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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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.

 

To Anyone with a Fragile Heart:

I want you to know you’re not alone.

Since my son, Jensen, was stillborn last April, I’ve found myself living with a heart that has been hastily taped together. There have been so many moments I didn’t believe I would be able to make it to the next. My heart felt like it was going to collapse and it still does to this day.

Lately, I’ve collectively felt what has been happening around the world. This could be you reading right now whose baby has tragically died. I know this journey you’re facing because I’m living it every second. This past few months I’ve seen so much loss. From the tragedy that happened in Manchester earlier this week to the person in school that doesn’t think their life is worth living. Even the people who are being mentally, emotionally, physically, and sexual abused. I feel like I’ve been extremely empathetic to every story I hear.

I’m sorry to each person this has happened or is continuing to happen to. I see you. It breaks my heart that you’re feeling this pain.

I will never be able to take your pain away, but if talking helps ease it, I’m right here. There have been times I’ve felt lost, but knowing there was someone who listened, that wanted to help strengthen my heart made me feel less afraid. Less fragile. It is terribly vulnerable to talk about your demons, but opening up and releasing those feelings can let someone know how to be there for you.

Please don’t ever feel alone in this world.

Here’s a little secret. To some, I’m a fellow loss mom or a substitute teacher or the girl down the street. In each of these roles, I’ve heard your story and feel everything that’s going on in your  life. When I see you struggling with your relationship, loss, or even yourself, I want to run up and comfort you. The worst is or has happened and left you broken. Each time I see you I want you to know you can come to me because ultimately we have lost part of the same thing.

Through each and every of  our difficult unbearable journeys, we have lost a huge part of our innocence. Nothing will ever change or bring that back. We now see this fragile world for how it actually is: broken.

The glue holding the world together is you and me and our relationships we build to strengthen each other. We’re able to help each other pick up the pieces. We are each others shoulder to cry on. when we are connected we become stronger. We fit in this beautifully, fragile community of survivors.

You are never alone.

You are so wanted

You make an impact on this world.

You are loved.

Remember, I’m always here for you.

Love,
Danielle
Jensen’s mom

May We All Heal | Ink


The permanency of his loss will be written in ink in my story.

In the beginning, it felt like God has just taken his pen and broke it over Jensen’s death and the months following. The blackness and finality of stillbirth blinded me. Even though there were moments of light, like I explaining yesterday, the world around me seemed messy and dark.

Just like an ink blot.

I can’t tell you how many times I though, ‘if my life was a book, this part of it would be solid black.’ Would me and everyone in my life only see the mess of grief when we looked back to these pages?

It hurt. I wanted to clean and erase his death. In place, I wanted to rewrite his beautiful birth with him screaming and being put on my chest. Instead of the unending silence and pain, there should have been pages full of how he grew and was thriving outside of the womb. Not this.

My motherhood was so fragile during those ink-filled pages. I tried to use that very ink to make it seem more real, more tangible. Tattoos soon scattered over my body. I wanted him to know he’d alway walk with me through life. Since his footprint has been on mine, he has walked so many steps with me. He has to be seen. My motherhood needed to be seen, so the Celtic knot of mother and child was placed on the back of my neck. But most of all, I want people to ask whose name is scribbled across my wrist, so I can tell them all about him.

I did it and it helped me heal.

Not even God could erase this ink from me, just as I will never be able to erase His.

Being able to feel like he’s physically connected to me made me really look at our story. Instead of just seeing that scattered ink across my book of life, I saw the pages full of Jensen. All two-hundred and sixty-six of them. They are written in beautiful cursive writing full of loops and love. These are my favorite pages in my book.

No one can EVER take those pages from me. Jensen and I have been connected from the moment he was made. His pages will never be erased or forgotten.

It also let me know that the blank pages after the ink splatter are waiting to be written in. Just as I have made Jensen’s mark on me, I can forever continue having pages full of him in my future.

He’s not here, but I won’t allow him to be wrote out of our story. He will always be my son and I’ll continue writing his pages.

The permanency of his legacy will be written in ink.

May We All Heal | Communicate


We used to communicate through kicks and pats on the belly.

Sometimes even through music and feeling you dance to your favorite song.

You heard me whisper how loved you were and how I couldn’t wait to hold you in my arms.

The way we communicated was my favorite.

Then it all went away.

Instead, we had to learn how to talk in different ways.

Writing letters and waiting for you to join me in my dreams.

Seeing you paint the sky blue and orange just for me.

No matter how much we communicate to each other, the message is always the same.

I love you. I miss you.

Please come back home.

May We All Heal | Distance 

The distance between a mother and child should never be too far. From conception to a time we can’t even comprehend, they should always be together. While her child grew in her belly, they were literally connected by an umbilical cord to provide life. This lifeline stay connected even after birth, until someone makes that cut.

Does that cord ever really get disconnected though? When it does happen, is there a real distance between mother and child? Or is that lifeline always there?

Even in death?

I remember the moment he was born. Immediately the emptiness filled my body. Yet, he was right there in the room, still connected to me. It felt like time stood still as the doctors handled his body, covering him in his blanket. They asked Anthony if he wanted to cut the cord and I wanted to scream out ‘NO!’ Please don’t disconnect his lifeline from me. Let it stay, forever. Instead, they cut it for him and took Jensen away. The first moment I was ever distanced from him. It’s a moment that will always haunt me.

There are times I feel the distance between earth and heaven is just too far away. My heart and arms ache for some physical connection to Jensen. I try to hold Jensen bear or go through his hospital folder. Anything to take me back to the moment before we were physically distanced.

Then there are moments where I feel like I can tug on this invisible lifeline that’s connected between him and I.

I can send him messages and tell him I need a sign. It’s our little secret connection to diminish this earthly distance. I can really feel him here with me. He’ll send me a cardinal or blue jay. Or something will just let every cell of my body know that he’s reaching out to me. Everyday I wish I could take this cord and pull him down from heaven and into my arms. That way we didn’t have to talk through this secret, silent language we’ve created. I really wish that.

Each day I try and fail to make this wish come true. Deep down, though, I don’t think the connection between mother and child ever goes away. We are all invisibly connected to them, but, some distances can be seen and others cannot.

But no matter the distance, my heart will always be connected to his.

May We All Heal | Succumb

I refuse to succumb to the darkness.

For me, grief has thrown me so many emotions and thoughts I didn’t know I had. There’s so much anger, sadness, and guilt that is so embedded after Jensen was born, that I never felt before. Which, honestly, makes sense. Life after loss is completely different from what it was in the before. Emotions are much more intense and this longing for Jensen… it knocks me off my feet some days.

There are many days where the cycle of those emotions don’t stop turning. During those times, it feels like there will never be light moments for me again. My body and will become weak, sometimes feeling like they are going to break.

The thought of picking up those pieces, again, seems ridiculous. I did it in the weeks and months following Jensen birth. It was a painstaking process that I had to do for myself. But if I would ever, once again, get to that broken place… What is the point of doing this again? Why not just let myself slip into a slumber that I’ll never awaken from? Be with Jensen for eternity. Succumb to the pain and anger to just be free.

That darkness stays with you. It tempts you and makes you question all of what you believed before. You could easily surrender yourself to it.

But, I refuse to succumb to the darkness. 

When those moments flood me, I remember love’s light.

I think of Jensen and the happiness and life he would wish for me.

I think of my family, who would do anything to make me smile and feel like I have a place.

I think of my friends, who are old and new, that support me and choose to be here.

I think of Leo and Poe and the joy they bring me every day.

I think of an impacted future where I can continue sharing Jensen’s name.

I think of succeeding and knowing that since I lived through the worst imaginable loss in my life, I can conquer everything else.

To succumb to this grief and pain would never solve any problems. It would only cause more loss. I can’t let anyone else ever feel this way. That’s why I refuse to succumb to the darkness and choose to follow love’s light.