Friday, December 31, 2010

2011, I'm counting on you

Dear Stevie,
On this day last year, Dad and I were on what was supposed to be a snowboarding vacation in Whistler, BC. It didn't quite go as planned. I ended up finding out I was pregnant two weeks before we left, and spent the entire week sleeping (and puking up pretty much everything I ate!) in the timeshare we were staying at.

Dad took this hot picture of me passed out with my saltines :)

On New Years Eve, I rallied, and we went out for a nice fancy dinner. As I sipped on my ginger ale and watched the falling snow descending on the mountains outside, I felt so much excitement and anticipation for all that 2010 would bring. 2010 would be the year I would become a mother. The year I would always look back on as the biggest year of my life. The year that changed everything

Of course, 2010 did turn out to be quite eventful. 2010 did see me become a mother. 2010 did change everything. But instead of being the best year of my life, hands-down it was the worst.

Please 2011, please be kind to me. I have never been this excited, this ready for a fresh start. I'm counting on you to give me back some of my joy. I'm counting on you to give me back a piece or two of my heart. Please don't let me down.

I miss you, Baby.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Dear Stevie,
Well, as expected, Christmas was hard. But, as has been the case with a lot of things since you died, the anticipation of event was worse than the event itself. I have spent so much time dreading December 25th, but by the time it actually rolled around, it wasn't quite as horrible as I had imagined it might be. I'm convinced there is only one reason for that: the wonderful people in my life.

I was so afraid that no one was going to remember you this Christmas, but boy was I wrong. There were cards, there were letters, and there were all these beautiful ornaments, which each made spending Christmas without you just a tiny bit easier:

 From Leanne

 From Erin (along with other items on my "Christmas List," like red wine and lots of Kleenex :)

 From Andrea

 From Amanda

 From Amanda and Stephanie (this one opens up like a locket, and your name is engraved inside)

 From Grandma Cook (Dad's mom)

From Vicki (Kara's mom)

As we were driving home on Christmas Day night, I was staring out the window into the dark, the lights from the passing cars all a blur through silent tears, when John Mayer's 'The Heart of Life' starting playing. I hadn't heard the song in years, but my iPod was set on shuffle, and it could not have picked a better song for me to hear in that moment. Here are some of the lyrics:

I hate to see you cry
Lying there in that position
There's things you need to hear
So turn off your tears
And listen

Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
No it won't all go the way it should
But I know the heart of life is good

Isn't it the truth? In the midst of unimaginable pain, there's unfathomable love. Love that has the power to  pick us up off the ground and get us through things we'd never thought we'd have the strength to survive. 

The cards, letters, and gifts in the mail from loved ones and strangers alike. The text Christmas morning from a best friend simply saying, 'I'm thinking of you today. I love you.' The mother-in-law who hung up a little stocking, just for you in her home. The mom who told me, in a typed-up letter, how badly she wished there was a present she could buy me that would bring me back my joy. The dad who picked out sushi, and hummus, and peach salsa, and all the rest of my favorite foods for our Christmas Eve feast. 

These are the things that convince me that life, deep down, underneath all the pain and sadness and sorrow, is good. 

I know it's good.



PS. As I logged into Blogger to type up this post, a strange thing happened: I saw my dear friend, Tiffany, wrote a post about the same song earlier today! I love how this random song from four years ago has touched us both, and at the same time. If you haven't already, you really must read her story and follow her blog. Tiffany's four-month-old son, Julius (a little boy with the biggest smile I've ever seen), passed away from SIDS in October, and her honesty, grace, and strength are incredibly inspiring. Xoxo

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Faking it

Dear Stevie,
Sorry it's been so long since I've written to you. It's been a crazy busy week, and next week is going to be just as nuts. I am exhausted, physically and emotionally.

Since early Novemberish, I've been working on coordinating our annual 'Adopt a Family' event at work. This is my fourth year running the program, and every year it gets bigger and bigger (this year, over 3,000 families, children, and seniors were 'adopted' by over 500 sponsor groups!) In years past, I absolutely loved doing Adopt a Family. Just loved it. How awesome to be responsible for making so many people's wishes come true, right?! I loved reading all the wish lists as they came in, and the process of matching people in need with generous sponsors. I loved seeing all the beautifully wrapped presents being delivered, and receiving thank you cards from all the grateful recipients. It was all very magical.

This year, not so much. This year, it's all been really, really hard. For the last month and a half, I've had to read wish list after wish list for teenage girls with babies on the way, and for single moms with (literally) 11 kids. There was one mom who was 27 years old with a 15-year-old daughter (if I'm doing the math correctly, that means she was 12 when she had her first baby!) I'm sure I'm coming across as really bitchy and bitter, but it's just so hard to understand why all these mothers get to keep their babies and I didn't. It's also hard to feel as good about providing them with 'stuff' when they already have the one thing I wish for most: their children, alive. Making sure everyone gets cool toys or whatever just doesn't seem nearly as important as it did before.

Then, to make things even harder, it was right around this week, last year, that I found out I was pregnant with you (December 8th, to be exact). I totally associate Adopt a Family with the excitement and shock of seeing those two little lines. I wasn't even supposed to be at work for this year's event, as I'd have still been on maternity leave.

My heart has just not been in it this year, but I think I've done a pretty good job of keeping that to myself. If I've learned anything about myself, it's that I'm a very good faker. I can pretty easily compartmentalize and be the happy, cheerful, bubbly girl that I have to be, even while my heart is breaking on the inside. Is that what it means to be strong?

This weekend, during the big gift drop-off events, no one would have ever guessed how sad I was or what I had been through in the last year. I smiled as a group dropped off a baby swing, car seat, and the exact same crib I still have set-up for you in your nursery for their 'adopted' family. I laughed as I took pictures of Santa (who volunteers at the event) with a baby girl right around the age you should be right now. I nodded along as all my co-workers talked about everything they were getting their children for Christmas.

I'm proud of myself for being able to hide my true feelings so well. For my ability to push everything so far down inside of myself.

But there are times I worry these walls I've put up around myself will never come down. I worry I've become so good at faking it, I'm destined to simply fake my way through the rest of my life.

I want to be genuinely happy again. I want to be excited about Christmas. I want to not be so bitter and jealous. I want another life.

To say 'I miss you' would be an understatement.


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

My Christmas List

Dear Stevie,
People keep asking me what I want for Christmas this year. Truth is, the only thing I really want this year is for this stupid holiday to just go away. Christmas 2010, you can go ahead and join Mother's Day, Father's Day, the Fourth of July, Halloween, and your good buddy Thanksgiving over there in the corner and leave me the hell alone.

Since I'm quite certain the 'what do you want for Christmas' question isn't going to go away anytime soon, I thought I'd come up with a few gift suggestions I could actually use this holiday season. You know, just in case Santa happens to be reading my blog.

1. Kleenex, for all the crying I'll surely be doing. If you want to make it really special, you can get me a couple boxes of that expensive 8-ply stuff that is super thick and smells like fancy lotion. A few travel packs for my purse would be nice, too, so the next time I'm in the middle of Target and see a 'baby's first Christmas' ornament, I have something to sob into (other than my poor jacket sleeve).

2. Noise-canceling headphones, to drown out all the happy Christmas music playing everywhere I go. Seriously, if I have to hear the phrase 'it's the most wonderful time of the year' one more time, I'm going to freak. More like 'it's the most depressing, heartbreaking time of the year,' if you ask me.

3. Red wine. Lots of it. Seriously, how else am I supposed to get through this month??

4. A concussion. A little bit of memory loss would be nice, so I can stop thinking about how wonderful my life was this month a year ago (it's when we found out about you!)

5. A vacation. A completely isolated tropical island would be ideal.

6. My baby girl back.

Is that too much to ask?

Love you, Baby.


PS. Thanks everyone for all your sweet and supportive comments on my last post. Thanksgiving was just as bad as I anticipated it would be, but it helps so much to know I'm not crazy for feeling the way I do. Thanks for sticking with me, even through the yucky bitter times. Love you all!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Another Day

Dear Stevie,
I feel like I've recently took a turn for the worst. I've just been in a really sad place for the last couple weeks, and it's not looking like I'm going to emerge from it until after the holidays are over. It's actually kind of strange. I haven't cried in weeks, but I haven't felt much at all. I feel numb. Apathetic. Like the life has just been sucked out of me. I've been super busy at work, and I've been able to get everything I need to get done, done. But when I'm not working, all I want to do is lay in bed and watch my shows on Netflix.

I am dreading this next month. Absolutely dreading it. I don't want to do Thanksgiving. I want to skip Christmas. And then when I think about not celebrating either, that makes me sad too. You know I try so hard to be positive all the time, but right now, my life just sucks. This just really, really sucks. I don't want to do any of this without you, Baby.

I was planning on spending tomorrow (Thanksgiving) with my mom and dad and little brother. But now, on top of everything else, my grandma is not doing well at all (they just moved her into a hospice care facility), and my family will be out of town this weekend visiting her. I know I could spend tomorrow with Dad's side of the family, but frankly, I'm just not up to it. With my family, I would feel okay crying at the dinner table if I needed to, and my parents would totally get why I wasn't in a happy, festive mood. If I were to go to the in-law's Thanksgiving tomorrow, no one would mention you. No one would understand why I was sad. I would feel like a weirdo, like a major Debbie Downer if I were to have some sort of emotional breakdown in front of them. I hope this doesn't hurt anyone's feelings that might be reading this (because both of our families are great). I'm just not brave enough or strong enough to spend such a painful, emotionally-trying day with a lot of extended family members I am not very close with. I wish I was, but I'm not I guess.

So I will pretend like tomorrow is just another day. I'll stay in my pajamas, maybe order a pizza, and watch some more of my shows. I'll survive Thanksgiving, but I won't enjoy it. I really hate that this is what my life has been reduced to, but it is what it is, right?

I'm sure some of you out there are thinking I'm being overly dramatic. Thing is, I'm actually ashamed I feel like this. I truly wish I didn't.

I miss you, I miss you, I miss you.


Ps. If you would, please keep my grandma (and the rest of my family) in your thoughts and/or prayers. It's been really hard, especially for my mom, to see her suffer. Thanks so much.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

From SVU to Bones: a Timeline of Healing

Dear Stevie,
I discovered that there were 10 seasons of Law and Order: SVU streaming on Netflix about three days after you died. This would turn out to be a life-changing realization, as SVU kind of saved my life. I literally did nothing but watch episode after episode of this show for six weeks straight. We're talking like 10 episodes, eight hours (sometimes more!), every single day. I'm convinced it's the perfect show for any new babyloss mom. Seriously, they should start sending bereaved mothers home from the hospital with a couple seasons. Here's why:
1) There are no babies.
2) There is no real long-term plot (each episode is its own complete, stand-alone  little story) to follow along with. So if you happen to zone out, or cry your way through an episode or two, you won't be missing anything.
3) You get to watch really bad things happen to other (fake) people, and in a sort of sick and crazy way, this is comforting.
4) The good guys always win, and the bad guys always pay for their crimes. When everything else in your world has just turned to chaos, it's nice to escape to a world where everything just makes sense, where justice and fairness rules.

Eventually, I ran out of SVU episodes (much to your father's relief!), and moved onto my new show: Rescue Me. This show was still nice and dark (you know, big dangerous fires, death, 9/11, all that good stuff), but was also hillariously funny. I wasn't in the mood for 'funny-funny' yet, but was definitely up for some good black humor by this point. Rescue Me also had much more of a larger plot to follow, and characters to become invested in. There were even a couple babies thrown into the mix, and I could handle it.

Now, I'm onto Bones. This show is actually kind of dumb, I know, but I've become completely obsessed with it. There's still the grisly crime element there, but it's a lot lighter than anything I've gotten into thus far. And really, I only watch it for the cuteness between the two leads anyway. It's like a reallllly long romantic comedy. It's interesting to me that six months ago, I wanted nothing to do with lighthearted happy...anything, and now I am at a point where I am 'oohing' and 'awwing' over two fictional characters, rooting for them to finally get together. I want these (fake) people to find happiness.

I've got about a season and a half to go before I'm out of Bones episodes. Then who knows what I'll find to waste my time watching. At this rate, I could be onto A Baby Story before you know it! :)

So often I feel like I'm stuck, like I'm not making any progress. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am moving forward, in so many ways. All the way down to my silly TV show choices. 

I love you, baby.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And in my hour of darkness...

Dear Stevie,
Look what I won from Carly's awesome giveaway last week. Aren't they beautiful?

The quote on the first image comes from the lyrics to 'Let it Be' by the Beatles. You can read about the significance of that song here. Basically, it's always been one of my very favorite songs, and since you died, I've listening to it about 239845978457 times. It's gotten me through some pretty rough patches. It just speaks to me.

Thanks, Carly, for these beautiful images. I love them.

Missing you tonight, baby.


PS. Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope has been featured in a couple of nice articles recently, if you're interested in checking them out. Awesome that people are putting a light on this issue! Here are the links:

Florida Sun-Sentinel
Cleveland Examiner
Valdosta Daily Times

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I just noticed I have a bunch of new followers! Awesome! If you're one of them (anyone who started following in the last couple months...), would you mind leaving a comment, introducing yourselves, and posting the link to your blog, if you have one? I'd love to add some new blogs to my reading list! :)

Thank you guys for all your support, and for being a part of Stevie's story.


Monday, November 8, 2010

6 Months

Dear Stevie,
6 months. Wow, I really can't believe it. You've been gone an entire half a year. Have I really made it through 182 days without you?

There have been days where I do nothing but sit on the couch in a zombie-like state, and others where I have this incredible drive and energy unlike anything I've felt before, and all I want to do is "go, go, go."

I've had times where I cry so hard I laugh, and others where I laugh so hard I cry.

I've spent hours cursing God for taking you from me, and I've spent hours secretly crying out his name in the darkness of the night.

I've lost a few friends that I thought would stick around, and I've made many new ones who I know will be there forever.

I've felt silly for caring so much, and guilty for not caring enough.

I've had many moments where I think I'm such a failure, and many where I feel like I'm the strongest person I know.

If anything, the last 182 days have taught me what its like to really feel. Happiness, sadness, anger, jealously, guilt, hope, strength, weakness, peace, bitterness, vulnerability, empathy, excitement, confusion, clarity, apathy, passion, sorrow, joy, hate, love. I've experienced them all, sometimes at the same time.

The painful emotions cut deeper than they ever have before, but you know what? The emotions on the other side of the spectrum--things like passion, strength, love--I feel them with such intensity now. It's like my capacity for feeling has expanded 10-fold. When I'm sad, I'm sadder than I knew was possible 182 days ago. But when I love, boy do I love so much deeper.

Andrea once explained it as a sort of pendulum theory. On the left you have sadness, sorrow, despair, all those icky emotions. On the right, you have happiness, joy, love, passion, strength, all those 'good emotions.' When you died, the pendulum swung so far to the left, farther than its ever gone before. But now it also swings farther to the right. Before you, my pendulum was kind of stuck in the middle most of the time, and now, it swings so far in both directions.

I recently saw this quote from Harlan Ellison somewhere: "I know that pain is the most important thing in the universes . . . For without pain, there can be no pleasure. Without sadness, there can be no happiness. Without misery there can be no beauty. And without these, life is endless, hopeless, doomed and damned."

These last 6 months have been hard, no doubt about it. But in the last 182 days I have felt more than a lot of people ever feel in a lifetime. And in a strange, hard to explain way, that's something to be thankful for, I guess.

I love you so much, beautiful little girl. You've changed me forever.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Mothering You

Dear Stevie,

This weekend I had the chance to meet a really amazing woman for lunch. Her name is Sherokee Ilse, and she’s the author of Empty Arms, which is actually the book the hospital sent me home with when you died. But she does way more than write books; she’s pretty much been a crusader for the pregnancy/infant loss cause since her son, Brennan, was stillborn 28 years ago (three years before I was even born!) She has been such a strong voice for survivors of pregnancy/infant loss, and really, has completely changed the type of care women receive from hospital staff. I personally had a pretty wonderful delivery experience (I mean as ‘wonderful’ as it could possibly be, under the circumstances), and that is largely thanks to Sherokee’s work. 

So anyway, to have the opportunity to meet her was really special for me. I was honored that she would take time out of her busy schedule to sit down and talk with me, listen to the dreams I have, and offer so much support and guidance. It was amazing to talk face-to-face with someone who not only “gets” the pain of losing a baby, but also more than understands the driving passion I have for making a difference in this community. Someone who, like me, sees themselves as a “woman on a mission.”

At one point during our nearly three-hour conversation, Sherokee talked about her work over the last 28 years has, in a sense, been her way of “parenting” her son. I just love that thought. And I think it's so true. Throughout my pregnancy with you, totally went into "mothering mode." When you died, my new role as a mother, a parent, didn't die with you. And it still hasn't gone anywhere. I don't have other children to put my parenting energy into, so I had to find something to channel it into. At first it was blogging, then I started doing some baby name pictures for other moms, then of course Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope took off. 

As your mom, I don't get to rock you to sleep at night, or kiss your chubby fingers and toes, or dress you up in a little poodle costume for Halloween. But I'm still mothering you, in the ways that I can. In my heart, I know without a doubt that had you lived, you would have changed this world. Since you didn't get a chance to make a splash in this world on your own, I see it as my job to do it for you. To give meaning and purpose to your life. 

Just look around at this community, and it's obvious so many of us feel the same way. There are so many of us blogging, working on memorial baby name projects, starting nonprofits, participating in walks and 5ks, etc etc, etc. It's incredible, really. 

Incredible that as women, the desire to be a mommy to our babies is stronger than even death itself. 

I love you so much, Stevie. I am so proud to be your mom, and I promise to "mother" you for as long as I live. 


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Baking with Kristin!

Today's lesson: Carrot "muffins" with chai tea frosting

Step one: Follow this recipe for the muffins. Until you realize you only have 1 teaspoon of vanilla left (and according to your husband, vanilla is very important when baking).  So just cut everything in half. Except all the spices. Don't bother measuring those. It's much easier to just dump those in straight from the jar (and I mean really, what's the point in adding anything in quantities as small as 1/8 of a teaspoon anyway?). Oh, and instead of baking at 350 degrees, set the oven to somewhere around 275, since you always, always end up burning everything you put in the oven.

Step two: For the frosting, mix a ton of butter up with like half a bag of powdered sugar.

Step three: Grind up the contents of a chai tea packet (tea bag) in your Magic Bullet, then add to the frosting. This is quite possibly the only time this little machine that, according to the infomercial, was supposed to change your life, will ever serve any useful purpose, so enjoy it.

Step four: Take the muffins out of the oven when you notice the tops starting to turn a nice shade of dark brownish-black. Use a fork to try and remove them from the muffin pan to which they are completely stuck to.

Step five: Try your best to reshape into objects that somewhat resemble muffins.

Step six: Spread the frosting on top of the "muffins." As the frosting begins to melt and slide down the sides, realize that you probably should have waited for the muffins to cool before applying the butter frosting. Oops.

And there you have it! Serve with pride to your friends and family.

On second thought...maybe just feed them to the dogs :)

Until next time, friends!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Dear Stevie,
So it's not secret I don't really get into 'signs' and things like that. It's not that I don't believe it when other people get signs from their babies, or messages from God or whatever. I am just such a logical person that it's hard for me to honestly believe that anything is actually supernatural, rather than just coincidence or me reading into things. I mean, sure, there was that one time back in August when I saw the most vivid rainbow in the sky and was sure it just had to be a sign that my 'rainbow baby' was just around the corner...but then I didn't get pregnant, so I guess it wasn't! :)

It's also no big secret that I'm not a very religious person. Especially since you died, I've had a really hard time with the whole "God thing." I want to believe. Really, really badly actually. There's just so much that doesn't make sense to me, that just doesn't add up. I'm working on it, but I'm not there yet.

Anyway, with all that said, I think maybe someone's trying to tell me something lately.

I don't like to talk a lot about 'trying to conceive' here. Mainly because my real-life friends and family read this and I don't feel comfortable with my dad, or grandmother, or random friends from high school being up-to-date on my ovulation patterns or sex schedule. But it's been a few months and I am not knocked up. I'm starting to get more than a little impatient. You came into our lives when we weren't even trying at all (preventing, actually), so I guess I stupidly expected it to happen again fairly quickly.

I've been discouraged about this. Like, come on, this is what I get for trying so hard to be hopeful?

Then over the last week or so, this simple little word keeps popping up all over the place: trust.

First, I'm talking with my doctor last week, telling her I'm worried there's something wrong with me, something keeping me from getting pregnant again. She says, "I truly believe that it will happen for you when it's meant to happen. It's easier said than done, but you've gotta trust that it will happen at just the right time."

Then a couple days ago I'm in bed, listening to iTunes on random, and just as I'm saying that I am getting really frustrated that I haven't gotten pregnant again yet to the friend I'm chatting with online, the song "I Will Trust You" by Steven Curtis Chapman comes on. These are some of the lyrics:

I don’t even want to breathe right now
All I want to do is close my eyes
And I don’t want to open them again
Till I’m standing on the other side

I don’t even want to be right now
I don’t want to think another thought
I don’t want to feel this pain I feel
But right now pain is all I’ve got
It feels like it’s all I’ve got
But I know it’s not
No I know You’re all I’ve got

And I will trust you, I’ll trust you
Trust you God I will
Even when I don’t understand
Even then I will say again
You are my God
And I will trust You 

And when nothing is making sense
Even then I will say again
God I trust You, I will trust You
I know Your heart is good
I know Your love is strong
And I know Your plans for me
Are much better than my own
So I will trust You, trust You
I trust You God, I will
Even when I can’t see the end

I probably would have brushed this off as another "trust in God song" or whatever, but Steven Curtis Chapman, the guy who wrote this song, he really gets it. I've mentioned him before here, but this was written months after his five-year-old daughter was killed, when her older brother's SUV accidentally rolled over her while she was playing on the driveway. I don't know why exactly, but the words to this song just struck me. It's like, wow. Here's a man who is able to say 'you know what, this makes absolutely no sense to me, but I'm trusting that you know what you're doing.' I think no matter what you think about God or Christianity, it's pretty amazing for someone, in the face of such unfathomable tragedy, to have that level of trust, of hope that things will work out the way they're supposed to.

Then today, Angela has a great post dealing with a lot of the feelings I've been battling as of late. She says, "Tonight another blm (baby loss mom) and I were talking online about ttc (trying to conceive) and trusting God and His timing.  I'll never figure out why His timing isn't my timing." 

There it is, that word trust again.

Alright, I hear ya!

It would appear that's what I need to do. I'm going  to try to let go of this control I think I have and trust that I will get pregnant again someday, and trust that it's going to happen when it's supposed to happen for me. It's not going to work like everything else in my life, where I can just work hard enough and make it happen on my own.

In some ways, it's been a blessing that it hasn't happened right away. Right after you died, I was convinced that I couldn't be happy again until I was pregnant. For a couple months, I sort of lived in limbo, just waiting to be pregnant again so I could start living again. The fact that its taken so long (and I know, a few months is not really "so long" for a lot of people), has forced me to find happiness, to live again, for me. Now. It's made me realize that I need to live and enjoy the life I have today.

I've been listening to that song, 'I Will Trust You,' over and over again. While I'm getting ready for work in the morning, when I'm driving home in traffic, while I'm walking the dogs. If I hear those words enough times, will I actually start to believe them? I think so. I think I'm starting to make them my own already.

I miss you, baby. Almost six months later, and you're still on my mind, and in my heart, all the time.


Monday, October 25, 2010

The Little Things Part III

Dear Stevie,
It's time once again to make an attempt at appreciating the good things in my life. Here goes nothing!

1. Decorating. I've mentioned this before, but we really haven't done much decorating in this place since we moved in at the end of April. You died less than three weeks after we moved here, and shockingly, I wasn't in much of a home decorating kind of mood after that. But over the last couple months, slowly but surely this house is looking more and more like a home.

 We found these super cheap shelf-y things and cool little candle holders at Ikea (yes, I conquered my fear of going back to Ikea!) Now that we know the shelves work alright, we're so going back to get more for around the bedroom. 

 They make for awesome watching scary movies in bed lighting!

 Not a very good picture, but this is the cutest necklace/jewelry holder ever. 

 At the top there are a bunch of little birds hanging out, adorable! And now all my necklaces are not in a tangled mess on my dresser! We'll see how long that lasts...

We went searching all over Minneapolis for some local art, and found this. I LOVE it, and it totally reminds me of our two dogs :) Oh and yes, I did crack the brand new frame we bought for it.

 Another print we found from a local Minneapolis artist. It's way cooler up close and in-person.

 I found this awesome tree candle holder at Patina and couldn't resist. It goes awesome in our tree-themed living room (and looks great next to your Names in the Sand picture!)

Another little Patina find. I've always loved this quote.

2.  Date nights/days. Dad and I have been going on lots of really fun date nights/days lately. Like walking to the theater by our house to see The Town and Jackass 3d (which was surprisingly awesome!), going out to eat at lots of great restaurants, and driving into Wisconsin for a tour of a vineyard/winery (below). As much as I wish you were here too, we are able to have a nice time, just the two of us.

3. Cooking. Okay, I must be honest, it's not actually the cooking I enjoy, but the results of your dad's cooking. He's the cook in this family! And man is he good! We just picked up two awesome cookbooks (thanks to a Barns and Noble giftcard I got for my birthday!): Jamie Oliver's Jamie's America, and Tacos by Mark Miller. Dad made us chicken, goat cheese, and apple tacos the other night and they were amazing!

4. Sweatshirt weather. It's been getting nice and chilly at night, perfect for walking the dogs with a mug of hot apple cider. :)

5. Moroccan Oil Curl Control Creme. I got my hair cut the other night and was talked into buying this stuff, and you know what? It might be the best $26.50 I've ever spent! Seeing as I go to work with my hair soaking wet like 90% of the time, I have been greatly in need of something to help it look somewhat decent as it dries. I'm in love. No frizz, no crunchiness, and it smells like heaven.

6. Lazy rainy days. The last couple days have been rainy; perfect for cuddling up on the couch with the dogs, sending Dad off to buy candy at the gas station, and watching movies. There are lots of days when I feel like being lazy and laying on the couch all day. And crappy weather makes me feel like it's more acceptable to do it!

I miss you, baby. Wish you were here for all the boring, day-to-day joys in life.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Proud of Myself

Dear Stevie,

Yesterday, I had to go back to my doctor's office. After my 4-week postpartum appointment back in June, I really, really, really did not want to step foot in that place again, at least not until I was pregnant again.

The medical building the clinic is in is really close to both our house and my office. For the last five months, I have figured out all kinds of crazy routes to avoid having to even drive past that place. If I'd see that parking lot, my mind would immediately go right back to the morning of May 7th, stumbling around in the rain, frantically scanning the sea of vehicles for our car through the thickest of tears. Pulling out of the lot into busy traffic, secretly hoping someone would run a red light and put me out of my misery.

So yeah, there are just a lot of pretty traumatic memories attached to that place, and I was really nervous about going there again, especially by myself.

But I did, and you know what? It was really not that bad at all.

I walk in, and of course the first thing I see is a huge, 38 weeks+ belly signing in ahead of me. No tears. It doesn't really bother me, honest. Then as I'm waiting to get called back, there's a couple 'oohing' and 'ahhing' over a long strip of ultrasound pictures. Instead of getting all sad, I actually smile. Really! I remember the day we were that excited couple. I let my mind wander back to the moment the Tech said, 'it's definitely a girl,' and your dad and I looked at each other and both exclaimed, 'really?!!' at exactly the same time, and was just...happy. Strangely, instead of feeling jealous of this random couple, I'm excited for them. I'm thankful that I have had the chance to experience that joy too (even if the ending wasn't what I thought and hoped it would be). I'm hopeful that I'll get to experience it again someday.

Later, when the nurse is taking my blood pressure, sees the tattoo on my wrist and cheerfully says, "5/8/10, what is that for?" I confidently say, "that's my daughter's birthday. She was stillborn." Then, when she says, "Oh I'm so sorry. How are you holding up?" I answer, "you know, it's really hard, but we're taking it day by day, and I'm doing okay." And I actually believe it.

Then I see my doctor. She tells me she saw me on the news back in July, asks me if I'm still blogging. I timidly tell her that I've actually started a pregnancy/infant loss support nonprofit. I fumble around in my purse, mumble something like, "I think I actually happen to have some cards in here somewhere..." I pull out a big stack of postcards, a bit self-conscience, worried she's going to think it's silly. But she looks at them, tears up, and says, "Kristin, I have goosebumps." She totally gets what we're trying to do, loves the idea. She gets dangerously close to the "maybe there is a reason why Stevie died" territory, but I let it slide because she's just so nice and making me feel so damn good about my self. She says, "you should be really proud of yourself." I say, "I am." And again, I actually believe it.

At the lab, I make small talk with the nurse who is drawing my blood. When she's able to find a vein right away and makes the comment, "you have really great blood," I refrain from saying, "actually, my blood sucks! It's what killed my daughter!" and instead smile and thank her for the strange compliment (whatever it means!)

I make an appointment to come back for another blood draw in a couple weeks, and leave feeling really, really, good. Strong. Hopeful. Human.

Yeah I know, it's really not like making it through a doctor's appointment is some huge accomplishment. But I think it just helped me to realize that even though sometimes it doesn't feel like it, I am making progress. I'm not getting over it, but I'm getting through it. And if I squint my eyes hard enough, I am starting to see some light up ahead at the end of this tunnel.

Miss you, baby.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Most of this is copied/pasted straight from Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope, but I wanted to personally thank everyone in my little corner of the internet who has been so supportive of this project. You are all truly amazing people. It wasn't long ago (about 5 months ago to be exact) that I went online, stumbled upon Grieve Out Loud and a few "baby loss" blogs (including Julie's, Birn's, Angie's, Andrea's, Maggie's, Lara's, and Kristin's, to name just a few). Since then, I have been able to connect with so many wonderful mamas (waaaay too many to list here!), and I am so incredibly thankful that you've all stuck around and stood by Andrea and I as we've gone forward with Faces.

Not only does your support mean a lot to me as Kristin, the "Founder of Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope," it means the world to me personally, as Kristin, "Stevie's Mom." So thank you. I love you guys.

Update on our I AM THE FACE campaign:

First, let's talk about the faces. As of today, we have had a little over 1,900 face pictures uploaded to We set out to show the world two main things: 1) that while pregnancy/infant loss is not often talked about, it's very, very common, and 2) that miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss are not things that happen to "other people" off in the shadows somewhere, but things that can and do happen to anyone--your neighbor, your sister, your co-worker, and your friend. Real, beautiful, "normal" everyday faces. It's easy for people to ignore an issue. But put a face on it, and it's incredibly hard for people to turn a blind eye.

Next, the names. Just as striking as the faces, seeing all of our children's names (or nicknames), together in one place, is a powerful, powerful image. As we were adding names to the "Gone Too Soon" page, we kept thinking, each one of these names represents an actual baby, someone's world. They represent hours and hours spent on baby name sites. Each one was argued over, talked about, and decided on with so much love and excitement. Each one of these names has touched who knows how many people with their short but meaningful lives. Our children were more than ideas, or "products of conception." They were real babies with real names. They existed.

And then there are the donations. Our goal was to raise $2,000...and we raised over $5,000! We are completely blown away by the generosity of the over 550 people who made a financial donation to our cause. The majority of donations came from our friends and families--people that have not lost a baby themselves, but who wanted to show their support. Sometimes we feel like the 'outsiders' don't care, but this shows that a lot of them really do, maybe more than we think. We saw an uncle donate $100 in honor of his niece, grandparents making donations on behalf of their grandchildren, and friends pitching in what they could to support the person in their life who had lost a baby. Of course, many of you who submitted your face also donated as well. Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support. We are so excited for all the great things we'll be able to do with this money.

While we might not have made as big of a splash as our friendly competition, breast cancer, we are thrilled with how many people were made aware of our message through this campaign. An amazing 5,620 people shared the link to on facebook. If you assume each of those people has an average of 200 facebook friends, that's over a million people (!!!) at the very least seeing something about our campaign! On October 15th alone, we had over 5,000 visitors to the website. Our faces were seen and our voices were heard!

So again, thank you to everyone for making this little campaign so successful! It truly was a grassroots effort, and I appreciate every blog post, facebook status, and twitter update you did to help spread the word. And of course I need to send two VERY big, gigantic thank you's to my wonderful friend and partner-in-crime Andrea, who doesn't always get all the credit and acknowledgment she deserves, but puts in a ton of work behind the scenes and who is just brilliant. :) And her amazing sister, Sarah, who volunteers so much of her time doing all of our beautiful web/logo/forum stuff. So blessed to know you both.

And to my precious daughter, Stevie Joy: it's all because of you, baby girl. 

Alright, this is too long. Thanks for reading if you made it this far!



Thursday, October 14, 2010

What Could Have Been, What Was

On Baby Center today. To the right, the reminder that I should have a 2-month old baby today. Over to the left, a link to the website I started because I don't. Strange to see these two things that could not have both happened, together, in one place.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fall Love

Dear Stevie,
Just felt like putting up some pictures. It's been ridiculously nice here. Like 70's/80's, which is unreal for October in Minnesota (the first year we lived here, there was a snow storm on Halloween!) The dogs are loving it.

And we made sushi the other night. Amazing. See, there's one good thing about not being pregnant! :)

This has nothing to do with anything, but Dad and I came up with our top 10 albums the other night over dinner. I'm pretty sure mine wins, hands down. What do you think?

I can only imagine the adorable pictures I'd be taking if you were around, baby. Love you so much.

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