About danielleridgway

Momma to an angel: Jensen Grey. Journeying through grief and life one day at a time. Want to hear more from me? Follow me on Twitter & Instagram: @danii_ridgway If you have any other questions or anything else, just let me know. Thanks for reading!

A Week of Tears, Silence, and Heartbreak. 

My world changed again, even when I thought it’d be impossible to do so. In the blink of an eye my optimistic dreams of the future, for the little life inside me changed to despair and disbelief. Once again I came tumbling down the rabbit hole of grief and empty arms.

The hope draining out of me is as painful as an animal who is left to bleed out; lonely and slowly turning cold. I feel like I’m hanging here upside down, the world is making sure all the hope is out of me before it turns me right-side up again. This is how I felt after Jensen was born, but with this loss there isn’t a cloud of grief numbing me. The sting of the cut is so fresh and right through the wound of where I was originally cut with Jensen.

This past (little over a) week, I found out Jensen’s sibling has died, had to wait in fear of miscarrying naturally so the doctor wouldn’t be able to get a tissue sample, and had to undergo a surgery. Somehow just saying surgery or a D&C doesn’t give the justification of what it actually felt like, but maybe I’ll get to that another day. I’ve slept, a lot, trying to escape my reality. In my dreams I’m able to see Jensen and to forget that this heartbreak actually happened.

I haven’t wanted to talk to anyone, maybe besides my mom, dad, and brother. There are unread messages and emails on my phone that I don’t know when I’ll get to read. Just seeing people say ‘I’m sorry’ is so triggering right now. I’m sorry for myself. Sorry that I couldn’t help bring another child in my arms.

My motherhood feels like a failure.

When I went to the hospital last Wednesday, I walked in the room and saw this beautiful gift bag from my sweet friend, Jessica at Lettered Hope. I remember not being able to go through anything before I went into surgery, it hurt too much. The only thing I read was the prayer she wrote. Those words repeated in my mind before I went under. I kept thinking of Jensen and his little sibling too.

It’s moments like those where I realize I’m not a failure and neither is my motherhood. I didn’t ask for any of this to happen; no one would ever ask for pregnancy loss. Yet in her words of letting me know I’m not alone, God is with me, and thinking of how Jensen is always with me calmed me. The calmness stayed with me until they doctor put the anesthesia into my IV.

I dreamt of Jensen when I was under. We were on the beach and playing in the sand. In that dream I was so aware of what was happening, he was right there in front of my smiling and laughing. I was happy and the weight of anxiety and grief vanished.

When I woke up, I was sobbing. Tears flooded my face and I couldn’t catch my breath. The nurses probably thought I was crazy. I kept saying Jensen’s name wishing I could go back to my dream or wishing that was somehow my reality. That sobbing and feeling of emptiness has stayed with me and I’m not sure when it’ll go away.

The only thing that has helped hold me together was the contents in Jessica’s gift to me, Jensen bear, and my family including Leo and Poe. Seeing the immense support I’ve gotten online from the loss community has been so helpful. Even when I feel lonely, I know there’s other people who are cheering me on and sending me positive vibes. There have been times this past week I have felt so selfish for not responding, but I really don’t know what to say. I’m not okay, but I’m trying my best to pick up the pieces.

The ‘Best Mother Ever!’ mug with tea has helped calm me and helps with my throat after it being irritated during surgery. Of course Jensen bear has been close to me, mostly in my lap.

Flowers my mom brought me before surgery.

I don’t know what’s going to be happening with me in the immediate future. Obviously I’m focusing on my body’s recovery and trying to get a handle on my grief. My next appointment will hopefully give me some answers as to what happened or if there’s anything wrong with me. With Jensen I had a ton of testing on me and there was nothing that popped up. I’m really just at a loss mentally as to what happened, even though I know sometimes babies just die.

For now, I just want to say thank you again for all your support. There’s a few things I want to blog about with this experience, but I wanted to update with how I’m doing first. If there’s anything I could tell someone though is miscarriage, stillbirth, and loss in general sucks. It hurts and no matter what.

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One of the Hardest Posts I’ll Ever Write. 

I wish what I’m writing right now would be the good news I hoped it would be. What it should be. 

Truthfully, I had been keeping a little secret from you guys. Hiding my hope and (yes) excitement for the future. You see, the Wednesday before Mother’s Day the word ‘positive’ boldly presented itself right in front of me. I was blessed with another baby, another pregnancy. Jensen had handpicked his little brother or sister for me. There the fire of having a living child was reignited. 

The past weeks were full of anxiety and guilt and joy for this new life inside of me. I’ve been sick to my stomach and craving avacados. Eleven days ago I even saw his or her’s strong heartbeat on the ultrasound screen. Ten perfect weeks of pregnancy. 

Late last night, I noticed light, brown spotting. Of course I was concerned. I read through all the baby blogs and boards. My mind kept telling me, it’s just old blood. Everything has went so smoothly. Then this morning, it was back. The spotting went off and on, I thought about going to the doctor first thing, but figured I’d just rest unless it got worse. 

Then it did. 

My mom and I went to the hospital. Still, I was so confident nothing was wrong. There was no pain or any other symptoms. They took my blood and urine. It said I was pregnant, but we needed to scan just to see. 

I should’ve known when she didn’t let me see the screen. Part of me did know, but I was holding onto hope. 

Loss had already struck, it wouldn’t hit me again. 

We waited in our room for what it seemed like forever. Today there was a ton of trauma patients. There were so many people being wheeled to the rooms beside me. I told my mom that I wasn’t high priority, they were just getting to everyone first. There’s nothing wrong. I really didn’t think it could happen again. 

He came into the room, muttered some words, but all I got out of that cacophony was ‘there wasn’t a heartbeat.’

I don’t know what’s going to happen now. In the blur of the conversations after those words, I know I’ll either miscarry naturally or have a D&C Monday. This weekend was supposed to be happy, I was going to announce to the rest of my family. Show them the baby’s ultrasound, have hope for the future. 

Mentally and emotionally, I know I’m in a sort of shock. Different from what I was with Jensen, but still shock. I am angry and feel as if having a living child is not in my cards. 

There’s nothing that’s going to make this ‘better.’ This baby is not in a better place and I don’t want to hear about God’s plan for me. I’m in pain. Losing this child hurts like hell. I loved and wanted him or her so much. It wasn’t just a few cells, it was my baby. Just like Jensen is my son. 

This is my child. He or she was here and so real. I miss them already and hope Jensen will take care of his little sibling. 


Although I don’t know when this will be posted (I’m writing this on my couch after just leaving the hospital), I will probably be MIA for the next couple weeks. If I do post, it’s not going to be ‘happy,’ my second child just died. 

I do appreciate all of your support through my journey of loss and love. It’s not one I’d ever wish on anyone. 

This isn’t how it was supposed to be. 

It was a coincidence that I pulled a blue and orange popsicle out of the freezer this afternoon.  They’ve always been my favorite summertime snack, especially on hot days like these. My parent’s fridge is usually stocked with them and today was no different. With my no look grab, my heart skipped a beat. 

A little hello from Jensen to his mama. 

My grief has been complex these past few weeks.  Year two has… well it has been complete crap. I wake up every morning wondering when the nightmare is going to be over. It hits me, daily. He was here then he died and I can’t do anything to get him back. Those facts are excruciating to face, yet it is my constant reality.   Somehow I’m able to carry one with my day to day life though. Not without thinking of him, that has never wavered. 

It’s weird to say, but as your grief progresses you learn to live with being eternally sad on the inside. You find a rhythm of this post loss life. Yes, it hits you every morning that your child is gone, but, for me, I have found ways to incorporate him in the day to day. Just like I would if he was physically here. 

So why did it shock me to see the orange and blue pipsicles today? 

Anytime I get a sign from Jensen I stop and appreciate it. I say hello back and tell him I love him, always stay close. Then there’s some kind of rip from the present reality. I look around and see how different today would be if he was here. The picture up top… that’s not how it should be. 

I can easily picture my little boy, all lathered in sunblock in his little swim outfit looking up at me. Like, ‘mom, it’s hot and the pool is cool.’ Instead of me floating here writing this to you all, I’d be watching him float in whatever his raft would look like or he’d be napping inside. So many differences then getting my popsicle sign. 

This isn’t how it was supposed to be. It never will. As a loss parent, I’ll always see where Jensen would playing or walking with me. These signs, they’ll always let me know he’s close and I’m thankful for that, but these reality…. it will never be how it should. 

It’s not okay that it’s that way, but I’m doing my best.

Written in Chalk and My Heart. 

June’s Name Project went so perfectly. 

With over TWO-HUNDRED names, my parent’s sidewalk was completely full. There were countless people that stopped to read the names and ask about the baby names. Once they knew, they really took the time to read each name and appreciate them. A lot of them were shocked there were so many and knew the amount of names I had written down didn’t even touch the amount of babies lost. It was an honor to be able to share their names and spread awareness about pregnancy and infant loss. 

Adorned with the hashtag ‘stillbornstillloved,’ each baby name was written with love and intent. Honestly, I loved being able to do this. I felt close with Jensen and his friends. Being able to do this for them is just one small way they’re being seen and heard. I really believe people appreciated the awareness and maybe it’ll help them support someone they know who is grieving. 

I just wanted to thank everyone who submitted their child(ren)’s name. They will never, ever be forgotten. We’re giving them a voice and just by sharing their name, others know it’s okay to talk about them with us. 

Now, here’s some pictures of the names and sidewalk. I’ll be sending out individual name pictures tonight. They’re all flipped and ready to be sent to you. 

I hope you enjoy these pictures and I’ll keep you all updated on the next name project when it comes. 

Fourteen Months and I’m Not ‘Better.’


‘You seem better…’

This statement shocks me every time. What is better? Especially when you’re talking about child loss. Is it being able to get out of the house and do more productive things? It’s definitely not how I feel inside. If anything, I (somehow) long for him more than I did in the beginning. I’ve never seen a progression checklist after losing Jensen, so I’m really out of the ‘getting better’ loop.

With as transparent as I am, concerning my grief journey, there’s a lot I hold back from the world. A lot.

If anyone saw me this weekend, they would have been worried. Maybe even thought I was worse or backtracked in the generic stages of grief. As we all know, those are crap. On Saturday, I had no windows open, the blinds blocked any light from coming in, and there I was, paralyzed by grief on the couch. My eyes were red with deep, dark circles under them. I’m not even sure if my hair was brushed.

I was laying there watching every sad movie I could find on Netflix. My arms ached and my heart felt like it was being squeezed. How could Jensen already be fourteen months old in heaven? Why couldn’t he stay with me? What am I supposed to do with the rest of my life without him? These questions went unanswered, but were asked in my mind over and over. I manically laughed through my tears at the fact I’d live a long life. Yes, you read that right. A life full of grief and longing for the person I’ll never be able to get back.

Truthfully, I know I shouldn’t think that and most days I’m thankful for every day I’m alive. Today and the day after and so on are days I get to live for Jensen and myself. The days he’d want me to embrace and keep going.

BUT THIS IS GRIEF.

It is a constant battle and it’s exhausting. Days like Saturday is when I have no strength to keep fighting those thoughts. I succumb to them. It hurts.

You’re probably thinking, why didn’t you call for help? Reach out? Something?

My mother came over after an x amount of texts and phone calls. She came in my front door and saw me. I couldn’t even talk, sobs escaped. What I could muster to her was, I need to be alone. I didn’t want this grief and sadness to attach to her and bring her to this level. My self-worth told me I deserved to feel this way. Deserved to face this life without my son.  I couldn’t put that on my mom and I think it was the first time she’s really seen in the last few months, that I’m not really doing better.

Even at fourteen months post loss. 

When I hear that ‘I seem to be doing better,’ I want to laugh in their faces or at the very least, let them live with me for a few days to see how many tears I produce. I’d like to say better is made up. Have I gotten stronger? Of course. Nothing will make me feel any better. My son is gone. There are things I’ve found joy in after, but it doesn’t even come close to the joy he brought me in his little infinity with me. Maybe that makes me a pessimist. I say it makes me a realist.

Instead of saying all of that, I think I have the perfect answer for the world…

No. I’ve just learned how to fake it better. 

June’s Name Project


It’s no secret, the statistics about pregnancy and infant loss are incredibly high. Every twenty minutes a baby is stillborn. One in four pregnancies result in loss. One in one-hundred and sixty babies are stillborn. I wish I knew all the statistics, but those are the ones I remember on the top of my head. Either way, that is a lot of babies, a lot of parents, and a lot of families experiencing this tragedy.

Even more outrageous, there are so many people who don’t even know this still happens. I know I didn’t and I feel horrible for not ever recognizing this beautiful community of grieving mothers.

A few days ago, I shared that I wanted to do a name project this month. Usually I like to do name wreathes and in December I wrote names on the beach. Well, the last two times I went to the beach, I wasn’t able to write names. So, I’ve been brainstorming on how I can write baby names creatively around me.

Every June, the community I live in does garage sales. It’s sort of a big event for our small town, but it brings in a ton of people and it’s pretty fun. Usually, everyone walks to each sale and, honestly, it really is just a good way to bring neighbors closer together.

With knowing this event is coming up (next weekend!) and having all the pregnancy and infant loss statistics flying in my head lately, I wanted to incorporate the two. But how am I going to do this? I’ve thought of handouts or writing on rocks, but I didn’t feel right. Then, I thought of writing names in chalk on the ground.I’m hoping it will be a way to provide healing to parents by seeing their child’s name written out AND bring some awareness to others.

Sometimes it’s hard to see so many names… I wish the names would only fill up a small part of the sidewalk, but in reality it could fill up the whole entire street. That’s the reality of loss though. It can happen to anyone.

I’m going to stop taking names on Wednesday night, since the garage sales start on Thursday. The plan is, I’ll write names down and take pictures of each baby name and then send them to their parents. Then I’ll post a big picture of how many names there were written on the sidewalk.

To submit your child’s name, (first and/or middle please) you can comment on where I share this post on Jensen’s Facebook page, on the picture that’s on here on Instagram, or you can comment below on this blog. If you do comment on here, please leave your email address so I can make sure the picture gets to you. Please feel free to share to your loss mom friends. It means the world to me when you all reshare and tag others because it really shows me how tight this community really is.

Thank you all for participating and reading along. I’m excited to be able to do this project to help others and myself on our healing journeys.

May We All Heal | Future

We’ve made it to the end of this May journey. I can’t believe the month’s already over, it feels like it just started! Another month of loss and love down and a whole lifetime to go.

Today’s prompt is ‘future,’ but I’ll get to that in a little bit. I want to reflect on the May We All Heal Project and talk about what I took from it. It is so beautiful every time there’s an opportunity to come together as a community and share parts of our journeys. We’re able to learn so much more about each other, our different paths of grief and healing, and (my favorite part) about our children.

For me, there were prompts I loved to write about and others I dreaded the day I saw the prompt list. Even though I spill my heart every time I write, there are still parts I’m afraid to talk about. Hmm, I guess afraid would be the wrong word. Sometimes I’m afraid of opening up a part of my grief that I didn’t know was there. Which sounds absolutely ridiculous, but that’s how it is.

There are always talks about triggers.

I find myself battling a wide range of triggers every day. It was no different this month. Coming off Jensen’s birthday and all the emotions that came with his day, May was hard. I’m exhausted by the grief and really making myself think hard about each prompt helped, but it was draining. In truth, I keep comparing this to Capture Your Grief in October. I loved that project, but I remember right around halfway, I was beat. So many emotions going into the holiday season and being at the sixth month mark, it was hard. For some reason I thought May We All Heal would be easier on me?

Altogether, I think this experience was helpful to me. I was able to connect with different moms than before, which was nice. It’s always heartbreaking to me to know there’s another mom that is in pain, but I’m glad we’re all here to help each other.

That’s kind of my take away for this month.

Now to the future…

As always, I like to plan for the upcoming month. It helps me keep track of where I am. I have a name project I want to do this next month, which will be fun for me. That’ll be here in a few days, so keep your eyes out. Father’s Day is this month, which is different for me since Jensen’s dad and I don’t really talk anymore. BUT I have my family and my dad to celebrate and I know Jensen would want to be there for his grandpa.

There’s also a big surprise I have for you all. I’m not sure when I’ll be filling you guys in on it, but maybe this next month? Very nervous about it, but I hope it’ll turn out well.

As always, I’ll be writing (not everyday) and sharing on Jensen’s page (everyday). No matter what happens in life, I’ll always share this journey with you guys. Jensen is the biggest part of me and I want to continue sharing him with the world. Everyday I live my life for him. I’ll continue taking the steps he’ll never take and that’s how it is.

He is mine and I am his, forever and always.

May We All Heal | Quiet & Light


 

Quiet and light… Two completely opposite words that are used to describe my life after loss.

I hate the quiet. It reminds me of the fullness and nothingness in the room after Jensen was born. The same quiet plagued me in the following weeks and even now of not having my child in my arms. A house that holds a one year old should never be quiet and yet mine is silent at times. I could get lost in the quietness of absence. It almost reminds me of darkness and how alone I actually am.

When I got home from vacation last night, I sat down in my bed with Jensen bear and Jensen’s urn. Everything was silent. I thought I had gotten to a point where the quiet didn’t bother me. Usually, it allows me to think or at least organize my thoughts. Yet, last night was so different. The familiar feeling of dread blanketed me. My thoughts, instead of organized, were flying through my mind, chaotic and without any order what-so-ever.

Then the tears fell… and they kept falling.

This life after loss, it’s not for the fainthearted. There are times where all you want to do is scream, why me? Why is my house so quiet and not full of Jensen’s giggles and footsteps? This isn’t fair.

That’s how most of the night went. When I realized I wouldn’t be falling asleep anytime soon, I went and got my candle-lighter. Jensen’s flame came alive and lit up the room. I saw the flame dancing and a calmness filled the room. The light tore through the quiet, through the darkness.

In my loss world, light and quiet are on two different ends of the spectrum…

The quietness feels a lot like those early days and reminds me the emptiness that’s in my house. 

The light, it leads me. It represents the love Jensen and I have for each other. I search for it when the quiet and darkness wrap me up. 

Light and quiet. Love and loss. Good and bad.

 

May We All Heal | Broken

broken – violently separated into parts, shattered

My world stopped when I heard those words. His heart had quit beating and I was thrown, violently, into a different dimension. When I looked down at my body where he was housed, I didn’t see the brokenness I felt. If I could have looked inside, my heart would have been in pieces. This body would have looked mangled to anyone who saw me. 

That’s the hard part with grief and mental illness, others can’t physically see it like a broken bone. If they did, they would understand. They could see my heart constantly bleeding out and how it’s trying to heal itself too. 

In Japan there is an art form and pottery repair called kintsugi. I’m sure you’ve seen the descriptive picture. It’s when there is broken pottery and instead of hiding it, gold powder is used to mend it. They don’t hide where the pottery is faulted, they show its beauty. 

In the beginning (and even now on my bad days), I didn’t think this pain and brokenness would ever amount to any beauty. How could the loss of my son be anything but horrible and ugly? The immense weight of his loss hasn’t gotten lighter by any means, but I have gradually became stronger. 

The pieces of my broken heart are still being put back together. Heck, there will always be a Jensen sized hole there. Yet, as they are being placed, there is something more beautiful than gold repairing my heart. The love I have for Jensen and his whole being holds and mends my heart. There isn’t bright, shiny gold, but his name and light. 

Yes, I am broken, but I’m also healing. 

May We All Heal | Love 


In Jensen and I’s story, love is such an integral part. It waltzes with the loss and pain in my heart. Both of them trading the lead depending on the day. The dance is beautifully tragic, but such is this life after loss. 

Love has been my light, anchor, raft, glue, and whatever else it needs to be. Without it, I would never have made it this far. 

During the course of the day, I tell Jensen I love him, probably a hundred times. It comes out freely. I have never tried to stop myself from saying it or feel bad once I do. It’s the truth, I love him more than anything. Sometimes it happens when I pass his picture or a flash a blue and orange comes along. Each time I say it, the words escape in the world. It has to listen to our love story. 

Because that’s exaclty what our story is: a love story. Not the romantic one, but the most earthly and natural one; the story of a mothers love. 

We all know how our love story started, the plot twist of it, and how it’s progressed to this point. What we don’t know is what comes next. No one knows what happens next, but if I had a crystal ball, it would be full of love. Nothing that happens in the future can steal away this love I have for my little boy. 

Love is what makes the world goes round. 

Love glued my fragile heart back together. 

Love is what has led me to this point. 

Love created Jensen. 

Love is what continues to tell his story. 

Love never ends, not even in death.