering the Love

Oh you got to you got to remember the love,
You know that love is a gift from up above
Share love, give love, spread love
Measure, measure your life in love.
~Rent, Seasons of Love~

I had read this post by Zil on her blog The Three Little Birds some time ago and I keep coming back to it.

I love this idea- to measure a life in love.

If I look back to when Gabriel died, I can see so much love expressed to me and my family. The nurses at the hospital who compassionately stayed with us (or stayed away) depending on what we needed. The memory box given to me from an unknown mom who had also lost her baby. Women from church who stopped by with meals. The coworkers at my husband's work who covered for him as he was out for a week.

But this is measuring my life by the love.

What if I measure Gabriel's life by the love?

In his so short life he was only loved- by his mom and dad, his grandma, his siblings.

So I'm trying to do this- remember the love. Instead of focusing on the pain I felt, the fear, the sadness, the hurt and confusion, I am going to try to remember the love.

I hope today is gentle for you.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Being Good to Yourself GiveAway! Enter Now!

This started out to be a "Feeling the Love" Giveaway, with Valentines Day in the air and all that. And then I started thinking. Not everyone has a sweetie. Or if they do, they are getting plenty of sweetie talk from the tv commercials right now. I swear every other commercial is for ProFlowers or "He went to Jared" And I'm kind of sick of it myself.

So this is a little different giveaway. It's showing ourselves the love.

Are you being good to yourself? Are you?

I hope so. You deserve it. You're worth it.

And when I say "being good to yourself" I mean taking your vitamins, eating right, getting some exercise occasionally, having lunch with friends, doing things you love.

It is so easy to put ourselves last. We are busy doing so much for other people. We think 'What's the point?' We might be kind of depressed as it is only February and spring seems so far away. The days are short and dark and cold. And maybe we've gained a few pounds over Christmas (so sue me!) and then one day I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and think "Who is that sad looking girl?"

I realized this week that my husband has not seen me out of pajamas for awhile. He probably thinks I never get dressed. He leaves for work before I'm showered and gets home after I've changed back into pjs. I'm not talking sexy loungewear either. I'm talking flannel pjs that I once wore when painting my kids' room that have seen better days. Not exactly the upbeat woman who is having a year of treating myself right.

I hear you asking yourself, "What does this have to do with anything and what are you giving away, Emily?" Well, ok, I'll tell you.

But first! The prizes!

Some goodies from Bath and Body Works-

Fresh Vanilla bubble bath and shower gel (2oz )

Aromatherapy Sensuality body wash Jasmine Vanilla (2oz)

“Stamina Boost” aromatherapy Peppermint and Lemon scent (.3oz)

I have a magnet with the "Open Heart" image from Lindy Longhurst
I love the vibrant colors and sweet expressions. If you haven't seen her artwork before, check her out.

A heart necktag that with a heart of the front and the word "Faith" on the back. This was donated by Rachel (Thanks, Rachel!)and is from Steel My Heart. They have a zillion different items that can be personalized with different characters- they even have a little baby angel character.

To Win! This is time to be good to yourself. Do something you have been putting off. Make a hair appointment. Go for a walk. Take a bath and lock the door. Then leave a comment below.

There will be 1 lucky winner chosen- Winner takes all! Check back next Sunday to see if you have won. I'll keep it open until next Saturday midnight EST.

Thanks! Good luck!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Coming soon..

We started a 'biggest loser competition' with with my husband's family where you get points for eating vegetables, skipping sweets and soda, drinking water, getting plenty of rest. This is right up my alley with my goal to 'be good to myself'. Only, it is amazing how much you think about food when you are really trying not to think about food!

What are you doing to 'be good to yourself'? You are worth it! You deserve some attention and kindness. I hope you can find some time today to do something to treat yourself right.

Watch tomorrow for my newest giveaway! Just wanted to give a heads up ;0)

peace- emily

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Way to go Newsweek! an excellent article

There is a fantastic article in the Newsweek magazine on coming out next week, Februray 9. (EDITED TO CHANGE THE DATE! SORRY!) The article is called A Vast and Sudden Sadness and is about stillbirth and the use of photography to help cope with grief. For a sneak peek, click here

It also features a sidebar specifically about Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep- a wonderful service. How I wish I had known about this photography service when Gabriel was born. Professional photographers volunteer their time and talent to take photos for families in that so short time they have with their babies. You can read this sidebar article here

For more info or to go directly to the NILMDTS site, click here

Memorial Stones

I wanted to show you this very cool site. They have memorial stones that can be personalized, and also garden statues. And something called an 'eternal flame' stone that has a little candle. Gorgeous.

I've always wanted a beautiful garden for Gabriel. Gardening is not one of my talents. Instead, everything I try to plant ends up dying, which really makes it worse when it was supposed to be in honor of Gabriel. But I think these stones would be very special in a garden.

Here are a few of my favorites:

I will warn you that they have pet memorials and pet caskets on the same page as these others, which always kind of cheeses me but whatever.