Twenty-Two Months.

Another month has passed; twenty-two to be exact.

When I woke up this morning, I felt the fifth. I know I’ve used that expression before, but all I kept saying is, ‘it’s Jensen day. It’s the fifth.’ Honestly, I thought this would pass. I wouldn’t even be telling people his age in months if he was here. Sometimes when I talk about him, I’ll say he’s almost two, yet when this day comes I could probably tell you the months, weeks, and days probably down to the minute.

His loss still feels so fresh.

Today, I checked the prompt for the What’s Your Grief Photo Challenge: pain. I’ve felt all types of pain since Jensen’s birth. Heck, I feel like I’ve been through all Dante’s nine levels of hell. When I read it, I didn’t want to focus on any more pain. Even though I tried my best not to focus on it, I was stuck at my three-hour glucose exam for Jensen’s little sister. I had to give blood four times, twice from both arms. It made me feel weak and sick to drink whatever they put in that. The three hours went fairly quick, but when I got home, I crashed on my couch after getting sick. I was in pain and usually on these days I celebrate Jensen.

In some ways I did. I told the lady working  and the other girl in the waiting room about him after they asked if this baby was my first. It stung. No, she’s not my first. She has a big brother in heaven who watches out and protects us both. I’ll never deny him, even if it would seem easier to random people. Somehow I would rather make every person in the world ‘uncomfortable,’ if it only meant for me to say his name. Maybe that makes me selfish, but that’s the only way I know how to mother my son.

Jensen’s absence has brought me so much pain and longing. I want to end the day focusing on what I wanted to give him: life experiences and love.

After I woke up, the first thing I looked at was the hands on my wall that we did on Jensen’s first birthday. I think the last time I shared them was that week. It forever shows me protecting him. Today, I felt like it showed me that he’s had my hand throughout my journey through hell and back. That he’s been right there through it all. It also has our family surrounding us. This reminds me that whenever I am drowning in pain, there’s hands reaching out to help me back up. To pull me out of the pit of despair. There’s twenty hands on the canvas today, but there’s two more inside of me, holding me up on another hard day.

Grief journeys bring their own individual pain and trials. In my twenty-two month journey, I’ve realized we don’t have to do this alone. Nor does the love and memory of those who have gone ever have to go away.

Memory.

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I’ve relived those thirty-eight weeks over and over.

The joy of finding out there was a baby growing inside of my belly, getting the news he was a boy, and seeing him grow at our weekly scans. I remember picking out the colors for his nurseries and painting his wood wall. His baby shower took a huge chunk of my time planning. Every game I created myself and choosing what was on the registry was such an event. I remember how much he loved mac and cheese and chocolate milk or that I couldn’t eat anything before ten. So many happy memories that replay in my  mind.

There’s also the memories that play even when I don’t want them to.I’ll never forgot my stomach dropping when we found out about Down syndrome and my persistent worrying of being a good enough parent to him. That brought me so much stress through the second half of my pregnancy that I never thought anything else could go wrong.

When I go through my pregnancy, I feel like everything slows down and speeds up at the same time when I get to the end of March. I know what’s coming next. That week leading up to his birth are so vivid in my mind. Sometimes I wish I could pinpoint what went wrong or what more I could have done. The emotions and reactions from those memories hurt. Each time I get to the fourth of April, my body can feel what I was feeling under the numbness . I honestly try not to go to that day and his birth. If I let it all play out, I feel as if I would never get back to the surface. That’s the hardest part about these memories and PTSD. My body remembers. It’s sort of like a blanket that falls over you and you cannot escape it until it lets you out.

Memories can be such beautiful images and they can be the worst ones too.

I choose to honor both, but would much rather go to those that make me smile. For the rest of my life, I’ll try to make new memories with Jensen, but they’ll never be the same as the months he was with me. I miss him so much, but for as long as I live, his memory will never fade away.


Inspired from the What’s Your Grief Photo Challenge. 

Hello February!

Since announcing my sweet, little rainbow almost two weeks ago, I haven’t had the right words to thank all of you for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers. Each was read and taken to heart. They lifted my spirits and let me know how loved this baby, her brother, and I are loved. I am truly grateful for all of you for your constant support.

For February, I wanted to be able to write more and let you all know how I’ve been with my pregnancy after loss while preparing for Jensen’s second birthday and his sister’s birth. I found this photo challenge on Instagram and thought it would be perfect to take on.

Mood: tired and thankful. 

Today has been absolutely crazy. Throughout this pregnancy, I haven’t been able to sleep well at night through the morning. I cannot get comfortable and she moves all the time. When she moves, I always just pause so I can capture every moment. Jensen never moved as much as she does and I continue to cherish all those memories with him. If anything would happen to her, I want to be able to do the same.

Anyways, I had to go to a doctor’s appointment and felt the anxiety of it as soon as I woke up. It was an okay morning and I was trying to be positive before I went. This past Tuesday I took the glucose test and would find out if I passed or not today. Other than that, I just worried about hearing her heartbeat. Long story short, I found out I failed the one hour glucose test by a few points and have to go to the three-hour one… I was so angry. After I got back to my car, I just kept telling my mom I was fine when I had Jensen. I wasn’t even close to the number. Why was it different now?

Immediately after (and for three more hours), I pouted and felt like my body was going to fail her too. Of course, even if I would fail the three-hour test and would be diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I’d just have to monitor those levels. Logically I knew that, but hormones and the fear of losing her whipped around my head.

When I got home, I just kept thinking about the appointment and my reaction. I was so caught up on the negative that I couldn’t appreciate the positive. Her heartbeat was strong and I’m measuring right on schedule. She has moved all day and tomorrow I’ll be twenty-nine weeks. I made some tea, while I looked at Jensen’s pictures. If I had this type of appointment with him, I would’ve been so happy. So I decided instead of being upset by something I can’t even control, I wanted to be thankful.

I picked out one of my favorite mugs and saw this…

My whole world.

Yes, I am so tired. Tired of feeling so much worry and the weight of grief on my shoulders. I was tired of being angry today and honestly, I’m just physically tired in general.

On the other hand, I am so thankful that words would never be able to describe. Thankful for your support, the baby thriving in my womb, and the boy who I’ll forever carry in my heart.

The Due Date.

This week marks the one I should have had another baby in my arms. Thirty weeks ago, I had a miscarriage at ten weeks along. I never thought I would lose another child after Jensen died because I didn’t think the world could possibly bring me more sadness. Knowing I was pregnant again, brought me so much joy and hope for the future. When I began spotting, that feeling of dread completely took over my body.

I can’t do this again. 

When I got home from the ER after they told me he was gone, I was so hurt and angry. I couldn’t process the emotions I was having well, so it just all turned to this ball of confusion and hate towards the world. While I was waiting to have my D&C, I can remember feeling all the hope I had built in those few short weeks escape. I never want to be back in that place again. Because of that, I have completely shut off that time in my head. It’s why I haven’t really reflected on my miscarriage as much I should.

The flashbacks I have from the actual surgery haunt me too. There will be times I’ll lay down, have my arms extended out while I lay down, and can remember being strapped down under those lights. He was still in me and even though I knew he was gone, I still felt full. I remember wanting to rip out of the restraints and just run away. As I laid there, I felt like I was abducted by aliens as the doctors and nurses walked around and prepped. I felt so out of control. The reality is I was and there isn’t anything I could do about that.

In the time since I woke up in recovery, dealt with nasty nurses at the doctor’s office, to now, I’ve felt and been through so much that I haven’t felt comfortable in sharing. I know I’ve touched upon this in other posts, but I feel so guilty about it.

It has been so important for me to share my loss journey with Jensen and I encourage others to share their stories as well. Yet, when it comes to my miscarriage, I cannot bring myself to talk about how I’m feeling. It has deeply affected me and caused me to question where my life would be if I didn’t have that experience. I also wonder how it’s changed me again as a person.

Honestly, I don’t know where I’m going with this post. I just knew I needed to get these words out of my head. Grief is messy. It’s complicated and sometimes unexplainable. This grief for me is silent and I know it shouldn’t be because so many others have experienced this as well. In the next few days, I hope my complicated feelings will begin to make sense to others. All I can say is I’m doing my best each and everyday to heal and remember.

Before I go, the one thing I learned from my miscarriage is that all of our stories are important and matter. Miscarriages are very serious. They’re not something to be brushed under the rug and forgotten about. Mothers and fathers who go through this experience do have an immense amount of grief and their babies count. On the other hand, I understand feeling isolated and not being comfortable to speak up. This is your experience. No matter how you choose to express yourself, you’re doing what’s best for you.

I am forever thankful for my little space on the internet and all of the support I have continuously received for almost two years now.

Twenty-One Months.

I woke up today with the weight of the fifth.

It’s been twenty-one months and I wonder if I’ll ever skip this monthly routine and be able to breathe. Then I realized how scary that notion was and would much rather feel its pull on me.

When I was thinking of what to write today, my mind sort of blanked. The other day I read about how one mom wanted to stop writing about her grief so her friends and family stopped worrying about her mental state. I instantly thought if my loved ones questioned mine. This has brought me perplexed feelings, mixed with the usual struggle I face.

Is it so wrong to include him in my everyday life?

My parents and brother are away on vacation, so I’ve felt a little alone for the last two days. Not that I haven’t talked to other people or felt left out. I’m extremely close to my mom and dad and talk to them frequently throughout the day. They say his name and will listen to me talk about him, even if they’ve heard the same thing a million times before. I can’t describe how hard it is not to hear someone else say his name and with them gone I wondered if I would hear it today; when I really needed it…

As they soak up the sun, I’m braving the tundra to take care of their house and animals. Today, one of my tasks was sending out an Etsy order. My favorite woman who works at the post office was there and we struck up a conversation about our houses. I was describing how each room is painted and I got to Jensen’s room.

The only room that isn’t similar to the rest of my house is Jensen’s room. My son’s, who died. 

She did a good job. When I talk about death or say my son died so matter-of-factly, I usually get this shocked face. I don’t even mean to say it so coldly, I just wonder if people hear me talk about him and they just don’t ever think I bring him around. Maybe they do know he died and just don’t want to bring it up either. I mean, it’s not a conversation ice breaker: how are you feeling about your child that died almost two years ago? As well as she did, I criticized myself when I got to my car.

Did I say that just to hear his name or to talk about him with someone? Will the ‘he’s dead’ tagline ever stop? Do we ever really get over this whole awkward grief stage or can someone blossom into a confident grief? Is this even making sense?

When I finally got back home, my mom and I FaceTimed each other. She said she was thinking about Jensen today and my dad had wrote his name in the sand for me to have. They took a picture and sent it to me today. I asked her if she realized it was twenty-one months today and she didn’t.

It doesn’t feel like he’s been gone that long. 

I agree.

It feels like yesterday that I was planning for his arrival and was starting my twice a week ultrasounds appointments; not two years. Although his body is physically gone from this world, his spirit is always around. He is remembered by pictures and J’s, stories and chocolate milk, and most of all, when someone says his name.

I’ve decided, it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks. As I journey through life, I will continue to grieve the loss of my child. He will forever be apart of my story and I have no worries about how I live my life after loss.

My intention for today was to feel any emotion that came my way all the way through. No matter if it was anger, sadness, or even happiness. The days not over, but I’ve welcomed each emotion and let it wash over me; just as the waves washed over his name.

Intention.

Each day, I wake up with the hope to make each day the best it can be.

Four days into the new year, I’ve really thought of resolutions and goals for myself to achieve. The problem is since I’ve had Jensen huge chunks of time feel completely overwhelming. For me to set a resolution for the whole year is not possible. It causes me more anxiety than motivation and quite honestly, I don’t need anymore of that in my life.

When I was pregnant with Jensen as 2015 turned to 2016, I only made one resolution: to be the best mom I could be to him. I never imagined leaving the year without him physically with me. My goal for the year seemed impossible since I couldn’t mother my child the way I wanted. As everything with loss, this changed my outlook on how I would ‘celebrate’ all the following new years. Last year, I didn’t even make any. I stayed at home by myself and cried the entire night. Nothing could bring me the happiness I once had and it felt silly to even try to plan for a year knowing how differently they can end up.

This year, I wanted it to be different. I wanted to feel different to how I approached the upcoming year and take control. It’s the one thing I haven’t had throughout this journey, and a huge part of me wanted to take it back. So, since Christmas I’ve taken the time to really think about what I needed out of the year or even just through the day. The word that kept popping up in my head was intention.

Now this may seem like a broad word when it comes to a resolution or word for the year, but it’s what I need to live this life after loss. Each day I want to set my intentions and commit to them. No matter how small or big they seem.

Intention. 

I intend to be the best mom to Jensen I can be.

I intend to be the best person I can be.

I intend to find moments full of him.

I intend to do great things.

I intend to try to find something to smile about every day.

I intend to say his name and share his story whenever I can.

I intend to be.

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Photo by Roxana Soriano Rebolledo

Christmas Traditions.

Throughout the year, I love being able to go to different events that support parents who are journeying through pregnancy and infant loss. The holidays can prove to be very difficult and isolating; especially since Christmas is mainly focused on children and New Years marks a different time (or more time away from your child). I am so thankful there is a rich support community near me to offer Christmas and holiday programs.

Last year, I found two that really called to me. One through a children’s hospital that has an amazing support group and the other through the Angel of Hope Christmas Box organization. Both are very different, but still so meaningful. I know it can feel very nerve wrecking to attend an event like this, so I want to share my experiences to give an insight of what happens.

Akron Children’s Remembrance Service

The first service I went to of the holiday season is a more formal one. It was in a theatre with quite a bit of seating. Before the actual day, parents are encouraged to preregister their child’s name and send in a picture so they can be presented in the program and on screen.

There is a huge range of ages in children, which I think is really special. For me, it brings confirmation of other for my motherhood. My son is grouped with children who are young adults. In the service they’re not valued any less or looked on differently just because of their time on Earth. They also have one set of parents each year share their story of loss and love. The past two years, I’ve uncontrollably cried throughout this time. It’s something about being able to connect with another person and know how they’re feeling throughout it.

This year’s was about an hour to an hour and a half long. Every baby’s name was read out loud with a bell that chimed after. It’s grounding to see the big list of name and to see their faces on the screen. So many stories and so much love that remains.

During the service, I sat with my mom. We got there a little late and by that time they had already ran out of candles that were to be lit during one of the songs. Well, my mother decided Jensen couldn’t be the only one there without a light, so she pulled out her lighter and had it shining instead. Little moments like these really let me see how much my family cares. Of course I know deep down they do, just making sure she felt like he wasn’t left out made my heart smile.

Overall, I really enjoyed this service and to see the fact that I’m not alone throughout this.

Angel of Hope

This is my favorite event of the year. Every second Sunday of December this group gets together to honor our children gone too soon. This is where Jensen’s brick is too. The idea is the angel protects those around her while providing hope to those that need it most. I absolutely love reading all the names on the bricks and the little sayings. It’s heartbreaking to see them, but somehow it makes me feel like they’re all connected and together. Since Jensen is cremated and I always have his urn, it’s actually nice to have a place to go too.

The event is outside, so yes it was very cold and windy. My mom and dad went with me, which is always awesome to have both of their support. They need these days as much as I do. Everyday they grieve Jensen’s loss too.

We all meet right in front of the angel and are giving candles to light. This is actually a task in its own to keep them lit with the wind. They go through their program of their background, poems, and stories. I can’t even remember what was said because I was so in the moment. All their words just settled inside. There were tears shred, lots of hugs, and of course flowers given to the angel.

I know I always say this, but seeing the amount of people there and feeling what I am in that moment makes me feel less isolated. It was beautiful seeing everyone’s light too. Lets me know that when they looked down over us, they could see the light just for them.

On Jensen’s brick, I left him flowers. Which I leave because I know he would have always picked them from me. My dad leaves pennies every time he visits too. These are the traditions we have started because of him and I know he will forever be remembered.

Twenty Months.

December is here once again. This time it brings me to the twenty month mark and being in the midst of the second holiday season without Jensen physically here. Time has deceived me. It doesn’t feel like this many months have passed, I even had to count them twice to make sure. The second year of grief with the holidays is impossible to comprehend.

Lately, I’ve been overwhelmed. I have not wrote a lot for others to read or have done a lot of self care. With my Etsy shop, school, and working, I can barley keep myself afloat on top of grieving and missing him each day. There’s a lot more going on too, it just isn’t the right time to share. The words that are bouncing around in my head don’t make sense when I put them on paper or screen. I’ve just been focusing on making it through the present day. There’s been a lot of deep breathing.

In the past few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about the holidays, of course, and how different they would be with Jensen. I wonder what big present I would’ve got him or if he would have been afraid of Santa. Sometimes I just want to know if he would have snored or what would be his favorite movie. I’m constantly haunted with these unanswered questions and I would do anything to have them answered.

This holiday season is different than last year’s though.

You could say that there’s a ‘lighter’ feeling, but it doesn’t seem like the exact right word I’m looking to use. I guess I’m more open to seeing some of the good that’s going on around me. For instance, I decorated a lot more this year and haven’t had an anxiety attack when I’ve been Christmas shopping. I’m also not dreading the day of, but I’m still not big on the change of the year. Somehow it feels like if I’m just stuck in 2017, that I wouldn’t be even further away from him.

I never thought I could make it here to this day. Almost everyday I’m shocked I can wake up on any given morning and my body not be broken. SO many people who never lost a child told me that time would heal me and my heart. I didn’t believe them then and I still don’t now. My heart hurts. There’s not a day that passes that I wish I could go back in time and deliver him a week earlier. I’ll always want another moment with him. Knowing I’ll never have that is the worst feeling. No one could possibly describe it.

Just earlier today, I saw an informational ad about depression. They listed of all the symptoms and I just sort of laughed.

‘If any of these symptoms last longer than two weeks, you could be clinically depressed.’

What does it make me when I’m depressed for twenty months and most likely the rest of my life? I don’t really think about those questions, but with the contrast of the ‘happy’ and ‘cheery’ holidays, it really shows. For all this time, I have lived without my child and know that I will never see him physically again. Christmas music and lights don’t change that fact. Yes, I want to celebrate more and am open to that, but it’s still not the same.

It never will be.

I guess I just would like to say is no matter how you feel during any point of the year, a grieving parent (and anyone really) has the right to feel whatever they need. We can’t get down on ourselves for not feeling what we’re ‘supposed’ to feel. This is a journey without any rulebook.

Say their names. Tell their stories.

No matter if it’s been twenty days, months, or years, our children did live. They matter and love never dies.


Tonight, I’ll be attending a Christmas program from bereaved parents. I plan on updating everyone on how it goes and want to post a little more this month since school is over on the 13th. Continued thanks to each and every one who has followed me through my journey. If you need anything from me, even just to listen, please reach out.

5 Tips to Tackle Grieving This Season.

Tackling Grief
The upcoming holidays can seem like a daunting task to anyone who participates in them. They’re even more so when you’re grieving the loss of your child or children. I know just thinking about spending another Thanksgiving and Christmas without my son, Jensen, brings me such heartache. In my first year of grief, I wished there was a guidebook in how to journey through the long winter days.
We all know this book doesn’t exist.
What helped me tremendously was reaching out to other loss parents to talk, vent, and just share about my child and what was going on around me. Sometimes, I found myself in vulnerable positions without being able to reach out. Grief had tested me again. Through a lot of tears and running out of family-filled rooms, I learned a routine to help combat the mix of my grief and the holiday cheer.

These are my 5 tips to tackle grieving this season.

Breathe.

This may sound like a simple task, but in the heat of the moment it can be hard to catch your breath. For me, not seeing Jensen at Thanksgiving dinner or opening up presents really let reality hit me square in the face. I felt like I was hyperventilating in those moments. The world was spinning around me and grief was the one pushing it faster and faster. Then, I remembered to take a deep breath in and out.
I was still living in the nightmare that is my reality, but focusing on my breath allowed me to take care of my mental and emotional needs.

Recognize what you’re feeling.

Grief has made me feel more emotions than I ever thought I had. I used to want to hide away some of the forceful ones like anger and envy. They made me feel like an ugly person. By ignoring those feelings, they were more likely to come back and in a much stronger wave.
Recognize what you feel. In that moment, you’re feeling what you need to and maybe it will help you understand why. When I saw the little ones in my family with food all over their face, I was so angry. I wanted to project it on them, but I wasn’t angry at them. As I took my feelings in, I was able to understand I was angry Jensen wasn’t here with food all over his face.
The more a person is in situations like these, the better it is to recognize the emotion and tackle grief before it snowballs.

Take the moments as they come.

This has always been my biggest challenge. When I think about living through the holiday season, I don’t see the days in-between the big ones. Everything is weighing down on me and I feel like I have to live through two months in one moment.
Obviously, this isn’t true.
We have lived through the worst days of our lives. No matter how different our stories are and how time feels when we look back on those days, we each took the moments as they come. That’s how we get through each and every day, before and after loss. Don’t take on these next weeks all right now. Take them as the moment comes.
Small victories make big differences.

Celebrate when you can and break down if needed.

As hard as it seems, don’t feel guilty to celebrate or break down.
It feels hard to think we’ll ever truly celebrate after loss and if we do, it’s not as full as it used to. That’s perfectly fine. Just don’t be afraid to smile or attend an event because your child isn’t there. Take something that reminds you of him or her and talk about them when you can. Give yourself permission to smile and enjoy a day.
On the other hand, don’t feel as if you have to attend every holiday event or get-together. You are the only one who knows your exact grief. Don’t mistake this as a sign of weakness. If you do decide to attend and feel overwhelmed, I hope you remember to breathe, but it’s okay to breakdown too.

Always know you’re doing the best you can.

If none of these tips to tackle grieving this season help, I hope you can take away this very last one. You are doing the best you can. It might not feel like it in certain moments, but it’s true. No matter if you decide to stay in bed untilJanuary 2 or go to every get-together possible, you are a super hero.
Wishing you all a gentle holiday season from my grieving heart to yours. 

Nineteen Months. 


This is how he would have looked last year around this time. Seven months old and going into his first set of holidays. 

I won this portrait from For A Moment Portrait last year during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. When I won it, I was so excited because I never win anything and everyday when I woke up I pictured what he would look like. I still wonder what he’d look like since. 

She sent me Jensen age progressed to six/seven-ish months right before his birthday. I remembered being terrified to see what how it turned out. What if it wasn’t the way I had pictured him? Or what if my reaction was bad? It was the same feeling I had when Jensen bear arrived home. I built up the courage and carefully took it out of the envelope. My eyes were closed before I turned it over and saw him. No matter what it ended up looking like, I always had my image of him. So, I took the plunge. 

It was him. 

He had the curly hair inpictured and looked more like my mom than I had imagined, but it was definitely him. His eyes were opened, which I’ve never seen before. He looked happy and that brought me peace. 

Sometimes I wish I would get an age progression drawing for every year. Just to peak my curiosity. If I was any good at drawing, I’d do it myself, but I wouldn’t give him the justice he deserves. 

I’m not sure why I decided to share this image today. 

His smiling face has been right in front of me for almost seven months now. It didn’t feel right until now to show it off. 

Maybe it’s the time of year? Heading into the second holiday season without him and all I want is to see his face and how much he’s grown. Time doesn’t heal all wounds. My heart longs for him more and more as each day passes. I hate not being able to plan which presents he’d open up or decide when he should get a picture with Santa. And I wish for the everyday things, like making sure he was warm enough to go outside or wiping off food that missed his mouth.
Time doesn’t make up for all the moment I should have had with him. It’s been nineteen months and the pain hasn’t lessened. Has it changed? Of course. But the weight in my heart is stil there. The tears still come. I’m still dreading the holidays and the year change. And in less than six months, I should have a two year old. 

Each day for the rest of my life, I know I’ll make it through. The smiling face I see in front of me now promises me that. I’ve lived the worst day of my life and I know it should be different, but I promise him and myself that I will be the best I can be. 

I’ll continue sharing his story and never letting his memory fade away.