No one.

As I reached into the back of my spice cabinet and felt them, I knew what they were. The numbers 3 & 0. They were my birthday candles; hot pink, and glittery on tiny little toothpicks. They were my favorite candles, and they were from my favorite birthday- My 30th. I was finally pregnant after all of our infertility treatments, and I was so happy. Shane and Landon went together to buy me a birthday present. They bought me a past present future ring that I’ve worn on my right ring finger ever since.

This is the only gift I have “from” Kenley. When I opened the gift, I imagined giving it to her when she was older, maybe on her high school graduation day. Maybe on her wedding day; it could be her something old. People don’t prepare you for these things.

No one ever tells you what happens after.

After the initial shock wears off.

After you wake up for consecutive days without the baby you carried for 9 months.

After you can so sadly say “I’m a survivor of child loss”.

No one ever tells you that every day is a fight; to get out of bed, to not fall apart every second of every day, to feel normal- whatever that new normal may be. No one ever tells you that you will feel like your body failed you; that you will hate yourself for what your body did to your child. You never hear about the judgement you will face, like you’re damaged goods, and now you’re less of a Mother because your child is dead. No one tells you that you will constantly replay the moments over and over in your head, no matter how hard you try to block them out; your memories become your nightmares.

No one tells you that somehow you make it through. Somehow you are still alive. Somehow you are still breathing, but you are not the same person as before. You will never be that person; that person died with the child you lost.

That person no longer exists.

I don’t know that I would have believed anyone, during the early days of grief, had they told me that eventually you just learn how to survive. Surviving doesn’t mean that things get easier; honestly, things get more complicated and weird as time goes on. Surviving doesn’t mean that you forgot, or ever will forget the child you lost, or that this child is any less loved than they were the moment you found out of their existence.

Surviving means that the love you have for that child transcends time and space.

Surviving means you are keeping the memory of your child alive.

Every day that I survive on this earth, is one day closer to my Daughter. 

30 days left.

We had an NST today, and Alden was once again an over achiever. They want to see 2 accelerations in 2o minutes- she had 10. I’m so thankful that she is proving to me she is healthy, and active but damn I can’t wait until she is earth side and in my arms. While we were sitting there listening to her heartbeat (which, by the way is computer generated and not the real noise… I feel like I’ve been lied to!) I looked over at Shane and told him that I cannot wait to see him holding Alden. He was sitting so close to me, keeping a hand on the monitor because he wanted to make sure we were getting a good reading (her heartbeat wasn’t showing up strong so the nurse suggested I keep a hand over top of the monitor).

I am so thankful for him. I know I say it a lot, but sometimes it just hits me really really hard how much I love him. He really can’t wait for her to be here, and I am so excited to watch him be a Father again. I wanted to watch him Father Kenley, but I get to see that done in different ways. I know that he is going to love this little girl so much. I just can’t wait. I can’t wait to see Landon interact with her, too. Ugh, my heart is exploding just thinking about it! I know she will bring so much joy to our lives, and I am genuinely looking forward to that, but I am still so scared of Kenley being forgotten.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s day. Last year on Valentine’s day I remember sitting on the edge of my bed, in my robe, crying- no sobbing more like it, and thinking about how this was supposed to be Kenley’s first real holiday. I had gotten a cute little onesie for her to wear as an xmas gift; It say’s “Daddy’s Sweetheart”. I was looking through the clothes in the closet the other night when I came across it. It sent chills down my spine. I wanted to rip it out of the closet and throw it in the trash, yet at the same time I couldn’t stand to look at it long enough to even remove it. I’m not too sure what will happen with that outfit…

Last year at this time- specifically Valentine’s day- I did not want to be alive. I remember thinking about how badly I wanted to be with Kenley. I would never actually kill myself, but I remember thinking how sad I was, how lonely I was. I was in the raw grief period, and that period is like no other. There is no way to prepare someone for the darkness that you feel in the early days after a loss. It’s indescribable. I knew I needed help, so I called up some therapists and scheduled an appointment with one. I am so proud of myself for doing that because honestly? I could have literally laid down in bed and refused to get up again because that’s how awful I felt. I STILL feel that way sometimes.

I (we) saw a therapist until August, when all of a sudden one day it just didn’t feel right to go anymore. Shane and I agreed that we felt like we were just wasting money by seeing the therapist, not that she wasn’t a great one, but just that we were at the point in our grief where we could lean on each other. Before, it felt like I needed someone to hear everything I had to say, all the time, and I would sometimes lay it on thick to Shane (who was also grieving but wanting to make things easier on me so he would just listen to me cry for hours when that wasn’t fair to him). I can honestly say that I feel 100% not seeing a therapist anymore. There are days where I feel the darkness heavy inside of me, but I can battle that now. I know when it comes that it will pass, and I know why it’s coming- be it a trigger, or just a bad day.

Losing Kenley was a terrible, terrible thing. I think I can confidently say that losing a child is one of the worst- if not THE worst- things in the world. People think that just because you didn’t “spend time” with the child you lost, that you should heal quicker and move on; just the notion of that makes zero sense to me. Where in these people’s minds do they think it’s okay to expect, well, anything from a Mother who lost a child?

I text with a group of loss moms (Hi! I love you all!) and we were discussing God + losses today. We’re a pretty open minded bunch, and a few are religious (while a few aren’t) so this  next stuff isn’t some anti-christ opinion here. Anyway, we were discussing the things that people say to you after a loss, specifically when someone tells you that “it’s God’s plan”.

First off, no. Just no.  Yikes. Like…do you not realize what that sounds like? It sounds like you are telling a person who’s CHILD JUST DIED that God intended that to happen? Like he specifically chose that person and said ok, that baby won’t live. Just does not make sense. Also, there was another comment and it was greeted with a reply from one of the women who said “Ask that woman which one of her children she would like to give back” and that makes so much sense. People say things, such as “God needed another angel(this saying makes me cringe deep into my soul) with intention of making you feel better, when really it’s just making THEM feel better (fuck if I know how it makes ANYONE feel better???). When you say God needed another angel, you’re telling that person “God” wanted your baby more than you deserved it. So, because he’s “God” he should just get what he wants. What about what you want? The chance to raise your baby (in a faith that serves him NONETHELESS!!!). 

Bottom line, don’t say dumb shit. Like, before you open your mouth, take FIVE seconds, and really, really think about if what you’re going to say is REALLY going to make this person (not yourself) feel any better.

Chances are, the answer is no because there is no comforting a child loss mother.

There just isn’t. 

This post really went all over the place.

netflix.

I am so thankful that we have Netflix; I have been binge watching tv sitcoms for like, 5 weeks now. It started when a few friends told me to watch parks and rec. I had already started earlier this year, but I finished up the rest of the seasons and loved it. I found that it kept my mind super occupied, and that’s what I needed. I’m currently watching the office again; you can never get enough Pam and Jim love story.

I’ve found that since I hit 28 weeks, my mind is sort of off the charts. I think it’s been getting harder since we started buying big ticket items for Alden. We had most everything we needed for Kenley, like…literally everything. Her dresser is stocked with diapers, wipes, lotions, you name it. All things were ready for her to come home, and she didn’t. I think I feel like I’m jinxing myself, which I know is not a rational thing. Me buying a stroller does not mean that my baby is going to die. But, I’ll tell you what…it sure fucking feels like it.

We got the glider picked up, and it’s officially in our bedroom, which terrifies me (just the whole jinxing thing…). It’s so freakin comfortable and I’ve sat in it a few times. It’s right near our window, so it’s relaxing. We are scheduled to have the nursery painted on Monday morning, and I need to take down artwork, and her name banner. I’m not very excited to do this. It’s going to be super hard, and I’m feeling stressed and anxious about it.

I went into the nursery tonight while Landon was in the shower. I sat in the rocker, and just started to cry. Everything hit me at once. I don’t want to take it down, I don’t want to paint, I don’t want to see her dresser painted another color.

It’s just not fair.

I want my baby girl back.

Life is unfair. 

Today is the 2nd anniversary of our first miscarriage’s due date. I should have a two year old. 

It’s funny how fucked up life is. 

Rainbow after loss.

I was googling just now to see if there were signs to place on your hospital door after you have your rainbow baby; I’m looking for a sign that says all the things that I don’t want to repeat 10+ times to each different person who enters my room on my care team.

While googling I came across an article titled “Heartbreaking ‘rainbow baby’ photo captures joy after loss”, so I clicked it because well…it sounds like it would be something I wanted to look at.

Long story short, a second time mom got pregnant and immediately started telling her family, lost the baby at 5 weeks and ended up pregnant again a month later that produced her rainbow. The article goes on to talk about how “tragic” her early miscarriage was, and how “devastated” they were. Yes, while I have had 2 early miscarriages and know that they are HORRIBLE and so sad, and you lose everything you thought you were going to have…the late term loss of my daughter, one week before she should have been born (and THREE WHOLE  GESTATIONAL WEEKS LATER THAN HER BROTHER WAS BORN AND SURVIVED) was leaps and bounds more difficult than the early losses. I don’t mean to sound like I’m playing the pain olympics here…but yikes.

The words that the writer used in this article pissed me off SO bad. Like…to the point I went looking for an e-mail address to write this person and be like “um…your article is ridiculous”. The way the article is titled, I expected to read a story of a mother losing a child late term, or after birth, and then see a photo of her holding her rainbow after birth or something…nope.

The article is full of those “cute” naked baby pics with rainbow headbands…

Da. Fuq.

Hey, People Magazine, if you’re reading this (LOL), this article was the worst. THE WORST.

 

Anyway. I haven’t come across any signs, but I did find out that there are apparently signs that are placed on the doors at hospitals after you lose a child to alert all staff to not say something stupid to you. The nurses at the hospital after we had Kenley were amazing. Some of the cried with us, some of them were the only people ever to dress Kenley. I’ve never spoken to them since. I don’t know that I would be able to complete a sentence honestly. Shane and I decided that we want to have a lunch catered to the staff on a day that all of them are there. That’s my next plan of action to discuss with my hospital contact.

I’m pretty nervous the closer we get to the actual day that Alden is scheduled to arrive. I think about how Kenley had a date she was supposed to arrive. I’m trying to separate the two of them, but I don’t know how you’re supposed to do something so intense? How am I supposed to look at this pregnancy different than Kenley’s? Logically I know they are two different children/pregnancies, and that rationally there is no reason Alden should die as well, but it’s like…you can’t help but think that way?

I was given two bottles of soap to use before the surgery; one the night before, and one the morning before. I have to be at the Hospital at 5:30 am and that is intimidating to me. I know that I will be super anxious, and probably not sleep at all the night before, maybe I’ll pull an all nighter, who knows.

The anxiety and anticipation is really really high tonight. I’m assuming it’s only going to increase, but I’m ok with that. I’m ready to bring this girl home, but first… lets get through the next 67 days with my sanity.

the first year without you.

It finally came…Kenley’s first birthday.

The days that followed Halloween were brutal. It was like the Holidays were taunting me. I knew where we were at each moment in time last year (How far I was at Thanksgiving/how many days until she was born etc etc…) and so going through each day up until her birthday was really rough. When we went to get our Christmas tree this year, the place we normally go closed before we could get there (Landon started Kindergarten so we didn’t have enough time to get there after he got off school). We had to go to a new place; It was nice, but far less exciting than our normal place.

It felt good to do something different than we had the year before, though– the year when Kenley was safely tucked inside of me, growing and thriving like she should have been. When we put up the tree, I was overcome with intense grief. I cried, and I cried hard. No, let me rephrase that, I sobbed. That deep sob, you know? The one that you have no real idea where it comes from except you know deep down that it comes from a place of pain that no human being should ever have to feel.

Having to put an ornament on my tree in memory of my daughter, instead of having her there to clumsily hang hers (read: tear down the lights/tree/decor) was extremely hard. I was transported back to the Hospital when they told me she wasn’t alive anymore. I felt THAT level of sadness. It wasn’t just that she wasn’t here anymore, it was also the fact that she would NEVER be here. Maybe a realization occurred? I’m not sure.

She will never be able to hang an ornament, instead, for the rest of my life, I will be hanging her memorial ornaments. Do I buy a new one each year? Do I only hang the one that I bought specifically for her? How does a mother handle Christmas decorations when one of her children is no longer with her? There isn’t a guide for how to handle these types of things.

I avoided Christmas music VERY well this year; I think I listened to it maybe 2 times? I’m pretty happy about that, to be honest. I started listening to Christmas music the day after Halloween in 2015 and soon found out that Kenley loved it. She would dance around while it played. Avoidance was my only coping mechanism re: xmas music this year.

Every Christmas Eve, we go to Shane’s family’s get together. We went last year, and I was about to burst- 38 weeks exactly. It was SUCH a great day. I remember people giving us gifts for Kenley, telling me they were so excited for her to get here, asking how I was feeling/how things were going/next doctors appt/squeeing that her C-section date was literally a week away.  A week. Like…ouch. It still stings so deep when I think of that. It stings extra bad when I remember that I asked to have a c-section at 38 weeks 1 day- the day after Christmas- and my doctors told me no. It stings really badly when I remember that the day after Christmas last year I called my obgyn and told them I was having contractions that were able to be timed pretty close together, but the OB thought I “sounded ok”, and advised me that she didn’t think I needed to be seen, but if it made me feel better that I could go.

What kind of bullshit doctor says that? “You sound ok”. Oh good, I’m glad you can register what is happening inside my uterus by the tone of my voice. And for someone to pretty much patronize me by saying “if it makes you feel better, you can go in”, is just something that I will never EVER be able to live down. I hope that this Doctor feels extreme regret for not telling me to go to L&D that night, because who knows what could have been done…

Anyway, this year I didn’t want to go to the annual Christmas Eve get together…but I went for my Landon. I know he needed things to feel as normal as possible. When we got there, I lost it. People hugged us, and I just couldn’t handle it. It was like everything from last year just washed over me. All in all it ended up being a decent night, and I am thankful we went. Landon had an incredible time, and that is what really counts.

Christmas morning wasn’t too bad for me either. I’m not sure why…Maybe it’s because Landon’s joy just overshadowed my sorrow. Seeing him smile is the greatest gift to me, and hearing how excited he was about all of the gifts that Santa got him really really made me genuinely happy. And also, maybe I was actively blocking my feelings out; not thinking that I should have two children on Christmas morning. I should have a little girl crawling all over and being amazing. I’m pretty sure it was 50/50 (ok …70/30).

As the days ticked down to her birthday, I could feel my anxiety ramping up. The plan was to have immediate family over, have lunch, a cake, and a balloon release. I had been talking with Shane for a few weeks about what he wanted to do to “celebrate” (side note- I hate this term. I hate it so much. I’m not celebrating her birthday, for fucks sake, she’s not here. I’m mourning her, and all the things I lost when she died) her day. He’s pretty easy going so he ultimately said “whatever you wanna do”, which I sometimes hate. So, the day before he admits to me that he was surprised I wanted to have people over, and thought it would be nice to just have him, myself and Landon together on the day.

Ugh.

I told him that he needs to tell me these things when I’m asking him for a few weeks at a time. It was too late to cancel everything, and we ended up going forward with my plans. At the end of the night when everyone left, he hugged me tight, told me he was so happy we went through with it and that he had a really nice day. I’m so thankful that I can trust my gut sometimes, and strong arm him into things that I know are ultimately better for us.

We had a christmas gift exchange with my Dad and Sister before everyone showed up at 2 for the “party”. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to do this, as it felt like it was taking away from her, but ultimately I’m glad we did. Then, around 2, Shane’s family showed up. We all just kind of hung out for a little bit, then had lunch. We ate, and decided that we would do the balloon release. Everyone wrote or drew on their balloons (only popped 2!) and then we made our way outside. It was extremely windy, but so clear. Landon counted to 3, and we all let them go. It felt good to watch them float away. I kept my message short and simple. She knows how much I love her, so my balloon was just a small reminder of that.



After, we came inside, and had cake and ice cream. My sister brought a flower arrangement that is so beautiful and reminds me of Kenley in so many ways. My mom bought her a gift which I love. It’s a stuffed fox with a tutu on it, and I plan to keep it in her memory box. A wonderful friend sent over birthday balloons.


After all the commotion was done, we just hung out and talked for a bit. Slowly people started to leave one by one.

All throughout the day I was getting texts from people all over letting me know that she was on their minds, and that she was missed. I woke up to a specific Instagram tag from a woman who lost her son last year about a week or two before we lost Kenley. I don’t know what specifically about her words struck a chord with me, but it sort of set my tone for the day. I think it was what I was meant to see on the morning of her first birthday.


The love and support from everyone really made the day better- not easier by any means- just better.

I missed her more than I could ever explain to anyone, yet, I was so thankful there were so many people thinking of her and our family. Knowing she was and is so loved on her birthday, even after all this time, made my heart heal a little, I think.

I want to thank every single person who got in contact with me somehow yesterday. Your love and support means the world to us, and I believe it is what helped us through yesterday with a little less pain than I expected.

Our lives will never be the same, and I wouldn’t ever want them to be. If they were, I wouldn’t know my sweet girl’s face. I wouldn’t have ever known her hair color, or how her lips looked just like her brothers. I wouldn’t trade her for the world.

I am her Mother; she chose me to be that for her. It’s all that I can do to love her like she deserves, and honor her memory like she deserves.

I love you my sweet girl. Happy First Birthday.

I will hold space in my heart for you until I can hold you in my arms again.

 

 

 

 

grief is love with no place to go.

I’ve been wanting to adopt a family for Christmas, but with all this grief and stress I have going on time has slipped away from me. Today was the last day to actually take the gifts to the office, and I didn’t even get a chance to pick a family. ugh. I really really wanted to do this.

15 sleeps until Christmas.

19 sleeps until Kenley’s first birthday.

Landon is with my family this weekend. My Mom and Stepdad are taking him to the grinch musical, and to dave and busters to eat. He’s going to have one hell of a weekend. I’m so thankful that they do fun stuff with him, but I miss him terribly.

I spent the night shopping for preemie and newborn sleepers online to buy and donate to the hospital. My goal, once again, is to have them up to the hospital by Kenley’s first birthday.

•• If you feel you would like to purchase a sleeper and send it to me for donation, let me know. The more we donate, the more loss parents we can help. ••

Tonight I was able to purchase 4 preemie sleepers, and 6 newborn sleepers. I’m sure that I will buy a few more tonight as I browse the internet for great deals.

Once again, grief is love with no place to go.

I have all this love for my daughter who should be here. Who should be crawling around causing chaos. Who should be giving me wet kisses. But, it has no place to go. So, helping people makes my heart feel better…and that’s all I can really ask for.

Just another shout out to my amazing husband for supporting me and all the things I need to do to make my heart feel better. I love you. I love you. I love you. You will never know how much.

 

almost finished. 

The care packages are coming together finally! My stickers came today, along with a “you are not alone” card. The sentiments on this card were written by a fellow loss Momma. She lost her beautiful daughter, Rain, but was able to bring Rains twin brother Brahm home. I carry a special place in my heart for Rain, and her momma. I’m so thankful she allowed me to use her words. I added my blog and Instagram because I want to be accessible to ANYONE who needs to find someone after their loss.

I put together my first one this afternoon and it felt SO GOOD. I don’t know what it is about these care packages but I want to make a million and give them out to everyone.



  • Puffs soft pack tissues
  • Memories too few book
  • A journal and pen
  • You are the mother of all mothers
  • A candle
  • A bottle of lotion
  • Chapstick
  • A packet of forget me not seeds

I’m really happy with everything. I keep wondering if there is more I should add, or if this is enough. I’m always second guessing myself.