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.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

What's in a name

My husband and I had such a difficult time coming up with baby names. We actually didn't agree on anything and did not have a name picked out for a boy or girl when our little girl was born.

Evangeline was a front runner on my list for a baby girl. I first grew to love the name Evangeline when I read Uncle Tom's Cabin. Evangeline was the name of a sweet little girl in the story. I was struck by how beautiful the name was, and it helped that the character in the book made it even more beautiful. Then, a few years ago the Disney movie The Princess and the Frog came out and the name Evangeline popped up on my radar again. In the movie Ray, a firefly, sings a song to his love in the sky, Evangeline (a star).... The song added another sense of beauty to a name I already loved.

When our little girl was born sleeping I knew in my heart Evangeline was her name. In her name is the word angel, which is what she is to me. Evangeline in Uncle Tom's Cabin is a beloved little girl, who always did the right thing and passes away at a young age. Evangeline from The Princess and the Frog is a star in the sky. Ray sings to her, and at the end of the movie when Ray dies he becomes a star in the sky too, just like his Evangeline.

My Evangeline is my angel, my beloved little girl, and my beautiful star in the sky.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Still a big sister

One of my biggest worries is that Mariah won't feel like a big sister because her baby sister is not here. She talks to Evangeline in her heart but does she actually feel proud to be a big sister like that? I never want her to feel cheated because she can't play with or boss around her baby sister.

 Today, a local organization, who supports families that have lost a baby, is hosting a yearly picnic for children who have lost a sibling. I am so grateful that we will be able to meet other families in our shoes, and Mariah will meet other kids who have brothers and sisters in their hearts, just like Evangeline is in her heart. It is going to be a great day to remember and honor our baby girl, while having fun with our big girl.

It is amazing to see so much support from the community. The event is free for families to attend and there will be an abundance of food, games, entertainment and arts and crafts. I was so excited to see a list of the activities and map out what we have to be sure to do. I can just tell that today will be a good day, even if a few tears come, because at least I will be surrounded by love and people who understand.

As much as I wish none of the families in attendance had a reason so be there, I am so thankful that our angel babies are remembered and our living children are given a day to just have fun while still remembering their sibling. I'm so grateful that other people still view Mariah as having a sister... because she IS a big sister, and a great one at that.