For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.

Psalm 139: 13-18

Our Leo

I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him. So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.

1 Samuel 1:27-28

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Today marks 27 weeks of pregnancy... And the fear is setting in. Two years ago, little did I know that this 27 weeks mark would be the last milestone I saw in my pregnancy. My Leo was born at 27 weeks and 6 days gestation. My prayers are to make it through this next week healthy and STILL pregnant.

Today marks 27 weeks of pregnancy... And the fear is setting in. Two years ago, little did I know that this 27 weeks mark would be the last milestone I saw in my pregnancy. My Leo was born at 27 weeks and 6 days gestation. My prayers are to make it through this next week healthy and STILL pregnant.

Wednesday is Leo's 2nd birthday. No party to throw, no race cars to wrap, no cake to frost, or candles to blow out. No blissful smiles or big belly laughs. My heart aches as each day goes by, knowing I'll never have these special memories with him.

.. To my sweet son, Leo...
Mommy misses you so much. It is almost your birthday and I can't help but wonder what you would be like if you were here. I imagine you are a busy almost 2 year old who smiles all the time. I see you playing with your sister and scheming with her as only siblings can do. Your little voice loves to tell stories and your kisses melt mommy and daddy's heart. My favorite time of day is bedtime, when we say your prayers together. We dance and sing throughout the day, the four of us so happy.

Two years without you feels like eternity already. Mommy remembers holding your tiny hand and kissing your soft forehead. Every beat of your heart resonates within me. If you were here, I'd try to hold onto you forever.

I know God had other plans for you, and He knows what's best, but I don't think my heart will ever be the same. I believe He has plans for me too, and that these wounds of love and longing are all part of things to come.

Please know mommy loves you today and always. I await the day I see you again, the day I scoop you into my arms, look into your eyes, and know all is okay. Thank you for carving me into who I am today. Though your footprints were small, their impact on my heart has been unmeasurable. Your light shines despite your absence, reminding me of how incredible this world truly is.

You are loved and missed my precious boy...


Kellene Maynard, Photographer
sent from my iPhone

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Tears | Infant loss and awareness

For the first time in awhile.
I miss my son so terribly.
Why didn't I hold his little body just a little longer?
I turn pages and pages of pictures of his precious face.
Tears I've held back for months are haunting me again.
New journeys lie ahead, and I'm fearful... How could I not be?
I pray for a peace that only Our Lord can provide.
I miss you little one... More than I could ever describe.
You will always be the missing part of my heart... Until we meet again.
Mommy loves you my sweet angel boy and loves you more than my heart can contain.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Leo's Memorial Pictures From CarlyMarie | Infant loss and Awareness

CarleyMarie has been the mastermind behind The Grief Effect since 2007. 

I was fortunate enough to have her create a piece for Leo. 

Isn't it incredible? CarlyMarie is so inspiring. 

I too am still brainstorming ideas on how to help this community through creative work.

She is such an inspiration to me. 


Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Eyes of Jesus | Infant Loss and Awareness

The Eyes of Jesus

I imagine the eyes of Jesus
Were harvest brown,
The light of their gazing
Suffused with the seasons:

The shadow of winter,
The mind of spring,
The blues of summer,
And amber of harvest.

A gaze that is perfect sister
To the kindness that dwells
In his beautiful hands.

The eyes of Jesus gaze on us,
Stirring in the heart's clay
The confidence of seasons
That never lose their way to harvest.

This gaze knows the signature
Of our heartbeat, the first glimmer
From the dawn that dreamed our minds,

The crevices where thoughts grow
Long before the longing in the bone
Sends them toward the mind's eye,

The artistry of the emptiness
That knows to slow the hunger
Of outside things until they weave
Into the twilight side of the heart,

A gaze full of all that is still future
Looking out for us to glimpse
The jeweled light in winter stone,

Quickening the eyes that look at us
To see through to where words
Are blind to say what we would love,

Forever falling softly on our faces,
His gaze piles the soul with light,
Laying down a luminous layer

Beneath our brief and brittle days
Until the appointed dawn comes
Assured and harvest deft

To unravel the last black knot
And we are back home in the house
That we have never left.

~ John O'Donohue from To Bless the Space Between Us

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dresser Drawer | Infant Loss Awareness

Dresser Drawer...

Bathed in soft light,
You left us to greet angels above.
I watched as your soul gently left your tiny body,
Wishing I could hold on to you just a little while longer.

Soft plucking of harp strings
Welcomes you to the golden light
of God's loving embrace.
Family greets you with smiles and love,
Pain and tears are all wiped away,
And you are encircled and join in a symphony of praising your Father in heaven.

I tell you I love you one last time...
I whisper in your tiny ear, "I'll be there soon." 
Tears thicken in my shattered heart.

I gather everything you've touched,
Wanting to bottle up this feeling so I can have it forever.
No more will I see your face.
No more will my heart be full.

All I have is a drawer...
Filled with mementos that aren't worthy of remembering you by.
Every kiss I placed on your head haunts me. 
Your soft skin against my cheek is all I long for.

All I have are your ashes and a few fleeting memories...
Until I am greeted with the light of your embrace,
When I make my home, up in the sky,  just like you did...

All I have is my baby in the dresser drawer...

I wear a coat of angels' breath and warm myself with His love. 
~Terri Guillemets

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

You Never Know | Infant Loss

" Only one who has been washed in the blood of the Lamb
can both weep and laugh at the same time, and with hearts
that are breaking in pieces scattered all over the floor say
with sincerity and honesty that it is well with my soul..."
- Gary J. Oliver

Time and time again I am shocked by my encounters with strangers who have no regard for others. I'm a realist, striving to be an optimist in this crazy world, but more and more reality smacks me in the face. Yesterday just reaffirms my anguish in yet another series of ridiculous events that cause deep wounds in my already broken heart. 

I value myself as a decent parent, one who disciplines appropriately and follows through with consequences. So, when I am confronted by a store clerk about my parenting skills I am a little taken a-back. To give you a rough idea of the scene, my husband and I were choosing new glasses at the optometrist. This process was taking far too long, as this un-efficent clerk was taking her sweet time. I did my best to keep my three year old daughter occupied with games on my iphone, showing her different items int he store, etc, but, after being patient for over an hour, she was starting to get bored and rambunctious. I quietly took her out of the store multiple times to calm her down and let her know that we were in a store and that we needed to be quiet and patient. After the longest hour of my life, my hubby was finally able to take our daughter to another part of the store while I finished up the transaction. As soon as they left, this woman politely informed me with the following: 

"Is she always that hyperactive? You know, I raised many kids, even crack babies, and let me tell you, behavior like your daughters just gets worse with age. You really need to think about your parenting. Maybe if she wasn't an only child, she would behave better..."

As I gaged on my words and anger searing through my brain all I could think of was WOW. Is this today's world? A world in which a laughing child in a store could cause such a problem for another parent? A world in which customer service consists of telling strangers they are bad parents? 

"If God hides the reason for His works from us, and it is too high
for us to reach, let us shut our mouths;... let us glorify God and
not be ashamed to be ignorant. The true wisdom of the faithful is
to know no more than it has pleased God to show them."
- John Calvin

Lucky for her, I am a Christian woman. So I prayed for patience, quietly took the brunt force trauma to my ego, paid and left. I left the store feeling an inch tall. Not only am I a bad parent, but even worse because I only have one living child. I could have informed her that I have 2 children, that my son lives in Heaven. I could have told her to F-Off, or mind her business, but I didn't. I just prayed and took up my "Cross" yet again. 

"He (the Christian believer) can say, "If I should lose all I have, it is better
that I should lose than have if God so wills: 
the worst calamity is the wisest and the kindest thing that could befall me if God ordains it." 
"We know that all things work together for good to them that love God."
-Charles Spurgeon

I left the store and headed to find my husband and daughter. Rattled by this encounter I started into an emotional downward spiral. Luckily we were headed to church, and I found hope and comfort in realizing clarity I am blessed with and that despite others opinions, I am proud of where I am today as a parent and a person. I just pray that the next time my daughter who tests off the charts for her age is compared to a crack baby, I'll be able to keep my cool. I really don't want to be forced to pull the "I have a dead baby" card, but I am getting close to the end of my rope.

"The only right attitude towards suffering is worship,
or humble self-surrender."
-John R. W. Stott

2011, you can't arrive quickly enough!! 

This is my comfort in my affliction,
that Your Word has revived me.
- Psalm 119:50

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Reflections....

As Christmas quickly approaches, I'm yet again distracted that my little man is not with us. His stocking hangs lovingly placed between ours, reminding us that he should be here. I fight the urge to buy a small gift for him; what would I do with it? I sit, broken hearted, watching in awe as Nevaeh discovers more wonders of Christmas, longing for Leo to be next to her, experiencing it all as well. My heart aches knowing I will never have these memories with him. 

I find myself reminiscing over the days I had with Leo. I've struggled significantly in moving forward as any mother would. I have had to defend my son's existence to far too many people who are close to me. That alone causes scars that are much deeper than those of loosing a child. This gapping hole I wear in my heart, aches with a longing I can't describe. 

And so, we are at a cross roads, trying to get pregnant again. All I can think of is that this next baby won't replace Leo. That I still will have a hole in my world, where he should be. We never forget our children.. they are part of our very souls. 

God has also placed Kenya on my heart. I'm being led towards adopting from Kenya in addition to having another biological child. As I sit imagining bringing home a child from Kenya, I am brought to tears. This is so heavy on my heart I feel as though I might explode. I know this is years down the line. Please keep us in your prayers and we explore this incredible journey into international adoption and trying to get pregnant again. We have faith that things will work out, and are so thankful for the support we've gained from so many others.

©Micah Albert 

This Christmas, 

Hold your precious little ones...
Savor their gleaming eyes as they absorb Christmas wonders.
Capture moments today, 
because you never know what those memories could mean...
Remember those in need this Christmas,
and bless others as you have been blessed. 
Kiss the cheeks of those you love and 
take a moment to hug a little longer this Christmas....

Monday, October 4, 2010

Walk to Remember | Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness

Sunday was the 7th annual Walk to Remember held in Longview. This event brings awareness to infant and pregnancy loss and gives grieving parents a safe place to share their stories and remember the little ones we've lost. 

I was nervous heading into this event, as I didn't know what to expect. I was concerned this event wasn't going to meet my expectations and that instead of being healing, it would depress us further. I am so glad we went and that my expectations were exceeded. Many people don't understand my concern over the event, so allow me to explain. I don't get to plan a 1st birthday, or see my son crawl for the first time, of hear him say "mama". All I have are events like these to outwardly express my love for him in a public setting. My fear was that this event wouldn't be nice enough to do my son justice. That may sound strange, but this has been an issue from the start for me. I remember when Leo was born and I was so mad that I didn't have a blanket worthy enough to wrap him in. I reluctantly took the hand crocheted blanket donate to the NICU from the nurse to wrap him in after he passed. I came home with empty arms, feeling like a horrible mother for not having something nice enough to clothe him in at the hospital. I clutched a blue blanket I bought on clearance thinking, "If only I had known, I would have bought something worthy!"

It is strange the things that bother us in times such as these, but I was pleasantly surprised to be surrounded by other parents who understand the type of grief we are coping with. I felt part of something, part of a group who has seen some of the hardest times and have pulled through together. 

More and more often I feel left behind these days. Just about every friend I have has been blessed with 2 living children, and I feel left in the dust being the odd-ball so to speak. I'm desperately trying to move forward from these feelings, but it is a hard thing to swallow. My longing for my son is more than I can describe. Being able to attend events like these really helps me to find my place in this new world I have been thrown into.

This poem by Elizabeth Dent completely captures how I feel:

Go ahead and mention my child.
The one that died, you know.
Don't worry about hurting me further.
The depth of my pain doesn't show.
Don't worry about making me cry. I'm already crying inside.
Help me to heal by releasing
The tears that I try to hide.
Im hurt when you just keep silent,
Pretending he didn't exist.
I'd rather you mention my child,
Knowing that he has been missed.
You asked me how I was doing.
I say "pretty good" or "fine".
But healing is something ongoging.
I feel it will take a lifetime.  

Here are some pictures from this year's Walk to Remember. 

We all got to light a candle in honor of the child we lost.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

you are everywhere little man | advocate for pragnancy and infant loss

Let's just say that since loosing my little man a little over a year ago, my body has been a wreck. Physically a wreck. Between the sudden drop in hormones from an emergency c-section, to the depression and anxiety of loosing our son, to the pain meds as I healed from surgery, from doing way too much planning a memorial, running a household,  healing from loss, and of course pursuing me photography career.... all these things take a toll. My blood pressure has been border-line high since being pregnant with Nevaeh, so, when it was high during my pregnancy with Leo, we weren't too concerned, since we already had a healthy baby girl and a delivery with no complications. Little did we know that my blood pressure is the most likely cause of our tragedy. Since then, I have been to countless doctors trying to figure out the best course of action.

Today after having a steadily rising high blood-pressure all day and struggling with another anxiety attack I checked my blood pressure at home again to see if I should head to the ER. My blood pressure was 155/95.... not horrible, but not good. So, I packed Nevaeh in the car, with my best " oh mommy is fine, we are going to just go talk to the nice doctor". I urgently called my dad and sister to come meet me, since the last I came to this same ER as a "precaution" it ended in tragedy.

Thanks to the FABULOUS Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital, I waited a mere 10 minutes before I was in a gown having yet another EKG. My blood pressure was up to 166/107. After a dose of anxiety meds and monitoring, my pressure came back down to 134/83 within an hour. Luckily in this world of technology, my ER doctor was able to view every aspect of my records from 6 different doctors. After reviewing all my past workups and issues, he said, " You need to be on blood pressure medication, and should have been for awhile now." FYI this has been my theory all along, but what does a dumb mom who went through a placental abruption know (which are only caused by a) trauma b) cocaine use c) smoking or d) HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE.... DING DING DING Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.

Despite what you all might think, I am happy and relieved to have some answers and a medical plan for what I have been struggling with for years now. I am praying that with close monitoring and medication that I can get my body back to a healthy functioning level soon. It has been a tough road, and I am praying that this is the start of a "new day".

Thanks for all your continued prayers and thoughts of comfort! I love you all!!

HOLY CRAP are my thighs THAT big? Note to Self.... slim thighs.... or.. wear spanks at ALL TIMES..