Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Last year on Mariah's 4th birthday we did all kinds of fun things, and we also went to a 20 week ultrasound to see her sibling. I thought that a few short months from then Mariah would be playing at home with her baby sister. This year for Mariah's birthday we are farther away from that goal of her having a sibling at home to play with than we ever could have imagined. How is this even possible?!  No 8 month old baby crawling around our house giggling, and we're not even at least pregnant like last year.

To be comepletely honest, I am incredibly discouraged. Every day is hard to face knowing that we are nowhere near where I thought we would be. I am at my breaking point. I am ready to throw in the towel, rip out my uterus and say "screw it, I'm done with all of the heartache." I feel beaten down and defeated.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Baby's 1st Christmas

Dear Evangeline,

Happy first Christmas in heaven my beautiful girl. We are having a very nice morning with your big sister but we still miss you very much and wish you were here with us for your first Christmas. I'm sure you would love the Christmas lights and the wrapping paper. It is so bittersweet to be spending a happy day without you. I envisioned your big sister helping you to unwrap your presents this year... It would have been the perfect Christmas morning. Instead your presents are packed away in your closet.

You will be on my mind all day.

I hope you have a beautiful Christmas Day in heaven.

Love you forever,


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Every baby deserves to be celebrated

One thing that I really regret is that Evangeline's life was not celebrated more. I didn't have a baby shower because we didn't want or need gifts. Evangeline was our second child and I didn't want people to think we were greedy or tacky by having a second baby shower. It would not have been for the gifts at all. We did not need anything.

But it sure would have been nice to have a get together just to celebrate her life. Every baby deserves to be celebrated regardless if it's your first, second or tenth child. Every life is important and is deserving of that same level of excitement and love that the first child gets. I wish I would've had a celebration for Evangeline, because unfortunately we will never again have a chance to celebrate her like I thought we would. We will never have the opportunity to invite friends and family to birthday parties for our little Evangeline.

One thing is for certain, when we have another child down the road I will have some kind of celebration. Every child deserves all of the celebration that Evangeline will forever miss out on.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Branching out

In the last year and a half I've really become interested in genealogy. I've spent hours tracing back through my and Ryan's family trees. It's amazing to see where we came from, and everything our ancestors endured in order for us to be here. Before Evangeline was born I showed Ryan the connections I had made and said "Isn't is amazing that if something happened to one of these people, whether they died or didn't meet each other we wouldn't be here?"

Think about it, if one of my grandparents generations back died in childhood there would be a huge chunk of my family tree wiped clean. I wouldn't be here and many of my relatives wouldn't be here. The branches would have suddenly ended.

Now I look at our family tree and think about Evangeline. I had these hopes and dreams that she would one day have children and grandchildren of her own. But now I am faced with the reality that her branch on our tree will never grow. I will always wonder how many branches of our family tree are missing because my daughter isn't here.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Leave a penny

A couple of months ago a fellow loss mom friend of mine talked to me about how people leave pennies on gravesites to show that they visited. This was something I had never heard of and thought it was such a sweet idea. My friend said that when she visits her son's resting place she leaves a penny, and she has since started leaving pennies on other stones in the cemetery as well.

Today, after work I decided to take a drive. I drove the six miles from my work to the cemetery where my friend's sweet baby boy is buried. I had never been to this cemetery before and had no idea where in the cemetery this sweet boy was laid to rest, but I figured I would somehow be able to find it. The only bit of help I had was a photograph my friend had sent me a few months ago of her son's resting place.

I drove around the cemetery in the rain trying to look for his resting place, trying to use the other headstones as a guide. Originally I had planned to walk the cemetery looking at each headstone to find his resting place, but of course it was raining and my umbrella wasn't working. I drove around the cemetery 3 times and was starting to get really discouraged when I noticed I had driven right up to his gravesite.

I got out of my car, and felt the cold December rain coming down on me. I walked over to his grave, knelt down and cried for this deeply missed baby boy. I talked to Andrew and my Evangeline and told them they are both loved and missed. I wished them both a very special first Christmas in heaven,  along with all of the other sweet babies who are missed this year. As I walked away I blew them kisses to heaven. Even though it was cold and rainy, and I shed some tears, it was a very nice visit.

And I made sure to leave Andrew a bright, shiny penny before I left.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A belated Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving I was bitter, sad and downright angry... But today I had an uplifting moment and wanted to acknowledge a few things I am thankful for in the midst of my sadness...

First, I am thankful to be Evangeline's mom. I held Evangeline her whole life. She was wanted and loved from the very beginning. Although I wish the outcome was different, I was reminded today that sometimes an opportunity is more important than the outcome. I had the opportunity to carry her and be her mom and I always will be her mom. She is my shining star and I am so honored to be her mom. I do still miss you dearly little girl, and I always will, but even though I will miss all of your milestones, I am still thankful to have had you, even just for a moment.

I am also thankful for the family and friends who have loved and supported us through our loss. Your love and willingness to listen has helped to give me a hand to pull me back out of that pit of despair and steady my steps. I'm sure it may be difficult to relate if you haven't been in my shoes, but please know I truly appreciate your willingness to try to understand where I am coming from.

I am deeply thankful for all of the wonderful, loving people I have met in my life because of Evangeline. There are so many lovely moms and dads I would never have met if it weren't for Evangeline. And even though I wish we all met under much different circumstances I take comfort in knowing that our beautiful, deeply missed babies brought us together.

Monday, December 2, 2013

They grow up too fast

I have a whole new perspective on the phrase "they grow up too fast." It's NEVER too fast... I'd rather have it be "too fast" than never grow up at all. I know people use that phrase because they feel like they blink and their child is already one, then in kindergarten, high school, etc... And believe me I used to say that with Mariah... But now... Now my days are going too fast for another reason.

It's been too long since I've gotten to hold my baby at all... I wouldn't mind holding her as an almost 7 month old wondering where the time has gone and thinking "they grow up too fast." But instead I just  try to picture the only day I got to hold her and wonder where the time has gone. How has it been so long since I held her in my arms? What I wouldn't do to see her as a happy little 7 month old... She could grow up as fast as ever and I'd be as happy as can be. I only ever get to remember her as the newborn baby girl who never had that chance.

"They grow up too fast"... Or sometimes they don't grow up at all. *sigh*

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Bah humbug

Yesterday we went to chop down our Christmas tree. I tried to have a good day, but in the back of my mind I couldn't help thinking about how this should be Evangeline's first Christmas. Tears filled my eyes as we listened to Christmas music on the drive there, again when we walked around to find our perfect tree, and once again when we were putting decorations on the tree at home. Our little girl should have been with us on the car ride there. I should've carried her around the farm to pick out our perfect tree. She should've been playing on the floor while big sister Mariah helped put ornaments on the tree...

This time of year is something I always look forward to. Some years I can't even wait until after Thanksgiving to start decorating. Ryan usually laughs at how early I am with decorations... But this year, if it wasn't for Mariah I wouldn't do anything.

I'm not cheerful or joyous this holiday season. I am hurting, and the pain is unbareable. I've cried more in the last week than I have in months. The holidays are too difficult to face when you have a broken heart and an empty crib.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

An un thankful Thanksgiving

I wish I could be all sorts of happy and thankful this year...

But what should I be thankful for...
The sleepless nights without my baby?
The overwhelming anxiety when faced with babies who are the age my daughter should be?
The realization that people would rather ignore my daughter's existence than talk about her?
The unfairness of the entire situation?

Yea, sorry... I'm not thankful. I'm just all sorts of sadness and hopeless with a dash of anger this year.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Should I hide my pain?

I feel so battered down, as though I should just hide all of my feelings because they aren't the feelings that are expected of me. I'm sorry, I can't control what hurts my feelings, or what triggers my deep sense of loss... I can't magically make the hurt all better... All I want is some support while I'm experiencing those feelings of hurt.... Not to be made to feel as though I need to suppress my feelings.

I guess I've reached the point where I should just pretend that everything is ok because people expect me to be ok now. Maybe I will just bury my pain deep down inside myself because when I reach out for support I'm made to feel as though I'm overreacting. It would probably make other people more comfortable around me if I pretend that everything in my life is perfect and that certain things don't hurt me.

 I just want someone to be there for me when I'm feeling down, even if they don't fully understand... Please, all I ask is just hold my hand and say you're there for me on my journey through grief.

Monday, November 18, 2013

She existed

Sunday, at a family get together it was reaffirmed that my daughter doesn't count in our family because she isn't here. Obviously they didn't directly come out and say she doesn't count, but in the count of the grandchildren it was as plain as day to me that she was not included. I piped back "We have two children." but there was still a lack of understanding and I was left trying to  validate my point when everyone else wanted to forget the subject even arose.

It certainly threw off my entire day, a day I was hoping to enjoy with family we rarely see. Secretly I wanted to go home right away or run as far away as possible. But I sat there and didn't say a word about my feelings for my husband's sake. I just felt very down and out of it the entire day.

I get it, most people didn't meet her so she's not on their minds... But I just want my daughter remembered. She existed. She deserves to be remembered. I refuse to sit back and watch her memory fade away.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Everyday I think of you.
Visions of me holding you.
Angels took you home that day.
No longer in my arms to stay.
Go on sweet girl and fly free.
Eventually with you I'll be.
Losing you was heaven's gain.
In our hearts you will remain.
Never far from Mommy's mind.
Evangeline, you're one of a kind.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


The other day while eating dinner Ryan asked what all we were going to make for Thanksgiving. I shrugged my shoulders and said "Really I don't feel like making anything..." I feel terrible saying that but last year Thanksgiving was when we told our parents we were expecting a baby.... I was so happy that day. And this year we were supposed to be thankful to have our baby here... And I'm not thankful this year, because she's not here.

Ryan said we should at least make it a good memory for Mariah, and I get that... But at the same time we are still having a family get together before Thanksgiving so she will remember that. She's four... If we eat turkey and all the sides a week or two before Thanksgiving with family that's practically Thanksgiving to her.

I feel like such a lousy person saying these things and I'm sure people think "You still have things to be thankful for..." Yes, I know I do, but I'm still too sad and angry at the world right now.... The only thing I really want to be thankful for this year is not true. I wanted to be thankful for making memories with my two beautiful children... And although I have two beautiful children, I've been robbed of ever making memories with one of them.

I'd much rather order chinese food, watch movies all day and forget that it's Thanksgiving day.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A shoulder to lean on

I understand that everyone's lives continue on, but it's so hard feeling like Evangeline is forgotten. If she were here people would be asking about her and wanting to see pictures. Since she's not here nobody ever talks about her. At times I feel like people intentionally pretend she didn't exist... to make it easier on themselves so they aren't uncomfortable, and because they think it's easier on me to not talk about her.

This past week was six months since we lost Evangeline and it was an incredibly hard milestone for me. On top of missing my baby I felt completely alone. I had an awful day at work and nobody really checked in to see if I was ok. I know it's nobody's responsibility to do so... I guess I was just hoping for someone's support.

And then, when I thought that I should just get over it, and nobody cared... I received a package on my doorstep, sent with love from across the country. A friend I've never met in person (we met online 5 years ago when we were both pregnant with our first babies) became my shoulder to lean on. This beautiful person anticipated that the six month mark might be a difficult one for me. She sent a beautiful photo that she photographed and put Evangeline's name on, and a batch of homemade cookies. Her note simply said "Thinking of you all." but those simple words meant more than anyone will ever know. I cried. But my tears were tears of joy. The pain of losing my daughter was acknowledged and I wasn't alone in my pain. I felt like someone was holding my hand and missing her too.

Thank you Hannah for lifting me back up on a day that I was so far down in my grief. I'm so grateful to have such a wonderful friend.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

6 months

Dear Evangeline,

Today marks six months since you were born. I honestly have no idea where the last six months have gone. It hurts so much that six months were allowed to just fly by without you here. How does the world keep spinning without you in it? I don't know.

One thing is for certain sweet girl, I have not stopped saying your name. Even though I'm sure some people probably think I should just be over it by now or I shouldn't talk about you anymore, I don't care. You are my daughter and I like to talk about you. I am proud of you no matter what. I love you and I will always miss you.

I will always mother you and just because it's in a different way than people get to parent their live children I don't care if other people think it's strange. I will mother you by honoring your memory, by not letting the world forget about you, and by making sure you always know just how loved you are. You are our daughter, our second child. You will never be replaced or forgotten. How we wish that you were here with us.

Love you forever,


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The same struggles

Tonight, Mariah said to me, "Mommy, I hate babies..... I only love Evangeline. I hate all those other babies."

And I was faced with the reality that although we are on different levels,  my sweet innocent 4 year old and I face the same struggles. How absolutely unfair that she needs to know this loss. How cruel that she misses OUR baby and doesn't understand why all these other babies are here and our baby can't be, just like me.

I gently said to her "I know Mariah... But I think Evangeline would be ok with us loving other babies too. So you don't have to hate them. Evangeline wouldn't want us to hate babies."

And she gave me a great big hug and said, "I looove Evangeline."

I do too, Mariah. I do too.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Lately I've been doing a lot of doodling on my iPad. It's my way of getting my feelings out without typing. I guess I could use a pen and paper, but this is more convenient and I'm not wasting one hundred pieces of paper everyday. This one I did the other day, and even though it's simple, I feel like it pretty much sums up my grieving.

I miss her every single day. No matter how many tears I cry the pain will never full go away. Yes, I feel a sense of relief sometimes after I cry, but the dull aching pain is still there, and will always be there. Unlike the pain of a paper cut that will heal or even the pain from a bad breakup, I will never fully recover, I will never just get over it and move on to the next one that comes along.

I don't cry everyday now. I have many days where I'm able to joke and smile and not shed a tear the entire day. But the pain is still there, and on days when something triggers my pain it can still feel as strong as those first few days after we lost her. I really hate being in so much pain, but I take comfort in knowing my pain is because I love her and miss her that much. I hope she knows that. My tears aren't because I am weak, they are tears of love.

Monday, November 4, 2013


Everyday I take Mariah to daycare I have to walk by the first classroom... The infant room, where Evangeline should be dropped off. Most days I keep my face straight forward because I know looking in that room won't be easy. But some days I can't help but take a peek through the window and get sad while I watch the teachers rock and play with the little babies.

Last week a dad dropping off his child held the door open for me on the way into daycare. His child was in an infant carrier. I glanced down at the little boy. He was about the age that Evangeline should be. I couldn't help but wonder if they would have grown up to be friends at daycare... or maybe that little boy wouldn't even be at our daycare because Evangeline would have already taken his spot.

A month ago I picked Mariah up from daycare just before closing time. Near the end of the day the kids are all put into the same classroom, usually it's the school age classroom. That day I walked around looking for her and a teacher said, "Oh, Mariah is in with the babies!" I wanted to scream. Why in the world would they put her in that room knowing she is still trying to understand why her baby sister is not here, and knowing that I will have to go in there to pick her up? I got her out of that room as quickly as I could but it was so hard to not breakdown and cry right there in that room.

People think this gets easier, but that's not the case. There will always be these reminders for me.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

A monthly cycle

Each month that passes by is just another reminder of what we are still missing from our lives. Each month begins with the hope that maybe, just maybe we will be able to catch our rainbow and so we cling to the thought of someday bringing home a baby to bring us much needed joy. The month is filled with worry, uncertainty, pleas, and a flicker of hope. And then, the end of the month comes and we see only one little line... One little line that throws me back into that pit of despair, because that one little line means that we still haven't caught our rainbow. Then my body agrees with that one little line and sheds the lining that I prayed would be the cushiony home for a new life.

Each month of trying to conceive since we lost Evangeline has been so difficult. Emotionally it's hard for several reasons. First, it is difficult to imagine trying to have another baby because we aren't trying to replace her. We are trying to share this love we have with a sibling for our girls. It's so mentally draining to feel kicked when you're down. The feeling of failing at the one thing that may really help you in your healing is very disheartening. When we were trying to get pregnant with Evangeline there was a slight disappointment when the test was negative and my period decided to show up. Now, that disappointment is on a whole new level. It is gut wrenching, agonizing, and often filled with tears.

It is also hard to see the people around me get pregnant with ease or unexpectedly. Don't get me wrong, Mariah was our pleasant surprise so I have absolutely nothing wrong with surprise babies, and I know these people love their babies as much as anyone who actively tries to conceive, it is just so hard to know that month after month we failed to achieve what these people got unexpectedly.

I just long for that idea of bringing home a baby again.

Friday, November 1, 2013

A failure

People can tell me all they want that it's not my fault, but I don't know if I will ever fully believe it. I was the one who carried her, I was the one who was supposed to protect her. I was the one who worried that she didn't move as much as Mariah.

At my appointment a week before Evangeline was born I nonchalantly said, "This baby really doesn't move much compared to my other daughter... When should I worry?" I didn't scream that I was scared, I didn't ask for extra reassurance with an ultrasound... I just brushed it off nonchalantly and asked when I should worry. All I was told was "Well as long as the baby moves an hour a day you're ok." Of course the answer I was given didn't fully answer my question, so at the time I thought as long as I felt her move daily it was ok. I wasn't told to do kick counts and that the baby should move at least X number of times within that hour... Just if baby moves an hour out of the day it's ok.

I feel like I failed her. I should have told them I was scared at that appointment, because at that point in time I was... But they gave me that answer and she had a heartbeat at that appointment so I felt reassured that all was right in the world.

I feel like they failed her. I think that they assumed that since this was my second baby that I already knew everything.... But this pregnancy was so different than Mariah. Mariah was always moving, 24/7. And with Mariah I had gestational diabetes so I had extra monitoring, an added ultrasound and non-stress tests (these things could've saved Evangeline). Evangeline was my "easier" pregnancy... No gestational diabetes this time around so I think they just acted like since it was the easier one I wouldn't have questions and already knew what to expect. Evangeline didn't move much from the get go so there was no sudden decline in movement to alarm me. I just assumed that the less movement was because my two babies were different and I focused on the fact that this was my "easier" pregnancy.

I'm glad that Ryan can say that he did nothing wrong and know that it's the truth. There was nothing he could've done to save her. But since it was my body, I think I'm always going to feel like there was something I could have done to save her... And I failed her.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A frightful night

Dear Evangeline,

Halloween is just around the corner. I can't help but wonder how cute you would have looked in your duck costume. I wish I could make little duck quacking noises to make you giggle. I'm sure you would have loved that.

Every year I'll imagine what costume you would have chosen. Would you choose princesses like your big sister, or maybe animal costumes, or even something spooky? What would be your favorite treat?

As I sit out on the porch on Halloween night this year I'll be wishing you were there with me. It'll be hard for me to watch siblings trick-or-treating together because I'll never watch my two beautiful girls together. I'm sure I'll also cringe everytime a tiny little baby strolls by in costume with their momma. That should be you and me, my sweet girl. The smile I put on my face from seeing the kids in their costumes will just be my mask to cover up my sad, tearful face from missing you.

I miss you so much everyday.

Love you forever,


Thursday, October 24, 2013


I attended a catholic high school and can vividly remember sitting in theology class my sophomore year. My teacher, our priest, was talking about the importance of baptism. He explained the sacrament and then went on to explain the thought that babies who aren't baptized do not go to heaven, but instead go to a place called limbo... There is happiness in limbo, but no presence of Jesus like in heaven. Then he talked about how people who have never heard of Jesus or religion could still go to heaven on the premise that if they would have been baptized had they known of religion and baptism, then they can be saved and go to heaven.

My hand shot up in the air. "Father, that makes no sense. You're saying that little babies who aren't baptized go to limbo, but adults who don't know about religion can go to heaven if they would've been baptized had they known about it.... Maybe those babies would've been baptized had they known about baptism too. Why should they not be sent to heaven too?"

He stopped and stood deep in thought for a few minutes, then said, "You know what Robyn, you're right. It really doesn't make much sense when you think about it like that..."

I don't really remember what else was said but I remember that part so clearly.

Looking back I like to think that somehow I was defending my daughter. Evangeline was not baptized before she died; she died before she was born. Why should she be denied heaven? I'm so glad I wasn't afraid to question it. Now I can at least feel like I stood up for her and all little babies.

In the hospital, after she was born sleeping we did have her baptized. We held her as the holy water was poured over her head, hugged her, kissed her, and cried. This was not because we thought she wouldn't go to heaven without it. Honestly, for me, a big part of it was because I felt she still deserved the attention and love she would have gotten had she been born alive.

After I graduated from high school the Catholic Church rejected the idea of limbo altogether, and I'm so glad they did. No parent with a broken heart from losing their child should be made to believe their child can't go to heaven.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My daughter

I want my daughter.
I need my daughter.
I am lost without my daughter.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Missing out

Yesterday we went to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. It's become a yearly tradition in our household. I love the food, the shows and the overall atmosphere. But this year, even though I had a great time with Ryan and Mariah, I couldn't help but think about how I should be pushing Evangeline in her stroller... She will never get to experience this fun family tradition with us.

She didn't get to have any memories with us, and the only memories we have with her are cradling her lifeless body while still in shock.

I don't think that part will ever get any easier.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Daddy's girl

Dear Evangeline,

On Tuesday we attended an event to remember you and all babies gone too soon. Daddy, Mariah and I wrote little love notes to you, placed them inside balloons and sent them up to you in heaven when your name was announced. When your daddy grabbed a pen and jotted down a note to you my heart simultaneously filled with love and broke into a million pieces. I'm not sure what he wrote to you, but I know it was filled with love.

You have such a good daddy. It hurts me so much that all he gets to do is send you love notes, and the two of you don't get to spend time together here. Your daddy was always good at getting your big sister to giggle when she was a baby, and I know he would've made you giggle too. He held you so gently when you were born, and talked to you with so much love. I wish I could watch you two snuggle together. I know you would be daddy's girl just like your big sister.

Daddy doesn't talk about you much. I know it's because he doesn't want to make me sad, but I'm sure he thinks about you everyday. The other week he told me we should eventually start an organization in your memory to help other families. That showed me that he really does think about you often, and I'm sure he hurts just as much as I do. I hope you and daddy both know that I would've done anything to give you two more time together. You deserve to be daddy's girl... And I know you always will be daddy's special baby girl, but I wish you could be daddy's girl here with him.

Love you forever,

Monday, October 14, 2013


I see you.. Not in your crib, in my memories.

I hold you... Not in my arms, in my heart.

I brought you home... Not in your carseat, in an urn.

This is just not how it is supposed to be...

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Sisters are Forever

Dear Evangeline,

Even though you are not here with us, I want you to know what a good big sister you have. Mariah thinks about you often and doesn't hesitate to remind us of your importance in her life. She is the best big sister in the world. I know you would be proud.

Your big sister loves to feel like she's spending time with you. She plays with her toys in your room and gives you a cup of tea when she gives me one. We blew bubbles outside while wearing our shirts with your name on the back, and when we came inside she drew a picture of bubbles and had me hang it in your room because she knew you would like it.

She is also very protective of you. The other week your Grammy came over to visit. She asked Mariah where her bumblebee pillow was and Mariah yelled, "No, you can't have it! It's for Evangeline!" Your Grammy didn't understand, but I remembered Mariah putting it in your crib days before because she said you needed a pillow. She also calls you her baby and says when she grows up she wants to be your mommy.

We went to a remembrance walk for you the other week and Mariah was such a proud big sister. I let her wear the big sister shirt she never got to wear and she loved it. No matter what, she IS a big sister... But I was always too afraid to have her wear that shirt and have people ask questions. At that event I knew everyone would understand and she could feel like the proud big sister she is. Mariah got her face painted at the walk and she asked for a star and a heart. I felt like she picked those out just for you. Stars remind me of you, and hearts show our love for you.

You will always be an important part of our lives and Mariah will always be your proud big sister.

We miss you everyday.

Love you forever,


Tuesday, October 8, 2013


There is such a sense of emptiness after pregnancy. When my older daughter Mariah was born I found that I missed being pregnant. I missed feeling her little feet kick at my insides. It was so nice to feel her in the comfort of my womb. I felt like I could protect her and comfort her in there like nobody else could. I missed that so much, but at least I had my sweet, snuggly baby to love on, so as much as I missed feeling her kicks, it certainly wasn't a downer.

After Evangeline was born sleeping I again had those feelings of missing her little movements inside my belly. But this time, on top of the normal feelings, I also had this huge emptiness. Now I walk around and can literally feel how empty my womb is... That hollowness, that there is nothing in there occupying its space. That might sound weird, because after Mariah was born my belly went back to normal and I didn't notice either way what was going on in there... But now the emptiness is really apparent to me.

I don't know if it's that I'm much more in tune with my body, or just the simple fact that I miss it a million times more because she isn't here, but I feel empty. This emptiness really does a number on bringing me down. I don't want to replace Evangeline, and nothing ever will... But I sure would like to feel like there is a little baby growing in there, instead of just the emptiness that I feel now.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

My Reality

I just want my 1950s tv sitcom family. You know, the happy ones who sit there and eat dinner together and nothing bad is going on in their lives....

The last five and a half years have been a struggle for me... I have had to overcome a lot of personal struggles, things most people don't know about me. There were many times I just wanted to throw in the towel... But I always hoped it would get better. Then, five months ago, just as I was finally starting to feel like everything in my life was finally looking up, BAM, my daughter dies.

I don't understand how I deserve all of the stuff I've had to face in the past 5 years... Why can't I have that perfect family life I want? The one where I am a perfect tv mom, with a perfect tv husband and both of my beautiful girls sitting at the dinner table with me...

I hate where I'm at right now.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Remembering you

Dear Evangeline,

This weekend I will walk to remember you. I will hear someone else say your beautiful name, as well as the names of so many other babies gone way too soon. I will light a candle, I will cry, and I will be so proud to be your mom.

I'm so thankful that there are remembrance ceremonies to celebrate your short but meaningful life. You are our daughter, and you will always be an important part of our lives. I'm glad other people will acknowledge you as our very missed baby girl.

I'm always so sad that other families have to know what this pain feels like. But I'm so grateful that there are people who understand, and we can all lean on each other on our journeys. It is because of you, Evangeline that I have met so many other beautiful, loving moms and dads. They too have babies they can only hold in their hearts, and just as they will always remember their sweet babies, I will remember them too. Although I wish I met them under different circumstances I am so glad to have them in my life.

As I walk for you this weekend I want you to know:

You are missed. You are remembered. You are loved.

Love you forever,


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A place to rock you

Dear Evangeline,

Last night I slept in your room on the rocking recliner. When your big sister was a baby that's where I used to wake up and rock her multiple times a night. I would sing songs to her, and snuggle with her. That recliner is where I had hoped to do those things with you. But now all I get to do is sit there, cry and try to sleep.

I wish more than anything I could rock you in that chair. I wouldn't mind waking up multiple times a night. The exhaustion from being up so often with you would be worth it. It would certainly be much nicer than the exhaustion I have every morning from not sleeping well because I miss you.

I know other moms have the right to vent, I just wish I could gently tell them to enjoy those sleepless nights. Enjoy every second of it. I would give anything for those kinds of sleepless nights. I wish I could be a tired mom whose baby was keeping her up all night, rather than the tired mom who misses her baby.

Tonight I will sleep on the recliner in your room again. I will sing to you, shed a few tears, and pray I get to see you in my dreams.

Love you forever,


Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Photo of my Girl

I've been really reluctant to share a photo of Evangeline outside of our immediate families. But just like any mom I want to show off my beautiful girl too. And I figure my family and friends who care enough to read my blog might care enough to want to see her picture.... And well, if you don't want to see her picture, you don't have to look. You can exit out of this post, and I will never know, so you don't have to worry about offending me.

Although there is so much sadness in this picture, there is also soo much love and that's what allows me to crack the tiniest hint of a smile when I look at it. The love we had (and still have) for our Evangeline cannot be measured. It overflows and will never die. It was incredibly hard to take photos with our girl knowing they would be our first and last family photos with our baby girl. But we did, so we will always have these memories to cling to.

Our beautiful angel, Evangeline

I'm a little sad that Mariah is not included, but at the time, we decided not to have Mariah come to the hospital. We were a complete mess and I knew I wouldn't be able to hold it together enough for Mariah's sake. Evangeline was born on Tuesday, and I didn't work up enough courage to tell her what happened until Saturday... And that was pretty much because Ryan said we had to tell her at that point. Eventually I would like to find a portrait artist who could draw my two girls together. They may not have met face to face, but Mariah still has a strong bond with her baby sister.

Thanks for letting me share our beautiful girl with you.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Dear Evangeline,

As the end of the year approaches so do all of the holidays that come along with it. And to be completely honest, I am not looking forward to the holidays this year. I don't want to celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas without you.

I already had a Halloween costume for you to wear. You were going to be a little duck, and I was going to stroll you from house to house while your big sister trick-or-treated. Daddy would hand out candy at our house for a while and then we would switch and daddy would take Mariah to some houses while you and I sat on the front porch.

Thanksgiving last year was the day that your daddy and I announced you would be joining our family. We said Mariah was thankful to be a big sister in May. This year we were supposed to be thankful that you were here with us... And instead I don't really have anything that I'm thankful for this year. This year has been awful.

Christmas is usually my favorite time of year. I love the music, food, decorations, and happy atmosphere. Call me Scrooge, but this year I just want to hide inside the house and not deal with any of it. I will still enjoy watching your big sister open her presents but I will be sad at the same time. Your closet is full of toys that Santa was supposed to bring for you this Christmas. They have been  there since January.

I had so much of your first year already planned out and now I just have to walk by those "baby's 1st" holiday bibs trying not to cry, because these are supposed to be YOUR 1st holidays too.

I wish you were here for me to snuggle on the special holidays, and every ordinary day too.

Love you forever,


Sunday, September 8, 2013

4 months

Yesterday was four months since we brought our Evangeline into the world.... And today is four months from the very last time I saw her, the very last time I held her, and the very last time I kissed her as I was wheeled out of my hospital room, out to the car that was supposed to be her ride home too.

Yesterday we went to a family member's wedding.... So we were easily distracted from the significance on the day. But I still thought of my girl often throughout the day, and I still let my mind wonder about how big she would be and what she would be doing at 4 months old. I was so happy to be at my cousin's wedding... But it was still really hard, because instead of people coming up to ask to see pictures of our baby girl and ask how big she was getting we had a few people who came up to say sorry to us, and say they were thinking of us. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad they talked to us and brought her up, I just wish we were able to talk about my beautiful girl under different circumstances.

Today I keep thinking about how hard it was to leave her side 4 months ago knowing it was forever. I can still remember holding her little fingers in my hand, dressing her in her beautiful blue and white gown, kissing her forehead and falling asleep with her in my arms. I worry that as the months and years go by these memories will fade and I will have very little of her memory to cling to. In the future, even if it's difficult to remember the details of my short time with Evangeline, I hope I will always remember the emotions... The love I felt in holding her and the heartache I had in leaving her side, because both show just how much she means to me now, and always will in the years ahead.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Elephant in the Room

Today I get to share in a very special day for one of my beautiful cousins. I'm so incredibly happy for her to be marrying the love of her life, and I'm so happy to be there with them to celebrate the love in their lives. But as difficult as it is to admit, in a way I'm not looking forward to it... It has nothing at all to do with her wedding, it has everything to do with me.

This is the first time I will see my extended family since we lost Evangeline exactly 4 months ago today. I don't want to be that elephant in the room. You know, the person people are afraid to say anything to, so they stand very far away and just stare your way, not sure what to do. I don't want people to feel uncomfortable around me... Like my daughter dying is contagious or something, so they don't come too close. I want them to know it's ok to talk to me, and it's ok to talk about her if they wish... I might cry, I might not... but it's ok either way.

I'm afraid that me being there may put a damper on the atmosphere of the wedding... It's such a happy event, and I don't want my sadness to show or have it affect anyone else there. This is a day to celebrate, and I don't want anything less than that for my dear cousin.

But I just can't help it, I'm sad and afraid today.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Thoughtfulness of a Child

This morning I woke up cradling Evangeline's blanket in my arm, holding it tightly to my chest. I kept my eyes closed for a good ten minutes and just took in how good it felt to have something that was hers in my arms. I rubbed it against my cheek, took in its smell, and held it as close to my heart as possible.

After some time I realized something... I wasn't holding her blanket when I went to sleep the night before... It was sitting at the end of the bed when I fell asleep. How did it end up in my arms? Just as I thought those words I heard my sweet four year old whisper "I'm going to go pat mommy's arm again." And as my eyes were still closed I could hear her creep over to my side of the bed and she gently patted the arm that was cradling Evangeline's blanket. I opened my eyes, said good morning to her and gave her a kiss. She said "Mommy, I gave you blankie rainbow to hold."

My sweet four year old woke up before me, gave me the blanket to cuddle with and allowed me to keep sleeping. Her thoughtfulness is so beautiful. Not only did she know how much it means for me to hold that blanket, she quietly watched me sleep for some time without trying to get me up. For once I was able to crawl out of bed with a hint of a smile on my face and a sprinkle of joy in my heart.

Monday, August 26, 2013


"Are you pregnant yet? Oh, don't worry you'll have another baby."

What? Did you really just ask me that? We would like to eventually have another child, but here are a few tips:

1. Yet? You do realize I just gave birth to my dead daughter 3.5 months ago, right? And you say yet? Like it's just that easy... Props for expecting me to get pregnant that soon after giving birth.  Ever stop to think that maybe we're still grieving?

2. It is none of your business when we decide to have another child, so don't ask. And by asking, you just blew your chance of me confiding in you out the window.

3. Maybe doctors have timelines about how long to wait after giving birth for a reason.

4. Having another baby will be nice, BUT it certainly won't fix things. A new baby will never replace our daughter we lost. We will always grieve for Evangeline... No matter how many children we end up having, we will always have a little girl missing... A little girl who should be playing right along with her siblings... So getting pregnant again is not the cure all I think you are expecting it to be for me.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

No comparison

"I can guarantee you, your life is better than 99% of the people out there."

Newsflash: these words are NOT comforting.

Yes, I am well aware that there are people worse off than me in life. But guess what, that does NOT take away from my pain. My heart goes out to anyone who does have it worse than me, but that doesn't mean that I shouldn't cry or grieve when I need to. I shouldn't be made to feel like I need to get over it because my life is better than 99% of the people out there.

Everyone has their own troubles in life, but we are not on this earth to compare who has it worse. Why should we compare pain? Why should we compare whether losing a child is better or worse than dying of cancer or living in a war zone? Each situation is terrible in its own way. There is no reason to compare. And even situations that are similar are completely different... my grief journey for my child is completely different than another bereaved parent's grief journey for their child. No need to compare.

So please, if I'm having a hard day and feel the need to cry, don't make me feel like I need to get over it... A simple "I'm sorry you are hurting" or just a hug would help and acknowledge my feelings, even if you think I just need to move on.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Do I hate babies?

"Why do you hate babies so much? It's starting to piss me off. If anything you SHOULD be oohing and aahing over babies." Ouch, that stung.

That's what someone really close to me, who I thought might understand me, said yesterday when I was venting about babies around me.

No, no I shouldn't. Who the hell are you to tell me how I should be feeling anyway? If that baby is not MY baby, I should not be made to feel like I have to be oohing and aahing over them. As life goes on people will continue to ooh and aah over those other babies anyway.... Nobody ever oohed and aahed over MY baby, so why should I be made to feel as though in my time of despair I need to do that for others?

I want MY baby. I want to hold and play with and love on MY baby... And if I can't do that with MY baby, then seeing other babies makes my heart hurt.

Do I want those other mothers to be in my shoes? Heavens no. I would never wish this on anyone... But that doesn't mean I don't want what they have too. It doesn't mean I am not happy for them... Yes, I am happy for them, but more often than not, my own sadness, and hurt for my daughter outweighs the happiness I have for them.

So I use a defense mechanism...

When I think or say things like "that lady had her stupid baby crying at the register" or "at least my daughter doesn't have an ugly name like George/North West/etc..." I'm not saying it because I hate babies, or think they're ugly or stupid (I do still think little babies are cute). I would never say anything hurtful to someone's face about their baby and really I don't even mean the things I think... I'm merely thinking it to make myself feel better. I'm saying it because babies trigger my sadness and somehow I want to make myself feel as though they're not any better than my daughter who isn't here... Because that's generally the feeling I get... That my baby isn't as important because she isn't here.... Nobody gets to ooh and aah over her, or take pictures with her, or ask to hold her, or marvel over how big she is getting, etc.

So yea, thinking those things to myself may not be the kindest things to think, but if it's the only thing to make the sting of my baby being dead hurt a little less right now, don't crucify me for it.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pink toenails

A few days before Evangeline was born Mariah and I pretended to be princesses and put makeup on and painted our toenails hot pink. I knew we only had a few weeks left until we had our baby and figured Mariah and I may not get a chance to enjoy moments like that as much, with a crying baby and all.... So I soaked up the moment.

After Evangeline was born sleeping, I remember staring down at my hot pink toenails sticking out from the blankets in my hospital bed. In the less than 24 hours we stayed at the hospital, I stared at my toes numerous times. It was easier to focus on the vibrant, happy pink nail polish than it was to face the questions from nurses, and the reality that my baby was born but not alive.

It's been over three months and I have not yet repainted my toenails. At this point there is very little pink left on the tips of my toenails... After all toenails grow significantly in three months... But I refuse to use nail polish remover on them or paint over them... That pink nail polish helped me get through the hardest day of my life and I can't erase it.

Soon however, there will no longer be anymore hot pink nail polish left on my toes and it will just be another reminder of how excruciatingly long it has been since I got to hold my beautiful baby girl.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

3 months

Dear Evangeline,

Today you would be three months old. I just wanted to tell you how very sorry I am that you are not here. I'm sorry that I couldn't safely bring you into this world. I'm sorry I didn't make a bigger deal out of you not moving much. I'm sorry I didn't get another ultrasound so they would have seen what was going on. I'm so sorry I let you down.

I wish I got to wake up to your sweet face this morning. At three months old you would be doing so many new things everyday. I'm so sad that you never got the chance to open your eyes and look at your mommy, daddy and big sister who love you so much. You never got a chance to coo, smile or giggle... The things that show our happiness in life. I hope you at least were happy and content while you were alive in my tummy.

I hope you understand that I would have done anything to have you here. I just never in a million years thought it would end up this way... Everyone made my pregnancy seem so perfect and nobody voiced any concerns... So I just thought everything was normal, even with your not so frequent movement.... Nothing bad would ever happen. I'm so sorry I was wrong. I would trade places with you in a heartbeat. I at least got 27 years on earth, you didn't get one minute... Not one minute for you to experience the world and not one minute for the world to experience your beautiful presence. Those of us who held you, and loved on you got to experience the beauty you brought into this world, but I wish the whole world could've experienced it too.

I miss you so much it hurts. Everyday it hurts. My heart aches without you here.

Love you forever,


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

So tired

I just wish I could get a good night of sleep and feel well rested in the morning... Actually I'd much rather have my baby here and NOT be getting a good night of sleep because I'd be up feeding her every few hours... I wouldn't even complain about being tired... I would enjoy every moment of it. But since that's not possible I want to be able to sleep without the terrible dreams that wake me up throughout the night. Often it's dreams about what happened or dreams that remind me that Evangeline is not here... But last night was something different.

I had a terrible dream about my living child. I dreamt that Mariah fell into a lake. I jumped in after her and after what felt like an eternity I scooped her up and brought her to the surface. She was not breathing, and her eyes were closed just as her sister's were after she was born sleeping... So I placed her on the dock and jumped out of the water. I tilted her head back and started to breath into her lungs, while thinking in my mind, "please, please don't take her too." Thankfully I woke up before I had to see the outcome.

Isn't it enough torture that I don't have my Evangeline here?! Why must I have these evil reminders of what I don't have and what I'm so afraid of happening again? Haven't I been through enough? I know, I know.... It could be worse.... There are moms who have been through worse storms than mine... But that doesn't ease my pain... Why can't we all just have our happy fairy tale babies?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A broken record

I haven't written anything lately because I feel like a broken record... I feel as though all I ever say is "I miss her.... I want her here... It's not fair.... etc". But all of those sentiments are true... And I guess rather than not write, I should at least portray my true feelings, whether they are new feelings, or the same feelings over and over again.

It's so hard to feel so stuck... I feel like a car stuck in the mud... You rev the engine and think you've got a chance of getting out of the mud, only to find after a forceful attempt that you're still stuck. Some days I feel like "yea, I got this... I'm gonna have a fabulous day, and nobody will ever know just by looking at me the pain I've experienced these past two and a half months." And I make a great attempt at it... But then the next day I'm still stuck in the mud, still feeling awful and still want nothing more than to have things be different.

They say when you lose a child you never return to the same person you were before... But you will find a new normal. You will be able to enjoy things in life again, but you'll always remember where you've been and your child will still be on your mind. I think on my good days I'm working towards that new normal. I will never fully be who I was before Evangeline, and well, in ways that is a good thing. I appreciate life more, I will never take things for granted, and I will cherish every moment I get with my Mariah and any future children while still mothering my angel.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A sibling lost

I always wanted my kids close together in age. My sister and I were only 2 years apart, and while we had our share of cat fights, we had so much fun growing up together. I wanted that for my kids. Mariah was born while I was still in pharmacy school and there was no way I could've handled another while in school. When I graduated in 2011, I still had to worry about getting established at a job and finding a place for our family to call home, so we decided to wait a while. When we got pregnant with Evangeline I was so excited for Mariah to have a sibling. Four years seemed like a big enough age gap. Everything in my life was finally falling into place.... good job, nice house, little one on the way. I was the happiest I had been in years.

Of course things don't always end up the way we plan.... And although my Mariah is a big sister, it isn't the way her friends are big sisters. She doesn't get to play with her sister, or help feed her. She can't hold her or try to make her laugh. I feel like I cheated my daughter out of having a sibling close enough in age to grow up with. It was best for us to wait to have a second child, and it's not my fault we lost Evangeline, but I still feel so much guilt that my Mariah is still alone... especially when I see other kids her age playing with their siblings. I just want her sister here so badly... So they could both share in that bond that only siblings have.

When we have another child Mariah will be at the very least over 5 years old... What does an elementary age kid and a high schooler have in common? Not too much... And that's how far apart in age they will be. It worries me that my living children will be too far apart in age to feel that bond my sister and I had.

*Sigh* It makes me so sick that I even have to type "my living children"... No mother should have to say that... Because that means she has a child who isn't living and it's just not fair. I just wish my Evangeline was here too.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

2 months

Dear Evangeline,

Today marks two months since I gave birth to you and learned we lost you... And I subsequently lost all of the dreams I had for you. It's been a rough two months, but I want you to know that all of the pain I have endured has been worth it. You were worth every single tear... And the reason that I cry is because I love you that much. I would do anything to have you here, but since that's not possible I want you to know that I'm so grateful for the time I had with you and even if I couldn't change the outcome I would still choose to be your mom all over again even if it meant I would lose you.

There are so many reasons why you are special. I have met so many lovely people who I wouldn't have met if you didn't exist. There are so many wonderful organizations that have touched my life because of you. And most of all I have such a beautiful understanding of just how precious each day is because of you. You, my little girl, have had a bigger impact on your momma's life in the short time I had with you than all of the other people I have encountered combined.

My world fell to darkness when I lost you, but little by little I'm discovering new rays of light. But please don't take this as me getting over losing you. That will never happen. I'm just learning to survive each day and find the beauty in what I do have, I'll never again take what I have for granted.

I hope you know just how loved you are.You were created because of the love between me and your Daddy. We loved you and longed for you from the very beginning. I think of you every morning when I wake up and every evening when I go to bed. I talk to you throughout the day and see little reminders of you in everything.

I love you forever and ever.


Ps. Please visit me in my dreams

Saturday, July 6, 2013

An answer and what lies ahead

Yesterday Ryan and I had our first appointment with a maternal fetal medicine specialist. The purpose of the visit was to go over all findings and get a specialist's input on what happened to Evangeline, since my regular ob didn't really have answers besides the umbilical cord. We were also there to talk about what to expect in a future pregnancy.

First we met with the genetic counselor who expressed her condolences, asked us about our medical history as well as our families, then she asked me to describe my pregnancy with Evangeline and talk about her birth. I thought I would cry, but it was actually easy to talk to her. She asked for both of our girls' names and specifics on each of them. She then asked if we had any questions and said the doctor would be in shortly.

Our doctor came in and introduced himself to each of us. He expressed his condolences to each of us and shared that he and his wife lost a child at 20 weeks. He looked at me and said "I may not know everything that you're experiencing..." then looked at Ryan and said "But Ryan, I can understand a lot of the feelings you may be having..." It's touched my heart because I often feel like Dads are sometimes forgotten.

 He right away had an explanation as to what happened to Evangeline... He does not attribute her death to the umbilical cord. He said after looking at the pathology reports, and the size of the placenta and Evangeline he is very confident on her cause of death... Incomplete implantation of the embryo in my uterus... The final step of implantation involves the placenta, and if it does not fully implant properly it can lead to a weak placenta. This all occurs within the first 5 days of conception. A weakened placenta from this will cause the placenta to deteriorate overtime and lead to intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) of the baby. This is what happened to our little girl... Her weakened placenta could no longer provide her with enough nutrition, it restricted her growth and ultimately caused her death. He explained that this was in no way my fault. There was absolutely nothing that I could have done to affect the implantation. A 20 week ultrasound would not show any difference compared to a healthy placenta. His trained eye can catch the changes at about 23-26 weeks on ultrasound. I had a risk free pregnancy, nothing out of the ordinary.... So I only ever had a 20 week ultrasound... They would not have seen anything suspicious at that point.

Doctor then went on to say that although I do have a slightly increased risk of IUGR in the future because of a history of it, he is confident that it was just a lightning strike occurrence since Mariah was a good size. In the future I will see my ob for regular visits, and then I will see mfm doctor as well... Basically double the doctor visits. I will get monthly ultrasounds and loads of nonstress tests. He will be following the growth of the placenta and baby very closely. We can do an amniocentesis at 36 weeks and possibly deliver before 37 weeks if it shows lungs are developed. This is important to me since Evangeline was born at 37 weeks... I will be incredibly anxious at that point in a pregnancy. He also said that if he would get any inclination from an US or NST that something is very wrong he would not hesitate to take the baby even earlier than that if he cannot guarantee the baby would still be alive the next day... A baby in the nicu at least has a chance, when a baby struggling in the womb may not.

At the end I asked him what I should do differently in the future... He looked down at this notes and said "Well Robyn, looks like you didn't do cocaine or drink alcohol while pregnant so I think you're good to go. This wasn't because of something you did or didn't do. You did nothing wrong." This provided so much relief to me.

I have found such a renewed sense of hope. I am so thankful to have this doctor as a part of our team. I fully trust him to care for me and a future baby. He not only addressed both of us by name the entire time, he also addressed both of our daughters by name while talking about each pregnancy. Recognizing Evangeline as our daughter and not just "the baby" or "the fetus" really touched my heart, because that is exactly who she is to us... Evangeline, our daughter. And although I wish he didn't have his own experience of loss, it comforts me to have a doctor who understands this pain, because I can just feel that he will do everything in his power to help us bring home a rainbow baby after this storm.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Kindness of strangers

When Evangeline was born we really didn't have much that was truly hers. Yes, her crib was set up and clothes were in her closet, but since we didn't know if she was a boy or girl we didn't get to buy things especially for her, our little girl. We didn't take baby clothes to the hospital because I figured we could make do with what the hospital had, until our baby came home with us... Unfortunately we never got to bring her home and on her birthday I didn't know what in the world she would wear...

We received a few beautiful items from the hospital that will always and forever belong to our Evangeline. A nurse left the room after she was born sleeping and brought us a beautiful handmade gown, a knitted baby hat, and a soft, pastel knitted baby blanket. In the midst of my sadness I was so overcome with relief that we had such beautiful things for our little girl.

I got to carefully dress my girl in a gown that was lovingly handsewn by a woman in Lancaster. It means so much to me to know that she spent her time and love sewing this beautiful gown for a baby who would not be going home with her family. It is such a lovely print with butterflies and flowers. My daughter looked so beautiful in her dress.

We wrapped her in a blanket that was knitted by another lovely lady in our community. She too put so much love and time into a blanket for a baby who would not be going home. It is the prettiest mix of pink, blue, yellow and white yarn and feels so soft against your cheek. I couldn't have picked a more perfect blanket for my girl.

When we were ready to leave the hospital I asked a nurse to please find another outfit for my daughter... I needed to take her blue butterfly dress home, but certainly couldn't leave her naked. She brought back a generic Carter's sleeper and I carefully took the dress off of her and put her in the warm sleeper. I wrapped her up in the hospital blankets and kissed her sweet face. As much as her dress and knitted blanket were hers, I knew I needed to take them home with me since they were two of the only things that I could always remember her by.

Her blanket and dress are so incredibly special to us. Her blanket became my lifeline in the first few weeks. Anytime I needed comfort I would wrap it around myself and cry, while taking in the smell of the blanket... It smelled like her. "Blankie rainbow" as Mariah calls it, sits on a shelf in our living room with other special reminders of our girl. Her dress is one of only two things I ever saw her wear. It is what she wore in the only pictures we have with her. A dress is exactly what I needed to be able to give my daughter to wear rather than some generic hospital onesie. I keep her dress in her room and hold it close to me often.

Lately I've thought about the two women who made these treasures for my girl. Have they had losses of their own or are they just very intune with the needs of a family going through such loss? Either way they are beautiful women who deserve to be acknowledged for their kind hearts and compassion.

Looking back I am so overcome by the kindness of these strangers. But the funny thing is, even though I only have names for these women, they do not at all feel like strangers to me... I feel as though they could see into the depths of my soul, and knew that I would need what they could provide.

Lynn and Tina, I could never thank you enough for the love you gave to my sweet baby girl and her grieving family. I do not know you, but you forever hold a place in my heart. <3

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My shoes

Dear friend,

You will never fully understand the pain I am experiencing... The sleepless nights without a baby to make them feel worth it, the constant battle of blaming myself, the "what ifs", and even the struggle to crawl out of bed some mornings... You will never fully understand this pain, unless you experience it for yourself. Think of the worst pain you can imagine... And multiply that by a million.

For that reason, I hope you never fully understand this pain. I hope you are able to live your life blissfully happy, completely unaware as to how cruel it is to be forced to live without your baby. Comments from people who have never walked in these shoes sometimes hurt me, but I will endure that pain a million times over if it keeps you from fully understanding. As much as it hurts to sometimes feel so alone on this journey, I take comfort in knowing that my feeling alone means that you don't have to feel this way too.

But please know if now, or in the future you ever stumble into the unfortunate circumstances of truly understanding this pain I will always be here with open arms to assure you that you aren't alone, ears to listen to your deepest thoughts and fears, and an aching heart for not only my baby but also yours...

Your friend

Ps. Thank you for at least being there for me and trying to understand.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Windows to the soul

They say eyes are the windows to the soul. What if you never got to look into the persons eyes? I only got to see my sweet girl's face with her eyes closed... Forever sleeping.

I never got to look into my beautiful girl's eyes. I wll never be able to gauge what type of person she would be by gazing into the depths of her soul through her eyes. I will never know what color they were... She looked like me as a baby, so I often wonder if she would've had my hazel eyes or if she was lucky enough to get her daddy's blue eyes just like her big sister. I'm sure I'll end up just painting a picture in my head of what she'd look like when she was older and her personality... But I'll never know for sure if it would have been an accurate description or if it's just what I want her to be.

There are so many things I will never get to experience with Evangeline... I will never hear her call me mama, watch her reach her arms out for me, console her while she is crying, etc. And my heart aches for all of those experiences, but it really hurts that I didn't even get to gaze into her precious eyes once.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Mariah's thoughts

It's sad that my 4 year old truly understands just how unfair life can be. Today as I was getting her ready for school, we had this conversation:

Mariah: Mommy, I don't want Evangeline in my heart.
Mommy: But we'll always keep her in our hearts...
Mariah: She CAN'T be in my heart, she needs to be in her crib!

I hugged her as tight as I possibly could and cried "I know baby, I know."

My heart shattered into a million pieces again.

I cry for everything my younger daughter will never experience, and I also cry for my older daughter's loss of having a baby sister here.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

One of those days

Some days are just harder than others. Some days all of the events and emotions from May 7th come flooding back. Yesterday was one of those days.

Yesterday I felt like the biggest failure. I failed at the most important job in the world... Bringing my daughter into the world safely. What could I have done differently? Why couldn't I save her? Why is my daughter NOT here?

Yesterday I cried and cried and cried. Thankfully I had off from work and had taken Mariah to school, so I could cry as much as I needed. I relived every minute of Evangeline's birthday in my head... From the absolute happiness we felt on the drive to the hospital, to how my whole body went limp after the doctor told us she didn't make it, to how I held tightly to her cold, lifeless body that night as I fell asleep in the hospital since it would be the only night I could hold her.

Yesterday after I picked Mariah up from school she came home and played. I sat on the rocking recliner in Evangeline's room while Mariah played with her grill and pretend food. She served me a plate and then grabbed a plate, placed it on the crib and said "and this one is for Evangeline." I started to cry. Yes, I love that my beautiful 4 year old still plays with her baby sister, but damnit it hurts. My 4 year old should not have to pretend to play with her baby sister, she should not have to put her chin to her heart to talk to her sister, and at this age she sure as hell shouldn't have to know that sometimes babies die.

I put Mariah to bed last night and cried some more. Yesterday was just one of those days.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pieces missing

I love doing puzzles... I can sit down and work on a 1,000 piece puzzle for hours. I've always been good at piecing them back together and I love to take notice of the fine details in each piece.

How do you put the pieces of a broken heart back together? Like a puzzle, some pieces will fit, and the fine details can help guide you, and when you're having trouble, friends can help place some of the pieces where they fit, but will it ever come together? Will the picture ever be whole? No, I don't think so.... I'm afraid there will always be a piece of my heart missing.

My heart is just a broken puzzle, missing pieces and will never be the same.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Writing her name

I often find myself writing Evangeline's name over and over again. I write it on random pieces of paper, on coloring apps on my iPad, on the driveway with sidewalk chalk... everywhere... It feels so good to write her name. The letters flow together so beautifully.

Her beautiful name will be left out of everyday paperwork and all important milestones. Unlike Mariah's name, I will never get to write Evangeline's name on medical forms, day care signin sheets, field trip permission slips, tee ball sign ups, etc. I will never see her name written on a birthday cake, a high school diploma or a wedding invitation.

I write her name now because it soothes my soul to know that she isn't forgotten. As long as I write her name and acknowledge her, she is not forgotten by the entire world. She may not be remembered by many people... afterall only Ryan, our moms and I got to hold her, kiss her and personally say goodbye to her, but I will make sure that my beautiful girl is never completely forgotten.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Lullaby

Sometimes I worry that I'm the only one who thinks of Evangeline every single day.... That everyone else is able to go about their day and not think of my girl... I'm sure Ryan thinks of her, but he doesn't talk about her to me, maybe because he's afraid to upset me. So it really makes me feel better when I hear someone else say her name or tell me they thought of her too.

My mom and I talk everyday. And these last six weeks I've confided in her how much I worry about everyone else forgetting about my baby girl because she's not here. I'm afraid that she won't be remembered as a part of our family... My second baby girl.

My mom told me weeks ago that she talks to and sings to Evangeline everyday. It soothed my heart to know that I wasn't the only one who did that. I didn't ask her what she said to her or what she sang because at the time I knew it would make me cry. The other day I finally asked my mom what she sings to Evangeline and she told me it's a song she made up. I asked her to sing it for me and it is such a simple, yet beautiful song. I couldn't help but cry, but for once they were tears of happiness. I was so overjoyed that my angel's Grammy sings a special song that will always be just for my baby girl.

Evangeline, Evangeline your Grammy loves you so,
Evangeline, Evangeline your Grammy loves you so,
Evangeline, Evangeline your Grammy loves you so,
Evangeline, Evangeline, Evangeline....

Your mommy loves you so,
Your daddy loves you so,
Your sister Mariah loves you too

Evangeline, Evangeline you're with the angels now,
Evangeline, Evangeline goodnight

Friday, June 14, 2013

Back to the grind

I go back to work on Tuesday... I'm such a mix of emotions...

Happy to be getting back to a routine, to be with people who I've grown close to and I know will support me, and to get out of the house that I've confined myself to these last few weeks. I'm optimistic that returning to work will help me in my grieving process. I certainly won't forget what I'm going through but hopefully I'll begin to feel like I'm living again by doing what I love, helping other people.

Scared that triggers will set off my emotions at work (such as seeing new babies or helping new moms or pregnant women with products), that people will treat me differently or won't want to bother with me because I'm too fragile, and scared that maybe this will all be too hard for me. I know I just have to jump right in and hope for the best, after all my family needs me to, but that doesn't make me any less scared.

But mostly I'm sad... There, I said it, sad.

I'm so sad that I am returning to my job as a completely different person. I am no longer "Robyn, the carefree, fun, happy person." I am "Robyn, the emotionally fragile, only do my work and go home." person. I love my coworkers and I know they will be understanding but I'm so sad that they will have to see this new me. I wish I was still the old me... The one who got her work done but had fun while doing it, the one who was so interested to hear stories about everyone's weekends or new happenings in their lives. I feel terrible to say it, but right now I don't care to hear about their weekends or what's new in their lives because I'm so darn stuck on what I'm going through and what I need to do for myself that I can't be too invested in other people's lives. I just need to remain guarded for a little when I go back.

*sigh* I should've been going into my work saying "meet the new baby" not "meet the new Robyn."

Thursday, June 13, 2013

A roller coaster

This grief journey after a stillbirth is like a roller coaster. When we were driving to the hospital as I was in labor we were making our way up the biggest hill... We were on such a high to meet our child... Her birth became the huge drop down... We fell into such a deep pit. Day by day I've been trying to work my way up the next hill and slowly but surely I do.... Until something happens that throws me back down and I have to climb my way back up again.

I have had a few better days in a row recently. I didn't cry... I still thought of Evangeline everyday but I didn't cry... Then all of a sudden something had to happen today to throw me back down into the pit that I've been struggling so hard to overcome.

A phone call....

A conversation....

Her: but YOU didn't have a baby, did you?"
Me (crying): yes, I had a baby... She died... But I HAD a baby.

My baby didn't survive... But please don't act as though she didn't exist. Yes, I had a baby and she is very real to me even though the rest of the world doesn't acknowledge her existence.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Our secret

When Ryan and I found out in September that we were expecting a little baby we decided to keep it our little secret for a while. It was nice to feel like we had something so special just between the two of us.

Ryan's parents helped us move into our new house in mid November. I wondered if they would catch on that I wasn't helping to move the heavy things or if they would really believe that we didn't know what we were going to use the extra yellow bedroom for... At the time, we secretly already had plans for it.

My mom came to spend a few days with us around Thanksgiving. By that time Ryan and I were bursting at the seams to tell someone our secret, so we told Mariah she was going to be a big sister. Of course an almost 4 year old shouldn't be trusted to keep a secret... So while her Grammy (my mom) gave Mariah a bath Mariah kept saying "Grammy, I'm a big sister"... My mom didnt catch on and just said "Yes Mariah, you'll be a big sister one day." My mom just couldn't understand why Mariah was so adamant about it. Ryan and I were laughing in the living room the whole time because we knew exactly why Mariah was frustrated with my mom not believing her.

On Thanksgiving day, my mom and Ryan's mom and stepdad joined us for dinner. I offered to say say grace. I finished it by saying "Ryan and I are so thankful to create memories in our new house, we are thankful for the love of our family members, and Mariah is thankful to be a big sister in May. Amen." It was so fun to watch our parents' expressions change, to watch them share in our joy.

I'll never forget how exciting it was for Evangeline to be our little secret those first couple months, I'm just so sad I'll never be able to tell her about it.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The cause

According to all of the reports my daughter Evangeline was perfectly healthy.

 What took her from us? Her umbilical cord. We knew the cord was wrapped around her neck twice when she came out but they still wanted to do testing to see if any other factors played into her death and maybe she had gotten tangled in her cord after she had already passed away... Nope, she was a perfectly healthy little girl, and all of my bloodwork came back fine.

This is such a double edged sword. In one way I should be grateful that it's not a genetic disorder or something in my body that could reoccur because it should ease my anxiety for future pregnancies. We will still get added care, but it's not a condition that should present sgain. But at the same time I just want to scream "She was healthy, she was perfect.... WHY?!?!" I'm sure I would have found something to be upset and angry about with any cause of death... But a freak accident from the one thing that was supposed to provide her with life just kills me inside.

I'm just at a loss as to why my perfect baby girl had to leave me. If I would have gone into labor just a day before that she might be in my arms, perfectly healthy. I know these freak accidents happen (and more often than you would think) but it doesn't make me feel any better to know that other moms and dads go through this too... It shouldn't happen... It's just not fair. There is no reason at all that my perfectly healthy, sweet, innocent baby girl should not be here in my arms.

I wonder if it was painful to her? I wonder if the last time I felt her little rump on the side of my belly was when she gave one last struggle to get away from the cord? I will never know... I patted her little butt and talked to her then... And if those were her last moments struggling to free herself, I just hope she was able to feel my love when I patted her and talked to her one last time in the midst of her struggle.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Two little hands

Although we will always long for you to be in our arms,

You have left an imprint on our hearts.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

An appt like no other

Tomorrow morning, at 7:45 am I have a follow up appointment at my ob's office. They scheduled my appointment earlier than any other appointment for the day so I wouldn't have to be around any of the happy pregnant women. I'm glad they knew that wouldn't be good for me, but I shouldn't have to worry about having earlier appointments... I should be able to walk in there with my newborn for them to ooh and aah over.

We may find out more answers as to what took our daughter from us... I'm scared. A part of me wants to know what happened, and the other part of me is too afraid to know. What if it ends up being something I could have done differently or something my own body did to cause her to die before she ever got a chance to really live? Knowing a cause of death can help us in future pregnancies to know what added care I may need, but it may be too painful to hear if it was something me or my body did to her. Yes, I know in the end I can't blame myself... But it's so hard not to... I was the one who carried her, I was the one who was supposed to protect her from the moment she was conceived, I was the one who was supposed to bring her into this world safely.

And what if there are no answers, what if they can't tell us why she had to come home with us in an urn and not in our arms? That won't bring me any closure or help me through a future pregnancy. I will constantly just be in fear that another baby will die for an unknown reason and I will feel just as helpless and won't be able  to save my baby just like I couldn't save or protect Evangeline.

I'm also so afraid to discuss future pregnancies with my doctor. Yes, I want another baby so badly. I want to bring a baby home in my arms. I just know that no matter if we wait 1 month, 1 year or 1 decade I will worry through an entire pregnancy. My daughter was born at 37 weeks... 37 weekers are supposed to live. When you get to that point in a pregnancy you are completely expecting to bring home a healthy baby... And I didn't. Now I will never reach a point in pregnancy where I can feel relaxed, knowing that my baby is of viable age... Because even that doesn't always ensure a baby to take home in your arms.

I'll just have to walk into that room holding my breath and staring at the wall the whole time... Just as I did at my 1 week follow up appointment. I sat in the chair and just wanted to run out of the office screaming "this cannot be my life" but I was too beaten down emotionally to get up off the chair.

Tomorrow I'm afraid I will feel just the same.

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Yesterday I finally packed away everything that was laying around Evangeline's room. The only things left in her room are the crib which is still set up with bedding, and the rocking recliner. I still sit In her room throughout the day... But now it feels so empty in here.... In more ways than one.

The room itself is empty since I cleaned up all the clutter. It was actually good to make one of the rooms in our house look half decent since I haven't been good at cleaning at all this last month. But the reason why it got cleaned up still hurts.

Even though I left the bedding on her crib, the crib is still empty... There is no baby in it to make it look used. It still just stands in her room with no purpose. And although it makes me so sad that it doesn't have a purpose I know there is absolutely no way I can take it down. That would make me feel as though I'm pretending she didn't exist, and she did, if ever so briefly. So as sad as I get when I see an unused crib in her room, I will not take it down and put it in the garage. I will continue to sit in her room and talk to her, and hope with all my might that she hears me somehow.

Everything about her room is empty: no baby clothes or toys scattered on the floor, a crib without a baby to fill it, and a momma with empty arms...

Friday, June 7, 2013

One month

One month. It's been one whole month since I lost my beautiful baby girl. I don't understand how each day continues without her in it. Each day is another day further away from the only day I got to hold her, look at her sweet face and give her kisses. I'm so afraid I'll one day forget what it was like to give her a lifetime of love all in one day.

One month feels like an eternity. Somedays is seems like it's been forever since I got to hold her... But in the grand scheme of things one month is nothing compared to the fifty years I'll have to live without her. One month hurts so bad, how in the world am I supposed to get through fifty years without her?

And as these days and months continue to go by everyone's lives keep on going and soon others will no longer remember her because she's not here, but she'll still be on my mind everyday. Every holiday, every vacation, every family picture.... There will always be a little girl missing. And that hurts my heart so much.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Never but always

I'll never see your first smile,
Or hear your first word.
I'll never watch your first step,
Or hear you sing the ABCs.
I'll never kiss your booboos,
Or hug you when you cry.
I'll never watch you run and play,
Or put you on the school bus.
I'll never see you graduate,
Or watch you get ready for the prom.
I'll never attend your wedding day,
Or see you have babies of your own.

But I will ALWAYS be your mom.

Love you forever my sweet girl <3

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The sad truth

Did you know that 26,000 babies are stillborn in the United States every year? Most are of viable gestational age and often a cause is never determined.

In future pregnancies me and baby will be monitored much more closely... We will receive added ultrasounds and non stress tests throughout the pregnancy. The sad thing is my daughter had to die in order for this care to occur. Why is it that in the U.S. the standard of prenatal care is so low until something bad happens? Something as simple as a 3rd trimester ultrasound to compare to the 20 week ultrasound can help save some of these babies...

Stillbirth is such a taboo subject and not talked about in the media. But that doesn't mean is doesn't happen. If 26,000 babies are stillborn every year and the number of flu related deaths is ~30,000 why does the flu get so much more media coverage than stillborn deaths??? People are hounded to get flu shots as a preventative measure during flu season but the number of potential stillbirths isn't lessened by added care... Until something bad happens.  Maybe we can save some of these babies, but alas added care means more money and surely insurance companies are not up for that... So let's just pretend it doesn't happen since nobody talks about it anyway.

If I could ask one thing of all of my family and friends it would be this: now that you know someone personally affected by a stillbirth, please don't be afraid to talk about it. The more knowledgeable we are of stillbirths, the more that can be done and the more support we can offer to other friends who may unfortunately be thrown into this pit of despair.

Have you heard of the movie Return to Zero?

(Tried to embed a video about the movie but doesn't seem to be working so Click here to see a YouTube video about it)

This movie brings forth the subject of stillbirth. It looks into the life of a couple who loses their baby boy during pregnancy. Yes, it's a tough subject for a movie, but it unfortunately is reality for many people, including myself. I feel strongly that this movie needs to make it into theaters... To not only give outsiders a look into the reality of stillbirth, but to also show parents that it is ok to open up about our losses. We need to prove to Hollywood that there is a need for this movie. Can I ask all of you to pledge to see it in theaters? All you have to do is Click here and pledge to see the movie. The more people who pledge, the better the chances this movie will make it to theaters.

One last thing: don't be afraid to mention my daughter Evangeline's name to me. I am proud to be her mom, and although I do cry sometimes, I love to hear her name (I may be biased but it is a beautiful name) and know that she is remembered.