Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Christmas Surprise

Merry Christmas!!!!

We have some exciting news!!

Gideon and Silas are big brothers!!!!

It really is a miracle. We are so happy!!!!!!

Please pray for us. Please pray for our pregnancy. Please pray that everything is healthy with this pregnancy!

Now, usually I never announce my pregnancies this soon. With our first pregnancy I didn't announce it at all except to family and close friends. We lost that baby through early miscarriage. With Gideon I waited to announce until I was 8 weeks and had gotten an ultrasound and we saw a heartbeat. With Silas I was about 15 weeks and we had gotten many ultrasounds and we were fairly confident things would be ok. With this pregnancy, I am now 6 weeks pregnant. 

My EDD is August 20, 2015. 

The reason I am announcing so early is because I truly covet prayers. Also, I want the people I love to celebrate with us!!! I want our family and friends to be excited about this blessing that has come into our lives. No matter how long it lasts. No matter what happens we want to celebrate this new life that God created! Todd and I want to bask in the miracle of this with our friends and family!!!!!

I have had one ultrasound and things are mostly looking good. There is one complication so please, please be praying for that. Please pray that everything is healthy and perfect!! 

We are so excited! As you all know, we struggle with infertility due to my PCOS. So this pregnancy is such a miracle!! Just as my other 3 pregnancies! Just like Gideon and Silas are miracles to me. Just me getting pregnant is a huge feat! I have almost no chance of getting pregnant, statistically and medically. But I dont believe in statistics. God can do ANYTHING!!!! 

Todd and I are over the moon! Silas keeps saying "I want a baby brodder." 

When I took the pregnancy test and it was positive, I just started laughing. I couldn't stop. I just laughed!!! Todd was at work and so I made Silas a "Big Brother" shirt and made a "Biggest Brother" shirt for our Gideon bear. That evening when he got home, Silas was wearing his shirt and Todd walked into our house and I told him to look at Silas' shirt and he did and he said "Oh, big brother." It had not clicked in his head yet. I said "You know what that means!?!" Then he said "OH!!!" And he smiled and looked shocked! 

He is already completely in love. And I was totally in love the moment 2 lines popped up.

The day I had my ultrasound last week, I couldn't stop laughing! I still periodically just burst out in fits of giggles because I am in such awe of God! 

Thank you all for your prayers and your celebration with us!!! Please pray for us and the complication with the pregnancy. 

Pray for peace to be with us and that fear does not creep in and take hold. We know that anything can happen. We know all too well the reality that is the death of a child. We know that in August we might not be bringing home a child. We know what can happen. But even knowing what can happen, we are going to trust God. No matter what, He will hold us and sustain us. 

We hope you have a very wonderful Christmas and your new year is filled with many moments when you feel and know that the Lord is close to you. He came to this earth and we can have a relationship  with Him. I pray that today and every day we all draw close to Him and focus on Him. He is the Creator of all life and miracles.

"For everything God created is good..." 1 Timothy 4:4

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A New Direction

I have been thinking about my writing and the direction I want it to go.

I want to make some changes.

Nothing major, but I have been wanting to open my blog up to be about more aspects of my life. This will always be a place for me to pour out my heart and to pour it out about Gideon and his life and how his life and death still have an impact on me daily.

I wont stop writing about him.

But lately, I have felt stuck in my writing on this blog. I have written some here, but not as much as I would like. I am in the process of writing a series of children's books and a novel and that has taken a lot of my writing time. I am busy with M.E.N.D., at church and with my husband and living son. I want to keep writing my heart (and I even have some ideas for upcoming blog posts!). But I wasnt sure what to do with my blog. I want to keep it going.and love writing here, but I feel kind of stuck. I mostly feel joy at being Gideon's mommy and joy from getting to see him again. I feel joy knowing that God still uses his life to impact this world. I miss him, oh yes. I miss his presence in my life. However, most of the time the joy outweighs the pain.  So, I have not been sure what to write about.

I've been waiting to get inspiration or direction. Then it came.

I was reading on Still Standing Magazine and one of the posts was about journal prompts. It was written by Beryl Young and she teaches photography classes online, as well as many other things. I took her photography class in 2012 and learned so much through that process about how to look at life through  lens and to process my grief with my camera. So when I saw her post on Still Standing, I read it. It is called 35 Journal Prompts for Finding Light After Loss. So that is what I will be doing, writing based on her journal prompts (and maybe some others that I find along the way). These will be interspersed throughout my blog, as I feel the desire to write one.

These prompts will sometimes be about Gideon and where I am on my journey of grief, but will be about other things as well.

I am excited to start this! So, I will begin with a simple one today:

25) I wish I could go to… because…

I wish I could go to Venice, Italy because I am in love what that city! I read a book, The City of Falling Angels, years ago by John Berendt, who also wrote Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (another favorite of mine), and I fell in love with the book. It is a non-fiction book about his experiences and the stories of people he met while in Italy during the time right after the Fenice Opera House burned and during its rebuilding.
He talked about the people and the city. He wrote of the history and the art. Hearing about that, about it all made me want to know more. I looked at more pictures and read more on the history of the city and the people. I have always loved hand blown glass and that is something they have done there and in Murano just 1.5 kilometers away from Venice. I want to learn to blow glass. I love the Venetian and Murano glass. It is exquisite.
 My parents have been there and brought me back a hand blown glass butterfly charm for a necklace. Since I first read that book in 2006 I have wanted to go there. I am just a little obsessed with Italy and especially Venice.
I have heard that no matter where you stand in Venice, you can see something beautiful. I want to
experience that. I want to see everything that Italy has to offer. I want to ride in a gondola down the Grand Canal. I want to see the beauty, the culture, the people. I want to walk where people hundreds and hundreds of years ago walked. I want to see the art, the theatre, the opera. I want to see the architecture of many years past (I have an obsession with architecture, it comes with being a set designer, I think). I want to see the extravagant Rococo designs that don many of the homes and buildings in Venice. I am fascinated by the fact that their city is sinking and in some areas they have simply built on top of the old buildings, so if you were to go underground you would find these buildings of times past with newer buildings built on top of them.

I want to see the canals. I want to go to Venice in the off season when less people are traveling there to see what the city is like for the people who live there. However, I would love to go to a masked ball wearing a Venetian mask in the Carnival season.  Othello and The Merchant of Venice were set in Venice. The poet Ezra Pound lived there with his mistress until his death in the 1970s. Henry James wrote books that were set in Venice, like The Aspern Papers. I want to see the place where many famous authors have written about. Many movies have been shot in Venice. This isn't even mentioning many of the other famous people, artists and composers who lived in Venice.  So I wish I could go to Venice, Italy (really, all of Italy, but I wont be greedy, haha). Ok, I could go on...And I haven't even mentioned many of the specific places in Venice I want to see....

I want to walk along the streets with Todd's hand in mine while looking at all the buildings and walking in St. Mark's Square. I want to kiss him on the Rialto Bridge. I want to show Silas all the history and the
grand beauty. I want to experience all that there is to offer in this life. I want to go to Venice and to soak it all in.
So if any of you want to have mercy on me and take me there one day, I'd greatly appreciate it. I have my passport, I can be ready in about 2 hours.

Otherwise, Todd and I will be saving so we can go there one day. I can't wait!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Are you going to have more?

The most seemingly simple questions aren't always so simple.

"Are you going to try for some more kids?"  or "Ya'll are trying?"
"Aww! Don't you want another baby?"
"I bet you want a girl this time, right?"
"You don't want Silas to be alone do you?"
"Oh, so are you happy just to have the one?"
"How are you feeling about having more kids?"

Now that Silas is 2, I get one question probably more than any other, "are you going to have more?" It seems like such an easy question with a simple response. Really, its not. For many moms who have infertility or who lose babies, the answer can be quite complicated and emotional. I do not really mind the questions if your motivation for asking is based out of love. I love that people are invested in my life and the life of my family. I love that people love us  and our children. I am so blessed that I have family and friends who want to see us grow our family, knowing that no child can replace Gideon, but wanting to see us happy. I love that they want to celebrate our joys with us and grieve our losses with us. I am so grateful that most of the people around me have sensitive hearts, kind words and heartfelt prayers to speak over us.

I just need you to understand that when you do ask, sometimes it causes a stinging pain into my heart. And sometimes, it hard to give an answer. When you ask, it brings forth all these feelings that I try to keep at bay. Because its not simple. The thought of adding another person to our family is confusing and complicated.

"Are you going to have more?"
On the surface, this seems like an innocent enough question. But, I cannot answer it. I can do everything right, I can track my cycle, take drugs, take supplements, we could even do fertility treatment again, but ultimately God decides that. I wish it was easy for me, and for many couples answering this is easy: yes or no. Couples who haven't had infertility or lost a baby/babies can usually give an answer with no hesitation. I, however, cannot. Honestly, you dont know, the person you are asking might have gotten a diagnosis and cannot ever have children again. So asking this might hurt. For me, I dont know if I will ever be fertile again, so asking his hurts because I want more, but it may never happen. Do I believe God can do a miracle?  Absolutely, I just look at my 2 boys and I know He can and does.

"Are yall trying?" 
I don't think people realize what an intimate question this is. Think of it this way, this is what you are asking: are you timing your sexual intercourse for the days before and when you are ovulating? This is an extremely personal question. So unless we have a close enough relationship to discuss sexual intimacy, please consider what you are asking.

"Don't you want a baby?" 
Yes, I do. I would love to have a house filled with children! However, my ovaries don't work right so I may never have another biological child. The idea of adding another child to our family makes me a little anxious. Because if I get my hopes up, it may never happen and that will add to the disappointment. What if it is another 5 years before we bring home another living child after years of loss and struggle?
I don't ovulate on my own. I did fertility treatment for months after we finally got pregnant the first time, only to have a miscarriage. I took Vitex (which is an herbal supplement, derived from the Chasteberry plant,  that helps women with PCOS to ovulate) and that helped me to get pregnant with both Gideon and with Silas. But will God use the same method again? I don't know.  So you see, there is no simple answer.
What if you asked this question to someone you didn't know very well, just out of curiosity and little did you know that she was completely infertile. What if they had been told she had to have a hysterectomy? Or that she would never ovulate again or her husband had a zero sperm count? What if that morning she had gotten another negative pregnancy test? What if at that exact moment, she was miscarrying a baby you didn't know about?

"I bet you want a girl this time, right?"
 A girl would be great, so would a 3rd boy. Mostly I'd just like a living child in my arms. I don't care if I get to dress them up in pink and bows or blue and trucks, I just want them breathing.

"You dont want Silas to be alone, do you?"
 I'd like for him to have a sibling on this earth with him who he can play with, who can be there with him his entire life. But there are no guarantees. If I did get pregnant, I could lose another child. Or 2 more. What's to say that we do everything right, but our kids still die? Not everyone's babies die, I know that, but 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss, right now I am 2 for 3. Also, again, I have poor functioning ovaries and I could never get pregnant again, and God hasn't opened up a door for us to adopt yet. So for now, Silas will just have to deal with being loved and doted on by his mommy and daddy and playing with his cousins and friends. Its a tough life for him, I tell ya. ;)

"Oh, so are you happy just to have the one?"
I don't have "just the one." I have a son who died and I have a living son. It hurts me when people are dismissive of the fact that I have carried and given birth to 2 children. Am I happy to have Silas in my life? YES! But he is not just the only one I am happy to have. I am happy and blessed to have Gideon too, even if he isn't here anymore.

And last, but certainly not least:

"How are you feeling about having more kids?"
Now this is the best way to ask this question. It doesn't assume we can have more kids. It respects the sensitive feelings I may be having. This question puts the ball in my court. It opens up for me to say, "I dont want to talk about it," or "I am feeling anxious/excited/scared." It makes the ask-er sounds like they care. It allows me to share my heart with you, or to not share it if I don't want to. It acknowledges that we may be struggling. It acknowledges that babies, birth and pregnancy are sometimes sensitive subjects. It says to me that you are not discounting my pain of losing Gideon or the pain of infertility.

I have heard some form of these questions pretty often lately. I understand where people are coming from, I understand they want to know. Its human nature. Sometimes it comes from simple curiosity. Sometimes they ask because its just small talk. Sometimes it is nosiness. Sometimes it is that they think they know best for our family. Sometimes, and most of the times, it is out of love. It comes from knowing my heart about wanting to have more children and to be pregnant again.

My entire point of this is to think before you ask. You never know what kind of pain you might be causing someone by asking them a question that you see as a simple question. Things aren't always as they seem.

I used to ask some form of these questions, mostly from plain curiosity. Now I am much more careful how I ask and what I say to someone, because you just never know. If I do ask, it is because I care. It is because I want to pray for you. It is because I love you.

So right now, if I was to be asked "how are you feeling about having another baby?" my response would be: I am, once again, to the point where I realize that God will give us the children He wants us to have. If that is through my body, then great! If that is through adoption, then wonderful! (I really do want to adopt at some point! I am praying God opens that door for us!!) But please know that whatever happens, I am on my way to being ok with it. I am getting the the point where I am ok to have only Silas as the child I get to raise on this earth. I am completely happy to have him here and yet, I'd like to have more. I am getting to the point where I am at peace if we only have one child at home.

I have to remember that God will keep writing our story and because He writes it, it is beautiful.

The Lord will work out his plans for my life for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Psalm 138:8

Thursday, June 26, 2014

What to say/What not to say

Here are a small list of things to help friends and families of parents who have lost a baby. 
I truly hope this helps someone to be a little more sensitive or know what to say to someone. 

Sometimes, saying nothing, but giving a hug and crying with the bereaved parent is the best thing you can do. 

"Always be humble and gentle..." Ephesians 4:2a

Friday, May 23, 2014

Gideon's 3rd birthday

This year for Gideon, his 3rd birthday, was harder than I expected.

I did a lot of crying. I think it was so agonizing because 3 years is when your child moves from being a baby/toddler into a big kid.

 I miss him and love him. And I cant wait to see him again
For his birthday, I made a cookie cake and a couple days after his birthday Silas and I went to the cemetery and decorated his Mailbox (thats what Todd calls his plot at the cemetery, I love that).  On his birthday, Todd and I remembered him and talked about him, like we do most days. The night of May 17th, of this year, M.E.N.D. held a viewing party for Return To Zero, starring Minnie Driver. It seemed like a great way to remember our son in Heaven. You see, Return to Zero is the first movie ever to be about stillbirth. It was a beautiful, raw and real portrayal of the reality of stillbirth. The death of your child and your dreams for them. (for more information about the movie  go to Return To Zero).

Most days last week were days where I cried.

It was like I was back in the early days. 

It was like I was right there again, in the moment after I had to say goodbye.

At one point, during one of my total break downs this past week. I was bawling and holding onto the Molly bear I have that weighs what Gideon weighed. My arms ached to hold him again. I wanted to see his eyes and to hear his laughter and hold his little hand. I wanted to hear him playing downstairs with his brother. My stomach hurt. I kept feeling phantom movement in my womb. I always feel a hole in my heart where he should be, but this day, it was horrible. The hole in my heart was ripped open and bleeding out with pain.

 I hurt SO much
 And I cried out to God. And God spoke so clearly to me. "Stormy, you are fulfilling My will in your life." Peace fell over me and I was able to breathe again. Everything I am experiencing will bring me closer to Him and will show people Himself. Even though it hurts, I am doing what God wants me to do. I wish my son was here with me, but I know that God is giving me beauty for the ashes.  

I would never trade one second I had with Gideon. I would do it all over again if it meant I got to have him and if it meant I get to be his mommy. I would do it again and again because I am blessed to have my own little warrior for God.

This is the birthday tribute I put in the M.E.N.D.. Newsletter for both of my babies that are with Jesus

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

This is the article I wrote for the M.E.N.D. Newsletter this year about Mother's Day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Happy 2nd Birthday, Silas!

Happy 2nd Birthday to my 2nd born son, Silas.
 I love you more than I can say! You are hilarious and so very smart. You make mommy and daddy laugh every single day. We can have full conversations with you. You are very silly and will run around and dance. You say "I'm fast!" You love Team Umizoomi, Mickey Mouse and Blues Clues best. You like to say "Bot is nice, Blue is nice, Steve is nice. Pete is nice." Pete is your favorite character on MMCH and Bot is your favorite on Umizoomi. You love to color and draw and you know you shapes and colors. You like to yell "school bus!" when you see one on the road, and you name all the animals and their sounds.You also love popcorn more than any other human I have seen! You still love baseball and other sports and you have been able to throw with almost perfect accuracy for an entire year and you can hit of a tee and catch balls. You finally love animals. You love to play with your cousins and you especially like Eke, Wiv, Beedy, PeePee and Caca (Zeke, Olivia Brady, Payton and Sky).I love hearing your laugh and your smile lights up a room.You are stubborn, independent and full of energy. Sometimes I look at you and I can see your big brother in the way you look and it makes me smile. You love snuggles and kisses and you tell me "I love you" and your voice sounds so sweet. You know Gideon  and you give his pictures kisses. You say his name "Didin," its very adorable.
I love you! You have no idea what you mean to us. There is something about you that is so special. God has big plans for your life. He will use you in many ways in your life to bring Him glory. I know and believe deep in my soul that He will do great things through you.
Your daddy and I are so proud of you.

Love forever and ever,

I cant believe that he is 2. Two years ago at 9:10pm, I delivered him and held a beautiful screaming baby in my arms, just one day shy of 11 months after his brother was born. I am so so blessed to be the mommy of 2 very special boys.

Here are some pictures I took for his 2nd year. The bear in his picture is our Gideon bear from Molly Bears that weighs what Gideon did when he was born. Silas kept saying "That my bear." It was so cute.

Friday, January 31, 2014


What is healing? What does that word really even mean?

Can someone who has lost part of herself be whole again? Can a woman who has lost her child have her heart mended by God? Can she laugh with joy and stand in peace? Can she look outside herself and reach out a hand to help others heal?

Yes. She really can.

I honestly prefer to use the word mend instead of heal. I think it is more accurate. When you mend a sock, it is now perfectly functional. The wearer can have a warm foot and put their foot in a boot and not worry about getting a blister where the hole is. When a sock is mended, the hole that is in the sock is sewn up and the hole no longer exists. Where there once was a hole, there is now a small stitch. A stitch that shows that there was once some sort of trauma that caused the sock to tear. Maybe the hole got there from years of rubbing, a constant friction that caused the hole. Maybe it was one event, a sharp tear that caused this rip in the fabric.

For me, it was a sharp moment. It happened when they told me our son had died.

Mending is a slow sewing of a hole. It leaves a mark where the injury had been sustained. Just like when human skin is given stitches. You can always see the mark it leaves behind.

The definition of the word mend means: to set right, to progress towards recovery, to improve or make better. And the word healing literally means to make whole.

Can I be made whole again without my son? I am not sure. The part that has been torn off of me can never be sewn back on, but the hole that was left behind can be closed. One thing I do know is that even if I cannot be totally whole on this earth, I WILL be whole one day. And I smile at the time when I will be with Jesus and He will make all things new.

Healing in the psychology world means that you are able to lead a normal or fulfilling life after the grief and loss you have experienced. I honestly believe that I do. I am able to dedicate time and love to other moms who have lost their babies. I am able to help them walk this road and make their way onto being mended by God. I am able to walk beside them in a sacred time in the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years following the death of their precious child. I get to comfort others as God has comforted me (2 Cor 1:4).

So, have I been mended? The answer to that is YES! Am I ok? I am better than ok. Are there days I hurt as much as I did when he first died? Absolutely. Are there moments I cry and weep and just want my son in my arms? No doubt. Do my arms ache to hold him and do my ears yearn to hear his laugh? Always. Do I sometimes feel an ache so deep that there are no words to describe it? Yes.

But has God done a work in my heart? YES! He holds my heart and He whispers His comfort, love and joy over my life. He mends my brokenness. Do I laugh at the funny memories of my son? I do. Am I able to smile when I talk about him? Yes! Are we honored and proud to be his parents? Always.

I miss Gideon and I always do. Every single day. He is part of me and he always will be. He is my CHILD. He is part of my life. He is mine. And he is God's. I remember him and honor him every single day.

I am blessed. I laugh, I dance, I drink in life. I grab it with both hands and inhale its sweet scent. I enjoy life more now because of Gideon. Because he died. I love more fiercely. His life taught me how to love with purpose and passion.

Does the sock show the remnant of the hole it had? It does. I bear the scars on my heart where pain ripped a hole. My heart always will have that mended part to it, visible for the whole world to see. But that sock is whole.

I am whole.

"There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens:...a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance...a time to tear and a time to mend..." Ecclesiastes 3: 1,4, &7

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A memory that never was

I was laying in my bed tonight just now, not able to sleep. Thinking. Praying.

I was asking the Lord to be close to us, more real to us and that we draw into Him more, worship Him more, love Him more. I prayed for us as we are in the transition of buying a house, as we consider possibly tying for a baby to add to our family, as we serve Him at church and as I keep serving Him through MEND. I prayed for my friends, my friends who have never known loss and those that have. I prayed for Silas. I prayed and prayed.

..and my thoughts drifted...

For some reason my mind thought of our old apartment. The apartment that we lived in during my whole pregnancy with Gideon. The apartment where he was conceived, the apartment where I found out I was pregnant with Gideon (and Silas), the apartment where his nursery would have been. The apartment where I felt him move for the first time and the last time. Our apartment wasn't very special, it was just an apartment. But to me, it held the dreams for my son. For the life we would have had. 

As I was thinking of this, God gave me a memory.

No, not really a memory, because this memory never actually happened.

For a short second I saw the life we would have had. I could feel it in my heart, in my bones, in my soul. It was in the heat of the summer of 2011. It was afternoon and Todd was at work. The lights in the apartment were off, but the sun was coming in through the sliding glass door. I was sitting on our couch in our apartment holding a boppy pillow in my lap. I was nursing a tiny newborn boy. This newborn boy had curly strawberry blonde hair and was the most laid back baby I had ever seen. He had his little fist curled up by his face. His eyes were closed and he was wearing footsie pjs. He was slowly nursing, taking his time, laying against me. I had my legs crossed and my arm cradled around his head and back. I stared into his sweet face.

It felt real. It felt more real than a lot of actual memories I have. I felt pure love. And joy. And happiness. I held in my arms everything I had dreamed of. I was holding my Gideon. And unlike the moments in my real life when I held him, there was no agonizing pain mingled with fierce love.  I didn't have to say goodbye. There as no ache in my heart in this memory because he never left me. He was there, in my arms. Alive and resting near my heart. 

It felt so real. Just for a moment. 

Then it was gone. I couldn't hold onto this image, this not-real memory. 

I am thankful for that. I am sitting here in tears at the beauty of that moment that never happened and never will be. I am thankful that for a short second I got to experience what it would have been like for him to come home with me. Even if it was only in my mind. 

Thank you, Lord. You knew what I needed tonight. You knew that my mommy heart wanted more than anything to have Gideon here with me and that one of the biggest things I missed out on was nursing him. Those quiet moments between mommy and son. Thank You for giving me a tiny piece of that. Though it never happened, I will hold that short day-dream, image, memory (whatever it should be called) in my heart. Father, this brings so much more joy to me than I can express. To see a sliver of what he would have been like, what it would have been like to have him here with me, brings a smile across my lips and a tear to my eye. You know my need when I don't even realize its what I need. You never forget us in our grief and You walk alongside us always. 

Your unfailing love is higher than the heavens. Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Psalm 108:4