Friday, December 19, 2008


The other night while we were eating dinner Sean made a comment. Here is how the conversation went:

Sean: You've got to believe.
John: In what?
Sean: You've got to believe in the things you want.
Me: Who told you that? (Thinking this had something to do with Santa)
Sean: Daniel
Me: How did he tell you that?
Sean: In my dream. At first he was big but then he was small and I held him and rocked him and put him in his crib.
Me: That's nice.

What do you say to that? My 3 1/2 (almost 4 {big sigh}) year old son who you would hope would just forget about this still continues to remember. They say dreams are a figment of our reality. Our mind suppresses thoughts through out the day only to have them surface at night when we sleep. Sean never talks about his dreams. He always tells us that he just dreams about the moon and the stars. I think he still longs for a sibling - he was just so disappointed - much more so than I thought someone his age could be. If I feel guilty about anything - I feel most guilty about disappointing him.

You've got to believe in the things you want - pretty big words from such a little person.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Cleaning Up

I haven't posted in quite some time. Its not because I've decided to just move on with my life and live like things are wonderful. I truly believe I'm at the point where I can no longer describe or even comprehend what I'm feeling. I think acceptance has lifted a huge burden off my shoulders, but I am left with a lot of different emotions that I can't tie back to any particular one thing - other then Daniel of course. I like to use the analogy of sweeping. When your cleaning up with a broom and a dust pan you typically sweep everything into one big pile - getting it into the dustpan and into the trash is easy. The hard part is when your left with that little line of dust and dirt - the one that just won't make it over the lip of the dustpan - the one that you sit there wondering if you should keep trying or just spread it all around the room so its not so noticeable. I think that's where I'm at with my feelings. There are lots of little pieces of anger and sadness and self-pity scattered all around me and I don't know what to do.

I don't necessarily like the person I have become as a result of losing Daniel. Initially, I saw compassion and strength but all of that has dissolved and I'm sort of left with fear, envy, and much less compassion for those who haven't had to deal with what I have dealt with. I know its not the right thing - in fact its rather childish, but for now it is what it is. It may all have to do with where I am at in life at this time - may be two months from now I will have changed - I hope for that.

One thing I have learned in talking with other mother's who have lost their babies - it never goes away. This heartache may, one day, no longer consume my life, but Daniel will always be my baby - that will never ever change. I'm just wondering when I will be normal again - be happy for people, stop questioning my ability to do anything, and start consistently enjoying life.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Daniel's Stone

Those we have held in our arms for a short time, will live forever in our hearts.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

October 15th

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day. I heard nothing on the television, the radio, no reminder e-mail from work - no one mentioned it. Do people forget, do they not care, or do they just want to avoid talking about it. What ever it may be - people should know that acknowledgment is so important to the mothers and fathers who have lost their babies.

You need only light a candle at 7 PM for one hour to show that you remember and acknowledge that the babies we lost were our children - an important part of our lives then and now. This day is just another day that we have to hold in our hearts and get through just like each month, each holiday and each time we see a child who reminds us of the baby we lost. Try to remember - if you know someone who has lost their baby - just take a moment to acknowledge their loss.

The mention of my child's name may bring tears to my eyes, but it never fails to bring music to my ears. If you are really my friend, let me hear the beautiful music of his name. It soothes my broken heart and sings to my soul.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

To Hear Him Cry

I never posted this initially because, for me, it is very personal. It is one moment in my life that I can't seem to dim the lights on. Just the thought of it brings me to tears and it is as vibrant in my mind today as it was that very moment. For any parent who knows the fear of not hearing your baby cry at birth - the worry and horror that crosses your mind; imagine giving birth and knowing that you'll never hear your baby cry.

My body knew exactly what to do with this baby. I had hoped that it would take care of everything for me – that I wouldn’t have to deal with the pain of giving birth to my lifeless child, but nothing in life comes easy. The doctor told me that I “just" needed to push. My husband held my hand and as I closed my eyes I pushed but I suppose my OB could tell that I wasn’t pushing with my heart. I remember her saying to me “you have to let this baby go” and I remember being so mad that she said that. Why would she say that? I wasn’t trying to hold on to my baby. I think back now and realize that I was doing exactly that. Giving birth meant letting go of my sweet little baby forever.

I had an epidural with my first son and I don’t think I felt anything at all – not a contraction, not an ounce of pain - not even my son being born. I was this big swollen mess who, in the end, quit and said "just take him out". Daniel's birth was so much different – I felt no pain but I felt every second of every moment. On my last push I could feel his little lifeless arms and legs pulled from me. I wish I could explain how heavy the silence weighed down on us at that moment. We knew that we would not hear him cry but to hear nothing - to feel the silence that comes along with death - was just so painful. This was the worst day of my life. It haunts me all the time. It has changed who I am both for the good and for the bad.

We miss our son every day. This pain will never go away and although we go about our days living life and being appreciative for what we have we will never be the same. You will never understand this pain unless you too have lost a child - even then there are differences but the root of the pain remains the same.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Love and Grief

If you love deeply, you will grieve deeply
If you deny your grief, you deny the
reality of the love you felt.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Cracked Shell

We just got back from Disney. We planned the trip as a way of having something to look forward to - something to help fill the disappointment of losing Daniel. We had a good time and I think both John and I really enjoyed watching Sean "believe" in everything magical that Disney has to offer. Deep down inside though, I couldn't help but miss my baby.

Every where I turned there were either pregnant women or newborn babies - constant reminders that I should have my little boy with me. Seeing families with 2 or more children I couldn't help but think how small my family seemed. I wonder if anyone was looking at us in this same way. A couple who maybe couldn't have children or who had lost their only child might be looking at us and saying "its not fair".

We saw a father one evening dancing with his daughter. She was about 3 years old with a cute bob and a big grin - she had Down Syndrome and I couldn't help but smile when I saw them together. They were so happy. The mother joined in on the dance and they all giggled at the end of the song. It made me realize that sometimes we need to just be thankful for what we have. John said God will only give you what he thinks you can handle, but sometimes I wonder if God is testing us to see if our faith will prevail.

We are all born with this invisible shell - it gives us strength and helps us get through hard times in life. Sometimes things are so tough that we get a crack in our shell. The crack makes it hard to cope with difficult times in life from that point on. Small things that used to be no big deal become gigantic, hard times seem extraordinarily hard, and sometimes your will to prevail is muted by a lack of motivation and courage. I cried when we got back from Disney - I went from really high to really low. I just want to get to the middle and stay there.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Someday by Allison Mcghee

I was in the children's section at the bookstore and came across a book that caught my eye "Someday" by Allison Mcghee. It is really a beautiful book, but for a parent who has lost their child it is just so very sad. Of course, I started to cry right away because it just reminded me of the fact that Daniel will never grow-up, he'll never be able to enjoy all the triumphs of life that make us who we are and he'll never grow old. He'll always be my baby and my little angel. Here is a quote from the book that is on the inside cover.

A mother's love leads to a mother's dream — every mother's dream — for her child to live life to its fullest.

I wish some people could understand that my dreams for Daniel have been crushed along with my heart.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Open Door

Big step today. I opened the door to Daniel's room and opened the window to let some fresh air in. The door has been closed since April 22, 2008 - the day we found out Daniel died. We went into the unfinished room on several occasions for several different reasons but never have we been able to leave the door open. I just opened it today and I am okay with it being open - hopefully John is too.


Unless you have been in my shoes you will never understand what its like to lose a child - to have a baby that you will never hear cry. Just because I can walk around with my head held high - smile, laugh, and joke around doesn't mean that I don't hurt or continue to hurt each day. It does get better - it really does, but it is ALWAYS there. My heart is broken and even if I went on to have 100 more babies I will always feel the emptiness inside that comes along with losing Daniel.

There is nothing in the world to compare it to. I have lost close family members and seen tragic things but there is nothing that ripes my heart out like this. When I hear his name - spoken in passing and in regards to someone else - my heart breaks. You might think that I am better. It may seem that way because that is how you think it should work - be sad and then get better. No it doesn't work that way. It changes you from the inside out. It makes you question yourself, your actions, and life. "It" is horrible. I wish it never happened - to anyone.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Love Hurts

To love means to open ourselves to the negative as well as the positive-- to grief, sorrow, and disappointment as well as to joy, fulfillment, and thus an intensity of consciousness that before we did not know was possible.
Rollo May

The minute you find out you have a baby growing inside of you - love happens. The love a parent has for their child is unyielding and relentless. I have lost people in my life but to lose my little love bug, Daniel, has been far from easy. It truly feels like a broken heart that never heals.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Is the baby going to come down now?

Out of the blue this morning Sean popped up over the edge of the couch and said to me - "Is the baby going to come down now?" I asked him what he meant by that and he said "Is our baby going to come down from the sky?" I had to tell him no - that baby will never come back because once babies go to heaven they stay there forever. He was disappointed but in a way similar to how a child reacts when they can't have a toy - not so much a tantrum just a sort of whine "oh I wanted the baby to come back down". Obviously he still doesn't understand the magnitude of death, but he understands the loss and the emptiness that we are all feeling.

Later on in the store we saw a set of twins in a double stroller (seems like we were surrounded by babies all day). Sean looked over at them and smiled - he said "Awww those are babies just like our baby". I said "Yes, Daniel will always be our baby". I just feel so sad that Sean couldn't get to experience what it is truly like to be a big brother. I laugh sometimes because I know if Daniel was here Sean would be pitching a storm around the house because that would mean less "Sean" time with mommy and daddy. Also, a lot of things that we have done or plan to do this summer would never have happened if we hadn't lost Daniel.

It is so hard to find the positive in all this. The only thing I can be thankful of is my son and the fact that I can actually take the time I have with him now and enjoy it - instead of running around trying to learn to care for two small children often on my own. Sean is still a baby - there is so much he is learning to do and I have to thank Daniel for giving me the chance to appreciate it because once its gone its gone.

I wish Sean didn't have to feel the disappointment though. I also wish his grieving process wasn't so dragged out. The book said this is how it would be - each time children reach a milestone and their thought process becomes more complex they will ask questions. Sean talks about Daniel all the time. I hope one day he will understand and he will be okay with it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Bad Things Happen to Good People (Repost)

This was out on BBC - it was found by another mother of an angel through another blog. I liked it and I am reposting it here so may be we can look at things from a different perspective.......

Immediately after my son died I found myself thinking that I must have done something to deserve this. That I must have deserved punishment and I was being punished for something. I ran through all the different reasons in my own head of why I might be chosen to be punished and tortured like this.And then at some point it came to me.I wasn’t being punished.How could being the mother of such a beautiful tiny child be considered a punishment? And as I look around me (figuratively speaking) I see so many other women, good women, compassionate women, loving women, going through the same torture. It can’t possibly be a punishment for wrongdoing. And I have come to believe that we were chosen, to be the mothers of these babies that were not destined to live on this earth with us, because we are strong. We are loving. And we will love these little lost children for the rest of our lives, and honour them in every way we can.So yes, we were chosen. But not because we were bad people.Rather, because we are good people.Because we have it in us to honour these little people in the best way.It takes an incredible woman to lose their child, and still love and honour them every single day.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Six By One

1 How would you describe your relationship to fear before and after the loss of your baby?

I would say that I was definitely less fearful or may be I should say more ignorant. I don't think people understand how often babies die, what a struggle it is for parents to try to overcome the pain and the heartbreak, or even fathom the tremendous amount of fear that comes along with a subsequent pregnancy. Giving birth should be a happy time but for parents who have lost a baby it becomes a fearful time - one filled with anxiety, doubt, and tears.

2 Is your lost baby/are your babies present in your life?

I'm not sure what this question is really asking, but I would say yes. Daniel is in our thoughts every day. We love him and miss him so much.

3 Tell us about something said or done after your loss that left you feeling nurtured or supported.

I think when I first found out Daniel died I went into defense mode and instinctively tried to protect my heart. The nurse that was with me said something that made me realize that I had to succumb to what God had handed to me and let my heart be broken. She said "No matter what you can never forget this baby". I wouldn't necessarily call this nurturing or support, but it allowed me to let myself be weak.

4 Tell us about something said or done after your loss that left you feeling marginalized or misunderstood.

I guess nothing would be that something. So many people did nothing or said nothing and that lack of acknowledgement of the loss of my child made me realize that no one will ever fully understand how we feel - only people who have lost their own child.

5 What's taken you a long time to do again? How did it feel, if you have?

Think into the future. We spent a lot of time just living in the present dealing with the grief and the emptiness of not having Daniel. Once we started to plan ahead and talk about the future I think it gave us hope and that helped us to feel like life does go on and that life will have so much more for us.

6 How would you describe yourself as a partner before, and after?

I can't speak for John, but I think I realized how much I love my husband and how much I need him. He is my everything and I don't think I realized that before all this happened. With that realization, I think I became a much more understanding and appreciative partner. I try to remind myself to not sweat the small stuff and just be grateful that I have him in my life.

Monday, July 14, 2008

I Wish......

I haven't written in quite some time. Believe me its not because I am feeling better. Ever since the 4th of July things have been very hard. I tried to go through some of Sean's old clothes and sort them out. They were all going to be for Daniel. No sense holding on to all that stuff when another little boy could use it. As the clothes got smaller it got harder and harder to give things up. This may have been what triggered the sadness I have been feeling lately. I took Sean to see the fireworks and I found myself surrounded by pregnant women and new babies - happy complete families. There I was feeling very incomplete and very empty. I am not sure why or how long this sad time will last but it feels like I'm starting all over again. I think I've tried about everything to "feel better" but there is nothing that makes this any more bearable. I know I have to be patient and gentle with myself but I much rather climb a mountain and reach the top than travel along the rolling hills of grief with no end in sight.

I just want to close my eyes and make a wish that things would get better. Oh - if wishes came true - I'd make a zillion of them!

I wish......
I would stopped being so scared of losing people in my life
I could be happier for people who are pregnant or who have had babies - I can't help but feel cheated.
I could hold Daniel one more time
I didn't set Sean up for disappointment
I would stop overcompensating for my son's disappointment with toys
I would stop obsessing over why my son died
I had been more persistent with the doctor who rushed me out of my 30 week appointment and told me to get a pillow for my chair when I told him I was getting pain in my lower back and cramps.
God would cut me some slack - he's sent a lot of tough stuff my way but this one has truly broken me.
I could be happier for the sake of my husband and my son
I had called my doctor the minute I realized things weren't right

I wish Daniel was here in my arms - he'd be one month today.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


~There is no foot so small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world~
I think this sums up the tremendous impact Daniel has had on our lives and the lives of those around us .

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Children tend to ooze honesty. They say what is exactly on their mind and, although at times that can be frustrating or embarrassing for a parent, it is somewhat admirable. I took Sean on a field trip yesterday and early in the morning as we were waiting for the bus outside of his school there was a little girl who said to Sean - "Sean let's go see the stone for your dead baby". I wanted to cry but I didn't because what she said was true - Daniel is our baby and yes he is dead.

The school got a small little bench in honor of Daniel and it is made out of stone. They put the bench right under a big tree that sits in front of the entrance to the school. On the bench there is the date of Daniel's birth and his name along with a poem. It is beautiful and I am so grateful for it because each day I pick Sean up from school I see it. I am not one for cemeteries - although I do, every now and then, visit Daniel - so the bench is my way of visiting Daniel each day.

The children, including Sean, went over to the bench and looked at it. I didn't quite hear what they were talking about, but they all squeezed onto the bench and just sat there. I did hear Sean say repeatedly that it was not a stone but a bench. After the children got up, the grandfather of one of the little boys in Sean's class came to look at the bench. As he was reading it Sean walked up to him and said "That bench is for my brother". The man smiled and walked away. I don't know if he really understood Sean or believed him, but at that moment I was so proud of my son. He is literally my superman. I still have a hard time talking about the baby, but Sean made sure that man knew Daniel was his brother. Acknowledgement is scarce when a baby dies. People don't want to talk about it - I don't blame them it sucks. People don't know what to say - I don't know what to say myself sometimes. It's funny how small children can easily discuss something like the death of a baby when most adults have a hard time even acknowledging it at all. I guess we could all learn a little something from our children.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wanting to Write But Not Knowing What to Say

The road we are on now is less bumpy - far less ups and downs but there are still hills. Life is normal most times - we have things to look forward to but every now and then my heart aches with pain. This loss is so hard - its the loneliest, most empty feeling in the world. It is suffocating - at times the pain is so intense I struggle to breath. I am particularly sad this evening - not really sure why. Talking about things is good but I think it drudges up little bits of grief that I never fully let go of. I imagine it will be like that for a long time. Here is a poem my cousin sent me. I cried when I read it because it's just so sad, but I think I cried also because sometimes I just need to cry.

A Baby's Secret

I am just a little fellow
Who didn't quite make it there,
I went straight to be with Jesus
But I am waiting for you here.

Don't you fret about me, mommy,
I am of all God's lambs most blessed.
I'd have love to stay there with you
But the Shepherd knows what's best.

Many dwelling here where I live
Waited years to enter in.
Struggling through a world of sorrow
and their lives were marred with sin.

So sweet mommy, don't you sorrow,
Wipe those tears and chase the gloom.
I went straight to Jesus' bosom
From my lovely mother's womb.

Thank you for the life you gave me.
I'd have loved to bring it fame.
I have all of heaven's glory
suffered none of earthling's pain.

Daddy gave me something for you.
It's our secret, mommy dear;
He pressed it tight against my forehead
Whispered in my tiny ear.

I'll be waiting for you mommy,
you and daddy, brother and sis,
I'll be with you then forever
Then I'll give you daddy's kiss.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Father's Day

Tommorrow is Father's Day and I know that this will be hard for John. He is such a wonderful father to each of his children and for the brief time he spent with Daniel he was no less than perfect. If I could take all the pain away for him - I would. Although John carried the burden of this tremendous loss on his shoulders resiliently - he is hurting even more so than I. I at least had the chance to get to know Daniel while he was in my belly. I held him there each day and night and got to know him well. John was only able to hold Daniel after he was already gone. I am so sorry that this Father's Day couldn't be happier for him - that it couldn't be filled with the joy of a new baby being brought home. I hope each Father's Day doesn't carry with it the loss of his son, but rather thankfulness for the children he has both in life and in death.

June 14, 2008

Today is the day Daniel should have been born. It has been such a hard week for both John and I. Just when you think you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, grief sucks you back into the darkness.

We know now that Daniel was perfect. There was nothing wrong with him - as there was nothing wrong with me. There are three vessels in an umbilical cord and some time between the 2nd and 3rd trimester one of of those vessels shut down. There was only 5 mm of the third vessel still intact and that was at the placenta. Essentially Daniel wasn't getting enough blood and nutrients through the two vessels in order to continue to grow and that is what caused him to die.

My son is gone and today should have been a very happy day for us, but it is now another day in our lives that we add to the list of days where we sit back and remember someone special in our lives that we have lost.

I want to take a moment to just say how tremendously incredible my son Daniel is. He never even took one breath of life but he has had such a powerful impact on our lives and the lives of those around us. Here is what he has accomplished in his very short lifetime:

  • Daniel has taught Sean about life and death in only a matter of a few days. Some people may never know the joy of an impending birth - at least not until adulthood. It takes some people years to ever have to deal with the loss of a sibling if they are lucky enough to have one. Sean had no choice but to face two of the most significant experiences in life that can forever change a person - life and death. Losing Daniel will make Sean a stronger person and he will learn from it all that any of life's challenges can be overcome - it just takes time and hope.
  • Daniel has taught John and I that life is not yielding. Life around us continues no matter what a person encounters and no matter how horrible things are. Knowing this - has made us realize that we must seize every moment of it the best we can. You can't get time back so you must use every minute of it wisely.
  • Daniel has made other people realize what a precious gift from God children really are. Women have miscarriages, babies are stillborn, and infants die. Life can be lost instantaneously - along with the hopes and dreams parents have for their children and their lives with their children. I think some people now understand what a miracle it is to give birth to a child and I hope they keep Daniel in mind when their own children may seem overwhelmed.
  • Daniel has taught us about perseverence, strength, and hope. A broken heart is so hard to heal, but it can get better over time - you can't let grief consume you. We have tried so hard to crawl out of this hole and continue to live and appreciate life. Even Sean, as little as he is, has made his journey through this. The other day Sean said to me "but they got to keep their baby" - he was referring to a friend whose mother recently gave birth to a baby. He continued to tell me about what a little boy at school told him. The boy said "Maybe if you have another baby you can keep that one." I think that gave Sean hope. Thank you little boy. Amazing how someone so small can understand the concept of hope.
  • Most importantly, Daniel has reminded us about love and compassion. So many people have shown compassion towards us - people we don't even know. We have learned to accept compassion from others and been able to find compassion for others. Love - the love between myself, my husband, and my son - has been what has kept us together. Love will help pick you up when you are down and it will continue to hold you up until you can hold your own. Love will help you to find happiness during time of grief. Love is understanding and patient. Love listens and love communicates. Daniel has made us realize how much we love each other.

Thank you Daniel for making us realize so much. We miss you so and how we wish today could have been the day we brought you into this world. We may not have you but we have your memory and all the things you have taught us about life. We love you little buddy.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Perhaps, instead, our penalty for outliving our children is the task of seeking happiness in the midst of an imperfect world, reinventing ourselves in the midst of our child's ghost, rebirthing in the midst of suffering, or finding a way to love despite the pain. Love, Livingstone says, is the ultimate risk. When we cannot change the parts we wish were different, the unfairness and cruelty of life, we've only one choice. To live or die. Yet, to surrender our existence would be to abandon all that is beautiful about our children who died. Indeed, he says, living after a child's death is both an act of will and an act of surrender. He speaks from very personal experience.

Livingstone is a bereaved parent twice. His eldest son succeeded at suicide, and his youngest, only 13, died of leukemia. How does one exist in a world where children die? I think, perhaps, through that for which we are willing to risk everything- love.

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore


Before you even read any further - no there are no answers - or at least not yet. I went to the doctor on Thursday hoping to have the results back from the gazillion tests done to find out why Daniel died, but of course not everything was complete. My doctor did tell me that I am completely healthy - there is nothing wrong with me. Approximately 50% of the time parents will not find out the reason for the stillbirth of their child. I know our chances aren't that good right now.

The visit to the doctor's office brought back that wave of grief that has been coming in and out of our lives lately. I should still be pregnant - the visit to the doctor's office should have been in anticipation of my son's birth - not to discuss his death. Instead I was the patient with "post fetal death" annotated next to her name on the patient list sitting on my doctor's desk (HIPAA violation I might add).

I am so tired of feeling sad - I don't want it to take away from the time we have with Sean. They grow up fast. Parents spend their lives just getting through each day only to wake up the next day and do the same thing. It is so important to try to enjoy every moment you have with your child because you'll never get that back and should something happen the memories are all you will have. I don't have an answer as to what is right, but I do know that life can pass you by instantaneously and then one day you find yourself looking back saying - what happened - where did it all go?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


I write less but I also cry less. My heart still has that crushing feeling that makes it hard to breath at times - I suppose its a broken heart. I haven't visited Daniel in almost 2 weeks, but today I decided to drive by after I picked Sean up from school. I stopped going because I really couldn't stand visiting an empty patch of grass surrounded by the graves of other babies sent to heaven. Today was different though - I decided at the last minute to turn into the cemetery with the hope that Daniel's marker would be there. Well the marker was there - they must have just put it in today because all the dirt around it was still loose. Sean was with me so I had to be strong. I thought it would be very emotional and in some ways it was, but it also made me feel good. Almost like it was proof to the world of Daniel's existence.

Even more difficult than seeing the marker was explaining to Sean where we were. I told him that the cemetery is where we can go to talk to Daniel. I tried to explain to Sean that sometimes God takes some babies to heaven - a fact that is made apparent by the grave stones of babies decorated with angels and teddy bears that surrounded us.

I want to be honest with Sean and talk openly about things. He is grieving too. Tonight after I put him to bed I heard him crying, but he didn't call for me. I went into his room and asked him what was wrong. He said "Mommy I don't feel good". I asked him what was bothering him and he said "I miss my Daniel". On top of feeling like I disappointed my husband who I only want to make happy, I feel like such a crappy mother for talking about the baby to Sean for 8 months only to disappoint him.

Daniel has his stone now - he is surrounded by other babies. One thing I notice is that the stones that have been there longer aren't kept up as well. Does this mean that the parents of these babies have forgotten? Does it symbolize the fact that over time you forget? It truly hurts me to visit my baby in the cemetery - I never was one for visiting graves. There are so many other things I would rather do to remember Daniel than visit his grave - but I will because I love him and I always will. He will always be my second born son.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Throughout everything in life there are milestones - turning points, goals met, or obstacles overcome that make movement more obvious. Throughout grieving the loss of Daniel there have been many turning points - the ultrasound, the hospital, the funeral, etc. Each one has been difficult and there continue to be milestones, although decreasing in magnitude, that conjure up so many emotions and aching pain.

Tears don't flow as freely as they have in the past few weeks, but the pain is still there. The pieces do start to sweep themselves up and life does go on - there is hope. I have another milestone today and although it seems silly it is a hard one for me. Going back into work. It symbolizes so much for me - it was the last place I was before I found out we lost Daniel. It was the last place where I had tried so hard the day before the loss to feel him kicking in my stomach. Although I know everyone at work is great - going back to work is a huge weight on my shoulders and I just have to get it over with so that I can drop the 20 lbs on my shoulders and keep moving along this path.

My husband had his first "So did your wife have the baby?" - it was hard for him but he got through that milestone. I am sure there might be someone who says to me "So you had the baby!". I don't know how I will respond and I guess I am afraid of not knowing - its that fear that makes going back difficult. Off to work I go. I am sure traffic will be particularly worse today, I will have to park extra far from the building, the printers will be broken and my desk will be gross, but, as with everything else in life, overcoming milestones are never easy but once you do - there is an overwhelming sense of relief - less weight to carry as you go a long in the process of grieving and life in general.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Experiences of Grief

It's amazing how something such as the loss of a child can open up your eyes to so much else in the world; make you so sensitive to other people's tragedies - vulnerable in everyday life. As time goes on, the feelings that both my husband and I are dealing with aren't so much about the loss - the disbelief, shock, sobbing, crying or denial; the feelings we have to deal with now center around us - ourselves and each other.

What people may not realize is that it can get harder to cope later on once the initial shock and physical symptoms of grief subside. All the pain of the loss gets internalized and manifests itself into other feelings that can somehow be misconstrued, misdirected, and misinterpreted by others. It is so important that those who are grieving step outside themselves and take a good look at their behavior each day and try to understand why.

I have a handout entitled "Experiences of Grief" which has helped me to understand why I am the way I am right now. There are over 20 different "experiences" that you will encounter while grieving and I am listing some of the ones we are dealing with right now.
  • Guilt - I mentioned this previously. People in general feel guilt - some more so than others. I think this is weighing on me heavily because it was my body that carried this baby and it was my body that failed this baby. I know I did nothing intentional to hurt Daniel so I have to try to let that go and learn from the experience - not dwell on it.
  • Anger - I have a certain degree of anger towards people who fail to acknowledge my son. I know that it is so difficult to deal with loss - especially that of a baby - but I have this tremendous desire to have people talk about him - to say his name, call him my son, and remember him - even though they never got to meet him. Some people just don't understand that the minute you find out you are pregnant and have a baby inside of you - that baby is your family, your hopes and dreams, your future so when that baby dies it is a loss for everyone. Sean, John, and I went to a Compassionate Friends meeting and as we were leaving and saying our goodbyes a woman said "Goodbye Daniel". At first I thought it was strange or that she had confused Sean with being Daniel - but then I realized she was acknowledging my son and his presence in our lives. I will never forget that.
  • Lowered Self-Esteem - yep, I'm in the dumps right now. Its funny how when you have a baby to care for and an extra 20 lbs on you it isn't that noticeable. Making it through 8 months of pregnancy (35 lbs gained) and having nothing to show for it leaves a woman alone to look in the mirror and cringe. Aside from the physical aspects of self-esteem, I find that grief causes you to constantly put down what you have done, focus on the negative,and displace anything positive in life. You are constantly plagued with this "I can't do anything right" mentality.
  • Preoccupation - even as I right this now. It is so difficult to concentrate and be productive or focus on work when you are dealing with grief. Productivity is at a low and it makes it hard to accomplish anything - thus further adding to the low self-esteem mentioned up above.
  • Frustration - I am sad because my patience is short and I still have a stubborn, independent, know-it-all 3 year old to deal with. I used to be very creative in my approach with him - race to see who can get dressed first, talk to him so that he gets distracted and forgets what he was whining about - but now I just don't have the energy to do this and it hurts me that I can't be a better mom right now. I can go on and on about frustration - Lowe's (don't ever get windows replaced through their service), traffic, gas, etc.
  • Envy - It is so hard to see mommy's with new baby boys. I am envious - not angry or resentful - I just wish I had my son. I am also envy mothers who have not had to deal with stillbirth which ties into lowered self-esteem. I see these mothers and say - why couldn't that be me? what's wrong with me?
  • Loneliness - People seem to just leave you alone when a baby dies. More so though, I think loneliness may be in reference to feeling alone in your experience. There is a strange comfort in knowing someone else who has experienced a similar loss. They understand the pain, the trials and tribulations, and the heartache. Fortunately, there aren't many people who have experienced this kind of loss, but for those who have I am sorry and I understand.
  • Pride - this is a big one for us. We dealt with this in the very beginning when we were showered with sympathy and I think to some degree we are both dealing with this now - we just don't know it. "For many of us we are too proud to ask for or accept help. When asked how we are feeling - we say "fine" where as in reality we are falling apart inside. We are apt to think "I can do it by myself" not realizing how unprepared we are for the death of a loved one. Sharing such deep grief does help us to cope and understand. The verb "be proud" means to hold one's self high, to turn one's head. Bereaved so often do this to overcompensate for how really low they feel. We are stubborn about letting anyone know how we feel. This makes it difficult for others to give us the help we so desperately need."

These are just some of the experiences of grief. There are others that are more hopeful and some that are more related to the newness of the loss, but these are the experiences for the moment - for the now. A good qoute - "Grief is like a raw open, deep wound. With great care it eventually will heal, but there will always be a scar. Life will never be the same. You never get over the loss, but you will get better in time.... It is important what you do with the time." Right now our wound is all red and swollen - sort of like when you don't take care of a cut and it gets infected. It is in the process of healing but still needs some attention.

Friday, May 16, 2008

A Pair of Shoes

I am wearing a pair of shoes.They are ugly shoes.Uncomfortable shoes.I hate my shoes.

Each day I wear them, and each day I wish I had another pair.Some days my shoes hurt so bad that I do not think I can take another step.Yet, I continue to wear them.

I get funny looks wearing these shoes.They are looks of sympathy.I can tell in others eyes that they are glad they are my shoes and not theirs.They never talk about my shoes.To learn how awful my shoes are might make them uncomfortable.

To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them.But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.

I now realize that I am not the only one who wears these shoes.There are many pairs in this world.Some woman are like me and ache daily as they try and walk in them.Some have learned how to walk in them so they don't hurt quite as much.Some have worn the shoes so long that days will go by before they think about how much they hurt.

No woman deserves to wear these shoes.Yet, because of these shoes I am a stronger woman.These shoes have given me the strength to face anything.They have made me who I am.I will forever walk in the shoes of a woman who has lost a child.

Author unknown


I've read a lot about the grieving process and one of the topics that is frequently discussed is guilt. Guilt is a common reaction but it is a heavy burden to carry around and even though I have no idea why Daniel died I have a 20 lb sack of guilt on my back. How do I let go of this guilt? Forgiveness of self is key I suppose, but I have always been hard on myself about everything - even the littlest things. Many have said that losing a child will change your life forever - it certainly has changed ours and I can see how I am going to have to make the effort to change my look on life in order to get through this grieving process. Note: Someone told me that "Google is evil!" - I agree. The more I read the more I blamed myself. I have to focus on living in the present instead of dwelling on the past.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Dime

The day before Mother's Day was very hard for me. I cried most of the afternoon - everything seemed so hopelessly impossible. I felt like I was at my lowest - until I found my dime. Dimes are a paranormal phenomenon that are said to be a sign from a loved one up above. My aunt recently told me that she had also heard this from a co-worker and that last week she had found a dime when she was deviating from her normal routine at work. This was something that she was able to take comfort in. It's funny how we tend to gravitate towards these types of things when we have very little to help us understand why something awful has occurred in our life.
John was heading out to run an errand with Sean and asked if I wanted to go. I had all intentions of going because I just didn't want to be alone, but decided that I would stay home and start the laundry and vacuum. Please note that I haven't done much laundry since Daniel died - actually I haven't done any laundry in quite some time. I was still very upset, but thought that keeping busy would help. As the tears ran down my face, I sorted the laundry and I heard a cling on the cement basement floor. Underneath some shirts there was a dime - face up. Now granted, people often find change when doing the laundry BUT I only found a dime - just one dime - and it was while I was at my lowest - shortly after I had been in bed crying.
Coincidence maybe, but I want to believe, whether it is true or not, that someone - my son Daniel, my brother Daniel, or some other relative way up there in the heavens - is trying to tell me that everything will be alright - that Daniel is okay and that I don't have to worry. Why at the very lowest of days did this dime just appear?

For Mother's Day I wanted to get a necklace to remember Daniel. I really couldn't decide on any particular one, but now I think I know what I want. I think I'll have that dime made into a necklace - not only to remember Daniel, but to remind myself that he's okay and that it will be alright.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Leaving The Hospital

I woke up at 4 AM that morning, as I often did with Daniel kicking in my stomach, and just laid in the bed. Even though they made sure to put me at the end of the hall I could still hear newborn babies crying. I wanted so badly to have them bring my baby in so that I could feed him or just hold him. I had to remind myself that this would not happen. I was in essentially the same room as that in which we had our first son. Same couch, same TV, same layout, same congratulatory dinner menu for parents of newborn babies. The only difference was that there was no baby and the nurses only came in to check on me.

I really did not want to be at the hospital anymore. I just wanted to go home. I couldn’t get back to sleep so I got myself up, took a shower and got dressed. I can remember with Sean that it took 3 nurses to get me into the bathroom on the second day, but now I was able to do this all on my own – something that I had hoped for with this deliver - just not this way.

My primary OB came by to talk with me. She wanted me to know that she had also had a still born child who would have been 18 years old this year. For her my loss was closer to her heart than I think I realized. I understood why she said the things she said to me during the delivery; why she was so hard on me to make sure I made the right decisions - not based on how I was feeling at that moment but how she knew I might feel later on. I am so appreciative of her sharing her loss with me because it started to open my eyes to the fact that I am not the only person in this world that has been through such a devastating loss. It brought me one step closer to getting through the “process” and understanding that life goes on, women have more children, families continue to grow, and that people deal with loss in their own way and on their own timeline.

As my husband and I were preparing to leave the hospital I began to realize that this was another step in the “process”. As excited as I was to just get out of there I knew that this was going to be it – my baby was dead and I wasn’t leaving with him. The discharge nurse walked out with us and I remember wondering why she was tagging along. I know now that the nurse walked the halls with us because she also understood what leaving the hospital meant. It is a permanent step in actualizing the loss of your baby.

Just before you leave the maternity floor, just before the last set of doors to exit, there is a room where the hospital initially admits pregnant mothers to monitor their babies. As I walked by this room, I could hear loudly the heart beat of a baby – the same sound that I so longed to hear when I went to my doctor’s two days prior. I raced out of the doors through another set of doors, and into the sun – it was a beautiful day. I just cried into my husband’s shoulder – we both felt the loss even more so now. I feel for any mother who has to leave the hospital without their baby. I hope that mother in that room never takes for granted the sound of her baby’s heartbeat because it is the difference between leaving the hospital with a baby and leaving with a keepsake box, pamphlets, an empty heart and sorrow.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What I Have Learned

I still haven’t been able to feel at ease or comfort. I hear that it will come and I suppose it will but I’m not sure when, or in what way. I’ve heard grief comes in waves – sort of like the ocean. One day it is calm and uneventful, the next it hits you like a tidal wave. The ocean never dries up and goes away – it slowly evolves and changes over time but it never disappears – sort of like the feelings you have when you lose a child.

Daniel has taught me so much in such a short period of time. I know now that I should not take life, family, or children for granted. They are a blessing. I need to be appreciative of what I have for as long as I have it. In the deepest darkest moments of our grief we should remind ourselves that even when we feel we are going through the worst thing imaginable there is always someone, somewhere who has suffered far worse. We should not take comfort in this but know that “it could be worse” and this should give us the strength to move on.

The single most important thing I have learned from this is that strength isn’t getting over something and carrying on – it is facing it head on and dealing with it – even if that means allowing yourself to cry, feel pain, and express anger for much longer than you think you should. It is only now at my weakest most vulnerable point in life that I have found courage and ultimately true strength.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What I Am Feeling Now

Disappointment - I think any parent would feel disappointment. We spent months talking about the baby, planning for the baby, and dreaming of what the baby would be like only to be left with nothing. My son Sean was disappointed too. I spent many nights talking with Sean about how I was going to need his help when the baby got here and what his job was going to be as a big brother. He was excited, as we were, and now there wasn’t much to be excited about. I feel responsible for the disappointment – it was my job to bring that baby into this world and for some reason I just couldn’t seem to do it. This leads me to my next feeling – failure.

Failure - Having a child is such a miracle. Being pregnant with a child is such a blessing. Some people will never know or feel the significance of bearing a child – they may never have a child. There are some who do have children and never appreciate them. It seems so simple – get pregnant, carry your baby, give birth and raise that child. If I have learned anything from being a mother it is that nothing is simple. Every action you take or don’t take can effect how that child turns out. It is a huge responsibility to ensure the safety and health of a child - as parents we take on that role and make it our life. I know that there is nothing that I did to cause Daniel’s death. Nothing I have read leads me to believe that and nothing I have done would make me feel that way. It happens – it happens more often than we even know. I can’t help feeling inside, however, that I am a failure. I failed to bring this baby into my family’s life and I failed to bring the happiness and joy that comes along with a new baby. Rationally I know this is not right, but its how I feel.

Emptiness - I just can’t explain how empty a person’s life is once they lose a child. I never understood it. I am like that with everything – I have a hard time truly feeling pain for someone unless I have experienced it myself. I know now. I was so ignorant to all of this. I saw a section about stillbirth in my books but only glimpsed through it. Never really reading about it or trying to understand it. As far as I was concerned it didn’t apply to me. Now I know and I can feel the emptiness inside that it causes not only me but all the mother’s that have experienced a loss. I have a huge hole in my heart and I want to fill it so badly but there is nothing that can replace my son. I suppose this is why so many couples get pregnant again so quickly because they are trying to fill that hole. I know that I will never be able to fill the hole in my heart – maybe make that empty feeling less empty but it will always be there – for all of us.

Weakness – “You are so strong”. I used to take pride in that, but being strong – at least the way I used to handle it – was really being weak. Shoving feelings in closets, under beds and in the back of cabinets is not strength - its weakness. Conversely, when you allow yourself to be weak, vulnerable, to cry in front of and with others – only then are you strong. How can the same word mean two very different things? I think weakness is a trait to be admired. It means compassion, love, understanding, and feeling. I don’t understand it but I don’t understand a lot of things. I just know for the first time in my life I have felt this weakness – the kind that represents strength – and as much as it hurts – as much as I wince from the stabbing pain in my heart – I know that it is right.

Helpless – So many times through out all of this I have felt helpless. When I couldn’t feel my baby move – I felt helpless. When they said my baby was dead I felt helpless. When I was told I had to deliver him I felt helpless. When I held him in my arms – lifeless – I felt helpless. When we buried Daniel I felt so helpless. My husband and I aren’t helpless people – we have always been able to manage on our own in our lives apart and together. Sometimes no matter how hard you try there will be a point where you will be helpless – completely and utterly helpless – and you will have to just give in because there is nothing you can do to change things.

Good Quote - Stole it from The Clown Baby

Our own grief can suffocate our senses, the very senses that would grant us deep compassion for others. Empathy requires us to stand outside our own grief and recognize pain in the lives of others. When we are able to truly do that - to reach beyond our own boundaries of loss, our hearts become bigger, and we are able to find healing in our connection to and concern for others.

Dr. Joanne Cacciatore

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I Knew Before I Knew

My baby was so active. I remember making a comment to my husband that he was going to be handful because he was always moving about in my belly. He would wake me up in the morning around 4:00 AM with his little butterfly kicks reminding me that I needed to eat. Just before lunch, again, he would move about in my belly with excitement that food was on its way. Throughout the remainder of the day I would feel kicks reacting to the voices around me. There was no doubt that he was there – an active participant in my life and everything that was going on around us.

The day I realized I didn’t feel him moving any longer I knew. I knew it wasn’t right, but I don’t think I wanted to believe it. I remember rushing to the OB to be put on the fetal monitor and thinking “well at least I will get to hear the baby’s heart beat”. The nurses tried to find the heart beat and kept saying “babies like to hide” as if this would reassure me of my fears. My shoulders were so tense and the nurse kept saying relax, but I couldn’t. The only heartbeat they found was my own. The doctor came in and tried – she found nothing but said nothing. We went into another room to do an ultrasound. As soon as it started I knew – they baby was not moving at all. I remember when we had an ultrasound at 6 months, the technician had to race to take pictures because Danny moved so much. He was sucking his thumb and had his fingers in his mouth the whole time – it was just before lunch and I was sure he was hungry. This time there was nothing – no reassuring flashing lights that would prove to me that he was okay. The monitor was ominously dark with white outlines of a baby. When the doctor told the nurse to close the door and she looked over at me I knew. I just cried – I cried so hard and loud they closed other doors into offices where other expectant mothers lay.

It seemed like forever before my husband got to the office, but in that time I went from wanting to erase everything from my memory and skip right to not being pregnant any longer to realizing for the first time in my life that this was something I couldn’t just pretend didn’t happen – that it didn’t effect me. The nurse that sat with me while I waited for my husband said something to me that gave me the courage to deal with all of this. She said “No matter what you can not forget this baby. This is your baby and you carried it for as long as you did”. “He will always be your child and that will never change.”


I have always had a funny relationship with God. Not that I don’t believe in him but I have not always gone to him when in need or thanked him when life went well. At the baby’s funeral I remember hearing the priest remind us how in times like this we need to turn to God, but I also remembering thinking that God was a part of all of this and I somehow felt angry.

Going to church after we lost Daniel was hard. The last time we went I was pregnant. Doing anything for the first time after the loss seems hard – grocery shopping, picking Sean up from school, going to work. It serves as a reminder of what I had and what I don’t have now. The church prayed for Daniel that Sunday after his funeral. John brought Sean to the bathroom - a spot Sean frequently visits during mass - and I was sitting alone in the pew. I couldn’t help but cry and cry loudly -much more so than I would have liked.

I guess I'm not angry at God - I try not to be. I am trying my hardest to tie a perfectly concrete scientific reason to it all. However, I take comfort in the words John’s brother offered to us about God’s reasoning – “God gave you this great pain now so as to protect you from having to suffer an even greater pain and loss in the future. Maybe Daniel would have been sick or lived a short life and died young. God gave you this now because he knew you could handle it now as oppossed to later.”

Reminder to Self.....

"Funny how ignorant we can be to other people's feelings and emotions when we don't fully understand or know what they have been through. Step outside of yourself for a minute and try to understand their pain - even if you have never had the chance to feel that type of pain before."


Monday, May 5, 2008

My Husband

Never have I loved him so much as the day I lost my child. When my first son was born I had a very difficult recovery and my husband was there for me the entire time. I was so appreciative of him, but at the same time I was grappling with being a new mother, physically recovering, and dealing with a wealth of other issues going on in my life that consumed me and my ability to truly appreciate all he did. With Danny he again was supportive. I just remember him telling me how much he loved me when he first walked in the door after we found out that the baby had died. He wanted whatever I wanted even if it wasn’t the right thing. He made all the calls, he stayed by my side in the hospital, and he never took his eyes off of me when we delivered our baby. Above all else he was strong enough to be there for our baby when I just couldn’t. We wanted to see the baby, but I had a hard time holding him. I knew him in my tummy when he was alive and kicking and growing so seeing him after he was gone was hard and I could only hold him for a few minutes. My husband held him for what seemed like an eternity. John cradled Danny in his arms in the rocking chair while he spoke to him as if he were coming home with us. He joked around with him, as he did with Sean, and hummed the “Battle of the Green Beret” song as he rocked him. Even though holding my baby didn’t necessarily bring me comfort it helped me to see my husband hold him, to see him be so strong and to be a good father to our son even after he was gone. My husband cried. Rarely have I seen him cry but he cried and although it was often when he was alone - we did cry together. I don’t know how to describe it – pride, admiration, envy – but I do know that I have never met a better man (give or take a few shovels being thrown across our back yard), father, husband, person than John.

My First Born Son

I thank God for Sean – my first born child and my first born son. Motherhood is such a hard thing – it consumes your life taking away so much from your self yet leaving you feeling so full. He is what helps with this all. I know that some mothers may not be so lucky to already have a child to help focus on, but having him made me realize how lucky I was and appreciative of the life God had allowed me to care for. I did feel like I had disappointed him. I promised him a brother. I spent months talking about Danny and about how Sean would need to help mommy with taking care of the baby. Sean would lift my shirt up and wave to Danny and give him a hug and a kiss. Now I had nothing to give to him and how was I going to explain that to him.

Everything I read told me to be honest and direct yet simple. Just say “the baby is dead”. How do you explain dead to a three year old? I tried but I don’t think the magnitude of death sits well with a three year old. Sometimes he forgets – it has only been a week but my belly is still big and Sean comments about Daniel. I remind him that his brother is with God. We planted a tree together – Sean helped dig the hole and get the rocks out. This tree is our Danny tree – a Weeping Cherry – the same tree next to Daniel’s grave at the cemetery. With this I hope he will remember his brother and at the very least we will be able to watch this tree grow as we would have been able to watch Daniel grow had he not died.

I worry. I worry that I am so consumed with the loss of Daniel that I might not be a good mother to Sean. I worry that Sean is hurting but can’t express it. For anyone who says that he is little and that he doesn’t understand you are wrong. My son is very smart and very sensitive to people’s feelings. I know he knows we are hurting and he is hurting in his own way too. Sean will be okay. We will all be okay but it takes time.