Monday, August 30, 2010

I Will Carry You

We had a relaxing weekend. We went to a nursery on Saturday trying to find a tree to plant for Harper. I think we have decided on a southern magnolia, she will grow tall and strong and give us beautiful flowers in early summer. We like the summer flowering since Harper was born in the summer. Magnolias are resistant to drought and disease and would do well in our climate. We are planning on extending a part of our fence and gating off our memorial garden to keep it safe from the wild and crazy Zeus & Luna.

We will do a little more homework to find out when the best time to plant is and get started on our little project soon. I can't wait!

I just finished reading I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy by Angie Smith. It is an absolutely wonderful book, I cried through most of it. The lovely Rebecca sent it to me and I am so grateful. I have found so much comfort and strength in this book and I know that I will read it again. Below is the video and song, I Will Carry You (Audrey's song) by Selah. Have your kleenex handy. This is an amazingly strong and inspirational family.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Today I received an invitation in the mail for a baby shower. A baby shower that is a week before Harper's due date. A baby shower for a baby girl and I don't want to go. I am friends with the Mommy of honor but not really close, I doubt she would even miss me. I just don't think I can do it. I know that it is selfish but I am just not interested in 'oohing and aahing' over all of the sweet baby clothes and the beautiful baby bump. I am truly happy for the Mommy and really wish her and her baby girl well. But it would be sheer torture for me to have to sit through that and it wouldn't be fair to her. I should probably be able to handle something like this by now but I don't think I can. It is just another reminder of all that we have lost.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2 Months

Dearest Harper,

Good morning my sweet angel. It has been 2 months today that we had to say goodbye to you. These have been the worst 2 months of my life. I wish that you were still here with me and your Daddy. We miss you so much. These months have been so hard but I would go through all of this pain and hurt all over again if this is the only way I was meant to be your Mom. I would relive all of it if I could just hold you one more time, if I could just have more time to tell you and show you how much I love you. More time to kiss your sweet face.

It still feels like it was yesterday that I was feeling you wiggle around in my tummy. We had so many dreams for you, little girl. The months that I spent with you, caring for you and nurturing you inside my tummy were the best months of my life. You brought me and your Daddy so much love and happiness. You were and always will be our little miracle.

I am so sorry that I couldn't give you life here on earth. I feel like I failed you. I still wonder if there was something else that we could have done to save you. It's just so hard to believe that you are gone. It still feels like yesterday that I was holding you in my arms for what would be the last time. Life is so cruel and unfair sometimes. Death is so final. I am not ready for final.

I miss you so much. There isn't a minute that goes by that I don't think about you. Everyday, no matter what I am doing or how I am feeling, you are here with me.

My heart is just so heavy today, it feels like I can't breathe without you. A few dragonflies have floated by me this morning. The big green one that always drops by for a quick hello and a teeny tiny one flew by me this morning and hung out for awhile. Thank you for sending them, they made me think of you and smile. Happy 2 months in Heaven, I know it must be wonderful there.

I love you so much, my Harper Grace...


your Mom

Sunday, August 22, 2010


We were invited to a surprise birthday party for a good friend this past weekend. It felt good to get all dressed up and go out. This was our first real outing, where a lot of people that we knew would be attending, since Harper's death.

Of course we aren't there for 10 minutes when someone comes up to me, mind you I had a large glass of wine in my hand at the time, and says with a big goofy smile while scowling at my glass of wine, " I hear you are expecting!" UGH...I was thinking Really? Yea, I'm pregnant...the baby likes wine. Is she serious? Does it look like I am expecting? Expecting to start crying at the drop of a hat or expecting to fall down at any moment and not be able to get back up because I hurt so bad. I was basically speechless, all I could manage to get out was, "No, Ma'am." I was caught off guard, I wasn't expecting to have to answer any of those questions tonight. Thankfully hubby was standing next to me and quickly finished answering for me because I had no words, "No, our daughter, Harper, was born 3 months early in June and didn't make it." The look of fear rushed to her face. She was mortified and replied, "oh I am so sorry. can try again, you are young." I gave her a weak smile, that's all I had in me. Then the uncomfortable silence came and she scurried off to mingle with someone else. Not the best way to start the evening. I tried to take the whole exchange with a grain of salt, the night was young.

About 15 minutes later the guest of honor showed up and the festivities were in full swing. The night was full of dancing, drinks, laughter and a teeny weeny trigger...children. All girls, too, and an infant. Cute little girls with pigtails, bows in their hair and monogramed dresses. So unfair, why can't I have that? I am supposed to have THAT! I was probably staring at the infant with the look of a rabid dog. I couldn't help it. I am mesmerized by babies, especially baby girls. I wanted my baby, wanted little hands resting on my shoulder and those chubby little cheeks smiling at me. Instead I was watching, longingly, from a distance and trying to so hard to keep a smile on my face because I knew I was so close to breaking down. Chris gave me a knowing look, he was missing our baby girl, too.

Then it happened. Of all songs to cause my breakdown, Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. Nothing like a little 80's hairband to get the tears flowing. The chorus really got to me..

...don't stop believin', hold onto that feeling...

As I listened to the song, I looked around at all the happiness in that ballroom, all of the life. I felt so cheated. All of these people with what seem to be such beautiful, happy lives and healthy children. No worries in the world as we stood there feeling so sad and missing our baby. I just wanted to stand up on a chair and scream not to take any moment for granted, that life is so unpredictable, to hug those babies so tight because you never know what tomorrow might bring. Of course I didn't. I just bore my head into Chris' shoulder and sobbed. He just held me and told me that we could leave whenever I wanted to. I knew he meant it but I didn't want to be defeated, I could get through this night. I dried my eyes and faced the party.

The party was a success. The birthday girl was truly surprised and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. We had fun too and I was glad that we stayed.

I took some advice from Journey that night...I was going to hold onto hope that one day our rainbow will come. I know Harper would want that. There is the old saying, "If you don't have hope, then you don't have anything." I know this to be true. Hope is what keeps us going day after day. Hope is what motivates us to fulfill our dreams. Hope is all that we have and I will keep holding onto it, even though it feels like it is slipping from my grasp at times.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Design On A Dime

I thought that it was time to do a little housekeeping on Harper's blog. I love the pink and brown...same color as her nursery :) I found the sweetest background on shabby blogs and it was free. That's where designing on a dime came in, my mother in law would be proud! I am so excited about the new look, I think it is super cute!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Phantom Pain

Amputees can develop what is called 'phantom pain'. It is pain that you feel in the leg or arm that has been amputated. I am very familiar with this phenomenon due to the time I spent nursing wounded soldiers when I was in the Army at the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a heartbreaking thing to witness. As a nurse, you feel so helpless to it because these young men and women are screaming and crying in pain for a body part that you can no longer see, touch or assess.

After losing a sweet baby, the body likes to play tricks on you. At least mine does. I have experienced what I call 'phantom kicks'. I have googled it and it is actually a real phenomenon. For me, I feel these kicks at night when I am laying in bed. Nighttime was Harper's most active time so I guess that feeling them during the quietness of the night makes sense. These kicks actually make me smile and I usually put my hand on my tummy and savor the few seconds that I feel them. It is like for a split second I remember what it feels like to have a little life growing inside of me. Then I remember that I really don't.

The truth is, I am not feeling them as much as I used to and it makes me so sad. Another chapter is closing, one more physical reminder of my sweet baby is drifting away from me. I felt the same sadness when my milk dried up. I felt like it was really over when my milk was gone. All of these physical signs of a pregnancy were leaving me and I didn't want them to go because it was one more piece of Harper that was leaving me too. Just another reminder that my pregnancy was over and I had no sweet baby girl in my arms. It is such an empty feeling. No more baby in my belly-just an empty pouch. No more milk to feed the little one that I will never get the chance to nurse. And now, no more kicks to remind me of all the miraculous life and joy that was once making a home inside of my womb. I miss her so, so, so much...

To me losing a baby seems kind of like losing an extremity. You have lost a part of you, a part of your soul but there is no prosthesis for an empty tummy, unfulfilled dreams and a broken heart. The average observer doesn't look at your once flat stomach that now has a little pudge to it and know that you have lost your baby. A person doesn't see that look of sadness in your eyes or your lack of laughter and know. There may be no external scar, depending if you had a c-section or not....but there is certainly an internal scar. A scar that will never heal, it may hurt less over time but it will always be there.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Day of Hope

Today is the Day of Hope. On this day, we remember our beloved daughter Harper Grace (6/25/2010). There is not a day that goes by that we don't think about you. We love and miss you dearly...

For those affected by the loss of a sweet angel, go to and grab a button and honor your child, grandchild, niece, nephew, etc!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Abiding Hope Collages

I am so excited!! The very talented Francesca from Abiding Hope Collages sent this to me is just precious! Thank you so much!

Monday, August 16, 2010


This past weekend hubby and I went on a much needed mini vacation to Atlanta. Nice hotel, good food, great nightlife and shopping. Thankfully there weren't many triggers in hoity toity Buckhead and we really enjoyed ourselves.

All last week leading up to our getaway I was looking forward to our trip but on friday when we left the house, I had a pit in my stomach. I felt like I was abandoning Harper. I couldn't bring her things with me and it made me sick. I found myself looking through her memory box and having a little talk with her. Telling her how much we loved her and that we would be back in a couple of days. I just felt like we were leaving her behind.

Before we left the house, we locked her memory box in the safe. Right next to my pearls, our laptop and a few guns. I kept thinking how messed up is this?? Instead of keeping my baby safe in my arms or my tummy, I am locking her in a freakin' safe. Mommies are supposed to protect their babies, not lock them in a safe! I hated leaving her. That memory box is all I have...all of the tangible momentos that I will ever have of Harper's life. If something ever happened to that box, I don't know what I would do. I started worrying about fires or break-ins. I know that the safe is fire proof and burgler proof but I still worried.

Harper's piglet doll made the journey to Atlanta. I figured I could get away with that without coming across as too crazy. It is just a stuffed animal, after all. I think piglet will be tagging along on lots of trips...might need to get her a passport. :)

The weekend came and went and we made it home on Sunday afternoon. It is so, so good to be home and to be back with my baby girl. I know that she is always with me but I feel closest to her when I am here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back to work and my pamphlet...

Yesterday was my first day back to work since I took time off for the vacation that ended in tragedy. I can't help but think about what I should be doing right now. I should be planning my maternity leave right now, not going back to work. I would have been 33 weeks pregnant today, how different my life would have been. I wish I had some type of machine that would let me step into an alternate universe. I keep thinking of that movie The Butterfly Effect. How one single event in your life changes the course of everything from there on true that is!

For the most part, it was a good day. Leaving the house and the drive in were the hardest. I got so many smiles and hugs when I walked in, it warmed my heart but also made me sad. Sad that these are my circumstances now. Sad that I am not the same person on the inside that I used to be. I work in a place with a lot of laughter, which has always been a good thing. I have always loved that about working there. But truthfully, I don't feel like laughing as much as I used to. I don't think people really 'get it' and understand, how could they? They expect you to be back to you old self and happy go lucky. But you are not. I wish I had a pamphlet that I could hand out at work or anywhere for that matter before anyone was allowed to speak to me.

Some of the things I would include in my pamphlet:

. Just because I didn't go to full term, I still had a baby. A real, living, breathing baby. A baby that was born alive but died. A baby that I held in my arms after she died. A fully developed baby who was perfect in every way. I had to endure labor and delivery of a baby that I knew was so early, too early to have a good shot of survival. I miss my baby girl everyday. I cry for her everyday. My heart aches to hold her again, to see her, to watch her grow up, to see her thrive, to kiss her, to hug her, to smell her. I am not 'over it' and I don't anticipate ever 'getting over it'. I don't want to hear that all things happen for a reason, just say that you are sorry for my loss. I lost my child and my dreams for her. I have a birth certificate that has the word DECEASED stamped across it. No mother should ever have to possess such a thing. I love her and just because she isn't here anymore, doesn't take away that love or my memory of her. She will always be a part of me. I am still me, but a different me. I get up everyday even though sometimes I don't think I can. I wake up every morning with a knot in my stomach and missing my baby. I am sad but I keep going...I have to. I have a heaviness in my heart for what we have lost and will never get back. I might have another baby one day but that baby will NEVER replace Harper. She will always be my first born. I will never forget her. Something will always be missing from our life. I have a broken heart.

Sweet surprise!

I got a nice surprise when I checked the mail yesterday! A beautiful butterfly card and this necklace from one of my dearest friends. Her thoughtfulness touched my heart....I will treasure it always.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Harper's lesson

True happiness is such a blessing and seems a tough emotion to come by these days. You know, the happy that you can see in the brightness of your eyes and in the wideness of your smile. I am having more happy moments lately but it is like there is always sadness looming under the surface. I have a happy moment of laughter and somewhere inside me I feel a little guilty for it. I wonder how can I ever be truly happy and fulfilled when something so important is missing and always will be.

All of my life I have been what you consider a "happy person", always smiling, always in a good mood. I just felt like I was such a lucky person and I had such a blessed life. I felt especially blessed when we finally got pregnant with Harper, it was the perfectly sweet icing on our cake! I felt like we had it all. Two people who loved each other so much were finally going to be parents to a perfect baby girl! Life was so good.

Then the unimaginable happened, we lost our sweet daughter and all of the dreams we had for her. When tragedy happens, it changes you. And the way it changes everyone is different. I think we all have the power to determine how it will change us, some become bitter and some try to live a better life. I have chosen the latter. That doesn't mean I am not angry or bitter about my circumstances at times. But through Harper, I am learning to see past the anger. Even though she is not here and for that I am sad, she still fills my heart with so much love and she makes me so happy. I am so proud to be her Mom.

I think the most important lesson Harper taught me is how short and precious life really is. We take so many things for granted just assuming that life will give us what we expect. I have learned that nothing should be taken for granted and that you really don't know what is around the next corner. Every minute is so special because we really don't know how long we will be blessed to live on this earth or how long the people that we love will be here.

Harper is helping me to find that true happiness again. It comes in the most unlikely places, a dragon fly on a flower or a beautiful landscape. I feel like these are little signs that she is sending me, telling me it is ok to find that happiness again. I know that she wants that for me and I want to honor her life, to live for her! I am working on it, I will never be the same person I was before I lost my little girl. I hope to become better.

True Happiness with my little girl! :) (Taken early June)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

What makes a Mother?

I found this poem on the BBC website about 2 weeks after we said goodbye to Harper. I really love this poem and I have read it so many times, it still brings me to tears.

What makes a Mother

I thought of you and closed my eyes
And prayed to God today.
I asked what makes a Mother
And I know I heard him say.
A Mother has a baby
This we know is true.'

But God, can you be a Mother
When your baby's not with you?
Yes, you can, He replied
With confidence in His voice
I give many women babies
When they leave is not their choice.
Some I send for a lifetime
And others for a day.
And some I send to feel your womb
But there's no need to stay.

I just don't understand this, God
I want my baby here
He took a breath and cleared His throat
And then I saw a tear.
I wish I could show you
What your child is doing today.
If you could see your child smile
With other children and say:
"We go to earth to learn our lessons
Of love and life and fear.

Mommy loved me oh so much
I got to come straight here.
I feel so lucky to have a Mom
Who had so much love for me
I learned my lesson very quickly
My Mommy set me free.
I miss my Mommy oh so much
But I visit her each day.
When she goes to sleep
On her pillow's where I lay.
I stroke her hair and kiss her cheek
And whisper in her ear.
"Mommy don't be sad today
I'm your baby and I'm here."

So you see my dear sweet one
Your children are ok
Your babies are here in My home
And this is where they'll stay.
They'll wait for you with Me
Until your lesson is through.
And on the day that you come home
They'll be at the gates for you.

So now you see what makes a Mother
It's the feeling in your heart.
It's the love you had so much of
Right from the very start.
Though some on earth may not realize
You are a Mother until their time is done.
They'll be up here with Me one day
And you know you're the best one!


We are all Mothers, whether our babies are physically with us or not. I will always be so thankful that Harper gave me the gift of making me her Mother!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Which came first...the chicken or the egg?

The title of this post basically sums up the explanation of why I went into preterm labor (PTL). Comforting, huh...not really.

I went for my 6 week postpartum check up yesterday. UGH, I hated walking into that OB office with neither a baby in my arms nor a big pregnant seemed so wrong, it is so wrong. It seemed weird to already be at my 6 wk check up. I sure didn't think I would survive getting to this point, but, here I am.

Dr I, who is the sweetest doctor ever, opened up a special appointment time for me on an afternoon when she normally doesn't see patients. This was so kind of her, I didn't have to see any other preggo women and she and I got to take as much time as we needed to discuss things. My placenta came back from pathology with a diagnosis of Acute Chorioamnionitis, this we already knew. What we don't know is how I acquired this rare (2% of pregnancies) infection. We will never know. We also don't know if the infection is what lead to the PTL, if the placental separation lead to bleeding which lead to PTL, if the infection had nothing to do with it, if I have some type of clotting disorder that lead to the placental separation which lead to PTL, or if I just went into "old fashioned" PTL. And we don't know what caused Harper's distress during delivery. Seriously?!? I am seems to me that obstetrics is like the great abyss of not knowing. How could we not have a real reason? I need a reason. I have a very scientific mind, I need answers. I need to know why! I guess we will never know.

If you can call it good news, I was told that all of these things are so rare that it is not likely to be a reoccurring problem. That's nice, but I already acquired an very rare infection that only affects 2% of pregnancies. I am not feeling too optimistic about beating the odds. She also filled me in on the plan for subsequent pregnancies. I will be considered high risk and see a maternal fetal medicine specialist as well as Dr I and they will be "throwing the kitchen sink" at me (progesterone shots, baby aspirin, lovenox, and cervical cultures). *sigh*

As much as I love the thought of giving Harper a little brother or sister to watch over, I am so scared. I will never have a happy - go lucky pregnancy again. I was so naive when I was pregnant with Harper. I had no idea that what was such a happy time could turn into a nightmare in the blink of an eye. I am a nurse and I know that bad things can happen, I just never thought that those bad things would happen to me. I loved being pregnant and I would love to be pregnant again, I would love to bring home a baby. But the thought of 9 months of being paranoid, worrying about every little twinge, cramp, pain, being afraid to bond with the baby, or not wanting to get too excited for fear of loss again....that is unbearable to think about right now. Maybe in time...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


This weekend hubby and I went out for sushi and drinks. By the way, neither of which should be anywhere near my lips right now. Anyway, we had a great night, eating, drinking, laughing. It felt so good to get out and enjoy myself. The sadness did creep in every now and then, whenever a family with a baby in a carrier would walk in the restaurant or when the cute little blonde toddler was waddling around. I tried really hard to keep my focus on not dwelling and I did pretty good.

The neighboring restaurant had live music, so we walked over to check it out. There was a guy playing piano and singing. He was good, not too loud but loud enough. We happened to be sitting at a table right by his wife and friends and got to talking to them. After a little small talk she asked me a question and an important one..."Do you guys have children?" Without even thinking twice, I said, "Yes, we have a daughter but she is in heaven now." A short and truthful answer and I am sure that was not the answer she was looking for...she looked pretty uncomfortable and quickly changed the subject.

Mind you, I was not happy of the answer I had to give but I was happy to give it. Does that make sense? The point is: We do have a daughter, a daughter that we love so much and we are so proud of who lives in heaven now. I would give anything if my answer could have been, "Yes, we do, a one month old baby girl." But that is not the case and I was so happy that I got to acknowledge my little one. Even if it made the lady uncomfortable...I didn't really care because I got to talk about my daughter out in public with a complete stranger. I will continue to do so. I will never hide it. I am sure there are people who think that you just don't talk about things like this, that you should just move on. I will never move on. I am sure it would have been easier to say, "no", nothing to explain with that answer. How could I say, "no"? I don't care if I have to make millions of people uncomfortable for the next 100 years, I will talk about my child. She deserves that, she was a living, human being - not just a figment of my imagination. A sweet little girl who was taken too soon. A baby with a family who wanted her so much and have so much love for her. Harper deserves to have her story told.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

It's August and I miss you...

Dear Harper,

I can't believe that August is here. Time seems to be flying by and going at a snails pace since you grew your Angel wings. It is already 100 degrees on the back porch and rising. You and I were not a good match with the heat in June, I am most certain that we would really be hating it now. We would have endured it with a smile though...nothing a little A/C wouldn't fix:) I should have been almost 32 weeks pregnant with you today, kind of weird that I am not. Kind of like it was all a dream. I know that it wasn't though. You are more real than anything has ever been. You were and still are my dream come true, my most precious gift.

I still wake up every morning and in my fog between asleep and awake, I feel for a moment that I am still pregnant with you. The mornings have been pretty hard on me. I guess I keep wishing that one of these mornings I will wake up and realize that this was all one big nightmare. Unfortunately, that has not been the case and it seems like the mornings just thrust me back into my reality without you.

I have been sleeping with the Piglet doll that your Daddy and I bought for you the day we found out you were a girl. That was such a happy day for us. I always smile when I think of that day. It was a Saturday morning and I was 16 weeks pregnant. Your Daddy and I decided that we couldn't wait the 5 days until our next ultrasound to find out if you were a boy or a girl. We had to know NOW! I called Baby Waves and asked if they could squeeze us in. Reluctantly, the woman on the phone said if we could be there in 20 min, she would do it. We scrambled around so fast to get out of the house and made it....surprising, since we really didn't know where we were going. I remember seeing you on that screen, wiggling around and waving your hands at us. You were moving your mouth a lot too, we were joking that you would be a trouble maker since you were talking back already. Then the ultrasound tech handed your Daddy a mounds candy bar (the one without the nuts) and said, "No nuts on this kid, Dad" humor! :) You were our baby girl!!! I couldn't wait to start shopping for you, shopping for little girls is so much fun! You had your Daddy wrapped around your little finger from the start. That day he told me, "you know, she will never be able to do any wrong"...I knew you would be his little princess....two peas in a pod. That made me so happy.

I know that you are with us everyday, I can feel you. Every dragon fly I see makes me smile because I know that it is you giving me a sign, telling me you love me and that you are ok. I see tons of them and I love that! I feel closest to you when I snuggle with your Piglet doll at night. It never leaves my arms and it brings me so much comfort. It makes me feel like I am right next to you. Don't worry, I will take good care of Piglet until we are together again.

I hope that you are having a good day, today...I know that you must be. I don't know if you can get a sunburn in heaven; but just in case, don't forget to put on some sunscreen.

I miss you so much every second and I love you with all of my heart.

All my love,