Saturday, December 15, 2012


I have prayed for God to give me grace so much lately.  Literally every day I say something along those lines, whether it is for me to handle insensitive comments, or deal with the realization that Polly is not here, or for me to be gracious and enjoy these calm moments of pregnancy instead of worrying all the time, or grace to just make it through the day.  I pray for that a lot because I struggle a lot.  We both do.  Something hit me today that really struck me and I felt the need to share.  Whit has been listening to a Christian talk station and has found a few pastors really encouraging.  We talk about the things he has heard often and they have become a great way for us to grow in our relationship with the Lord.  Whit borrowed my car and left the station on this morning (I'm sure God planned that), so today when I was running errands and wasn't paying attention to the radio.  I heard the announcer say something about kids, which caught my attention.    They were interviewing a couple, the man was a pastor, who was telling a story of a tragedy, although I didn't know what happened yet but knew kids were involved, it got my attention.  Their tragic day happened in 1994 outside of Milwaukee and the family was traveling to celebrate 2 of their children's birthdays at one of their older son's houses.  This couple had 9 children, 3 were grown and the other 6 were in the car ages 6 weeks to 11 years old.  They were traveling on the interstate when suddenly there was a large piece of metal in the road, the husband tried to steer out of the way but it was too late and the van struck the metal which made the gas tank explode and the entire car burst into flames.  They lost all 6 children who were in the car.  The father said that they get asked a lot "when did you realize what had happened, that they were all gone?" and his answer is "in about 30 seconds".  It was at that instant as his wife and himself stared at the car that was engulfed in flames.  I of course am crying so hard as I hear this story at this point.  I can't even imagine.  And here they are, almost 20 years later talking about their faith and how they were strengthened that day through this tragedy.  The father is a minister and one of the first things he said, moments after this happened, was that "God had prepared them for this".  He said he didn't know why he said that to his wife, but that calmed her as they took in what had just happened.  And they didn't turn away from God because of this horrible tragedy and rejoice knowing their children are with the Lord.  I would have been in elementary school in 1994, and here I am being touched by their story and in a way able to relate.  It made me realize something, that I need to focus more on my walk with God than on the grief that can so easily overtake you.  It is much easier to lay in bed and cry all day about Polly being gone than having to get up and face the world and there are many days that I want to just cry in bed.  But I have to realize that instead of asking God why did this happen, that I have to understand (and it brings me to tears to think this) that God wasn't doing something TO us, but He CHOSE us to be Polly's parents.  And that for Polly's little sister, we pray she is ok and healthy and will be able to be part of our family on Earth, but He also chose us to be her parents too.  I can't know what her purpose will be and I can't focus on the fact that this can happen again because it can.  I choose to focus on the fact that God picked us on purpose and we are blessed to say we are Polly's parents instead of looking at ourselves as "that couple who lost their child".  These are all ideas that have crossed my mind but I finally really realized that today.  God isn't mean, didn't do something terrible to us, He chose us out of the billions of people in the world to be Polly's parents, her biggest fans.  I just had it on my heart to share such a huge story about this family and that I believe in my heart that like that couple's children, Polly had a purpose which she fulfilled in a mere month.  And we are very proud to say we are her parents.

2012 has been a difficult year to say the least and although the intense feelings of grief have either dulled slightly or we've figured out how to manage them better (or both), we do have hope for 2013.  Hope in this sweet child in my belly who will be here before we know it.  Below is a link to the story I was telling you about.  It is very tragic and heartbreaking, I can't read it without crying, but it is worth it and you will gain something from it.  There is even a sermon from the father at the bottom.  Thank you for not forgetting Polly and for praying for us and her sister.  We are 30 weeks this week and praying for grace yet again, this time for the grace to get through the last 10 weeks of this pregnancy.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Holidays

As Christmas gets closer I find I am missing Polly more and more.  I had always had such vivid dreams of what we would do on her first Thanksgiving and Christmas and I never could have imagined she would not live long enough to enjoy those holidays.  After going through one round of holidays without her you would think we would have a better grasp on things and can handle it better the second go around.  I am finding it very difficult.  Thanksgiving I got through but Christmas is big.  Such a huge and important holiday.  I should be buying gifts for a 14 month old and making those holiday memories with my tiny family.  Instead we have a huge hole in our hearts.  I've thought about sponsoring a child that is Polly's age each year to buy presents for, but this year I just can't do that.  It is too painful to look at all of the little baby items, I've pushed most of the baby stuff out of my mind to help me cope.  The holidays are going to be tough especially because both of our birthdays are around them, Whit's being before Christmas and mine shortly after.  There is a lot of celebrating and we honestly can't jump into celebrations like we used to.  Our hearts are so tender and sad without having our little blessing here to celebrate with.  I've gone back and forth about buying a stocking for this baby, but have ultimately decided to wait since we don't have a name for her yet.  I bought Polly's stocking the day before I had her, knowing exactly what she would be called and even though I had 2 months until Christmas I just had to go ahead and order it.  I have 2 months left in my pregnancy and I just can't bring myself to plan ahead that far, although that isn't a lot of time.  So this year we are having to do things differently just to make it through.  Christmas is still my favorite time of year, but you can imagine the heartache that comes along with it.  There is nothing we can do to make that pain go away, but we are trying to focus on the meaning of Christmas this year, instead of how we should divide up our gift list to our family members.  I've also felt God trying to reach out to me lately.  Sometimes I feel so distant, even from God, but I know it is only because I have blinders on and don't take time to listen like I used to.  But I think I have just felt lost and alone but lately, one after the other, I've heard or read things that have said basically that God knows your heart and He knows your pain.  He understands when others don't.  And He loves me, He hasn't forgotten about us although I honestly wonder that sometimes.  People get busy with their own lives and I imagine God gets busy because He is God, but I've reminded myself that God knows everything and  has never left me.  So just working on my faith and with the emotional rollercoaster that is missing Polly, being pregnant and praying for this child, and for the upcoming handling the Christmas season.  And as far as an update on our rainbow, there really isn't much.  This pregnancy has been just as uneventful as my pregnancy with Polly.  I even had to do the 4 hour re-test for diabetes and passed the second go round, which also happened with Polly.  We are in our third trimester now and starting to realize, which may sound silly, but that this is really happening.  That our second daughter will be born in February.  We are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.  I am getting more attention while out in public, which I try to shy away from the chit-chat questions I get.  It is hard to answer them when the person asking doesn't know where we've been, doesn't know the heartache we've dealt with, and that we have learned that just because you see someone pregnant out and about doesn't mean everything is going to work out.  But I am so thankful for everything being smooth sailing, it is just eerie how similar both pregnancies have been.  I pray history doesn't repeat itself and that next year we will have a child to share the holidays with.  Missing Polly today and always. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Midnight Rambling

Having another late night tonight.  Lately I haven't been able to sleep much.  I've been busy at work which has made me tired yet my mind races at night.  You would think being busy helps and in a way it does for the moment, but grieving always seems to catch back up to me.  I've found that the only thing that truly helps is to let myself experience every emotion I feel, even though I get so tired of being upset all the time, you just can't help it and if you push it down, grief always comes back up.  Sometimes things happen that spark me getting upset, other times it is just because I haven't let myself feel all those emotions.  I find as we begin our second year without Polly that I have grown and changed, but I still struggle so much, we still are not ok with this at all, we still miss our baby.  As happy as we are for others who have been blessed to have their children here, it hurts to imagine what you are missing out on....all the milestones, the day to day things, the baby items.....big or small, those moments are never ones we will share with Polly.  The only diaper I ever changed was after she had left us.  We never held her while she was awake, only heavily sedated or after she passed.  We saw her eyes just a few times in her first 2-3 days of life.  There are so many things that we will never do with her.  Nothing about our situation was normal, we had no normal experiences.  Yet looking back those days in the NICU, the hours by her bedside meant so much to us.  I am so grateful for those memories, even though they were plagued with a constant emotional rollercoaster.    More than a year later it is still just so devastating, so terrible still, so indescribable.  With Christmas coming up I wonder how I will handle it all.  Normally by now I have been listening to Christmas music for weeks but can't bring myself to listen to all of those songs just yet.  I sang to Polly many days and as soon as it hit November I sang her Christmas songs.  We even have a cd we would play that had children singing and I would love every second I got to make that memory, singing in her ear by her bedside.  A year later I can say we do have hope with Polly's little sister.  Even has I type this, tears streaming, she kicks away in my belly.  This sweet baby will never replace Polly and I do battle with the fact that if Polly was here we probably wouldn't be expecting, but I pray so hard that we will be able to keep this daughter.  I feel like it is possible but I just don't know if this time we will have a happy ending.  The waiting is so very hard too.  One of the first things I thought about when I found out I was pregnant is how sad it made me that this child would never know its sister this side of Heaven.  Now that I know Polly will have a sister, it just breaks my heart.  My sisters have been such a strong comfort to me through all of this, but even before they always looked out for me like big sisters do.  I believe in my heart Polly is playing the big sister role, but I wish they could know each other here.  But we will make sure to tell Baby Rainbow about her sister so that she knows her story.  And that she knows although this is not how we thought things would turn out, that we have honestly prayed for this baby, our rainbow, since before we knew of her.  I guess I have rambled enough.

Polly- we will miss you forever, a huge hole is in our hearts that only you can fill, but we know we will see you again.  We have that hope.  And to our baby rainbow, the one who has brought smiles through our tears, we prayed for you and continue to pray for you.  We are on our knees for you and we love you oh so much.  How we pray for the day to bring you home and show you the room that is yours and your big sister's.  We pray for you to be healthy and to be a screamer.  :)  As empty as I feel, my heart is so full for both of my girls. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Missing Our Baby

November 11th marked the 1 year anniversary of Polly becoming an angel.  It was a very sad day yet peaceful.  We still vividly remember every ounce of pain last year that was felt as we realized we were spending the last day with our daughter.  A year later that "elephant on your chest" feeling isn't as intense, but it is still there.  Yet there is peace.  So far this month I have been pretty weepy, crying in between meetings at work, in the car, taking a shower, etc.  I have to make time to cry when I need to because if I don't it might happen all of a sudden where I can't control it.  The weird looks from strangers  bother me, so I try to avoid those situations and keep my crying not out in public.  A year later I find our story and the fact that Polly is gone still so unbelievable.  Every baby that I know that has been born since has been fine thankfully, but I am almost surprised every time, like I didn't believe babies can be born completely fine.  I still have doubts that will happen for us sadly, but hope and pray we will know what it feels like to bring a baby home.  On the morning of Polly's Angelversary I sat in a beautiful place, overlooking the ocean with a calm breeze and sunshine on my face and I held Polly's box of ashes in my arms.  I didn't know what to do or how to get through the day, all I knew is what we were doing on that day last year and that was holding her.  I thought doing the same thing was fitting, but it still makes me sob to pick up that tiny box and feel the little bag of ashes inside.  The pain is so unbearable sometimes.  I thought about a lot that morning.  We've changed a lot from who we were before we lost Polly.  I wondered what it would be like to have her here, what would her favorite toy have been, or favorite thing to eat, and how I would be preparing for another wonderful holiday season with our sweet baby here.  Instead, the reality is so painful.  She isn't here, we won't see her again on this side of Heaven, and as much as I try to explain there are just some people who don't get what we are going through.  It is a tough place to be in, one I never expected to have to go through and one I wish no one had to go through.  As time passed yesterday I checked the clock often until it was the time that I knew she was gone.  I thought about that first night, just the 2 of us, our lives turned upside-down and how empty it felt and still feels.  How we just cried and cried for her.  We remember each and every moment in so much detail.  And now we prepare for another year without sweet Polly.  Another set of holidays without her.  It still feels like the world keeps turning without us.  Despite all of this, I know Polly is completely happy and fulfilled in a way that I could never give her.  I would be lying if I said that knowing she is in Heaven make me feel all better, because it doesn't, but I know that I can't possible understand in my feeble human brain how incredible of a place she is in.  Lots of emotions, lots of tears, lots of questions, even a year later.  There are so many days that I wake up and wonder how I can make it through the day without her, and somehow we are doing that, although we often stumble on this walk.  I just miss her, I miss her scent, her soft skin, how she made me feel when I held her....I just miss her so much.  We try to incorporate her as much as we can in our lives and I pray that her little sister will get to come home and we can teach her about the sister she will never know.  Miss you so much Polly.  Watch over us and your baby sister from Heaven, until we see each other again.  We love you.

Ephesians 2:10: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy First Birthday Polly

For Polly's birthday we decided it would be best to go on a trip some where, so that is what we did.  We stayed in SanDestin through sweet friends of my parents.  We had never been and the area was beautiful.  We drove around and looked at all of the beaches and picked the perfect one to have Polly's little birthday celebration.  My parents had sent balloons for Polly, but we wanted to send her a lot of them, so we went to the store to buy more balloons, a flower to send to her, and also a "birthday cake" which we thought a cute cupcake would be perfect.  I can't tell you how surreal it is, buying all the things to celebrate a birthday in a busy grocery store but only us knowing the birthday angel is in Heaven.  We were both scared someone would see my tummy and assume what we were buying was for the baby.  Luckily everyone seemed too busy to notice us as we fought back tears waiting on her balloons to be inflated.  Again we had that surreal moment as we celebrated her birthday and watched the sunset on the gulf.  There were people walking on the beach, kids playing, dogs running in the water.  It was so very surreal to be sad in such a happy and beautiful place. We wrote messages on her balloons, tied a flower to them, and sent them to Heaven.  Next we lit her birthday candle on her cupcake and took pictures of it with her lovey.  We had many tears but also smiled at just how much love our Polly fills our hearts.  Still a year later we miss her just as much.  We still cry for her and we still wonder why.  For her birthday we dreamed of a sweet party with family and friends, watching her eat her first bite of cake, and reminiscing on how quickly the year had gone by.  Although our celebration for Polly was perfect for us, it was not at all how we imagined her first birthday would be.  Still we were thankful for the peace we felt and that God chose us to be her parents.  As we sat and watched the sunset, there wasn't even a breeze on the beach, which was odd, but somehow her candle blew out on its own.  We like to imagine that was Polly making a wish on her birthday.  We also were so overwhelmed by all of the sweet messages, emails, and cards.  The fact that so many remembered her and her birthday is priceless to us.  Our greatest fear is that she will be forgotten, so thank you for acknowledging her on such a bittersweet day for us.  We were reminded how many people her short life touched. 

So now we are in the "in-between dates".  I have wondered many times since the 11th what kind of a day it was in the NICU on that day in 2011.  And it still is so unbelievable that this all happened a year ago.  It feels like yesterday.  I couldn't imagine that I would be pregnant a year later.  There are just so many emotions.  The day after we got home we drove to Savannah for our first perinatologist appointment.  We were there a while and loved the medical professionals we met and thankfully heard that every looks perfect.  We have been blessed to hear good news at every appointment, but despite the smoothness of this pregnancy, we still are guilty of worrying we won't be able to bring this baby home.  I think being pregnant has reminded us how you are not in control and you just have to do the best you can, pray and hope.  But we are so very thankful that everything has looked perfect.  We asked at this appointment (like we do at all) how the lungs look and basically heard what we have heard many times.  Since the lungs are still developing and are mainly tissue, you can't really see them, only where they should be and parts of them.  You can see the "branches" and also that there is lung tissue there, but babies don't use the lungs until they are born, so there is no way to tell if they will work.  Still we are very thankful for all the good news we heard and for the extra care we have received. 

Please continue to pray for a healthy Rainbow and for us as we brace for Polly's angelversary, the holidays, and our Rainbow's arrival.   And thank you for remembering Polly.  We still hurt for her so much.
Polly's Balloons

On their way to Heaven!

Happy 1st Birthday Polly!  We love you! 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Special Dates

As Polly's dates get closer, I feel like I am in such a fog.  The past year as gone by slow and fast at the same time and it has been very painful.  This day last year Whit and I were putting Polly's room together with his brother and sister-in-law.  Tomorrow is her due date.  Thursday is her birthday.  There are so many dates now.  Whenever I see anything revolving around the month of October or November, anything from an invitation to a movie coming out, it takes me back to our lives when Polly was here.  I am just numb and really out of it, that is the best way I can describe it.  I think with her special dates approaching I am just having a moment of shock again.  Similar to when we got home, where I just couldn't believe this had happened.  I am starting to relive that again, that I can't believe this has happened.  Thursday is just going to be another day for the rest of the world, yet we will go through the day constantly looking at the time and remembering what was happening at that moment last year.  I can easily replay all of it.  From the contractions to having her to having the doctor come in and say we had a very sick baby.  Never in a million years could you have told me we would have lost our baby, that this would be our story.  It is still so terrible and still so unbelievable.  I should be planning a birthday party and deciding what type of cake Polly would like.  I had daydreams when I was pregnant about her first party.  So just in a weird place right now.  How do people live through something like this?  How do you ever smile again?  Like a real, genuine smile?  Or laugh?  I just still can't believe she is gone and that all I have left are memories and her little box of ashes.  And I can't believe that tomorrow, on her due date, I will be 20 weeks with Polly's little brother or sister.  As I feel my second child moving and growing inside me, I struggle to truly believe this child will be mine too.  I know this is terrible to say, but some days I don't feel like this is my baby.  I love this baby, I scrutinize every decision I make to ensure the baby's well-being, but it is almost like I am a surrogate and feel detached some days.  This could be a coping mechanism for all I know, but it is just hard to not be one of those super cheerful moms that have all the excited plans for this baby.  I can't let myself really get to that point yet.  But I love this baby so much.  Isn't that weird?  To feel detached yet in love?  We go to our first perinatologist visit next week, which weirdly I haven't really thought too much about, but as it gets closer I am starting to get nervous.  I feel like since this is something different about my last pregnancy, that this will be when we hear something is wrong.  Again I think I am just numb because I've had much more emotional reactions to my normal doctor appointments so far.  I just pray that things will continue to look good and that this baby will be as healthy as possible.  The date of my appointment is ironically our anniversary (before we had a wedding anniversary) and also National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day.  On this day you are suppose to light a candle in memory of the babies who are no longer with us.  Our first anniversary date has new meaning now too.  Who would have thought that 12 years after we began our journey together, we would be dealing with so much?  That we would have endured such sadness? I am just sad to have these dates coming up.  I wish Polly was here and I could hold her or smell her again.  I miss her smell and worry one day I will forget what it was like.  I miss those few moments when I saw her eyes open.  I just really miss her so much.  I know many who have gotten through all the anniversaries and now it is our turn.  We will survive too, but I can't help but entertain the idea of what it would have been like to have her here with us.  Whoever said time heals wounds I don't think went through loosing a child.  We still miss and hurt for her like we did the day we lost her.  Love you sweet baby.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Rainbow in February

I'm sure I've said it before but rainbows always remind me of Polly.  I've seen more of them in the past 11 months than I have in my entire life. They always seem to appear when I really need them.  When I need that reminder that although I can't see Polly or hold her or kiss her, that she is with me.  I never noticed rainbows like I do now and they are a source of warmth and peace for me.  Like God is letting me know it will be ok and that Polly is happy and with Him.  Over the past many months I've come to learn a new meaning of the word "rainbow".  To those who have lost a baby it is what they call the baby they are blessed with after their loss....a rainbow baby.  I am blessed to say that Polly is going to be a big sister and we are expecting our own rainbow baby in February.  :)  We are happy and worried, thankful yet fearful.  A mixture of emotions is what best describes us right now as we pray for our second child and grieve for our first.  Pregnancy is hard anyways, and grieving on top of the normal challenges can make each day a struggle.  I've had to make small goals for myself, like to make it to the next appointment, or the next week of pregnancy, or even the next day.  Looking at it as a whole 9 month journey is too overwhelming.  With this rainbow, I've learned that I have focused a lot on the negative memories.  I think that is what stands out when you have been through such a terrible thing.  We did have many happy days with Polly, but sadly got bad news so often that I think that is the first thing I remember sometimes.  How it felt to watch her unable to breath when she was first born and hearing the pediatrician say he wasn't sure what was wrong and she would need to move to Savannah, and then having to go so many times into that conference room in Augusta which was usually for delivering bad news. I seem to have forgotten about some of the little joys pregnancy brings.  I've enjoyed getting to feel this baby move, which I first noticed a few weeks ago.  It is bittersweet though because I feel on edge all the time and trying to not get too attached.  I can't bear the thought of loosing another child.  But it will be impossible for us, and especially me as I carry this baby, to not get attached.  We love this blessing already.  I also find it fitting that our rainbow is due just days before the 2013 Heart & Sole event in Augusta.  Whit and I made a promise to Polly that we will as a family attend that event in her honor every year.  Last year we sold shirts to raise money to give back to the NICU who treated us like family and worked tirelessly to save our daughter.  One of the symbols important to the Heart & Sole family is a rainbow.  The 5k starts and ends under one made out of balloons, so again amazing that we are expecting our rainbow so close to such a special event.   And the idea that we could celebrate both of our children in the same week makes us smile.  So in your prayers please remember our rainbow baby.  I can honestly say I've prayed for him/her before I was even pregnant.  Please pray for a healthy baby that we will be able to bring home and also for peace in our hearts.  It is so so hard to wait and hope everything is ok.  Thank you for your support and prayers.  Love to all of you!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sad Today

This post might be one that is all over the place, because that is just how I feel....all over the place.   I am just so so sad today.  I have cried at the drop of a hat about almost everything.  I am getting anxious about fall approaching.  I think I also literally do not know how I am going to handle the next few months.  I don't want to have to handle them.  I just want to hit fast forward and it is 2013.  I hear the anticipation is worse than the actual dates, which I hope is true because a day like today is so very draining.  It isn't like I suddenly missed Polly today.  I always think about her.  I wake up, make the bed and tuck her lovey and onesie I sleep with in the sheets, give her little box a kiss and start my day.  When I leave for work I say bye to her and always give her a kiss when I am coming or going.  At night I make sure the last thing I do is give her a kiss too.  And that is my routine.  In between I pray or talk to her and God, usually while I am getting ready or driving, whenever I am by myself.  I need those moments to feel like she is with me.  But it is still so hard.  My heart just hurts so bad.  I feel like to be out in public I have to wear this mask that shows I am ok, but I am not.  Then when I get home, I can take off the mask and cry as much as I want and it is ok.  In the NICU I was so up and down, obviously from what was going on but probably also from the physical stresses of having a baby.  To be honest I never knew what was to blame in those moments but I am sure it was a mixture.  But it was ok to cry one second and smile the next.  That was normal and accepted.  No one looked at you funny.  Back in the real world being a basket-case isn't normal.  There have been plenty of times in the grocery store I have about burst into tears and I am sure I look miserable.  Or I am at a store and may be just had a crying spell in my car so my face is all red.  You get weird looks, but I have to get it out and unlike being in the NICU, if I was doing that behind someone in the check out line they would surely think I am crazy.  The tough part, other than the obvious, is that I was not like this before.  I was genuinely happy, things didn't get me down.  Now it just seems like not only am I sad a lot but in a fog.  I can't think clearly or pay attention 100%.  I am just unable to focus.  I feel like my life is a movie and that I am playing this terrible part.  Every day I wake up and do it all over again.  I always thank God for another day, ask Him to kiss Polly for me, and talk with Him throughout the day to help me find strength, but I still have these really difficult days.  They just catch me by surprise some times but usually are followed by some more stable days so I will try to handle the emotions as they come hoping I will get a break in the near future.  Again sorry for being all over the place.  Just had to get some things out and work through them. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Some days I just hurt so bad.  Today is one of those days.  I am just so devastated that Polly isn't here.  I can't believe this time last year we were counting down the days to meet our baby.  In fact we were about to have our last shower that sweet friends hosted for us.  It was a really happy time of excitement and anticipation.  I wish I could go back to those days.  Before our lives became so heavy with grief.  I have pinpointed that I definitely have a problem with the world continuing to turn, dates continuing to happen, celebrations being planned, etc.  Call it selfish but I sometimes just can't take how normal the world around us is and it makes it very difficult for me to do some of those normal things when for us life is so far from normal.  All I do is compare to the last time that certain date rolled around I was pregnant, or the last time I went to a wedding was right before we found out we were expecting, is just hard and there is no getting around it.  I know it can't possibly be like this forever, but it often feels like it will be.  Right now I don't want the seasons to change or the holidays to happen......of course they will and of course the world can't stop because of our tragedy, tragedies happen every day unfortunately.  But since things don't stop, only your world stops, then you have to learn to adapt to the new normal, how to handle celebrations with your grief, how to handle the holidays again with your child not here.  It is a lot to take on and I am definitely not ready.  I want to fast forward through all of the hard days which starting in October are going to come one after the other.  Dates have never been something that really stood out to me, but if they did they were usually good.  You always remember your birthday, anniversary, holidays, etc......I had one bad date, January 4th, the day after my birthday is the angelversary of my mom who died of cancer when I was 6.  That date has always been bittersweet but since I was so young I can't remember what it was like before it had meaning.  Every year on my birthday I think of her and how the next day is a special and sad date.  Now I have so many dates.  It is overwhelming to think about.  That has just been on my heart a lot....wondering how parents who have lost make it on those dates and the days leading up to them.  I know we will survive, we've made it this far, but it won't make it any easier because we have been missing Polly all year. It is just going to be hard. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

10 months

Polly would have been 10 months today.  Every milestone I find it hard to believe that this happened.  The 11th is always hard for us, but now that we are getting so close to her 1st birthday, I just find our story unbelievable.  I just miss her so very much.  I can't even put it into words.  And I just hurt.  I still ask "Why?" and still don't understand.  I know God's plan is best and that if I knew what His plans are, I would always want that for my life, but it is such a difficult thing to digest, that your baby dying is part of God's plan.  Why?  I am also still surprised by the daily struggles we have.  I mean surprised because they still catch me off guard, those triggers that really get to me.  Being around little babies is very hard, almost impossible for me.  They represent what I could have had and how our lives were supposed to be blessed.   They are  dreams of a future that we will never have with Polly.  They are painful reminders of how unfortunate this is and what we are missing out on, which is the opportunity to love and raise the little baby God blessed us with.  I was in Target with a friend the other day and as we rounded a corner, there was a little family with a red-headed baby girl with them.  She had a sun dress on and a bow in her hair.  Luckily I kept my composure until we got out of the store, but as soon as we did, I lost it.  Why us?  Why our sweet Polly?   It doesn't take much and I am already very unstable with my emotions, but I am still just surprised when I don't see it coming. 

I am sure I sound like a broken record.  Always saying how sad we are, but that is the truth.  We are SO sad and miss Polly so badly it makes my chest ache.  Even if we are ok on the surface, she is constantly on our minds.  I feel like people think we should be over this by now.  That because we are going to work, being social, or seen out of our house, that we are ok.  And there are days we are just ok, but not better.  I have really struggled with this new normal that is still taking shape.  I've realized I've changed, I can't go back to who I was, and instead I struggle with trying to figure out this new feeling of normalcy.  I think I fight it the majority of the time, because it is easier for everyone else if we just stay the same.  The truth is something like this changes you and you just have to get to that new stable point.  I don't like that if I see a baby, or hear a baby, or see a baby item that I had for Polly that I cry.  I wish I could just keep it together and over time that will happen but right now I am not there yet.  And as I've said before it is very difficult being the parents who lost a child.  You get attention you never wanted.

So I have just been struggling with all of this, even so many months later.  I wish so badly things were different.  I wish she was here.  I wish I didn't know what this felt like.  I wish Whit didn't know what this felt like.  I wish grief didn't make you so selfish.  I wish even the smallest thing didn't upset me.  I wish people felt more comfortable around me.  I wish people could understand.  I wish this hadn't happened to us, to our baby.  I wish I could take a break from crying.   I wish we didn't have to live in a nightmare.  I have such a long list of wishes.  I know God hasn't forsaken us, that things will feel more normal one day, but getting there is very hard.  And there is no way we can be "better" until we have atleast gone through all the firsts.  Unfortunately we are still dealing with those and a lot of the big ones are coming up.  I should be thinking about birthday invitations, what cake I should make, etc instead of how we to celebrate the brief life that is no longer here.  How will we even survive that day?  Or the month in between those dates?  And then the holidays follow.....  It is just going to be hard, extremely hard.  I pray daily for grace, comfort, and strength to handle every day, but especially the difficult ones.  I pray for understanding friends and family who don't take it personally if we can't attend every event or get-together, no matter how big or small it is.  And I also pray for forgiveness, since it doesn't take much to have my fears and anxiety take over me.  That I learn to trust in God more, although I don't understand why this is the path He has chosen for us, a path I never ever wanted and wish was not our story.

Happy 10 Month Birthday/9 Month Angelversary Polly!   Mommy and Daddy love you and miss you every second of every day.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


A friend of mine said to me the other day, "hang in there, life won't always be this heavy".  That really stuck with me for some reason.  "Heavy" is a great description of how grief makes me feel and how our hearts feel each day.  Everything is just so heavy, the joy is gone, although I pray one day it will come back.  I think about how I felt on the days leading up to Polly's birth.  The weekend before I admit that I didn't even have her room complete.  I just had been so busy getting everything to the house that we needed and taking care of everything at work in preparation for my leave, that I hadn't put anything together.  I felt like a bad mother.  I slept in that Saturday, exhausted from the busy week of "preparing" and as I sat in the den eating a bowl of cereal wondering how I was going to complete everything in 48 hours, there was a knock at the door.  Whit's brother and sister-in-law had stopped by to see how we were and were offering to help do anything we needed.  I don't think they were prepared for all that had to be done.  For the rest of the day, and I mean until after dark, we all washed clothes, put together toys and such, and chatted with excitement about our futures being parents.  My sister-in-law at the time was 6 months pregnant.  I imagined returning the favor when it was their turn to met their blessing.  I wish I could go back to those days, back when things weren't so heavy and sad.  I wish I could go back to October 10th, when I was done with all of my preparing and we just waited for the doctor's appointment to see if I would be going to the hospital that day or the next.  I thought the labor and emotions were going to be the toughest part of this, but I was so wrong.  When we returned from Augusta, all of Polly's things were as they had been on October 10th, all brand new and ready to be used.  All I took with me was my diaper back and her carseat.  I remember telling my mom to grab it when we stopped by the house after I was discharged, thinking in my cloudy, medicated mind that we would need that for when she came home in a few days/weeks.  I never thought she would not use it.  It was too unreal to think of.  Too terrible of a thought to imagine.  Her room is still the same.  We can't seem to pack anything away, even her name is still on the wall.  I had 2 projects I wanted to do, because for some reason I felt like as her mom I had to make something to contribute to her nursery.  I still have all the materials and might make the little mobile and memory board I had been planning on making, but for now the materials sit in her room with all of her other unused items.  So I pray my friend is right, that life for our family won't always be this heavy.  That I won't always have to fight back tears when I see a pregnant woman or a new baby in its carseat or see a baby playing with a toy that I have but she never used.  Or that I will one day be able to feel the joy that I felt for that split second right after she was born, when I thought everything was ok and she was safe, that joy that only your child can bring into your heart.  I know I am a different person, I know I can't go back to being what we like to describe as "blissfully unaware", so for now I struggle to handle the heavy in my life.  And pray that with God's arms around us, that one day joyous days will out number the heavy ones.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fear and Faith

Haven't had much to say here lately and I just haven't felt like writing.  I have been reading a lot.  I have about a million books I have either bought or have been given to me and I have found them all (atleast the ones I've read so far) very helpful.  Most are about grief but one in particular I bought thinking it was going to be about something else, but it turned out to be exactly what I needed to read.  I will probably read it again actually.  It is called "What Women Fear" and its by Angie Smith.  I was introduced to her when a friend sent me her blog not long after Polly died.  Angie was pregnant with her third child when at around 20 weeks discovered that her daughter Audrey had serious complications that would make her "incompatible with life".  After they decided to not terminate the pregnancy, they started a blog about their story.  Audrey lived for 2.5 hours.  I was consumed by their story and have been reading their blog.  A sweet friend sent me her first book "I Will Carry You" about Audrey, which I have yet to read, and I bought Angie's second book "What Women Fear" because of the title and the fact that I enjoyed reading her blog so much.  I couldn't put the book down.  It was like it was literally written for me to read.  In it she discusses numerous fears that she has dealt with all her life.  As I read I realized that I have battled with many of the same fears, from being afraid of speaking in public to fear of death.  She covers many situations with bible stories and faith to back it up.  I learned that I fear a lot and in some ways it is ok but in others it is not.  There are healthy fears, like fearing in the Lord, but unhealthy fears are those that prevent you from being close to Him.  I was very fearful while I carried Polly.  I think I have mentioned that before, how scared I was, like I knew something wasn't going to work out just right.  My ultimate fear was that she would not make it.  I really do believe God was preparing me, because I think if I was 100% completely blind-sided I may not have been able to deal with it.  Then today at church I heard a sermon that definitely spoke to my heart.  I could tell that is spoke to Whit's too as he was writing down notes.  They talked about the story when Jesus is in the boat with the disciples and there was a huge storm and how Jesus was napping and didn't seem concerned with the storm, while they feared for their lives.  Angie spoke of this story too in her book.  Our minister went on to explain how fear and faith cannot be in the same boat together, which is exactly how the book "What Women Fear" looks at all of the different fears we can struggle with on a daily basis.  I felt like this message was for me, that I need to fear less and have more faith.  It seems when I am less fearful and more faithful, when I believe more, that I am actually closer to God.  Those intense days in the NICU I felt closer to God than ever before in my life.  I was broken, scared, and I was a first time mom and I couldn't even protect or help my baby.  Although I pleaded and I mean PLEADED, begged, prayed, screamed, all for God to save her to make her able to live in this world, for a miracle to happen, that was not His plan.  I don't know why that was not His plan and I never will, atleast not in this life.  And my worst fear, absolutely worst, was for something to happen to her, and it did.  Loosing Polly gave me a new perspective on life and what is important.  I don't have as many of those petty fears, but I still struggle with fears and insecurities daily.  But each day I know it is a brand new start to conquer those struggles.  Some days I do ok but the majority of the time I fall short.  I have learned that fear has a way of letting Satan creep in, all it takes is one idea one small fear to create doubt.  I have battled with this and am learning from my fears and trying not to let them become between my relationship with the Lord.  I would strongly encourage anyone who struggles with fear in life to read this book.  It has been a lifesaver for me. 

This month Polly would have been 9 months old.  I struggled with the fact that that is the same amount of time I carried her.  Grief has a way of making time not seem like it used to be and to have something to compare that amount of time to is very weird to me.  We miss her still every day and I still get overcome by missing her many days, but slowly those days have lessened in intensity.  The thing I struggle with now and if you would like to add it to your prayer list please do, is how Whit and I incorporate our grief into our lives.  I have read time and time again and finally beginning to understand that you never ever get over loosing a child.  Ever.  You have to go through the grief steps, and sometimes they are not clear cut, sometimes you take steps back instead of forward, but you must go through them and feel each and every painful part of it.  And then you learn to live a life with your grief.  It doesn't go away, but the rawness will lessen over time.  And I read somewhere it can take 2-5 years minimum for you to begin to feel this new normal.  I admit with each passing month I see things a little more clearer, but I am by no means over this, I never will be.  When a piece of your heart and soul is not with you anymore, you never get over it, only learn somehow to live without it.  And having a child changes you, even though we had her for 1 month, Polly changed us.  I believe for the better.  I think my greatest fear now is that people will forget her.  She will always be a part of our lives and I will make it my mission no one ever forgets her.  I admit it is hard to be that couple that lost a child, to see the looks of pity, but we are forever grateful to have had Polly at all, no matter how short.  Do I wish she was here?  Every single day.  Do I find comfort to know she is restored to perfect health and with Jesus?  I do, but not 100%.  I am a selfish human being who can't understand God's plan or the fact that God loves Polly more than I ever could.  But I know she is painless, fulfilled, and happy, which does give me comfort.  He provides things for her that I never could.  But she is my baby, she was our future, and she will forever be a part of our family.  Love you sweet baby girl.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Late Night

I am having trouble sleeping tonight and thought may be if I write that would help.  I have been thinking alot about all the "firsts" that have really made this journey such a struggle.  There are so many things you anticipate but so much more that you don't.  I can't believe we've gone through a Thanksgiving, Christmas, both of our birthdays, New Years, our anniversary, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and Father's Day all without our sweet baby.  On top of that every 11th is so emotionally draining for me.  I can't believe so much time as past but yet it is no time at all.  You would also think by now things would be "better", but they are not.  One ACD mom in the group we are a part of asked "Does it ever get better?" and I read as numerous parents chimed in with the same basic response, that it never gets better you only become used to the pain.  Some of these parents had lost a child in the last year, others 5-10 years, but they all echoed that same answer.  Although we are not very far down our path, I can see what they mean.  I have gotten a little used to the grief, but it is still there.  Still a part of me.  Sometimes I hate this new "normal", but I can't 100% hate it because having Polly in my life, even though she was here for such a short time, meant so much, I am thankful to have experienced that rather than never being blessed with her at all.  I worry about her first birthday and angel-versary.  Although they are 4-5 months away I know those dates are coming.   I imagined throwing her birthday party, making her a homemade cake for her to dig in to, and also busying myself with making it very special.  Now I am not sure what to do.  I have some ideas, but find myself struggling with worry of how we will handle those dates, and the month in between.  The months of October and November have a completely different meaning now.  Those words are almost hard for me to look at.  I know we will make it, but it won't be easy.  Usually the firsts you experience after you become parents are joyous ones, but for us they are so very painful.  Each one is another painful reminder of how different our lives are without our daughter here.  How quiet our house is.  How lonely nights like this are when you can't sleep.  How much we miss her with every piece of our heart and soul.  It just hurts, there is no getting around it.  So I make tiny goals for myself, all I have to do is make it to tomorrow.  That seems to help.  Making it for the week or the month or the year is just too overwhelming of a thought.  Small steps are the key I think.  Anyways bless you who take the time to read this and pray for us.  Love you sweet Polly.  Hope to see you in my dreams!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I realized the other day that I don't really remember what life was like before Polly.  I have to sit and think really hard to put myself back in situations in the past that I thought was the most stressful thing ever, or scariest moment ever, or something I worried about.  In all of those examples, there was something that happened that ended the stress and then things went back to normal.  For example, if I had a deadline for work and trying very hard to finish in time, you would feel stress and then when the deadline hits, everything is done, you can have a sigh of relief and go back to feeling normal, without this constant stress that kept you up at night, made you loose your appetite, or took over all your thoughts for the time being.  I feel like grief is stress and sadness all rolled up in one.  Except I don't get a break from it.  Polly won't miraculously appear in her crib one day and we are all better.  Instead we have to learn to deal with this constant stress that won't seem to go away or ease up.  I have noticed in many ways I have gotten used to it.  Used to the feeling like a heavy weight is pushing on my chest or my throat tightens because I am about to cry.  Those feeling don't take me by surprise anymore and don't go away, but I've felt them for so long, we both have, that they have become sadly for us "normal".  So in an attempt to have that stressful feeling go away for a few minutes, I try to go back to happy memories and what I felt then.  I can't feel that way anymore, or atleast not now, may be those feelings will return one day, but I try to remember what being stress-less felt like.  Like the day we found out we were pregnant with Polly.  We were starting a family and were so excited!  The weeks went on with the normal doctor visits and sonograms, finding out what we are having, deciding a name, registering.....we got caught up in it all.  We were about to join this wonderful club of parents that we had eagerly wanted to be included in, but for now we were outsiders.  Only our story didn't end up like everyone else's did.  We are still in shock as to how you can go through a pregnancy with no indication of something being wrong, or something would not function normally.  And to be honest, I always worried something was wrong.  When I look back at those memories, when I was a naive first time expectant mom, they were happy but in the back of my mind I always worried.  It really bothered me actually.  I imagine every pregnancy carries its worries, you hold your breath until you hear good news at each appointment.  That is how it was for me and appointment after appointment I was assured things looked good.  Everything was there with the appropriate size, shape, etc.  I have had people tell me since Polly passed that they thought it was odd when I would say something like "pray we have a healthy baby in October!".  I didn't realize it but that was my worry and fear showing.  I would think I was silly and tell myself "the doctor said everything is fine, no need to worry, why am i worrying????".  The day I went to be checked into the hospital I was doing some last minute things around the house.  I decided to look and see if the matching Pottery Barn Christmas stocking that we both have was on sale.  I knew it would be getting closer to Christmas so was just waiting to purchase one for Polly.  Well it was!  So I put the monogrammed "Polly" order in and bought it, knowing it would be here when we were back from the hospital.  Literally as soon as I ordered it I felt this dread come over me and I thought to myself "I hope I am not jumping the gun here.  I hope Polly gets to use it".  I was so shocked I thought that, here I was within hours of going to the hospital and I am worrying something will go wrong.  Again I think most moms worry and that is normal, but the way I worried was not.  It shouldn't have bothered me this much but I assumed I was being anxious and told myself things would be fine.  I truly feel that was God trying to prepare me in a way.  For me not to get my hopes up too much or for me to always be on guard.  I was never able to 100% be carefree about any part of my pregnancy.  Something always made me fearful in my mind.  I never thought those worries of mine were a little odd until I have had people mention that they thought it was weird I would say that.  I think I had to prove to myself that I could carry and deliver a healthy baby like everyone else and for some reason I stressed about this not happening for us.  When we got back from Augusta, it was so sad to walk into our house feeling broken and defeated with Polly's ashes in my arms.  This isn't how this was suppose to happen.  Our struggles were suppose to be as new parents with sleep schedules, feedings, and late nights.  Not with these terrible struggles now facing us.  Among the month-stack of cards and bills were packages with gifts that were sent lovingly to us in assumption we would bring a baby home like everyone else.  And there in the middle was the Pottery Barn box, with Polly's perfect Christmas stocking in it.  It matched ours exactly.  My fears were a reality now.  But we put her stocking up like we will every year, in an attempt to include her in our lives as much as possible.  So we struggle, with our fear, our sadness, and our grief, but some how we continue to make it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

8 Months

Yesterday was Polly's 8 month birthday and 7 month angel-versary.  Every month you would think the 11th would get easier and it is the opposite.  It is like time is fast and slow at the same time.  I feel like it was ages ago when I held Polly last, or kissed her lips one last time before her nurse (and our dear friend) Carmen took her from Whit's arms.  I loved kissing her lips.  It was something I didn't get to do until after she passed, she always had some tube for the ventilator in her mouth.  Every night when I kiss her little box I imagine it is her sweet, tiny lips and I try desperately to hold on to that memory.  I would literally give my arm to be able to do that again.  Every 11th I am just reminded of how much time as gone by, which feels like decades to me, and I remember what I was doing this time last year.  This time last year I was more than half way along, and had my first baby shower and was making plans for others.  We had also picked out her name because I didn't want to call her "baby" but by the name we would call her the rest of her life.  I remember assuming the delivery would be the scariest part of all of this.  Everything was so normal and things are just so different now.  All the babies expected that would have been the same age are all here now, thankfully.  But for us, we are still in this limbo, still waiting.  Still walking through the valley that we wish we were not in.   It is hard to go about your day like everything is normal when such a huge and literal piece of me is not here and will never be here again.  I just feel lost.  I feel like this is not recoverable, but yet Whit and I are still here......"making it", although it sucks.  Every day is a struggle, though some are not as bad as others.  I feel like we will forever be the parents who lost their child and that no one gets us.  I don't even get myself sometimes.  I feel like I can't bring anything to the table and that I can't give back.  I just don't have the energy and all of my relationships are complete one-way streets right now.  Grief is so very draining and emotional.  I don't think I could ever explain it appropriately with words.  I find myself desperately looking for signs from God that He is still there too.  I know He is.....God doesn't leave you, but when you are in such an intense situation, knowing you are about to loose everything, things change.  I know we were blessed to feel God as strongly as we did when Polly was here and especially the day He took her back.  I don't think the average person gets to experience God so intensely while on Earth, so I do feel blessed in a way.  I feel God has to give me such literal signs to get my attention though.  I know the issue isn't that He isn't here or He is "busy", but it is me having blinders on.  Anything I can think of as a sign I will take it, and I notice if I look a little harder, pay a little more attention, I will see those signs.  I saw Polly's name in the credits of a tv show last night, which stood out since her name isn't a common one.  Or a song will come on the radio, one that we heard in Augusta a bunch, or even when I have been crying in despair by myself the room has suddenly filled with sunlight.  Rainbows are also a big one too.  I recently saw the most beautiful one when I was crying so hard, I was having trouble catching my breath.  It was a double rainbow, a big bright vivid one and a tiny less bright one next to it.  I immediately thought of Jesus and Polly.  They were with me like they always are.  Those signs help me tremendously.  I really rely on them to give me a boost.  I sometimes wonder if God gets frustrated with how much I need to see these signs.  I'm sure I am making it harder than it has to be, but I hope He keeps it up.  :)  As always thank you all for being there for Whit and I.  I know God has placed each of you in our lives to help lift us up.  Miss you so much Polly.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


I have had a tough week.  Some days I just literally do not know how to handle the emotions that I feel and strangely some days I can't even explain the emotions I feel.  Like I have to analyze every thought and then all of a sudden I realize "ok I'm angry"  or "I'm desperate".  It sounds so silly, especially seeing it written out and my emotions aren't that black and white, a mixture really but I have never in my life felt some of them so intensely to where I want to scream or sob out loud.  I just literally cannot handle how I feel.  It isn't just emotions, it is almost like I have a physical reaction and literally feel all of these jumble feelings.  Some days when things hit me or say I see something that sparks a reminder (like I need to be reminded that Polly isn't here) I literally feel like someone punches me in the stomach.  Like that terrible feeling in the pit of your stomach when something has gone terribly wrong, but yet it is constant some times.  It literally makes me feel sick.  Today one of those reminders was hearing a baby cry in a car next to me while I was getting gas.  I never heard Polly cry, she never made a sound.  I think I heard a squeak as they lifted her off of my stomach right after she was born, but that was it.  No sound ever came out of her mouth, even the few times I saw her cry.  I go back and play those moments in the NICU, where one second we would be rejoicing in a "good day" and the next I would have huge crocodile tears plopping onto the yellow garment you had to wear at the bedside.  But I was told that many of those emotions I felt then were also hormones.  To be honest I couldn't tell what was hormones and what was the stress and fear of never bringing Polly home.  Hormones was an easy blame then, but I don't think I can say that now, almost 8 months later.  I do struggle, daily, sometimes hourly, to handle the path God has for my life.  I felt so sure the dreams in my head and the plans I had for Polly were the best ones.  God had another purpose for her life, one I am sure much bigger than mine.  Now trying to make it out in the "real world" I feel like I am in constant survival mode.  I have no control of my tears most days.  And then I struggle to even identify these new feelings that take over everything.  Like I can't concentrate on anything else.  May be I am still struggling with the terrible reality that my sweet baby is in Heaven and I realize so many things I am missing out on.  And sometimes it just hits me.  This is my life now.  I am living with the hope and faith I will see Polly again.  And may be in Heaven I will get the opportunity to raise her and see her in perfect health, both things on Earth that are not possible.  So I struggle, with the reality of all of this, with the emotions that make me feel physically ill, and with all the Why questions I ask God all the time.  I know I would never understand even if He could tell me now.  I ask out of desperation and through my tears to please continue to remember Whit and I in your prayers.  We need them like we need air.  Love to you all!

Monday, May 14, 2012

I survived

So Mother's Day was yesterday and as anticipated EXTREMELY hard.  I made it through it though.  I have dreaded that day since the day Polly left us.  You can't help but not feel like a mother, you have no precious child to take with you to church and take pictures with.  Although in my heart I know I am a mother, I took care of my baby as best as I could and Whit and I tried to make the best decisions for her, just like every parent does, but the decisions we were faced with are ones that parents have nightmares about.  Yesterday was filled with many tears and prayers, but also with lots of support from caring family, friends, and especially my absolutely wonderful husband.  I know I didn't respond to all of your texts and emails, but there was really nothing I could say.  All of your words helped to lift me up though.  Every day is hard, some are worse than others and these "special" days are some of the hardest.  From the advise of our counselor and also just thinking about what is best for us, we decided to not attend the Mother's Day service at our church.  I really do hate missing it, but sometimes I can't even muster up enough stableness (if that is even a word) to handle whatever it is we are attending.  And we LOVE our church family, they are some of our prayer warriors for sure, but still I just wish I could go and be a part of the celebration like other mothers, and may be that will get easier with time but right now I just can't.  But I know people understand.  Even the commercials get to me too, especially that Mother's Day Publix commercial!  Oh my goodness I was crying so hard when I saw that.  It got to Whit too and we saw it on separate occasions.  But anyways, I am honestly glad the anxiety is over and now we have a whole year to prepare for the next one.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Remembering Polly

I feel like it is my mission as Polly's mom to make sure no one forgets about her.  Although she was here for only a month, such a short time, and few people met her, I still want to talk about her and how she has changed our lives.  Parents always want to talk about their kids, no matter what age they are.  What else is more important in your life than your children?  Our problem is since Polly was a baby, since so few people got to know her, then no one can talk to us about her really.  It isn't like she was older and there are memories of her, not that that would make loosing a child easier.  I only mean other people could say "I remember when Polly did this...", but since she was a baby not only did most not see her tiny personality but so few people got to see her since we were 3+ hours away from our home.  There is also a misconception that people don't want to mention your baby because they are worried about upsetting us or may be about themselves getting upset.  Believe me, it brings joy to my heart when someone says Polly's name.  She is always on my mind, always in my heart.  What else do I have to talk about?  I have had friends or family say that something reminded them of Polly and how they had thought of her that day, and that completely just touches my heart.  Someone else thought of my baby today and that just makes me feel happy.  Since we never brought her home it is almost like she was never here.  When I first got home I had such a hard time because I felt like I was still pregnant and we were awaiting her arrival.  It was a sad day the first morning I woke up and was consciously aware that Polly had already been born and she was in Heaven.  A sad and yet comforting thought for me.  I didn't have to remind myself that day and every day since.  My belly was still big, her things were ready to be used, I still slept with my body pillow that helped me so many nights fall asleep while I carried her, but yet she was not here.  And since all I do is think about her, literally that is all I bring to the table conversation-wise, of course I love others to mention her and how she has changed their lives.  Yes Whit and I are sad, so utterly devastated missing our precious child, so if we cry when we speak of her it is because we are sad.  Someone bringing up Polly doesn't remind us that she is gone.  I literally fight back tears the majority of the day, I'm going to cry at some point, you just may or may not be there to witness it.  I also know so many people don't know what to do.  They want to do something for us, but the fact is no one can do anything.  I don't mean to make it sound like we don't appreciate things because we do.  Our friends and family have helped carry us with their support and prayers and even strangers have been so overwhelming supportive.  But there is nothing anyone can do to make the pain go away.  It won't ever go away, you just get used to it, atleast that is what I hear.  We will never be "better".  But it touches us so deeply, even enough to bring tears to our eyes, for someone to mention our baby, say her name, and tell us how she has touched their life.  We don't want anyone to ever forget that we have a very special daughter who we completely and wholeheartedly fell in love with.  She will forever remain close to our hearts.  And we ask that you, as our friends and family, help us carry on her memory and never forget her.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Fake it to Make it

I have a pile of grief books by my bed that I have skimmed through.  Most have been very helpful and in one I read of a mother who had experienced loss and she said in the beginning you just have to "fake it to make it".  That really stuck with me because I realized that is basically how I get through the day.  I mentioned what I read to Whit and he agreed that he does that a lot too.  You just have to.  Sure we have really laughed or smiled about something.  But overall to get through the day we have to just survive and that motto is really how we have been doing it.  I feel like I am a different person now.  I know having children changes you, but our change has been different.  I feel like there is an "old Hayley" and now a "new Hayley" with the change happening as soon as Polly came into our lives and was so quickly taken away.  This experience was what one friend called "very maturing" for us.  We no longer assume a normal, uneventful pregnancy is rewarded with a healthy baby you get to take home.  Our faith in many ways has been shaken.  But that doesn't mean we believe less, just we are more cautious, if that is the correct word to use.  I have looked at pictures of myself before we had Polly and since she went to Heaven and I just feel like I look different.  Like the changes have affected me physically.  Even our wedding photos I look at the old Hayley and just think "she had no idea what was in store for her".   Whit and I just assumed when we were ready we would start a family and that would be that.  Of course there are risks in pregnancy and we were aware of that, but you just never ever expect something as terrible as this, and you definitely never expect your child to be the one it happens too.

Whit and I have been blessed to not only have our supportive friends and family stick by us, help us, cry with us, and hold us, but we have been so fortunate to have meet so many new friends because of our daughter.  These new friends have also experienced first hand the grief of loss and encourage us as we are still in the beginning stages of our journey.  We have learned that many have felt how we do and that we are not alone and our feelings are normal.  That has been such a comfort because many times we feel like no one understands.  Grief makes you feel so isolated from everyone else.  But we are so thankful for the people who have stuck by us.  We may not have called you back yet, or responded to your email or card,  but we have felt all the love that has been sent to us.  In many ways the 6th month has been the hardest on this journey.  To know half of a year has gone by since Polly was with us, since we felt the excitement and anticipation of being parents.  That is such a long time but also no time at all.  And without our faith in God, our belief that we would see Polly again restored to perfectness, and the support of those who love us, we would not be able to make it......or for now fake it to make it.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Different Type of Parent

Sweet Polly would have been 6 months old on the 11th this month.  It is so weird to look at our lives and realize how different things are.  Whit and I both knew that 2012 would be a different year for us with our little family but each milestone makes it so clear how different our changes are from other new parents.  Whit and I consider ourselves parents.  It is a hard question to answer when we are asked how many children we have.  We have a daughter although she is not with us, she was here on this Earth for a short amount of time and she will forever be a part of our family. Only 18 friends/family were able to meet her.  She has a Christmas stocking, an Easter basket, and a has a nursery.....all unused.  It is just so different from a parent who has their baby with them.  I would imagine those parents wouldn't think twice about that question, but for us it is one that allows us to talk about Polly but also brings sadness.  You don't want the looks of pity or to make the person feel bad, but at the same time you do want them to know about your child.  Polly will always be included in the number of children we have.  A fellow mother of loss told me that it is hard to answer that question and it seems that no matter how you answer that question, whether you say "I have 1, she is in heaven" or "We have no children", you always seem to wish you answered the question the other way.  I honestly don't ever remember being asked how many kids we have until after we had Polly.  We probably were asked that but just never really paid attention.  It was an easy answer that I didn't think twice about.

I have also become painfully aware with how I cannot relate to other new moms.  While I can relate with the pregnancy part, having gone through a pregnancy with Polly to term, but as soon as the baby is born crying and healthy, the relation I have is not there.  Sometimes when I hear others talk about their experience I realize how different mine has been.  And it isn't that I don't want to hear about their experience, but it still catches me off guard when topics are discussed that I can not really relate too.  Everything from breast feeding to surviving on little sleep.  I pumped and know what that is like, but that is about it.  I never breastfed, never got the opportunity to even feed Polly a bottle.  She had to be off ECMO to have my milk and then it was given to her through a tube in her nose.  I can understand lack of sleep also, but not in the traditional sense of having a baby not on a schedule.  I had lack of sleep from the stress of worrying if Polly would make it, when she would come off ECMO, what would happen to her little body as a complication to all of her invasive treatments.  Some of the realizations from being around other babies really catch me by surprise.  My sweet nephew was born in January and we went to see him at the hospital.  He was crying when I saw him and I suddenly realized, which sounds silly, that newborns cry.  I was overwhelmed with the realization that I never experienced Polly cry.  When she was born she was limp and gasping for air.  I heard something that sounded like a squeak as they moved her to the bassinet to clean her up and that was it.  You could see her trying to cry, but no sound came out.  I have been around babies and know they indeed cry, but it was something I guess I forgot about.  And then realize that is yet another "normal" thing that we missed out on.  It just hurts my heart to think about those things.  So even though I expect certain things with being around new parents/babies, things still surprise me. Another example is how we received her birth certificate and death certificate around the same time.  That is just not normal.  They are side by side in our files.  Along with her 500+ pages of medical records.  Again, just another thing that most parents don't have to deal with.  It is hard being different.  I would have loved to just been another little happy family starting out, blinded by all the risks that pregnancy and delivery can bring.  Loosing our baby has really matured us a lot.

For those that are reading this, I am so sorry if everything I write seems really sad.  I guess I am that....sad.  I do have happy moments, I have honestly laughed at jokes or had a smile on my face, but to copy what another mom has said which puts my feelings into words, it is like you can smile in pictures and been genuinely happy, but the sparkle has gone from our eyes.  Loosing your child changes you, you have experienced the worst unexpected loss imaginable.  My sparkle is gone, but I know there will be happy moments in my life again.  And I can put an honest smile on my face or cry happy tears when I think of that glorious reunion Whit and I will have with Polly when we are all in Heaven.  And I think that is how we get through this, because we know and believe 100% we will see our sweet baby again, and hopefully get the opportunity to raise and take care of her, like every parent wants to do.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tough Day

Just wanted to vent a bit, but I had a tough day today.  I just really miss Polly today.  I miss her every day but some days it is unbearable, and this was one of those days.  I would give anything to have her back with us.  To have her healthy.  I am still just in shock that she was so very sick.  What are the odds of something like this happening to your baby?  Fortunately not likely but for us, we were on the wrong side of those odds.  I also feel like people don't understand me.  I think I could describe my feelings until I am blue in the face but until you have helplessly watched your baby fight for life only to loose the battle and you are left with so much emptiness could a person understand.  I feel like I am isolating myself from everyone else, but not on purpose.  Easter was hard as expected.  I can't even enjoy holidays right now, it just hurts too much and all I can think about is how Polly should be here with us.  I am starting to realize that this is something that you don't "get better" from, you don't "get over it", and time is not healing my wounds.  I have noticed that you get used to things but that is about it.  You don't wake up one day and feel all better.  It is difficult because I think people assume that one day Whit and I will be healed.  Like since we are doing normal, every day things that we are "all better".  That is far from the truth.  Whit and I are just trying to learn how to deal with our grief.  Whit always reminds me that Polly wouldn't want us sad all the time and that we need to make her proud.  I unfortunately don't feel like I make her proud.  I am sure I will one day, but on days like this I just want to sleep all day to not think about how empty our lives feel.  Anyways I didn't mean to write so long.  Just had to get a few things off of my chest.  I miss you so much sweet baby.  I love you!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I still miss her

So this is my attempt at a blog.  The idea of it was honestly overwhelming to me.  Where do I start?  What do I say?  I know having a blog isn't difficult, but for me even the smallest things that take the tiniest amount of effort can overwhelm me.    I am hoping this blog will help me to collect my thoughts and try and learn from what God is teaching me.  It is so easy to get overwhelmed in life, I think if I can see everything written down then I can actually take something from it.   So for anyone who is actually taking the time to read any of this, sorry if I am not the best "blogger".....I'm learning as I go.  :)

With each passing month, things get easier and yet harder.  Its kind of weird.  It is almost as if I finally get used to the month, the holidays that are in it, the season that goes with it and then it changes.  Like I can't keep up with all the changes going on in my life.  Polly would have been 6 months old this month.  I still cannot believe that she is gone and this is the life I have, being categorized as a childless parent.  I cannot even begin to fathom the many things I will never get to experience with her.  I wonder what she would have been like now.  What cute things she would have done.  How much more she would have captured our hearts after the 1 month we had her.  How big would she be?  Would all of her hair be red by now?  Would her eyes have changed color? Which toys would have been her favorite? I just have so many questions.  I wish I had more time to get to know her and watch her grow.  But for now all I can do to feel close to her is to talk to her, sit in her room, look through her keepsakes, and kiss her pictures.  I just miss her, may be more now than before.  Last year it seemed like any holiday or special occasion I would think that next year Polly would get to be a part of it.   Like Easter for instance, I LOVE Easter!  It is such an incredible holiday for so many reasons.  I love the meaning behind it and how it is in the spring when things are reborn and renewed.  I also love that there seems to be an endless list of things to do for Easter with children.  Everything from teaching them about Jesus and why we celebrate Easter, to egg decorating and hunting, and feasting with family.  You dress your little ones in cute colorful outfits especially picked out to be their "easter outfit".  I had so many plans of making memories with our little family.  Polly I know was going to love cooking like me, so I pictured us decorating Easter cookies with her, despite the fact she would be too young to really take part in it.  It didn't matter, I'd make those memories.  So this Easter, it is hard for me to really do anything.  It is hard to celebrate.  This holiday is still special to me, and always will be.  But for me there is one tiny Easter basket missing.  I can say the same about any holiday really, but Easter was one of those daydreams I had before Polly was born.  Along with Christmas, birthdays, Thanksgiving, really any special day.  Polly changed everything, and I am forever changed because of her.  I just miss my sweet baby.  Every single day.