Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Friday, September 23, 2011

A different reality

During these last couple of weeks of being back at work, I have had an overwhelming feeling that I am lost.  A feeling that I went "off-track" somewhere.  I was preparing and anticipating for the reality of motherhood and working part-time (or not at all).  Instead, I'm left with a new reality, a very different reality.  I'm back at work, and some moments feel like nothing ever changed - no pregnancy ever happened because I'm right back where I was - doing the same thing I was doing before.  But the fact of the matter is: everything has changed.  Everything inside of my heart and inside of my head is different.  Some days I wake up with agonizing emotional pain, wondering why any of this had to happen to us.  I wake up and I don't want to face the day.  I don't want to face this reality.  Some nights, I lay in bed with tears streaming down the sides of my face, wishing I could still be pregnant with my baby girl.  I have cried myself to sleep too many nights to count.  Sometimes the struggle seems pointless.  Then sometimes, when you add in the stresses of the world that is speeding along as we're trying to hold onto our sanity and put ourselves back together, it can all be too overwhelming.

There's a poem titled "Welcome to Holland" that a friend shared with me.  This poem so accurately sums up how I feel right now.  Sometimes I sit and cry saying, "I don't want to be in Holland.  I want to be in Italy".  It is unfair.  To any family that has had to go through the loss of a child - it is very unfair.  I don't have an answer as to why these things happen.  I spend probably the majority of my time crying out to God asking him to show me why.  Today I was just telling God that I don't know why my human mind is so desperately trying to connect the dots and gather an understanding of what has happened to us - but I NEED that.  I NEED to understand!  What I do know is that this situation has drawn me so much closer to God and has completely changed my thought patterns toward this earth and the time we spend here.  It has also changed my thoughts about heaven and hell and the reality of those places.  More than ever, I understand how temporary this life and this body is.  I understand that we do not live forever and something is going to happen when we die - we are going to go somewhere.  I know more than ever that I want to be in heaven because a piece of my heart is already there.

"Welcome To Holland"
by:  Emily Perl Kingsley

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy.  You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum.  The Michelangelo David.  The gondolas in Venice.  You may learn some handy phrases in Italian.  It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.  You pack your bags and off you go.  Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy!  I'm supposed to be in Italy.  All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan.  They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease.  It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language.  And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place.  It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy.  But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips.  Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there.  And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever  go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Sometimes it amazes me how strong and happy I can be. Then there are times when the sadness creeps in and is completely overwhelming. This is one of those times.
It's indescribably painful to see so many kids and babies all around me every day and to see FaceBook posts about babies and pregnancies when I have a huge, gaping hole in my soul that should be filled with my little daughter. Instead, I have a box. I have a box of mementos and photos and a blanket. I have a blanket with her name on it... but no baby to wrap up in the blanket. God - take this pain away from me. I'm torn with never wanting to forget and never wanting to remember. The remembering brings the tears. The remembering reminds me of what I almost had. The remembering makes me feel like I wasn't worthy enough to be a mother.

Friday, September 16, 2011

She Opened My Eyes

Over these past 4 weeks I keep seeing little ways I've changed since we lost Annalise. She has opened my eyes to so many things. Before now, I felt like I was walking through life half asleep. Now - I'm truly fully awake.

I've noticed how much I would let all the small stresses of life bother me in the past. I would let them all build up and then I would just explode. Now, I feel calmer and those small stresses seem completely insignificant to me. For example: this morning I took a big test. Regularly, I would be freaking out about it, but I was completely calm and peaceful. I practically got a perfect score on the test, and even if I had failed it - it would have been okay, because I could have taken it again. There are scarier things in life.

Also, things such as possessions and social stature that I used to hang onto so tightly and thought were so cool before - I now sit amazed at how petty it all is. I look around at people chasing after these silly things - fame, extravagant wealth, party life - and I just feel my head spin at the realization that once upon a time that was me and now... now I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, those are the emptiest, least important things - ever. We all hold on to so many unimportant things that our arms and our hearts are too full for the things that truly matter.

Now, more than ever, I'm so aware of all the people around me. I see people in the store and on the street and I wonder to myself, "What's their hurt?" Everyone seems to have hurt. It's the world we live in - a broken world. I have had numerous conversations with people who are going through unreal pain - cancer, divorce, financial issues, deaths -- so many deaths. We all die you know. This is where my baby girl has opened my eyes to know the deep, important truth that is: life is so short and so temporal. We are basically here on a vacation. I'm here on vacation with my friends and family and my baby girl went back home a little early.

My communication and my relationship on a whole with my husband has improved drastically. I guess nothing truly cements a relationship like traveling through the darkest moments of your life together. I've always said to myself that's why my family - my mom, my brother and me - are so close. We went through such hardships and came out on the other side together and stronger!

Most importantly, since my baby girl is there, I have wanted to know so much more about heaven. About what happens to us after we die. I have needed to grow closer to God through this situation because He was the only thing sustaining me. I have learned that I can truly do anything with Him. I didn't think I could ever have the courage to give birth to and hold my dead baby - but I did. I didn't think I could ever put that baby in a casket and bury her in the ground - but I did. I didn't think I'd ever have the conviction to live after that - but I am. I didn't think I could go back to work and resume life - but I did. And this hasn't been the first time I've made it through unbelievably tough issues with His help.

James and I have had the honor of creating a precious life who will forever be alive in eternity.  I carried her for 6 months and never got to meet her face to face, but I have become a better person all because of her. I have told Annalise "Thank you for opening my eyes" several times over these past weeks and I will say it many more throughout my life. Her life was so extremely significant... it completely altered James' and my little world. I will never be the same and I am so grateful for that.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The fog in my brain

Today was my first day back at work. I only scheduled 5 client sessions (1 hour each). It was good to see everyone again. They were all sensitive and amazing and we didn't even talk about the baby and the pregnancy very much - which was also nice because it has been the only thing consuming my mind for the past 2 months since finding out the diagnosis.  However I felt like I walked around today with my head in a fog. It was similar to the day we found out Annalise's fatal diagnosis or the day we were planning the funeral. Those days I sort of just robotically functioned as if I wasn't in my own life and I was just performing the motions I knew I needed to perform. Well, I got through today not feeling like my normal self and then at the end of the day I just sat down in my car and cried. I cried all the way to the cemetery then sat at her graveside and cried. I finally yelled at God. I finally told Him how wrong I think he is for what has happened. I finally asked him "Where were you?!? Why didn't you show up?!? Why didn't you heal her?!?" I know it's not Gods fault, but I just was so desperately longing for my loving heavenly father to fix everything and make it all perfect for our family. Now I'm just left wondering what great is going to come of this all. What is the purpose for this tragedy?

After putting a fresh bed of mulch around the lilies on her grave, I left to pick up a few items at the store. I swear, today I felt like everywhere I went, people were looking at me as if I were wearing a sticker on my forehead that said "My baby just died." James always says I wear my exact emotions all over my face. So if I looked on the outside anything like what I felt on the inside - I'm sure it was well worth staring at. I finally got angry today. I got angry about all the 100's of kids I see everywhere I go. It's like a taunting reminder that my child is never going to be here with me again. I also got angry at so many parents treating their kids so un-lovingly. It makes me mad and it makes me sad to see this. I guess I value parenthood so much more now after what I've lost... maybe before this, I would have been one of those same parents frustrated at their kids. Hopefully I can go forward treating my future children with love and compassion even when they are getting on my last nerve.

In the gym with my clients, I think I was probably trying a little too hard to make everything exactly as it was before. Normal for their sake. I don't want to be a total basket-case freak that cries at every mention of a baby or sad song on the radio, so we can't even make it through a workout. I guess I put my "game face" on today and I figure I will have that game face on out in public until this new natural feels... actually natural. I also let myself get frustrated today at my (muscular) weaknesses lifting weights - forgetting that it's only been three weeks since I delivered a baby. I am rushing it -physically and emotionally. Then I feel guilty for rushing it. Then I beat myself up about what I should be doing differently. Then I just cry. It's a sick roller-coaster that I'm on right now and if you know me, you know that I don't like roller-coasters.

I have no doubt in my mind that this will get easier. I know everyday will become less forced and less terrifying. Then I will feel somewhat like myself again. Somewhat like myself but also very very different. Today was actually much easier than I thought but I really acted like a complete drill-sergeant, ignoring much else. I hope my clients don't think I've lost it. Happy Miranda will be back... soon. Just give me a little time.

On a side note today. I was thinking about how people who don't know God cope with tragedy and severe heart-ache. I know that the Miranda who didn't know God back in the day when my parents split went straight to every bottle of rum and party she could find to escape the pain. I know other's have mentioned along this journey how drugs - especially prescription drugs were a "crutch" they leaned on to get through things. I have also heard God and Christianity flippantly referred to as some peoples' "crutch". Well from my stand point, seeing and knowing the terrible effects alcohol, drugs, etc can have on your life and your families lives, God seems like a much better and more positive "crutch".  When my parents split, I blamed it on God and the last thing I wanted was anything from Him. About 12 years later, after trying everything else, the only thing that won out was Gods love - still waiting there for me even though I cursed Him and told him how much I hated Him. He still waited.

Many of you have told me through e-mail or conversation that I'm so strong or amazing and I write so well. I have to completely attribute that to God. It's not me, because I have never been more weak in my life. I would still be laying in a bed since Friday, August 19th - not able to muster up one ounce of "why do I have to go on."  It's all completely God and I know many of my friends from the past who will read this and think I've totally lost it. And you know what - I think I have. I don't know if you can truly understand the depth of God's love and peace until it's the only thing you have left to cling onto.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Baby Alexander

Yesterday marked the 7 year anniversary of the loss of my mom's baby boy - Alexander. It's so insane because she and I lost our babies at pretty much exactly the same time along in our pregnancy - 6 months. I will be honest and tell you that when she was going through the situation I was in college, away from home, and I wasn't very involved in her experience. I had no clue what she was going through or how broken she was feeling. I was totally wrapped up in my own life while she was going through one of the hardest situations ever in her life. I feel so guilty, now, for not being there... now that I know how deeply devastating this experience is. She has told me how she was alone in the hospital with no one but the nurse at her side. Even now when I think of this I can feel my heart just breaking. I had no idea what she was dealing with. I should have been there. I didn't cry a tear for her experience then, but I have wept many for her and for Alexander now.

It's crazy how God uses situations in our lives. She was (and is) able to be there for me with deep understanding because she has walked this path. I wish she never had to go through such a thing but I am grateful to have her comfort and understanding. It's also a comfort to know that my little brother and my little girl are in heaven together - they have each other. It's encouraging to see my mom and how she has walked through her grieving and where she is today. She still misses him and even cries occasionally but she is good and she has resumed living her life. Seeing this gives me courage that I can do the same. I look at her and I see me. I see that I can be okay - I will be fine.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

My Husband

Today I have been thinking a lot about the amazing support system I had around me during this time. My family, my friends, my church and especially my husband. All throughout the long night at the hospital he was there for me every second that I needed him - without complaint. I kept saying I felt bad for needing so much from him and bothering him while he was trying to sleep. All he kept saying was "he wouldn't have it any other way" and "he wanted to be there for me." He was my rock that night. We both saw each other in such a different way after that experience. Our relationship has grown stronger. I know that I feel a deeper love and respect for him than I ever have. He is an amazing man... and I am a lucky girl.

Even now... he is always there to listen and give heart-felt support and advice. I think and I hope that I am there to do the same for him. I've found out that men and women grieve very differently, so sometimes I wonder if my advice and support helps in any way. My heart aches to see him sad at times. My heart aches that we had to go through this and are now faced with figuring out how to resume life as normal when nothing feels normal. However, since Annalise passed, I've seen in James a new passion to do the very best he possibly can at anything he is doing. I've seen a new drive to be the absolute best man, husband, and pastor he can be. He says he just wants to make God and Annalise proud. I know they are proud of him, because I sure am.

Friday, September 9, 2011

3 Weeks

You know, while I was pregnant - time seemed to just speed along through the first trimester. Then at 20 weeks when we found out, everything seemed to slow down tremendously as we stretched every minute out with Annalise and made every second with her count. Since her death and delivery it has been only 3 weeks. To me, it has been the longest, most difficult 3 weeks of my life. I think I am in awe at how regularly 3 weeks is no time at all, but during these last few weeks I feel like time has lost all definition.

It might have a lot to do with being off of work, so the days just seem to go on forever. James hasn't experienced these same feelings about the time - probably because he has been insanely busy at work. I have to admit, I've been a little jealous of how busy he has been able to be. I wish I had so much to occupy my mind. Instead, I'm left in a quiet house to think about her and about our loss. It may have been very good for me though. I feel as if I'm in a good place right now. Some moments get difficult but I've learned from past experiences not to dwell in the difficult moments for too long. Dwelling in the sadness and the difficult moments can become dangerous very quickly. I've learned that major depression and emptiness thrive on my dwelling and my negativity. I instead choose to change my thought patterns to joyful memories of my Annalise and I focus on all the blessings I have around me now. I am incredibly blessed.

I start back to work next week. I'm looking forward to it. I think I'm scared that I will be in terrible physical condition and my clients will be more fit that I am.. haha! (which I'm pretty sure most of them are right now). I'm also scared of crazy, out of nowhere emotional breakdowns. I pray this doesn't happen because the last thing I want to do is make everyone around me uncomfortable. I'm also pretty excited that one of my past clients is coming back to me. This guy worked out with me last year. He was 89 then and is 90 years old now! He's a firecracker though. Somedays you don't know what you'll get from him - he always keeps me on my toes. I'm sure there will be more stories to come about him! I'm looking forward to getting back into a "normal" pace and seeing all these people again.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Our Earthly Tents

For the past 2 nights, I have not slept very well. I've had nightmares all night long about having a baby in my arms and then having it taken away from me - then me frantically searching for the baby. Last night, I dreamed I was in a house with several very pregnant women who were all complaining about the pains and challenges of pregnancy while I was sitting there in my pain and loss. I just distinctly remember wanting to scream at them all in my dream - but I didn't. I pray my dreams become better soon and I can get some peaceful sleep.

Usually most mornings when I open my eyes - painful thoughts immediately rush at me. Although this has been getting better with time, this morning was particularly poignant. I had thoughts about my baby girl in the hospital right after she was delivered. She was just so tiny and fragile - James and I were, at first, both scared to touch her for fear that we would tear her skin. (There is nothing more painful to a parent to know your child is injured and there is nothing you can do to fix them.) Then my memory recalled how her body started breaking down as we passed her around, moved her and touched her. My heart was aching then in the hospital and I think it aches even more now as I recall it. However, a Bible verse came right to my mind this morning while laying in my misery in my bed. It's 2 Corinthians 5:1 "Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands." As I type this now, tears come to my eyes. I am so grateful for this truth. I love how Paul uses the word "tent" - a flimsy, temporary structure - to describe our earthly bodies. Then he uses the words "a building from God" - giving the sense of a strong, permanent, perfect structure - to describe our eternal bodies.

I thank God everyday that my baby has a new, perfect, eternal body. Free of pain or illness. I ache everyday to be with her and to see her. To hear her laugh or see how she would act silly like her mom and dad. Through this entire experience I have sought and gained such a deeper perspective of heaven and what we have to look forward to. I cannot wait to see my baby girl's new body in heaven one day.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Gift From Heaven

I went out today to buy day lilies to plant at Annalise's grave and a special box to put all the mementos of her life in. We decided to put everything in a box because it's so difficult to be going throughout our day, doing okay, then seeing one of her memento's and just braking down and losing it. Now we can have the choice to go to the box and have a good cry on our timing.

As I was putting things in the box I came across a poem that CLC gave to us along with a small wind chime for her grave site. I hadn't taken the time to read it on the day of the funeral because I was just so overwhelmed by everything. The poem brought James and me to tears today. It's perfect. It's titled:

A Gift From Heaven

I am with you always
I live in your heart
I speak to your soul
We are not far apart

When you feel a light breeze
Hear the songs the birds sing
Know that I see every smile
Your kindness can bring

I see you building your dreams
With wisdom and grace
And asking His guidance
With each challenge you face

I am more than a memory
You will feel our love grow
I am forever your angel
Some things you just know

Please tell me your thoughts
Your hopes and your fears
And know that through faith
He will heal all your tears

For today, I can share
That in Heaven above
God has taken my hand
I am complete, I am love.

-Kristan Dean

"Just Smile"

I know I've been quiet for awhile. I've sat here 3 separate times, started writing a blog but then deleted it and walked away. The place I'm in right now emotionally is just so crazy and volatile. One day I could be feeling waaay up! Then the next waaay down. I didn't want to appear to the world to have split-personalities. But writing to you all and knowing that you are all walking this journey with me is so comforting and I don't want to turn my back on this.

Over the last week or so I've just been trying to ease my way back into what I'm calling a "new-normal". I'm trying to do things I enjoy (even though much of the luster is gone from just about everything right now). I am smiling a lot more and finding time to laugh with my husband. I've been trying to go out in public more and more. At first it was very difficult... but it's getting easier every time. The hardest parts are seeing the people at the local grocery, gas station, or sandwich shop - who I've had passing conversations with about my pregnancy - now just completely ignore the issue of my flat tummy like nothing ever happened. Maybe that's for the best though, because what would they say?! Then, how would I react?! Maybe it's for the best. However, I think a part of me just wants everyone to recognize Annalise's life - no matter how much it may hurt me to talk about it - I want to know that she is remembered.

I've also been setting goals for myself. Very small, very slow goals right now. I worked out a bit yesterday (which was a far cry from a regular workout of mine, but I broke a nice lil sweat). I've been cleared by the doctor and I'm slowly able to start doing more physically, which is good. I am a busy body and a very active person. Being back in the gym was very uplifting. I seriously feel alive when I'm working out and helping others to work out. I'm also studying for a personal trainer recertification test - which I take in about 10 days. I'm meeting with a few friends. Life is seeming to slip back to normal very easily. But I have to confess there is an evil little part of me that wants to stay in the misery of 3 weeks ago. I want to wallow in the pain and the missing her. I don't want to heal or let go because I feel like I'd be completely letting go of her. (Sick I know... I'm sure you're all thinking of a therapist to refer me to right now.) But I'm determined not to let those sad feelings get the best of me. I told James yesterday that through my tearful daily prayers, I get the distinct feeling that Annalise wants me to just smile. I keep thinking the words in my head "Just Smile." I don't know if it's just my "always be happy" personality and attitude coming out or if my little girl is actually placing on my heart her desire for me to just be happy. But now my number one goal is to "Just Smile" as often as I can every day.

I don't know if this is bad to confess on here or not, but I will admit that lately the number one desire that has been on my heart is to try again for a baby. However, every one keeps saying "give your body time to heal" but also "give yourself time to mourn Annalise properly." I think that I will always ache for Annalise. I will always miss my 1st baby. It will always hurt to know how motherhood was snatched away from me the first taste I got of it. The way I would emotionally diagnose myself right now is: I'm sad and I'm hurting. I miss her tremendously. However, I know she's in heaven and loving her life right now. I know she's secure. I need to do for me what I feel will be the most healing. I need to know I can be a mom. I need to know I am capable. I need an outlet to give all this maternal love. Maybe I'm all wrong. But even if I wait 2 years to have another baby - I still think I'll have the same emotional pains - they may have become dull and fallen beneath the surface but I think they'll always be a part of me from now on. I don't think Annalise wants me to hurt. I think she wants us both to be happy. I pray that God will show me (us) the proper timing of His perfect will.