Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Heaven Party

   On June 19th, Ava turned one...in heaven. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I LOVE throwing parties, especially themed parties to celebrate my loved ones. To not have the opportunity to throw my daughter her first birthday party...well, I don't have words to describe my heart break.
   We still wanted to do something special in memory of her first birthday, so we purchased a pink balloon. We went to our favorite park as a family and released it into the sky.

Ava's little brother holding her balloon

While I was unable to throw Ava her first birthday party here on earth, God comforted my heart by reminding me that she had an incredible birthday in heaven. She celebrated with all my friends babies who went to be with Jesus too soon. And she had Jesus by her side.
Each day that passes, is one day closer to heavens gates.....
will never have to say "good-bye" to her again.

Happy First Birthday, Ava Grace!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Double Standard in the Pro-Life Community

A Mother announces her pregnancy to family, friends, and over social media. We rightfully rejoice this new life, and all its possibilities, alongside the expectant mommy. 

What happens to this support when she miscarries her baby at 8 weeks, 10 weeks, or even at 12 weeks? 

Pro-Life supporters shout from the roof tops that life begins at conception. The National Right to Life website states: "The life of a baby begins long before he or she is born. A new individual human being begins at fertilization, when the sperm and ovum meet to form a single cell." Men and women preach it, breathe it, and believe it. 

I have had an overwhelming number of girlfriends miscarry in their first trimester and an unsettling theme continues to reappear in my conversations with them: Lack of support from the Pro-Life community. 

Instead of coming along side the grieving parents and supporting them emotionally or in tangible ways, many pro-life supporters choose to distance themselves  or respond by making hurtful comments such as, "You're young, you'll have more kids," "That is so sad," and "At least you were only __ weeks along". If we truly believe that life begins at conception, then a miscarriage is the death of a human being, Why do some of us decide it's easier to avoid or minimize the grief of these parents whose babies have died?

My friend Susan who had a first trimester miscarriage shared this with me, "The biggest point is the fact that no matter what point the loss occurred, we lost what could have been. That takes its toll forever, in big and small ways. In the quiet moments when you're by yourself and wonder what it would have been like or are taken off guard by the thoughts of what would he/she look like now a year and a half later; how would he/she be different than the wee one I currently hold in my arms....would he have green eyes like his daddy; would he/she have been a snuggler and want to sleep in mommy and daddy's bed unlike Samantha? Those thoughts catch you so off guard. "Sad" hasn't ever, and even now, still doesn't even begin to cut it. It is such a neutered word for the breadth of emotion that is experienced. "

Just because these mothers' didn't lose their children in the second or third trimester, doesn't make their babies any less important. The end result is still the same. They will never see their babies first steps or giggles. These parents lose Christmas mornings, loose teeth, and first days of school. They will never see the person their child would have become. They lose it all.

This double standard in the pro-life community must be replaced with love, support, and encouragement towards the parents who are dealing with the tragedy of a miscarriage. Grief is as individual as a fingerprint and while some parents may grieve openly, others may want to do so privately. Some ways to support the individual couples include:

  • Acknowledge the life that was growing in the mother's womb, even if it was brief. You won't make the pain worse by talking about her loss. Silence sends the message that you don't care.
  • Give or send a gift, keepsake, or memento to memorialize their baby whose life ended too soon. Etsy is a wonderful resource.
  • Send a card or note of encouragement, particularly on special days ( due date, anniversaries, Mother/Father's Day, etc.).
  • Take the initiative.....whether it be dropping a meal off, grocery shopping, delivering coffee, cleaning their house, watching their children, etc. 
    • Note: Don't say, "Let me know if you need anything." That puts the burden on the grieving parents to ask for help. Just do it.
  • Pray for them. Or better yet, send an email, text message, or leave a voicemail to let them know you are praying for them.
  • Be with them, Offering a hug, listening ear, or a simple, "I'm sorry" will mean so much.

Every life matters.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Redeeming Tuesday

People reference Monday as being the dreaded day of the week.  I have never dreaded a day of the week until last year. On Tuesday, January 14th, 2014 we learned the devastating news that our daughter Ava had died in my womb. The following Tuesday we got the call that Ava's body was ready to be cremated. The Tuesday after that we learned that her ashes were ready to be picked up. After that triple-play, I despised and dreaded Tuesdays. There were many weeks I wished Tuesday could be erased from the calendar.

One night as I was struggling to sleep, the Lord put a desire on my heart to start a miscarriage blog. As I thought about what to name it, the dreaded word and day of the week Tuesday continued to taunt and jeer at my grieving heart. "Screw Tuesdays!" my heart screamed... In the wee hours of the night, laying on my tear soaked pillow, God spoke to my heart. He told me I needed to follow His lead and redeem the day I had come to hate; the day that decided to show up every week and remind me of what I lost. While those three horrific Tuesdays threatened to steal my joy and spiral me into depression, God's grace allowed me to create something beautiful. I began sharing my grief journey with others through this blog, named Tuesdays in memory of Ava.

Little did I know what was to come...
Last June, I discovered that I was pregnant again. Many tears were shed as I continued to grieve Ava's death, while rejoicing over the life growing inside me. We soon learned that Ava was going to have a little brother.

Due to my many health issues, my doctor recommended that I be induced  a week early. As we started discussing dates, my doctor suggested being induced on Tuesday, February 3rd.

"Yes!" I cried.

On Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015 at 10:48 p.m., we welcomed Ava's little brother Isaac David into our family.
   Take that, Tuesdays.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Farewell Wedding Dress

    Almost every girl dreams of the day she can walk down the aisle and marry the man of her dreams while wearing a wedding dress that makes her look and feel fabulous. I was no different and in my case, fell in love with the first dress I tried on at the bridal shop .Remember the part in the movie Cinderella where she tries on the lost glass slipper and it fits perfectly? That was this wedding dress for me. I purchased it right off the rack with no alterations.

  Fast forward seven years later to a beautiful life with one son and another baby on the way. Mommy's instinct told me it was a girl. I imagined telling her all about the story of my wedding dress, having her try it on and playing dress up. Little did I know how that dream would be shattered.

From the very beginning, David and I planned on having three children. Last month, we welcomed Gideon and Ava's little brother Isaac David into the world. We now have two boys on earth and a daughter in heaven. As I have reflected and grieved this reality, a thought has come back multiple times...what do I do with my wedding dress?

 About two weeks ago, a family friend of mine posted an article on my Facebook wall and a message stating, " I'm going to donate my wedding dress in your name." Curious, I clicked on the link and began to read. I was moved to tears. The full article is here:

Once I finished reading this article - I knew instantly what to do with my wedding dress.

Angel gowns.

My wedding dress will be recycled and transformed in to angel gowns for babies who are laid to rest.

Ava will never have the opportunity to wear my dress, but sweet angel babies will.

Goodbye dream, farewell dress.


For more information, click here. If you would like to donate a gown, you can ship it to: NICU Helping Hands at 301 Commerce Street, Suite 3200; Fort Worth, TX 76102.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

One Year Later

Tomorrow it will be a year...365 days, 8760 hours, 525,600 minutes or 31,536,000 seconds will have passed since learning the tragic news that our daughter Ava Grace died in my womb.  As I have been reflecting on that day  that changed our lives forever, I have thought a lot about how my husband and I were robbed of the opportunity to raise her, nurture her, and protect her, throughout her life....

 I have gotten angry on more than one occasion thinking about it, but then God gently reminds me that we didn't lose the privilege of loving her.

I will always treasure....

This picture of her tiny footprints next to David's finger.

Her stocking on our mantel.

Her Christmas ornaments

The garden box David built in her memory.

Her baby shoes and assorted baby items that we accumulated in anticipation of her birth, along with the sweet gifts and sympathy cards we received after her death.

Our Memorial tattoos

Remembering all the sweet acts of kindness that our friends did in her honor.

And wearing the beautiful pieces of remembrance jewelry I received from dear friends.

Even though her tiny body is now a thimble-full of ashes, Ava is and always will be a part of our family. We will continue to speak her name and remember her life until our last breath here on earth. Next month I am giving birth to her little brother Isaac. I look forward to when I can share with him the beautiful, yet short life his sister lived and how she changed our family. We have been carved into different people, ones who understand the fragility of life and cherish the sacredness of every moment with those we love. Our dreams for her life will never be, but she will live on in our memory and be loved by us for eternity.