Princess Chuck turns 3!

I was given free product in exchange for this post. As always, opinions are solely my own.
 image

When I received the email notification we had been chosen again this year to host a Disney @Home Celebration party, it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was sitting at the kitchen table contemplating baby Bug’s hospital stay the night before. He was still wheezing in the other room and my girly, Chuck, was squirming in my lap for the attention she so desperately needed after a night away from mama. Little did I know we would be headed back to the hospital the next day as Bug’s oxygen saturation dropped dramatically and he became dehydrated. But, amid all the nerves and chaos that happens when your newborn gets really sick, we got this exciting announcement! What a mood lifter!

 

Once the roller coaster ride of our 8 day stay in the pediatric unit had ended, it was time to start planning little Miss Fancy Pants’ birthday party! First, since I knew the theme would be “Sofia the first,” I had to figure out a way to make it coed appropriate. C has lots of little dudes as buddies and I didn’t want them to feel left out if we did a princess only tea party or something. So, I asked the most dapper of guys in our life, Papa bear! He suggested a  “ball.” Knights, pirates and princes would be welcomed to join all the princesses for a fun royal ball! It was perfect! We found a cute template on evite.com and set the date…wheels were in motion!

 

Now, for decorations, food and activities! I had planned so many fun things to do…outside. Our royal ball would be held in our backyard with a projector movie of Sofia the first playing for the duration of the party. There would be strand lights and Chinese lanterns and magical, mystical accents to make our setting perfect. Weeeeellll, the best laid plans, right?! Instead, it rained.

 

We moved as much as we could indoors (including all 60 guests in our 1000 sq. ft. home!) and scrapped the rest. In place of twinkly lights, I hung streamers from the ceiling.

image

Where we would have had outdoor garden games like croquet (I really had planned to teach three year olds to play with mallets. For real.) we instead had a dance contest under our covered patio as the warm Southern California rain poured down. We played “freeze dance” and all the kids giggled as if it was the best activity ever!

IMG_6659re

With the crayons and coloring book we received in our box, I set up a “decorate the castle” station where everyone could color a Sofia picture of their choice.

IMG_6639

 

We ate cupcakes from Sam’s club and homemade turkey wraps. I made “princess pops” with marshmallows on sticks with cupcake liners to look like ball gowns. They looked more artistic on Pinterest, but that didn’t seem to affect how quickly they disappeared! The Sofia table decorations got plenty of compliments!

image image image IMG_6637

 

 

 

My favorite detail of the whole shindig was the photo booth I set up! I found three old shutters listed for free on one of my local garage sale pages on facebook. Then I strung together scrap fabric and tulle to make a streamer for the backdrop and placed purple pillows around an ottoman to make a “throne.” The kids all loved having their royal headshots taken!

image image image

When the royal processional was ready to retreat, we sent them each home with a little something special. The princesses left with everything necessary for a pretty manicure and the princes left with either a knightly shield or a pirate band tambourine. I think they were all graciously received.

image image image image

 

 

Although things didn’t go as we had originally planned, Princess Chuckles enjoyed her special day and has woken up every morning since asking if it was time for her birthday again! Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us and thank you Disney for the opportunity!

IMG_6687

 

I received free product in order to write this post. As always, opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

Like what you read? Share the love:

Snuggle All My Bugs Together

imageChuck is adjusting pretty well. I would say that being 2.5, a precocious little genius and accustomed to being the constant center of attention could all prove to be pretty big hurdles to scale when it comes to adding a baby brother to the mix. But, she loves him, she “just LOVES him SOOO much!” Her words. And actions, as she tries to smother him with All.The.Love!

When Hfoe brought C to the hospital to meet her new comrade, he also brought the Calico Critters and school that I had gotten ahead of time to be the gift her baby gave her. It was a glorious plan in my mind. She would be so enamored with the baby and then he/she would give her a gift, too?! Wow, this sibling thing is pretty awesome! I also thought the little critters would be a perfect “sometimes” toy for her to play with only when I was nursing the baby, thus keeping her both occupied with the “special” toy and blissfully unaware that I was trapped on the couch, plugged in, unable to reprimand her for whatever she happened to be getting into at the moment. The best laid plans…

As they walked into our hospital room, I had baby Bug in his bassinet so the first thing C saw wasn’t HER mama holding a different kid. I squealed with delight to see her and invited her to join me on the bed. We hugged and cuddled and then she said, “Mama, what’s that?” “That’s your brother, G. Would you like to hold him?” “Sure, Mama.” So, hubs took baby boy out of his cozy bed and we cocooned Chuck in pillows as we laid him precariously in her lap. She poked him and kissed him and examined his tiny face…and then she was done. She wanted to explore the interesting hospital room. But, first, the gift! “OOOOH, cooool!” She loved it! That’s it. I was a genius and my plan was going to work perfectly.

Then, Buddy started to cry. I saddled him up to my boob to nurse (at which he was already a pro) and I didn’t think anything of it. She had her magical toys, after all. Oh the sob that broke from her sweet little gut just about broke my heart. I have actually never heard my girl make that sound before. “Nooo, don’t give him milkies! That’s my milkies, mama! Why, mama?!” It makes me tear up writing this two months later. I had no idea that it would hurt her so much to see me share her special mama time with another baby, without ever asking her if it was ok.

C only gets nursed to sleep now, so I guess I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal to her. I was very wrong and it has taken a long time to make things right. After lots of explaining that he can’t eat the food she can and involving her help to get burp rags while I breastfeed, she now shares milkies with her brother without a fight. In fact, on occasions when Hfoe has to work late and baby Bug is awake when I put his sister to bed, she will ask to “do milkies all together…so I can snuggle all my bugs.” I love her terminology to describe our tandem nursing sessions. It is such a sweet, sweet time where she caresses his head and he holds her finger and I stare at them both in the dark. I know that C will likely be weaning completely soon, so I am cherishing what little time of this we have left.These two precious little beings, my snuggle bugs, all together, doing their “milkies”…I never want to forget it.

Like what you read? Share the love:

Firsts on Firsts on Firsts

The single most covetable part about being a mother, in my opinion, is the privilege granted to me to be the eyes that witness and the ears that hear all the firsts that come from this tiny little human. It seems like every week is equivocal to a moon landing in one form or another. Chuckles had a big couple of weeks this month! Between her leaps in vocabulary and great first time experiences, I am chalk-full of accounts for September.

"Hey Bear! Look at me, Bear!"

“Hey Bear! Look at me, Bear!”

I guess we really started the month at the end of LAST month with a trip to visit the cousins in Oregon. Chuck loved waking up every morning to the giggles of her built-in family playmates. There is just something so special about watching your kid bond with their life-long buddies. Knowing that these tiny people will grow and go their separate ways over the years, but will always be able to come back together to reminisce about breakfast around the table with “not-so-hots” and cousin craft nights that got a little TOO glitter-heavy makes my heart so happy. While we were in Oregon, we decided to take a little detour to see some friends who had recently moved from our area up that way. What a refreshing time of fellowship with some sweet friends whom we have missed! Somewhere along the way, we decided to make the stop at Wildlife Safari. Have you heard of this place or a place like it? It’s a drive through zoo where the animals roam (mostly) free. I remember going to a place like that in Arkansas called Arbuckle Wilderness when I was little and it made quite the impact on my aspiring Zoologist self. However, I don’t remember it being THAT cool! Wildlife Safari turned me into a giggly kid and turned my giggly kid into quite the chatterbox! “Hi Bear! Hey, look at me bear!!” Her mantra of the drive has now become a Crunchy house catchphrase because it made us laugh endlessly while in the park. Her favorite animal in the park was the “scary chicken” that kept coming up to the window for food…of course this was an emu, but “scary chicken” actually seems more fitting. Needless to say, Chuck’s first time at the drive-thru zoo was a roaring success!

IMG_7309.JPG

This is her reaction for the Frozen float in Mickey’s Soundsational Parade at Disneyland….You’d think she’d appreciate my rendition.

Another first for this growing kid of ours recently has been her usage of certain phrases, correctly, that send us into stitches. C has always had a great vocabulary and was able to express herself from an early age. But this level of comprehension (and wit) is new. For instance, she, of course, loves “Frozen.” Like it has for every other two-year old girl on the planet, Disney’s latest princess flick has found it’s way into our sweet girl’s heart as an instant favorite. She would listen to the soundtrack on repeat if allowed. So, it stands to reason that her papa and I know ALL the words to one notable song in particular. C has decided, though, that our sing-along sessions just don’t do the film justice and as we head into the hook with great gusto, our dear girl will shout, “Hold it!” with her hands held up and a furrow on her brow. Kills us every time. In addition to her lofty musical critiques, she has crafted quite the imaginary scenarios of which we are expected to partake….and know all the rules. One example of this is the tea party she likes to host on a daily basis. The cups must face a certain direction and we must only eat cookies (not biscuits) off the plates. If I “eat” something I’m not supposed to, I will receive a stern, “No mama, like this.” from my bossy strong girl. My favorite phrase at the moment, though, is “I no hafta (fill in the blank), mama.” The most common blank-filler is “I no hafta nap now,” but you can also fill in with “eat that” or “clean that” or “do that.” While I know at first read this seems like she is talking back and perhaps in need of some nose on the wall time,  it’s actually funny because she is such a little mini-me that her inflection and tone make her sound EXACTLY like my “persuasive” voice. When I am trying to convince Hfoe that I don’t really need to clean the bathrooms today or that I don’t really “hafta” cook dinner tonight….my tiniest ears are listening and mimicking ME! It’s both a funny and humbling reminder!

IMG_6721.JPG

First Fish!!

We had a proud moment first while we were all in Colorado this month for hunting season. Since Hfoe harvested his elk on his second day out in the woods (thank you, Jesus for a full freezer for the next year!), Chuckles and I got to enjoy a little more family time with him than we were expecting. On one of those days, we decided to head down to the community pond at my grandma’s cabin and try C’s luck at fishing. After a couple of slapstick moments of chasing after grasshoppers for bait, we were ready to cast the line. Papa threw out the first cast and asked me to hold tight to the pole, while Chuck, in all her mini-fisher glory, manned the reel. It was truly a group effort…and it paid off! C was so excited as that bobber disappeared under the water and I helped her snag her first little trout. She reeled it in with papa and squealed uncontrollably as it flopped and flipped at her touch! This was one of those moments that, despite her age, I really hope she remembers, at least partly, because it was kind of magical….and a little slimy!

IMG_6622.JPG

Kicked in the head by “Brother-Sister”

A couple of my favorite firsts from this month involve C’s “brother-sister.” She got to feel baby kick for the first time as we were laying down to nap one afternoon and then she told the baby “I love you, baby” completely unsolicited for the first time soon after. Talk about melting a mama heart! I sure hope this sweetness continues once the runt is born!

As we head into the last 8 weeks of this pregnancy, I am reminded to take every opportunity to step back and enjoy each of Chuck’s “firsts” because soon we will have another first-timer on our hands. I am most excited to see my TWO babes meet each other for the first time. Now, THAT is sure to be a monumental first for our whole family!

IMG_6791.JPG

Being a good big sister, feeding bear.

 

Like what you read? Share the love:

She wants another diaper genie? How rude!- And other comments on a second baby shower…

When we first found out we were pregnant with this little bug, we were understandably hesitant to show happiness, joy or even hopefulness, since just the month before we had lost Blue. But, slowly, as the months have gone by and the tiny heartbeat remains strong and the kicks come more regularly, the existence of this growing little nugget is cause for more and more excitement. We talk about names and plan our future adventures with a fourth family member in mind. It’s finally FUN!

Bug’s first headshot.

 

I am halfway through this pregnancy and with the 20th week comes the onslaught of many decisions, plans and, well, opinions! The latest question posed in my birth group (yes, I am one of those women who discusses things like breast tenderness and morning sickness with total strangers…SHOCKING, I know!) is “Would it be acceptable to have a baby shower for my second/third/fourth baby?”

Until this pregnancy, I never questioned it. Of course you should shower EVERY baby with love, attention and celebration because life is a miracle no matter which way you cut it. Heck, I have thrown a couple of subsequent child showers for friends myself! Had I performed some etiquette taboo?! For shame!

That is, of course, until I was faced with dissenting opinions by some of those people closest to me with the talk of a second shower for this baby. Apparently, “no one does that.” And, “it’s rude and seems like begging for gifts when you should already have everything from baby one.” And my favorite, “Why would you want to do another shower. Didn’t you get your fill of silly games the first time around?” Soooo…..

My first response was one of surprise because I simply didn’t know this position existed. And then I felt a bit defensive. Being a person who questions EVERYTHING, I wanted to know WHY no one does it, WHY it’s rude and WHY anyone WOULDN’T want to celebrate every additional child with which they are blessed.

What I have found is that just like many “etiquette” traditions that seem outdated and maybe even offensive, the “only have one baby shower EVER” argument is routed in old fashioned necessity. Back in an era when people were broke and popping kids out every year, it was seen as rude to expect other people who were just as broke and child-full as you to give you the necessary accouterments for every child YOU bore. Gifts that were given the first time around were often handmade and constructed to outlast 1, 2 or 5 kids. Very little was disposable and many things were handed down from sister to cousin to friend. There was no such thing as a sonogram to determine the gender of the growing little bundle of joy, so everything was created with neutrality in mind. Swings were made of wood instead of hot pink or Navy blue fabric making them perfectly acceptable for 4 kids of different sexes. Little boys wore dresses for crying out loud! Relatives and acquaintances alike brought food to the shower and for weeks after the birth of the baby and also helped out as a village with the older children to give mom the chance to bond with baby. In these ways, mother and baby were gifted and it was seen as a bit greedy to ask for more. In short, a “shower” was simply an outlet for a get-together of gift-giving.

This looks totally safe, right?
Girl or boy? You tell me.

And on that note, shouldn’t I still have everything from Chuck? I mean, she’ll only be almost 3 years older than this kid. Surely we have all the baby items to be handed down. Well, no. Actually, we pretty much have to buy everything except toys and clothes if this baby is a girl. We were in a really bad car accident when C was 10 months old and her carseat had to be “totaled out.” So, rather than replace it with another infant seat so close to her first birthday, we bought her big kid seat that she is still using. She is also still using her crib that has been converted into a toddler bed because I was trying to be so efficient with our purchase the first time around. In addition, she still uses her booster seat at the table because we never bought a high chair and her bouncer and swing were passed to friends and acquaintances who were in need. Every baby needs new diapers, wipes, burp cloths and toiletries since those obviously don’t pass from one child to another. So, no, we DON’T have everything if that is the argument against a shower. Every family has circumstances of which you may not be aware. Don’t be the judge. Instead, maybe ask “do you have everything you need?” That’s so helpful! And let’s be honest…nobody “needs” many of the gifts they receive at a shower anyway. Three diaper genies are given because people are thoughtful and love to celebrate a baby. Not because that is a number one necessity for kidlet!

Fast forward to today, 2014. Things are a bit different. Most people, including Hfoe and me, are perfectly capable of taking care of all the children we choose to have. My baby is not going to go naked if I don’t have a shower. My child will have a place to sleep and play and eat if nobody buys us a crib, a playmat or a highchair. In fact, I don’t want anyone to buy that stuff for us. I want to be self-sufficient. But, I also WANT to have a shower. It is NOT about the gifts. It is about celebrating this little life that Hfoe and I (and I suspect MANY of those who would be invited to a shower) have prayed so diligently for. It is about recognizing this baby is just as special as Chuck and just as wanted as baby Blue was. I want to talk and laugh and play silly games with those people who love this kid already in celebration of his or her BIRTH day. And isn’t that what a shower is today anyway? A pre-birthday party? I mean, why is it considered perfectly acceptable for people to throw a birthday party for each of their five children every year, but heaven forbid a second baby get a shower?!

I guess my point is this…in the old’n days, showers were for much needed gifts. Period. Today, showers are for celebration and eating good food and laughing at the joy on a new mom’s (or second-time mom’s) face when she feels that little one kick in a room full of her favorite people. Gifts are nice, but they aren’t the purpose. Gifts help, but they aren’t necessary. Gifts are fun, but they shouldn’t be a point of contention. If your focus is on the “rudeness” of ASKING for gifts, when in reality no gifts have been asked for, perhaps the person in the mirror is really the one with the skewed outlook. Give with a happy heart, but if you can’t, don’t. You will still be welcome at my party!

Like what you read? Share the love:

Wait! More Kisses!

My family is pretty smart. Not in a pretentious, “we have better genes than you,” way, but we are generally pretty intelligent folks. I am the oldest of five siblings and as such, I have been blessed to watch the younger kids grow up and discover their brainy-ness along the way. D is next in line after me and the kid is a genius. No, really. He legitimately has a genius IQ as discerned by an actual clinical test when he was a child, not the half-baked kind from IQtestForFree.com. After D comes K. K knows something about everything. And he will let you know it. Every time. It can get really annoying because just as you buck his know-it-all attitude, Dr. Google tells you…he’s right! Let’s just say I will never challenge him to a game of Trivial Pursuit! Third middle child status falls to S. S is the quiet intellect whose way with numbers and relationships will see him running some fortune 500 company one day. He not only has book smarts, but he has a genuine heart and intuition for people that goes beyond intelligence. Finally, the baby of the family, my sister M just graduated from high school. Not only did she play varsity basketball and volunteer for her church in her spare time, but this smarty also managed to graduate second in her class of over 600 kids! With this honor came the responsibility of delivering a well-prepared, funny, yet inspiring speech to her fellow classmates, while simultaneously trying not to cry and remembering to breath. She nailed it! I know because although my whole family lives nearly 2000 miles away, I got to be there for her special moment. It meant so much to me that she sacrificed the plane ticket to come see us in CA which was originally to be her graduation present, in favor of Hfoe, Chuck and me being there on that day.

Chuck was less than thrilled to take family photos after graduation.

Following graduation, M did, in fact, come back to California with us. She used the money she had been working for all semester to buy her own way out for three weeks in this sunny place. We had big plans to conquer all while she was here and we came pretty close to that goal. Between shopping on 3rd Street Promenade, ogling giraffes and zebras at the LA Zoo, doing Disneyland and beaching it up from Santa Barbara to Santa Monica, she checked quite a few things off her “to do in LA” list.

Meeting Goofy at Disneyland with Aunt M.
Impromptu parade watching in Santa Barbara. Summer Solstice. Who knew?

Of course, Chuck was in Heaven having her aunt attend to her every beck and call. The daily mantra first thing every morning became, “M comin’ toooo?!” I loved watching my baby sis play with the most precious person in my life and build a relationship that so many of my friends with close families experience on a regular basis. Don’t get me wrong, this sweetness was sprinkled with brat face moments as well. There were a few times I got the very clear picture of what having two will resemble. An 18 year old knows quickly how to antagonize a two year old and a two year old knows LOUDLY how to protest! But, mostly, the sounds of giggles and nightly games of chase while I cooked dinner just filled my soul with happy.

The Giant Sea Otters were the highlight of the zoo day!

Probably the biggest highlight while M was here was the cruise we took for Hfoe’s and my 5 year anniversary. The ship sailed for three days just out of Long Beach harbor to Ensenada, but the getaway was exactly what we needed. Plus, I felt like such a rich kid travelling with my own personal nanny! We had a delicious dinner every night and fun activities during the day. Chuckles really dug the kids camp and came back with a smile on her face after every session with them. M and I got some one on one sister time one night when Hfoe settled in early with the nugget. We went to see a comedian who, despite his title, really wasn’t all that funny and we decided to leave. Besides, the karaoke was far more hysterical to listen to! Hfoe and I also got a romantic date night which seems to be few and far between these days with the cost of childcare. So a big, fat THANK YOU to M for her gift to us of watching the kid so we could have alone time! We debarked the boat in Ensenada as a family and explored La Bufadora and the adjacent market place. We didn’t buy much, although I’m sure many a deal was to be had. M did experience a “first,” but I will let her share that story for herself!

Mini golf champs on the boat.

Once we returned to LA, we only had a week left with my sweet sister. I think the realization of that hit us and caused us to kind of take it easy, soaking in every moment those last few days. We swam at the local pool, shopped a little more and just watched movies at home pretending this is what we do every day…ignoring the impending reality. We spent Independence Day boogie boarding and barbecuing on the beach in Ventura, rounding out a perfect visit with a perfect, sun-soaked afternoon.

No trip to LA is complete without Sprinkles cupcakes.
Aunt M is a genius for sure…too much to carry? Use a sled!

I suppose this post is a bit of a diary of sorts for me. It’s not my typical entry, but I do have a message, a thought I hope to inspire among my readers.

Goodbyes are hard.

Cherish your family. If you live close to them, make time to see them. Some of us don’t have that luxury and it is a sad, heartbreaking day when you have to take them to the airport only to hear your two-year old shout, “STOP! WAIT! More kisses!!” as your baby sister walks behind security ropes to get on her plane back home. I love my family more than I can express and although I know three weeks with each one of them isn’t possible, I want it. I want them and I hold them each in my heart every day. And of course, we Facetime. Thank the Lord for genius technology! Who knows, maybe one of my smarty siblings will invent the next generation device to keep us “close” when we can’t be. Hey, while you’re at it, could one of you work on the teleporting thing?

 

Like what you read? Share the love:

Heartbreak and Healing: a Papa’s persepective on baby loss and what comes after

I have been hoping to share a guest post from Hfoe for a long time now, but between his work schedule and the crazy antics of one little Miss Chuckles, the opportunity just hadn’t presented itself…until now. Considering that today is Father’s Day, I thought it would be completely appropriate to have my sweet husband explain, from his daddy heart, just what the loss of our baby Blue was like for him. I know many men aren’t able to fully express how hard life stuff affects their insides, but Hfoe was blessed with a pretty great way with words. So, I hope for anyone, any papa, who has lost a baby and also those who are expecting another after their loss, his words can be a source of camaraderie and comfort.


“I told you it wasn’t going to take long.”  That was the first thing I told Cara when I found out we were pregnant. I’m going to tell you how she let me in on her secret because this story could use as much humor as possible. I had arrived home from work and as often happens after a long ride on the L.A. freeway system, I spread some love and cheer to my two lovelies when I walked in the door then made my way to the restroom. As I was taking care of business so-to-speak I heard the mmm mmm mmm that lets me know I have received a text message. I dug into my pocket to retrieve my phone and there was a photo of my a fore mentioned lovelies, but something was up. I got the message right away. In the photo, my littlest lovely was wearing a new t-shirt that said “World’s Best Sister”. To be honest, I wasn’t surprised at all, even though we had only tried, in my opinion once (the wife says twice.) What did surprise me was the time and place that Cara chose to spill the beans. Evidently my rush to the commode had dashed her original plans, but she couldn’t wait any longer. 

   From that moment, I was over the moon with anticipation. I started talking and singing to our newest creation from the second the secret was revealed to me.  I was so sure that everything was going to be perfect that I didn’t waste any time before spreading the news to family and friends. After all we had gotten through the scares of our first gestational experience relatively unscathed. There was a crazy, beautiful little girl running around my house, reminding me every day that everything would be O.K.  There was a point in the first pregnancy when the Doctor couldn’t find little Chuck’s heart beat and yet hear she was. So what could possibly go wrong with our latest attempt to add to our family? 
   I still don’t know what exactly went wrong, but something definitely did. I honestly don’t remember how my lovely wife told me that something was wrong. I do remember that watching her heart break from the inside out nearly killed me. I do remember that the feelings I was trying to deal with while trying to be everything she needed me to be, nearly killed me. One of the toughest things to do was let myself grieve. I hadn’t been carrying this child. It wasn’t living off of my blood and breath and yet it was still mine.   
What a confusing place to be. My wife needed me and I needed her. There were times when we held each other and wept, there were times when I just had to let her be. I think those were the toughest for me. I’m a fixer, yet I couldn’t fix her, I couldn’t fix me and I most certainly couldn’t fix the baby we were losing. 

 
   Seeing her so mad, so very angry at the world for things that were out of control was heartbreaking. I knew she didn’t mean things that sometimes came out. I knew that I could never understand what was happening inside her. I prayed with everything that I had for patience and healing and love. I felt like a jerk for feeling like
“What about me? I’m losing something here too, you know?!!!” For the most part I choked those feelings down and really tried to be the husband that I knew needed to be. Even if I couldn’t fix things I could at least assist in the healing. 

 I would love to say that I am a new man and the grief is gone, but that would be a lie and a disservice to anyone who has gone through this. I know we all handle this type of thing differently, but the truth is, it just plain SUCKS. The other truth is, and I firmly believe this, the Lord has used this experience to not only strengthen my marriage, but more importantly strengthen my faith in Him. There were times when I wanted to run, when I wanted to drink, when I wanted to rip the door off of my house and throw it into the street, but I didn’t. I prayed and prayed and prayed and God gave me strength that I didn’t know I had. He gave me clarity when I was confused. He gave me patience when I was hurt and angry. He revealed to me what I was supposed to be for the woman He put in my life. I hope I did it right. I can’t be the judge of that, maybe my wife could tell you.

   Shortly after we lost our baby we were blessed with another pregnancy. Everything has gone without a hitch, at least physically speaking. I still struggle emotionally, trying to connect with the baby bump that grows every day. I know in time things will feel more normal and I’m confident that this pregnancy will be without major issues. Hopefully next time I share my perspective it will have to do with juggling a crazy, beautiful toddler and a newborn while trying to let Mama get some sleep.
 


 

With love in my heart,
HFOE

 

P.S. 
If there are any husbands who are dealing with this and would like more input, I’d love to offer any help that I can. 
  Don’t be afraid of what you are feeling, you are losing something too.
Like what you read? Share the love:

7 Things I Have Learned Through Grief

I have been keeping a running journal in my head for the last couple of months about little life lessons learned through grief. In my head it’s titled, “Laugh, cry, make inappropriate jokes.” But here, I will keep it simple.

1.       It may come in stages…all at once

When you are pregnant, people kind of expect you to be crazy, laughing one second and crying into a Kleenex in the next. But, when your baby dies, I think laughing weirds some people out. For me, it’s a coping mechanism. I found it kind of confusing that I would be sobbing in wretched pain at the thought of what was happening when a flash of anger so strong would hit me that I couldn’t stand to be around another human for fear of lashing out. Then two minutes later I would say something about my uterus being an inhospitable chamber of doom to any fetus who chose to take up residence and my poor husband would nervously chuckle, not sure if this was another one of my shock value “jokes” or if I was truly ready to launch myself off the nearest cliff. Man, grief is exhausting! But, I think we have finally made it to the final stage- acceptance, mostly intact, ailing reproductive organ humor and all.

 

2.       You are not alone

You know how before you buy a car, you look around and you think, “I’m going to get a Nissan Sentra. It’s a sensible family car and I don’t see 4,000 of them on my commute every day.” Then you buy a Nissan Sentra and you see 5,000 of them on your commute EACH WAY. Or, like me, you thoughtfully choose a traditional, yet UNcommon name for your baby girl and once she is born you meet 5 other babies in your immediate circle with that same name? Grief is like that. Before you go through something terrible, it seems like those things are so horrible and rare. You may even think, “Gosh, how in the world would I cope if that was me?” And then it IS you and all the other grieving folks come out of the woodwork and your eyes are opened to just how common this really is. It’s both sad and comforting to suffer together.

 

3.       People still say cliché things

“Everything happens for a reason, dear.” “God only gives you what you can handle.” “I’m sure God will bless you with another baby in time. He just needed this one in heaven.” Those are just a few of the gems I have heard, not including scientific reasoning and urgings to just move on. I could write a whole novel of what NOT to say to someone going through a miscarriage or, really, ANY grief. But, I won’t. For the most part, people are well-meaning and loving and just trying to help. You have to give them the benefit of the doubt and just know that at one time, YOU were probably the one making trite comments. I know I have been! But, if I take one lesson away from this experience, I hope it is that the only truly sincere, helpful response to a person going through such deep, lonely waters is, “I’m so sorry you are going through this.” You can add on, “I will pray the Lord heals your heart,” as long as you truly mean it, but don’t say it and then walk away to forget. I cherished prayers from friends, because in the midst of the pain, my prayers didn’t sound very coherent. The Lord is the best healer and only HE has the correct words. So, rather than stumble around, leave it to the Master.

 

 4.       You don’t have to answer the door

Usually on Sunday mornings I am at church bright and early, but during the miscarriage and for a couple weeks following, I just couldn’t pull myself together to face our church family. So, I stayed home and learned this lesson….just because they knock doesn’t mean I have to answer. I saw them walking up the driveway because the blinds were open and I was sitting alone on the couch watching Dr. Charles Stanley. It was probably too late; I’m sure they saw, but I dashed to the bedroom anyway, frustrated with myself that I hadn’t turned the volume down on Dr. Stanley. They knocked once and my heart raced. I imagined these two suited men standing on my porch, feeling hurt that I was avoiding them because surely they knew I was home. They knocked again and I had to physically restrain my puffy-faced, snot and tear laden self from feeling the conflicted obligation to both open the door for these Mormon brothers because I was home on a Sunday and the distinct fear to, because of course I already go to church….well, not today. But usually. Oh, the snot? Yeah, sorry about that. I promise I’m not a heathen. In the end, they left and I sighed, relieved and guilty. I will have to apologize if they come around again (NOT on a Sunday, of course) but I think at the time I did the right thing.

 

5.       Coffee will SA-A-AAVE your soul

My favorite scene in any Friends episode is always when they come together in Central Perk. Some of the best one-liners are dropped over a cup of joe. I think the same is true in life. Especially in the midst of grief! Although, my hair never looks as good as Jennifer Aniston’s, I learned an entirely new appreciation for a hot mug of java as my closest friends gathered around to comfort me during my grief. Of course, we brought the coffee shop to my house, but there really was nothing better to lift my spirits than a text that said, “I’m stopping at the ‘bucks. What can I get you? I’m coming over.” In the comfort of my own poorly lit living room I could freely cry and giggle and make uncomfortable broken womb/dead baby jokes to those who know my true heart and could cry and giggle right along with me. No judgment. No pity. Just hugs and encouragement and sometimes, complete empathy. Ok, so maybe it’s not the coffee alone that will save you, but the warm trickle down your throat into your cold, dark shell will surely start the process!

 

6.       Kids give two flips about grief

Being sick while taking care of a sick kid is pretty much the absolute worst state of parenting I have personally experienced. Parenting while grieving is like that, except the kid feels fine and still wants to jump on you and run with you and be read to in high pitched, squealy voices. Hfoe, bless his heart, was the most perfect partner during everything because he took over many “mama” duties despite his own pain, so that I could recover. But, there is no substitute for “mama milk” and just when I thought all the life had left me, she would latch and suck out a little more. It reminded me of a saying I saw on a sports motivation poster once, “When you think you’ve given your all, give a little more.”  But, looking down at her sweet, quiet, suckling little face sure did fill my heart with love. Tons and tons of love. And after all, isn’t love the Neosporin to grief?

 

7.       The tears don’t last forever, but the ache might…and that’s ok.

It’s been two months since I started bleeding and I no longer cry every day. In fact, I don’t cry most days and it feels nice. The first day I didn’t feel the lump in my throat I remember clearly. Chuck and I were at the mall one beautiful Saturday morning while her Papa was at work. I just needed to return a couple of things and I decided since she was being a trooper, we would grab lunch while we were there. As we chewed our French fries, I looked over at my beautiful, growing, spunky little girl and I thought about what her sister may have looked like. I thought about how they may have been best buddies and how Chuck would have loved to “help” with the baby. I remember smiling and feeling a little pang in my chest, but no lump rose up in my throat, no tears welled in my eyes. It was nice. I realized at that moment that remembering and honoring our little blueberry didn’t mean I had to live in a state of depression over her. I could still live my beautiful life and love every second of what God has blessed us with. That wasn’t a disservice to her or a neglect of what was. It was actually the best way to honor her memory…with love and joy. And, it is the platform for moving forward. I am thankful for that day.

 

 

 Ultimately, through this grief process I have learned so much about myself and my family, life and love and our heavenly Father above. I appreciate the overwhelming comfort we have received in the way of cards, letters and books to read. People are good. So, so good. And maybe that is the purpose of grief….to remind us of that.

*Sidenote…a book that has been SO comforting to me through this is Safe in the Arms of God: Truth from Heaven About the Death of a Child. I absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for scriptural truth regarding the fate of their child in Heaven.

Like what you read? Share the love: