Mother.

Dear Mila,

Early on in your life, you’ll learn that not everyone’s journey to motherhood looks the same. You’ll know that there are moms everywhere around you, even when you can’t see their children. There are some babies us moms carry in our hearts.

You wore one of your ‘little sister’ shirts today. It’s something I am so proud you get to wear because your big brother means the world to me; and so do you. Death cannot steak these titles from you both. You are always connected and have an angel watching over you. Even though we talk about Jensen everyday and integrate him in our daily routine, there is an extra special reason you wore this shirt… today Bereaved Mother’s Day.

I think it’s hard to explain why Bereaved Mother’s Day is important. Why not just ‘celebrate’ everything next weekend? Well, in the past I’ve done that too. Today, for me, is when I can allow myself to grieve. I cried when I woke up, when I put that onesie on you, and now as I’m writing this watching you sleep in my lap. Grief is hard, but this is apart of my motherhood. If I never lost your brother, I wouldn’t know about this day. I wouldn’t know about the many different paths to motherhood. Sometimes I wish I didn’t, but this is how life is now. Loss moms everywhere can share their stories, let each other know we’re not alone, and help educate others.

Being your and Jensen’s mom is my favorite title for myself. Motherhood is the most rewarding and sometimes heartbreaking experience I’ve been through. On this day, I get to mother Jensen in a way that can help others and myself. I also get to mother you on these Jensen days to make you a more compassionate person.

I promise to always mother you in the best way I can. Just as I promise to mother your brother in the ways I can too.

Thank you and Jensen for giving me this title and allowing me to be your mother.

I love you.

Mama

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Isolation.

Dear Jensen,

Portraits by Dana

Today’s May We All Heal prompt needed to stray away from the letters in writing your sister. It’s actually not the prompt, more as the actual day. I need to share you.

The fifth of every month will forever be yours in my eyes. Today’s monthday marks twenty-five months or two years and a month since you’ve been born. It also shares your sisters three week mark. But today, I needed to write to you.

You’ve seen me throughout this entire journey: the good, the bad, and the ugly. There have been times of complete isolation. It felt like no one in the world knew what was going on in my brain. No one had ever lost you of the relationship we had, so in my mind they’ll never understand. But around this time two year ago, you helped me find the loss community. That isolation turned into healing because I realized there were people grieving their child and I wasn’t this crazy person.

Since your sisters been born… there’s a different type of grief isolation. I try to be my happiest for her and live in each moment. Although it’s only been three weeks with her, I haven’t been able to write your nightly letter. That’s so hard on me. Once I get this routine down, I’ll be able to start up again. I’ve noticed myself keeping my emotions down too. When I put your sister down to sleep and I try to, they all come up.

Maybe it’ll be this way forever. I just want to find a good medium with it all and for you to know you’re always being thought about.

I hope heaven is a celebration everyday and that you stay close to your sister and I as we honor you and motherhood this weekend. You’re always walking with me. I know you make yourself known to Mila too.

I love you, Jens. You’re the light of my life.

Mama

Anxiety.

Dear Mila,

If a person could feel their mother’s emotions in the womb, you’d know all about anxiety.

I never used to be an anxious person before. Of course I worried about trivial things all children and teenagers face, but nothing like I’ve experienced now.

The first time I had an anxiety attack is when we found out Jensen had Down syndrome. I didn’t expect any ‘abnormalities’ in any of the tests with him. In my naive mind, nothing bad ever happened to babies or pregnant women. You probably think that’s crazy since you know how paranoid I am about pregnancy in general. Anyways, after those results, I couldn’t catch my breath and it felt like the world was sitting on my chest. After a few days, that anxiety went away. He was mine. I would do anything in my power to give him the bed of everything. So, I did what I do best and prepared.

It wasn’t until a few months later that I had my second ever anxiety attack. When we found out Jensen was gone, I fell apart. I guess it was like a major life attack. My blood pressure spiked, my vision went black, and I couldn’t catch my breath. Life felt like that for months after abs sometimes still does…

Nothing traumatic had ever happened in my life before that. I didn’t have any reason to worry about things before. My mind didn’t overwork. Then, as with everything, my world flipped upside down.

I worried every time my phone rang or if someone didn’t text back quick. Then I went through a stage where I didn’t care about anything. My anxiety flipped-flopped like that until I got pregnant with you. Then a new type of anxiety slapped me in the face: pregnancy after loss.

Everyday I woke up wondering if this would be the day you would be gone. When you hit big enough, I’d poke my belly until I felt you moving, then could breathe for a little while. I didn’t sleep much. My mind went through every horrible scenario. At every appointment, I asked my doctor if this anxiety was good for you and that I just needed you to be born alive. They knew all about Jensen so they didn’t think I was extra crazy for bringing it up each time.

With your birth, the anxiety of my body failing ended. You were here and in my arms. The longer you looked at me, the less I felt that anxiety.

Now that your here, I worry about other things, but it’s different. I’m not sure how to explain it.

As a mom and especially a loss mom, I’ll always have anxiety. I worry about you when you sleep, when I’m in the shower, or anytime I’m not holding you. It’s just because I love you so much and want you to be safe.

I hope you never experience the trauma and anxiety I went through with stillbirth. Even though I would never trade your brother or my time with him, I wouldn’t wish the aftermath of the mental madness of child loss on anyone. With that being said, when you are feeling anxious about whatever you’re going through during your life, I’ll help you make it through. I’m always here to listen and if you want my advice I’ll give it to you. One of my jobs for the rest of my life is to comfort you, even when you’re a grown woman facing this big world.

One of the things Jensen taught me that I’m able to teach you is that we can make it through anything. All it takes is a lot of love and a little patience.

I love you.

Mama

Beginnings.

Dear Mila,

This is how we began this morning. A walk around the big block before it got too hot. You love being outside and I love hearing the birds, that reminds me so much of Jensen, all around us.

Beginnings used to be one of my favorite things. They mark the start of a new adventure. A way to learn more about the world and yourself. Beginnings were awesome.

The beginning of my motherhood is my favorite. When I found out I was pregnant with your brother, I was full of joy and hope for the future. Of course I was scared about certain things, like how crazy different my life would be after he was born and if I was going to be good at the whole mom thing. My heart told me I’d be just fine though and your brother always made me feel so calm. He made this beginning so sweet, I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

What I didn’t realize about beginnings was they sometimes were born out of really horrible situations.

The end of my pregnancy and Jensen’s birth was the start of my grief journey. I didn’t expect my motherhood to lead me to this point, but I was thrown in to this world where babies died and moms had to live without their children for the rest of their lives. It’s so hard.

In that beginning, you wouldn’t have recognized your mom. I know you’ve felt me sad or when I’ve had an anxiety attack, but this was different. Nothing could make me smile. A cloud of grief and shock clung to me everywhere I went. My days and nights meshed together by sleep and tears. I wouldn’t wish the beginning on any person in the world. I hated that my wonderful beginning with your brother brought me here, but I fought not to let grief and depression and everything else I was feeling stop me from remembering him with the light he brought to my life.

A little over a year after Jensen was born, a new beginning happened: pregnancy after loss. When I found out I was pregnant last spring, I felt like I could hope for the future again. Unfortunately, this hope lasted for a short amount of time. This beginning and end sort of go together. But it brought me to the next one, which gave me you.

I wish Jensen could physically be experiencing the beginning of your life here with us. A big part of me thinks he was there picking you out before I even knew you’d be with me.

If he’s taught me anything I could pass down to you, it’d be that no matter how hard things get, you have to keep moving forward. You don’t ever have to move on from something, ignore any of your feelings, or forget, but you have to keep going for whatever reason. You have this beautiful gift of life that so many don’t even get a chance to have. I know that probably sounds like a lot of pressure, but I want you to know how special and lucky you truly are, so would your brother. Take it from your mom, who has encountered some of the worst beginnings, that you are going to do great things in this world. When things go wrong in life (and they sure will) you can start a new adventure or begin again.

You always have me and your brother cheering you on. And I promise you’ll never be alone through any of your beginnings.

I love you.

Mama

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The 2018 May We All Heal prompt list:

Post Mila Triggers.

Photo by Katie Finnicum at Simplicity of Grace.

When Jensen died, all my dreams I had with him were stripped away in one moment. I was looking forward to sleepless night, poopy diapers, and the unending adventure that is motherhood. I didn’t get the first two things and was continuously reminded about others that I wanted too. Even now, as I’ve just passed his second birthday, I can imagine him as a two year old.

In the early days of my grief, my brain was so cloudy. I couldn’t process his death or even think about how he would have changed or his actions. Yes, I knew I was missing out on so much, but in the midst of intense grief my brain made me focus on just surviving. Now, with Mila’s arrival, I’m experiencing different emotions in my grief I didn’t know was possible. Every little and big thing she does that I never even considered with Jensen will strike me.

With these new feelings, I wanted to share how certain things have triggered me since little sister’s arrival. I hope in sharing these, I’ll feel less alone or guilty that these special, special moments with her have a cloud of grief hanging over them… I guess this is parenting after loss.

Holding her for the first time…

When Jensen was born, I remember asking the doctor if he had all ten fingers and toes. I just needed the whole thing to feel somewhat normal because it was anything but. With Mila, I didn’t hear her cry right away so I remember having a mini panic attack and asking if she was okay. Then I heard her cry…

After the doctor cleaned her off and suctioned everything out of her nose and mouth, she was placed right on my chest. I can’t remember if she had a diaper on, but I don’t think so. It didn’t matter anyways because she was right there: a living child in my arms. I remember being faced with wanting to cry happy tears for her being safe and then immediately after sad ones because I never had that with Jensen.

Seeing my family with her…

This was so hard in the hospital and still now when people see her for the first time. When Jensen was born only one of my friends came and my mom and dad didn’t stay the whole time. I felt completely alone and heartbroken and everything a new mom should not feel. If I could travel back in time, I would go to myself right then to just hold me. I’d go get Jensen from the room next to us and tell myself how perfect he was. I would hold him and show her she didn’t do anything wrong at all.

My time in the hospital now was more… light. She’s healthy and everyone wanted to see her. They took her and held her. The room was rarely quiet, unless it was nighttime and just her and I. Each time someone held her, they just smiled and talked so sweetly to her. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. I do every time someone falls in love with her. But each time, I think of him.

Being wheeled out of the hospital…

Right before we left the hospital with Mila, I was already crying. I felt exhausted and I could feel all my emotions bubbling up. She was in her car seat ready to go and all my bags and flowers had been packed in the car. The only thing left from me having a living child at home was the wheelchair ride down to the car.

As soon as I sat down, I was sobbing. I was thrown back to leaving the hospital without him, only holding his stuffed elephant. Goodness, I can’t even describe the pain I was in that moment. When they sat Mila down on my lap before the started wheeling me, I didn’t even know what to think. I hated it because I knew I should have been happy (and I was) and all I could feel was my heart skipping and breaking all at once.

Shower time…

After getting home from the hospital this time, I asked my mom to stay with me for a little while so I could shower. During both my pregnancies, shower time was my favorite. Jensen and Mila would dance away in my belly and I could feel them move to the warmth of the water. After Jensen was born, I took a shower after getting home too. I broke down. I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about this before, but being in the shower and feeling my belly so empty made it even more real. I cried for myself and I cried for Jensen. In that one shower, I had never felt more vulnerable, until the one I took after Mila.

I asked my mom to sit in the room with me. Mila was still in her car seat and I had the hot water turned up as high as I could. When it hit my back, it felt like a corset of grief broke open. The sobs sounded a lot like before. My mom had to be mortified and asked what was wrong. Why was I crying after everything? After composing myself a little to talk, I told her what was happening in my head…

I was happy Mila was healthy and safe at home. That’s all I asked for during my pregnancy, but my heart hurt. I missed Jensen and everything that had transpired in the last few days are all I wanted with him. It hurt not to have those memories. I told her I was afraid that he’d be forgotten now. That no one would ever say his name again and sometimes that’s all I want to hear.

God only knows what she was thinking. She probably thought I was a hormonal lunatic.

The little things I never knew about before…

Before even giving birth to Mila, I knew I’d be triggered by certain things. I was prepared for all the firsts and coached myself into not having them be ‘bad’ triggers. Jensen wouldn’t want me to take one moment with her for granted. He’d want her and I to be happy. In the ten days I’ve had her, she’s surprised me with different things she does. Even the ones that I never expected.

Instead of listing everything, I want to share something that happened yesterday… After a long walk and spending time with my mom and my friend, Becka, we went home. I fed her and changed her diaper. After a big afternoon, I knew she would be tired, so I set up a nap area for her and I both. I wanted to be close to her to hear her breathing, it’s the one thing that gets me to sleep well now. Anyways, I woke up after a little while and she was still sound asleep. I had my arm close to her feet and before I knew it, she moved them and they were resting on my arm. The warmth of them and just the way she did it gave my chills. I didn’t want to move and hope she’ll do it again in the future.

When she finally did move again, grief hit. I never imagine something like that with him. It was always the big moments I knew I was missing… my mind protected me from so much.

As I sit here and reread everything I wrote, I just want to say I know reading this is triggering to so many. I am beyond thankful for both Mila and Jensen. Honestly, I never thought I would take her home. I cherish every second I have with her and love making these memories. The whole entire thirty-nine weeks with her in my belly, I just was preparing for her to die, which sounds awful. With that said, I didn’t even think about triggers until they were right in front of me.

It’s always been important to me to share this journey and this is just one part of it. I’ll never forget Jensen or stop seeing where he should be in our home. I also hope Mila grows up knowing her brother and how much she is loved and wanted. Parenting after loss is a new road in this journey that I hope I can continue sharing.

Jensen’s a Big Brother!

On April 14, 2018, Jensen’s little sister, Mila Rae, came in the world at 1:14am, kicking and screaming. Hearing her cry was one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard and the moment they placed her on my chest is indescribable. The first hour of her life was surrounded by family and full of love. She was introduced to her big brother in that first hour by seeing his picture and his Jensen bear.

I never wanted that hour to end.

Pregnancy after loss has been the second most anxiety/paranoid-filled journey that I’ve been on, only behind losing Jensen. I tried not to take a moment for granted with her. There were a lot of ups and definitely downs, but we made it. Jensen has another thing to check off his to-do list. I truly believe he sent her to me.

They are the only ones who know the sound of my heart from the inside. I made them with all my might and will love them for the rest of my life and beyond.

Although there is so much more I want to say, I’ll write on a different day. Today I wanted to introduce you to my rainbow, Mila Rae, little sister to Jensen Grey.

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The Bittersweet Reality of Pregnancy/Parenting After Loss.

The morning after Jensen’s second birthday, I found myself in the hospital for extra monitoring. I woke up with an excruciating headache, swollen hands and feet, and vision changes. All of these are signs of preeclampsia. After an hour of the headache not easing, I decided it was best to be safe than sorry, with the help and encouragement of my family.

Honestly, I was terrified even though I felt her kicking. We had just hit the thirty-eight week mark and her brother’s birthday had went off without a hitch. I know how fast things can change though. All I could think was they wouldn’t be able to get her out in time or maybe my minds just telling me I’m feeling her, but I’m actually not. Each of these thoughts resulted in her death.

When they wheeled me up to triage, I just kept wanting to hear her strong heartbeat. Thankfully, the nurse didn’t even have to search for it. Turns out, my excruciating headache and vision changes were just from a migraine and the swelling was from being thirty-eight weeks pregnant…

The rest of the weekend, I was on edge. Jensen died over the weekend after being thirty-eight weeks and I was preparing myself for that. She continues to surprise me. Everyday she moved constantly, letting me know she was a-okay in there.

At thirty-eight and two, I held my breath. That’s when he was born. I had never been pregnant for longer than this amount of time. When I went to bed Sunday night, I tossed and turned, fearing what would happen when I slept.

Then I woke up with one thought…

Mila is officially older than Jensen was ever able to be.

There was such a mix of emotions this morning. I smilies because I knew she was still with me and doing her morning stretch, but tears fell from my eyes. This milestone was only made for her because of the death of her brother. I wept because I wish I could have had him for another day and everyday for the rest of my life. It’s not fair that his time was cut short. Then I wept because I still have her. She’s brought me so much hope and an ability to look towards the future with a smile.

It’s a lot of emotions for this hormonal, grieving, pregnant momma.

I can’t imagine my life never having Jensen and his story in it. Do I wish he could have lived instead? Absolutely. Has his death completely changed my life? Yes. Will it alter the way I parent Mila? For sure. Without Jensen, I wouldn’t have been able to advocate for myself during this pregnancy, like I didn’t with him. It’s also allowed me to celebrate every week with her, in small ways. Every movement she makes, I smile (sometimes I yell too because she’s really hurting me at this point). When I think about the next few weeks with her being a needy newborn, I know I’m preparing for being exhausted and overwhelmed. Yet, I would choose having these pregnancy pains and her screaming 24/7 than not having her at all.

The silence and stillness that flooded my life after Jensen was born was the absolute worst thing ever.

As much as I’m looking forward to every moment with her, I know the same feeling of her achieving all the milestones in front of her will feel so bittersweet. I’ll be so proud. But I know in the back of my mind, I’ll wonder when Jensen would have hit them and/or how he would have helped her get to them too. I’m so scared to not be a good mom to her for this reason. All I want is to give her the world and encourage her to be the best human she wants to be.

Part of me thinks, when I see her it’ll just feel natural. For almost three years, I’ve waited to have a living child to parent. My dreams of having her in my arms are so close to happening. To watch one of the biggest parts of me grow and conquer the world around her makes my heart skip a beat.

As hard as it’s going to be in this new chapter of grief, I know he’ll always be walking with us and would want us to live bravely. It may feel extra bittersweet some days. There will be times I breakdown because parenting a child in heaven and one on earth is hard. Yet, for some reason, these little souls chose me and I’ll be damned if I ever let them down.

Jensen’s Second Birthday.

I can’t tell you how well Jensen’s second birthday went.

It was such a beautiful day outside, which was a huge contrast to the snowy and rainy week we’ve had here in Ohio. Honestly, it was like the day he was born. I remember it being so nice outside while I sat in the hospital. It was nice on his first birthday too. Maybe that’s his little gift to us as we celebrate his day.

Throughout the day, I received so many messages and comments. Thank you to everyone who reached out and said his name. It made me feel like I was getting this huge, constant hug throughout the day. In person, my house was decorated and we went to get his cake and balloons for later in the evening. We talked about him and looked at his pictures. I bought fresh flowers that were blue and yellow, there wasn’t any orange, but they were still beautiful. Everything went so smoothly.

Another part of his day I was so thankful for was my appointment to monitor Mila. Let me tell you, I was terrified for it. All I could think was why wouldn’t it happen again on his birthday. In the waiting room, I felt my stomach drop waiting to go back to the ultrasound. His birthday was staring at me on the screen and I just hoped to see her heartbeat, even though I had felt her move all day. She was great and let us see her face, finally. In the NST room, they let me have it to myself and let me talk about Jensen. The doctors and nurses all made it a point to say something about him and ask how I was doing. I felt very supported, which is needed on days like that.

When we got back home, we had a little family party. It’s important to me that I have a cake and blow candles out for him every year. Yeah, it sucks he’s not here to do it himself, but I want to make sure everyone knows everyone knows saying his name or talking about him doesn’t make me sad. He deserves to be celebrated. My cousins’ children drew me pictures and held Jensen bear. They sung ‘happy birthday’ so loudly and we left off balloons so Jensen could play with them in heaven. I cannot imagine their thoughts on everything. It would be so hard to grasp, but they do a great job of it. Hopefully, Mila will be just as accepting and loving to her brother’s big day. I never want to make it seem like a depressing day, as hard as it may seem.

After everyone left, the day sort of settled on me. I wrote Jensen a letter and just talked aloud to him and Mila. It turned into me singing the songs I sung to him in the weeks before he was born. I’m not sure how long I stayed up to, but I know I fell asleep singing to him and feeling his sister roll around in my belly.


It feels weird to know I’m in year three of grief. The Jensen anniversary days will end here shortly, his funeral day/getting his ashes back is the last one left. Yesterday was hard on me too, but from the day of Jensen’s birth to his funeral all seems like a blur. I think my brain is doing that to protect me and lessen my pregnancy anxiety.

One of the things I promised Jensen for year three was to write more than I did last year. Granted, pregnancy after loss deterred me from sharing a lot, it has been so helpful to share what’s been on my mind. I know this year will be… different with Mila’s arrival and going through a new type of grief. In the next few days, I’m planning on sharing some ending thoughts on this pregnancy and getting prepared for her.

Again, i want to thank you all so much. It’s been such a crazy journey through life after loss. For two whole years, so many of you have witnessed my growth, grief, and love for my little man. Just knowing his story has been heard is the greatest gift.

The Worst Day.

Most people don’t usually wake up and know the worst day of their lives is about to happen.

I know I didn’t.

There was a few times in my pregnancy with Jensen that I woke up knowing I might be hearing news that wasn’t perfect. The day we got the results back for Down Syndrome, I had a feeling it would be bad, but nowhere near the worst day ever. When I had my D&C last summer, I knew it would a very, very hard day. It was, but it wasn’t the worst.

Two years ago, I woke up with all my hopes for the future. I felt off, but I was looking forward to seeing Jensen on the ultrasound screen. Even when I didn’t feel him move throughout the morning, I somehow held on to hope. I never truly believed something would be that wrong. People who never have been through that experience wouldn’t. They don’t know what it’s like to be in the waiting room you’ve been in so many times before and have worried thoughts while it feels like everyone surrounding you. They don’t know what it’s like to sit there waiting for the ultrasound tech to say, ‘there’s his heartbeat.’ They don’t know the stillness in the room where she goes and gets the doctor. And they most definitely don’t know what it sounds like to hear someone tell you your child doesn’t have a heartbeat.

Those words still take my breath away.

Parts of that day that have been flooding my mind this year, that didn’t last year, was the walk out of the room. How did stand up after hearing that? I don’t remember moving my feet to walk out of the building and into the car. Maybe I floated?

I can vividly remember being in the ‘big’ triage room at the hospital, which I think they only give to people whose baby has died. When my mom came in the room, I knew it was all real. Even after seeing his lifeless body on the screen over and over again. My blood pressure spiked so high after she arrived. Everything went black and I’m not sure if I was breathing. Part of me wishes I would have just stopped breathing there, checked out of everything that was happening. I do remember saying, I can’t do this again. I don’t want to be pregnant again and get attached to another baby. In that room, I just kept saying I want him out. I didn’t want what was happening. Of course, right? I was afraid of the physical and emotional pain to come. It felt like I needed to just run out of the hospital and get cold air in my lungs. Somehow that would have reached him and he would have been fine.

The walk back to delivery room was… different. Shock shut down my brain. I remember those steps and I was well aware of what was going on around me. The nurse was talking to me and asking questions. I don’t really remember seeing the hallway, when I recall it, it’s like her and I were in a bubble until we walking in the next door. That door can burn in hell for all I care. I don’t think I ever touched it, but every time it opened and closed I wanted to scream.

I didn’t go back to sleep until the next night, when we got home.  The morning of the fourth, I didn’t know I was going to have the worst day of my life, but right before I fell asleep on the fifth, I knew I had experienced the worst two days of my life.

Last year, I almost wished I could have went back and did it for my old self. There are a lot of changes I would have made and still would make if I could go back. Hindsight is 20/20 or that’s how the saying goes. This year, I’m terrified to even think I could experience stillbirth again. I’ve been overly monitoring Mila’s movements and have a bag packed, ready to go, if I feel like I need to go to the hospital for extra monitoring. Today, I’m so aware of the reality of what happened to Jensen, which is always in the back of my head, but it’s different today (and it will be tomorrow and probably the rest of my pregnancy with her).

I’m taking the rest of the day to just breathe and honor this twenty-four hours for what it is. Tomorrow, will be the time to celebrate Jensen’s life and how it’s changed mine in so many ways. My heart is heavy with grief, but full of love.

He’ll never be forgotten.

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The Last Movements.

I remember this day two years ago as well as I remember yesterday.

It was a Saturday and I was thirty-seven weeks and six days pregnant. It was sort of  a quick day. We were rushing around getting last-minute things ready for Jensen’s arrival. Somehow it felt like the next two weeks or so were going to go by really slow, so we left a few things last minute.

He was low at this point and there was all types of pressure happening. I was so swollen. My face was so puffy and my feet looked unnatural. I never said how miserable I was when I was pregnant with him and I have no idea why because I’ve complained a lot in the past few weeks with Mila. For some reason, every day with Jensen felt like a blessing. I was fearful about Down Syndrome and can remember when they told me he tested positive for it that there’s a chance he could die before birth, but it was low after so many weeks. I don’t know. When he was with me, I felt myself more calm.

Anyways, there was a bassinet at my grandpa’s house and we were looking for other things for my house. His basement was full of my grandmother’s things, which I asked to have and still have them up in my house today from that day. My grandma passed away when I was very young, so her things are one way I can touch what she touched or have that connection. One of the things from that day was an old, orange car that was a cologne bottle. It looks so cute in Jensen’s room. I picked up a lamb she hand-made, so he could have it too. That’s now in Mila’s room, with her odd collection of lambs that I’ve picked up over the months. There’s a couple other things that I brought home with me of theirs. I wanted to bring apart of my family’s history to him, so he knew he’d always have someone watching over him and that he was surrounded by love.

While we were rummaging through the basement, my mom called my one cousin over and we looked through old photo albums and my grandparent’s love letters. I can still hear my grandpa reading them out loud. We saw their wedding photos, which I had never seen before. I was sitting on the couch in front of the window and my cousins daughter was sitting right next to me. All of us there were just listening to my grandpa talk and all of a sudden the lamp to the left of me flickered and Jensen made a big movement. I asked my cousin’s daughter if she wanted to feel him and she could. Then we wrapped the night up after a half hour. When I went to bed, I read Jensen a book and fell right to sleep after the busy day.

I didn’t know then, but that was the last big, memorable movement I’d ever feel from him.

Some part of me thinks that was him letting me know he was in distress. I thought he was just moving and I wish (so damn much) that I would’ve thought that movement was a little rough for him. It really haunts me. I wonder if that was his last night alive, of course I can’t know for sure. Another part of me thinks that if it was him letting me know he was going, that it wouldn’t have been a bad night to go. That whole day was about him and how much love is in our family.

I’ve been over that last weekend with him so many times in my head. For some reason, this day has stuck out for me. Although I can’t speak for other moms, I know I have tried to see where I could’ve saved him, many times. It’s like I have to put the blame on me at some point. I can’t explain it, but I feel like I should’ve known.

Throughout today, I’ve been thinking about two years ago and how different I wish it could all be. Mila’s had great movement and was monitored earlier. I’ve been on edge all day, wondering if this would be the last day I feel her move too. Honestly, I feel so guilty for all my pent-up anxiety and treating these days like they were two years ago. I just never thought he would die. I never thought I would remember his last movements because we should’ve had a lifetime of them…

Tonight, I’ll be watching my belly roll as Mila gets ready for her arrival, thinking of Jensen’s friend Alonzo as his family celebrates his second birthday in heaven, and as always, missing and loving my boy who I am so thankful made me his mom.