Monday, May 27, 2013


Celebrate good times, come on! Let's celebrate!

See, I told you they were beautiful! :) 
On Friday night, I went out with my friends to have a girl's night to celebrate my sweet Gideon's 2nd birthday. (It was a belated celebration, 1 week after his birthday) After the past few weeks I have had, I NEEDED a night out with my friends! We went to the Cheesecake Factory. There ended up being 8 of us ladies there. And one thing we all have in common, we all have at least one baby in Heaven. In addition to celebrating Gideon's birthday, it was my friend Stefanie's birthday so we were able to celebrate her as well!!

It is just really fun to be in a group of women, laughing and talking and to not be afraid to talk about your baby who died. When I am in a group of other people, they might get a strange look on their face when I mention Gideon. Or if I talk about him frequently, they start to shuffle away from me. Even with a lot of my friends from before he died, they aren't as comfortable talking about him as I am, or as other moms with babies in Heaven. So, sometimes it is more comfortable to be in a group of mommies who have babies who have died than women who haven't. I know that may sound strange but just like any thing, we feel safe with people who can relate to us and understand us.

So we went to the Cheesecake Factory and I was greeted by hugs and smiles (and I even happened to run into an old friend from college and talked to her for a minute, which was a sweet surprise!). We all immediately started laughing and talking about everything from breastfeeding and labor, to sex and short cervixes, to Jesus and our relationship with Him, to family issues and to our babies lives and deaths. Pretty much any topic was not off limits (our poor waiter had to listen to us! HAH!). We are a little nuts!

These ladies (among other amazing women as well) have become an integral part of my life, I cant imagine my life without their friendship. Seriously, the women I have gotten close to in the last 2 years have some of the most beautiful faces and hearts. I love them!

Before I tell you the rest of the story, I want to say this: our babies who have died are a part of us. They have forever changed us and they are more special to us than words can explain. Hearing theirs names spoken is like music to our ears. Many people identify very strongly with their name and our names are so important to our identity. And for me, it is always a little unfulfilling that I do not get to use my son's name more often. I say Gideon's name every day. There has not gone a day since we gave him his name in Feb 2010 that I have not said his name. But part of it is missing. I will never say his name at a baseball game, or hear it at his college graduation, or hear it at his wedding. There is a long list of events where I will miss hearing his name spoken among a crowd.

Back to my story, at one point in the night my friend goes up to the waiter and whispers in his ear. She wasn't hitting on him so I knew she was planning on having happy birthday sung for Stefanie. So I was expecting them to come up and sing to Stef at any moment. Well, they did. But they were carrying 2 ice cream sundaes. And the waiter announced to the whole restaurant something like "Today we are celebrating Gideon and Stefanie's birthdays! Happy birthday to Gideon and Stefanie." Then they all sang happy birthday!
Crying and smiling! 
 It was for my sweet boy and my dear friend! I looked like a lunatic with a huge smile on my face with tears welling up in my eyes. You can see evidence of my surprise/happiness/tears in these pictures. Having a whole restaurant hear his name and to hear that we were celebrating him was extraordinary!

 Having Happy Birthday sang to him in a restaurant was one of the things that we would miss out on since he died, but a little piece of that was given to me Friday night! His birthday was validated and his name was spoken in a room full of strangers!
That was one thing we didn't have to lose when he went to Heaven!I asked my friend who told the waiter what she said to him and she told him that this was a special night because we are celebrating the birthday of Gideon who passed away and he would have been 2 years old. And the waiter told her he definitely could take care of it! Wow. To have someone who doesnt even know me not think it was weird and to have friends who cried and smiled along with me, what a blessing from God!!! It really makes my heart happy to know that Gideon is loved by so many people.

It was a really exceptional night (and I think my stomach still hurts from laughing so much!).

One of the greatest gifts that God has given me since Gideon passed away has been the gift of the friendships of other parents who have a baby in Heaven.

Thank you, to my dear friends, for celebrating the short life of my sweet son with me!

The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as incense and perfume. Proverbs 27:9 (NLT)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I am speaking this year at an event for babies in Heaven. It was put together by local moms who have babies in Heaven. For more information go to the Light the Night With Love website!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Ten years/Two years

Today 10 years ago I married the man of my dreams, my best friend.

Today 2 years ago, I pushed my firstborn son's body into the world.

What a day of memories!! If you would have told me 10 years ago what we would have gone through, I might not have wanted to have children. But, knowing what I know now, I would do it again. Loving our son more than life itself. Seeing his beautiful face. Feeling him kick within me. Seeing the miracle that God created. Getting to hold him in my womb and in my arms. And knowing that our son in with Jesus. I would do it all over again. So I could be his mommy. So that he could change me forever. And so that he could be with the Lord.

I am not sure what to say other than I can't believe it has been 2 years since we held him. I miss him deeply. I feel the hole in my soul and I miss him into my bones. But I do know that Jesus has given me joy where there once was deep agony. I am thankful for the blessings that have come from his life. It is more than I imagined. God has bigger plans for our life than what we can even dream. God continues to wow me as I see him using the life of this baby who only lived in his mommy's tummy for 33 weeks.

God always keeps his promises. Even when they don't look like what they thought they would.

Wow. 2 years. 730 days. Seeing that number makes it even more unbelievable. He was only with us for about 230 days and he has been gone for over 3 times that amount of time.

Isn't he just gorgeous?

I love you, Gideon.
Happy birthday in Heaven! I know today is just as amazing, beautiful and perfect as yesterday and will be the same for all of your tomorrows.

This month has also been 5 years since we lost Avery to miscarriage. That is hard to wrap my mind around too. If she had lived, we would have a 4 year old. I sometimes think about what my life would be like if all 3 of my kids lived. I would have a 4 year old, a 2 year old and a 1 year old. Wow! What a life it would be! I  am so happy with my life now and so thankful for the path that God has put me on, but I do wonder how it would be if they all were with me.

MEND (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death) sends out newsletters and in each newsletter you can put a birthday tribute for your baby/babies in Heaven. So this is our tribute for both of my children for this year.

Now I want to share some pictures from mine and Todd's wedding day.

 10 years ago! A decade. Gosh, 3,650 days ago!

In 10 years, we have been through 2 college degrees, 2 masters degrees, infertility, careers, changing careers, moving 6 times, a miscarriage, the death of one son, raising another son, the birth of many nieces and nephews, Todd starting his counseling practice, and so much more. Lots of laughter and lots of tears.

A beautiful life. A life that is a gift from the Lord.

I am so blessed to be married to my best friend. I love him more now than ever and I love him deeper because of what we have been through. Losing Gideon has brought us closer than I even knew we could be. I thought we were in love before, I thought we were close before. But the closeness and love we have for each other is deeper than I can even express. Only surviving the tragedy of the death of a child can bring you this close. We truly are one. Our hearts beat as one.
I am in awe of the man God has given me and in awe of the man God is making him. He is an amazing husband and incredible father. I am so in love with him. He still takes my breath away. Here is to many, many more years of being married to and loving my best friend!

I love my husband so much! More than I ever knew was even possible.

 Good gracious, we were young! I had just turned 21 and Todd was turning 20 the next month. Wow. (and dang, I was a lot skinnier than I am now! haha :P) 

 I hope you guys enjoyed that! It was fun for me to go down memory lane!

The biggest thing is that I am much closer to Jesus than I was 10 years ago and much closer than I was to Him 2 years ago. I thought I was close to Him then, but I love him even more now today. He continually draws me to Himself. 

Thank you Jesus, for EVERYTHING we have experienced and all the love we have shared in the past 10 years. 

So, today, for me, kiss your husband a little longer than usual. Tell him you love him. Snuggle your kids tighter and make them feel special. Laugh louder. Do something silly. Give to someone. Help out a stranger. Call an old friend. I know for the past 2 years I have given more love and taken nothing for granted and it has made my life so much sweeter. 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights... James 1:17a

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

As I sit here...awake....

I sit here tonight and I remember.

I think back.

Two years ago, I sat awake at this same desk and in the same chair I am sitting now, at 11:50 pm at night pregnant with our first son. Little did I know that in a few short hours, as I slept and dreamed about him, his heart would stop beating.

We had my baby shower that day to celebrate his life on May 14, 2011. I was tired from all the fun but extremely happy. I sat up that night and looked around the room that would soon become his nursery. I gazed at the mountains of presents. Oh, our son was so loved. I didn't know that all of those gifts would soon be boxed up. Never to be used by Gideon. So many of my friends and family were elated we were having a baby because we had waited for a long time. That was one of the best days I had, the day of his baby shower. Celebrating the life of our son and then spending the evening with my amazing husband snuggled up on our couch.

Until today, I could barely look at these pictures. Those are the last pictures I have of him when he was alive, inside of me. I have never posted these pictures before. It has always been too painful. I look at them and I see me, but I don't recognize me. I am the same person, but so very different. God has made me and is constantly making me into someone different. Someone, I hope, more like Himself.  I cannot even explain what it feels like to look at these pictures of him, knowing that he was alive at that point. I want to scream at myself in these pictures and say "Dont you know something is wrong?!?! Dont you know that your son is going to die?!"
But, really, I wouldn't change it because I was so happy! I had never been that happy before in my life. I was (and still am) incredibly in love with my son. God has given me one of the greatest gifts of all. The love that a mother has for her child. And He gave me the gift of loving him and growing him him inside of my womb. For that, I am thankful. And because of those gifts I would never want to take away that joy from the girl in these pictures.

I just now decided that I do really love these pictures.
Reading everyone's advice about mommyhood and their notes to Gideon.

Playing the Guess the Candy in the Diaper game. That was my favorite game!

So happy!

Ha! I am making a crazy face!

More laughter!

The blanket Nana and Granddaddy made for Gideon. I still wrap up in it when  I am missing him.

His bedding that he now shares with his little brother
I held him every moment he lived on this earth.
So, I sit here. Remembering my little guy kicking inside of me. He wasn't very active this day but I was moving around so much I assumed I just wasn't feeling his movement (which would happen a lot, when I was moving a lot it would rock him to sleep, the same thing happened with Silas when I was pregnant with him). I thought he was just sleeping a lot, which I guess he was. He must have been asleep a lot that day because his sweet little heart began to beat more and more slowly. I did feel him move that day (and my sister even felt him move too), so I thought he was ok. I went to sleep that night, with a living child inside of me. I prayed to the Lord that His will be done, as I prayed every night. And I prayed for my son that he would be close to God all the days of his life. And I went to sleep. 

Tonight, 2 years ago, my son died within my body. He went to sleep surrounded by the love of my womb and his heart stopped beating. He woke up surrounded by the love of God. The first face he ever saw was the face of Jesus. 


I love you, Gideon. I dont wish that I could have you back as I would never want to take you from the presence of the Lord because you are experiencing perfect joy, love and peace. And if I could do it all over again, I would just so I could have you. But I miss you. I love you so much and I cannot wait until I see you again. 

I just opened up so I could read a little of the bible and this is the verse of the day. Thank you God for this, for speaking to me right when I needed it. 
As you do not know the path of the wind or how the body is formed in a mother's womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. Ecclesiastes 11:5

Wow. God, I cannot understand you, but you are the Creator of life and you are in control. You love me and you love my children. You hold my heart and guide me. You are the Maker of all things and the lover of my soul. I love you, Jesus. Thank you for coming in right now to bring me comfort in my time of pain.