Third from the Top.

Yesterday was the first Tuesday for a very long time that I hadn’t written and shared. It was a busy day for me. I’ve been getting ready for vacation, started writing names for the beach post, and went to a Christmas service for Jensen and his friends last night. On top of all my busyness, I had a horrible headache. When I was sitting at the service, I realized I hadn’t eaten all day. It was already one of those days for me and it hit that I’m back to not eating again. I couldn’t remember the last time I had ate breakfast or lunch for the past few days.

Everything grief related started whirling in my mind. All the names. My longing for Jensen. How his loss has weighed on my heart. The mix of pain and love.

Seeing all those comments on the beach post for babies names to be written, I was so sad. There were too many names on that list, too many families feeling this same grief. Then on the service’s program, there were six full pages of names. Each name was someone’s child and there was Jensen’s, third from the top left on the third page. All those names are more than just names. When I read through them, I couldn’t help wanting to know all their stories and hear their parents beam about them. The names read and pictures shown were only the smallest glimpse into the lives they had and the memories their parents still carry on for them.

When Jensen’s name and picture was shown, my chest instantly felt tight. I couldn’t catch my breath and could only marvel on how beautiful he was and still is. The whole time his picture was up, I didn’t breathe. All I could do was sit there and let every emotion I’ve felt in the past thirty-five weeks flush over me. It was only a few moments, but it felt like an hour sitting there and looking at him. I noticed my hand was tracing my necklace, almost like it was second nature. My body instantly tried making my mind feel better and letting me know I was going to make it through this moment. It’s crazy because I had forgotten I wore a necklace, since I never do when I have a headache. I reached down saw that I was tracing his hand print. That perfect hand and fingers who have touched my heart and life in ways I never knew a person could.

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I know I’ve shown this necklace many times before, but it’s one of my favorite Jensen necklaces I have. It’s been really helpful for grounding during my anxiety attacks, just like I described above. His hand is so near my heart, which is so symbolic. He’s always there, but it just beautifully shows it. Sometimes I wish I could have a tattoo on my face saying I’m Jensen’s mom and I’m grieving. It truly is a mix of emotions. I know in my past few posts I’ve mentioned that I’ve been struggling. December has been really bad for me. Walking into any store is hard. All I want to do is buy children’s Christmas books so I can read to him. So, I can see that hand helping me turn the pages. People don’t get to see this side of grief. They’re not here in my home every night or they don’t see the Christmas book Jensen’s grandma bought him last year during this time. They don’t see that invisible hand pointing to that book or do they hear me reading it out loud to him.

The past week, I’ve longed for every baby to be back in their mothers arms. Grieving Jensen through the holidays is something I never imagined myself doing. I thought I would have to be keeping him quiet or tracing his actual hands during Christmas services. This universe shouldn’t have pages of children’s names written in a program or a list of them to be in the sand. But somehow that list grows longer each and every day.

If I’m being honest, I wish I didn’t know this world. Heck, I wish no one knew this world. Unfortunately, so many of us do. In a crazy, weird way, I’m thankful to be able to be in a position to write those names at the beach. Just like I was thankful to read all those six pages of names and get a glimpse into their lives. This type of grief takes a community to help heal each other. Just as I am so glad to be able to know each of your children, it makes me so very happy you all get to know Jensen.


If you haven’t written your child’s name to be written in the sand yet, please click on Jensen’s Facebook page on the left-hand side or click here. I’m also planning on posting more ornaments in the next few days. There are a handful more that mean a lot to me and Jensen’s story that I think you all will really enjoy.

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Empathy.

Before I begin this post, I want to show the difference between empathy and sympathy. I think a lot of people think they’re the same thing, but they’re very different from each other.

empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

sympathy – feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune.

The first time I thought I understood what empathy really meant was in college. I remember the professor telling us her sister’s story; I won’t tell her story, but it deals with the loss of a child. My professor said to feel empathy you had to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and somehow understand those feelings.

Then she said, ‘I could never imagine losing a child, therefore I can’t have the full understanding of empathy for her situation.’ Continue reading

Stillbirth Remembrance Day.

Jensen has taught me so much in the time he was with me and after. He taught me a new kind of love and appreciation for life. My time with him brought me so many smiles and tears. I learned Jensen would much rather have a gallon of chocolate milk instead of water. He most definitely would have been a night owl who slept all day. His stubbornness even inside my belly made me laugh. I could go on and on about all the things I learned about him and how it effected me to this day. Even though he didn’t take a breath on this earth, he still lived. My little guy was a person who had his own emotions and personality. He’s the amazing, little baby that I would never been able to dream up. Jensen is my son, my first-born boy.

His death taught me others.

In fact, I learned that September sixth is Stillbirth Remembrance Day. That’s today, which falls on his twenty-second week. If you hadn’t noticed, a lot of important dates fall on Tuesdays this year. Honestly, before Jensen’s heart stopped beating, I didn’t realize what a stillbirth was. I mean, some part of my brain knew babies died and they were still. History documents so many women and families having multiple stillbirths, but that was way in the past. In my mind, it didn’t happen with all this technology we had or in this time. A baby’s heart just didn’t stop beating. No matter all these horrible things that can happen during pregnancy would never happen to me and my baby. Until it did.

Those words still ring in my ear, “I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat, you need to go to the hospital.”

Then the, “Do you understand what this means?”

I wish I could go back to this moment and scream at the doctor. No. I didn’t understand what that meant. How could he die? I just saw him dancing around on the screen four days before. He was just moving the previous day. It hit me as we drove over to the hospital that I’d have to go through labor and birth my son. Just as we practiced, but he wouldn’t be there. Instead of the screams, there would be nothing but silence. Some part of me believed the ultrasound machine was lying. That he would come out screaming and just faked everyone out. He didn’t, the room was silent.

Our time at the doctor’s office and the hospital still hasn’t come back to me; well not fully. I do remember being home the week after his funeral and it was the first time I looked up stillbirth on Google. What I found was so surprising. One in one-hundred and sixty pregnancies end in stillbirth. That’s a huge number of babies dying everyday. It’s another mom and dad losing their child. Another childhood that won’t be lived. A mom who feels like she’s unable to grieve the loose of her child because stillbirth is so taboo. Death is so taboo, yet it happens to so many babies before they’re even born. Yet, we’re told to ‘get over it’ and ‘just have another one.’ Jensen was not a statistic. I’m not a statistic. We are both human beings. Our lives have a purpose and we’re not defined by death. This happened to me and my family, but we’re not just this number in a study.

On this Stillbirth Remembrance Day, I remember Jensen and all his friends in heaven, just as I do everyday. Our angels are not just a number in a scientific study. Their lives are so meaningful and our motherhood is real. Don’t ever forget.

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I made this for Jensen. The modern wreath and his name are written in his colors, navy blue and orange. Triangles represent the shapes that flooded his nursery. He is remembered and honored everyday. My son will never be a statistic. His life will always be celebrated. I love seeing Jensen’s name and today I want to reach out to all my angel mom friends and ask if you’d like me to do a wreath for your angel. To see their names and remember they are not a statistic. My heart goes out to you mommas on Stillbirth Remembrance Day and everyday.

*Edit: currently not making name wreaths due to my schedule.*