Thursday, December 30, 2010

What the Years Have Meant

There are days I find myself daydreaming about when Betsy was born. I remember how extremely tiny and fragile she was and all I could do was hope and pray she would survive. I wouldn't count her life in days and months but in minutes and hours. One more hour. Yes. She made it another hour. And so on and so on. After Olivia died I quit counting the days, at this point she was 37 days, and I started to turn to months. Something in my head just clicked and I knew Betsy HAD to survive. We sat vigil by her bed in the NICU day in and day out. We watched her have good days and really bad days. Eventually we started to shed the bubble we were trying to place around ourselves and faced things in a new light. It was as though a door had opened and a light bulb came on in our heads. It took almost two months for us to register and digest every single thing we had faced and try to deal with it. I journaled every single night when we got home from the NICU and there were days I didn't remember things happening until I went home and read about it. We lived in a fog and our bodies were on auto-pilot. I remember talking to other NICU mommies and some of the nurses who would always say, "By the time she's two you won't even be able to tell she was a preemie!" Ha! We thought that was the most hysterical thing. Seriously?!? This little 1 lb 9 oz baby would grow up and be a normal toddler????

I would have never in a million years imagined those words could ring more true. It now seems so long ago that she was that tiny fragile little baby and I look at her now and sometimes I even forgot she was so small. Crazy how that works. The past two years I really look upon in amazement. This. Is. Not. How. It. Was. Supposed. To. Be.

I always like the saying about How do you make God laugh? You tell him your plans. I mean that could not be more true in my life. Yes. This is exactly how it was supposed to be. Exactly how God intended it to be.

Ever since I gave birth to my babies and ever since Betsy came home, the years seem to be more cherished. I used to give a rat's patootie about some things and pretty much lived a carefree live. I would say that would not be the case anymore. I definetely have learned how precious life really is and how quick life can be taken away. Betsy defied all odds with her birth. She truly is a gift from God and I cherish every minute, hour, day, month and YEAR she is here. Over the past two years she has taught me more about myself than any self-help, Dr. Phil book ever could. She will never know the impact she has had on me and her daddy's life and how very much she helped us. My dream for her in the years to come is that she continue to flourish and blossom just the way she has. I know that God has a very special plan for our special little lady. I try so hard to have the strength, the will, the DRIVE that she had when she was only the size of my hand. It sounds so crazy to say but I want to be just like her. She's beautiful and smart and so determined. My life will never be the same now that she's here and I know that is so cliche, but Lord have Mercy....walk a minute, just one minute in my shoes and see if she doesn't brighten your lives. Betsy my love, you are going to be somebody someday and if you bring just as much joy and love as you have these past two years....look out world!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Back to Normal

Christmas is over and although we really enjoyed the craziness of it all, I'm glad it's over. Tony took a week long vacation the week of Christmas and it was so nice to have him here with us, even though we were so busy we didn't get to spend any time just sitting around and relaxing. We got lots of Christmas shopping done, spent time with my sister, niece and nephew who are visiting from Louisiana, and got to go see Christmas lights and spend lots of time with family. It seemed every night we were busy with something which was fun. On Christmas Eve we started a new tradition of making cookies for Santa and letting Betsy open a special gift of Christmas pajamas. We had tons of fun doing that and something to definetely look forward to every year! I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! We did and although we always miss the girls and this year missed my cousin Lance, we still had a very peaceful and joyful Holiday.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

I'm sorry I don't feel like posting all our Christmas pictures. We did so much and had different activities going on that when I initially started the blog I had marked the pictures I wanted to use. There ended up being 24 of them. Whoops. Instead I will show you Betsy on Christmas Eve posing in her new Christmas jammies.

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I recently blogged about Betsy's Christmas Program at her little school and how much we all enjoyed that as a family. What I failed to mention is that we chose to attend Betsy's Christmas Program as opposed to something else that is important to Tony and myself.

Since the girls passed away Tony and I have belonged to a parent support group from the hospital they were born at. Our support group is called P.R.I.D.E. Which stands for Parents Responding to Infant Death Experience. We have always enjoyed our meetings with them and twice a year they always do a big memorial service. One for Spring and one for Christmas. The administrators of the group will make special Christmas ornaments for each individual baby lost and that is something we look forward to bringing home and putting on our tree to honor our girls who will be forever missed at Christmastime. They put on a very special program, complete with sweet songs, poems about missing our babies and read each baby's name for all to hear.

Well this year the P.R.I.D.E. Christmas Program was on the exact same night, at the exact same time as Betsy's Christmas Program. When I received the invitation in the mail my heart just broke. There was no way to make it possible to go to both programs. So we had to chose. Of course we were going to chose Betsy's program. It wasn't even a second thought. But to even have to think of the circumstances and that we would literally have to chose between our children was a pretty hard pill to swallow.

We know that there will be many, many more P.R.I.D.E. Programs and there will be many, many more Christmas Programs for Betsy. But it just sucks that we had to miss paying a special tribute to Grace and Olivia. I am so torn up about this. It's sad that their special ornaments sat there without anyone hanging them on the tree for all to see. It's sad that when their names were read aloud there was no one there to know them, to cry for them, to remember them. Yes, we had a blast at Betsy's program and without a doubt I know we made the right decision, of course we will always chose Betsy first, but her sister's were pushed aside...something we have never had to do and something we never anticipated doing. It was almost a sad realization that sometimes Grace and Olivia just won't be as important. It's tough to deal with that. I could never imagine our lives WITHOUT them in it, then our lives WITH them in it. I picture all three of them in our sweet little Betsy. She is so amazing to me and as I watched her dance and play around the stage at her Christmas Program, I remembered just how far she has come and just how important she is in our lives. I can't miss one second of her little life. To think of her being born so tiny and to be a survivor of three little Our love for all three of our girls can never be expressed in black and white.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I totally understand the words now to that song. Where they sing, "It's the most wonderful time of the year. It's the hap-happiest season of all." Whoever sings that song MUST have children. And those children MUST have had Christmas Programs. I just can't imagine what the words mean if not.

Tonight Betsy had her very first Christmas Program courtesy of her Mother's Day Out program. I just absolutely love this little school and so does Betsy! They are just too sweet and really, really go all out for these little ones. They have been practicing for their Christmas program for well over a month and I honestly didn't know what to expect. I under-estimated them I suppose. It was most definetly the hap-happiest thing I have ever seen. We did get a million pictures but most of them turned out crappy. Sorry. I don't know what happened. Maybe the lighting or something. I videotaped the entire thing and of course stood there crying like a weirdo. I can't help it that I am so proud of my little girl. The way she danced on stage was something I could never get tired of seeing. She absolutely melts my heart.

Here are a few of the good ones we got.

Betsy is standing just left to the lady directing in the center. Betsy is wearing a red dress with a white shirt under it. In this picture she is looking to her left. Please note the two babies that they had sitting in Christmas presents. How cute is that!

In this picture Betsy is dancing. She is directly underneath the hanging cross.

Betsy was really excited to go see Santa. I was shocked! She almost wouldn't wait her turn in line. Santa asked if she was a good girl and she said "yes".

I would have to agree Betsy.

Giving Thanks and Getting Sick

Well I'm a little disappointed in myself for not keeping up more often on my blog. I always try to do better then things get in the way. Plus our computer is basically a piece of crap so sometimes I just avoid it all together. So here is what has happened with us lately.

We had a great Thanksgiving. We always travel to my grandparents and it's wonderful to spend time with family. There is about 30 of us that gather at my Ma and Pa's house. My family is the absolute world to me and I enjoy every second I have to spend with them. It was a little tough being our first Thanksgiving without my cousin Lance. It was an obvious void felt by the entire family and so strange that he never walked through the door. I actually did okay until we all gathered around to be led in prayer by my grandpa. For some reason it really hit me then and I couldn't hold back my tears. Apparently that was it for all of us because after I lifted my head I saw many tears from most everyone. We all miss him so much and even though we all had a good time, he definetely wasn't far from anyone's minds. I have to say that as close as our family always was, I noticed that we all seemed a little closer. I think that after we lost Lance we all realized that our family was closer than any of us could have imagined. I'm so very thankful God chose these people for me to be my family. I couldn't have chosen better people and I will thank him for it every single day.

Here I am with my brother (farthest right) and my best friends in my cousins. Lance would have stood far left next to his brother Cody and sister Anna. It's so strange to look at this picture of all my cousins and him not be there.

So the day after Thanksgiving we had plans for all us to get together and go look at Christmas Lights in a nearby town. However, shortly after breakfast Betsy threw up. It was strange because Betsy has NEVER thrown up. This wasn't like a little spit was straight up puke! She seemed to be acting okay so we thought maybe she had just ate too fast. She went on and finished eating her scrambled eggs and then played just a little before throwing up again. This time it was alot. I put her in the tub and she was crying and crying. After I cleaned her up she just wanted me to hold her and she obviously didn't feel good. She was very lethargic and actually fell asleep on me, which my little energetic daughter that she is, she never does this! We knew she was sick and we decided we should pack up and make the journey back home. Even though it's a good 3 hour drive, we thought the best place for her to be was at home. We especially didn't want her to be around so many people by staying at my grandparents. We loaded up the car and Betsy threw up another 3 times before we got home. By that evening, she was running a fever of 102 and started having diarrhea.

She did this on and off for a few days and I even called the doc reguarly to check in. She told us it was just a stomach bug that is going around and to make sure we keep Betsy hydrated. Betsy is usually really good about drinking when we ask her to but she was so sick that she did not even want to take one little sip. She hadn't thrown up since Friday and by Sunday we thought she might be getting over it. She tried to play and really wanted to have energy but still wasn't eating and drinking properly. We got to the point we were forcing liquids down her and that made the situation worse. Sunday afternoon she starting throwing up again and we couldn't control her fever. We took her to the Emergency Room and said yup, it's a stomach bug and she just has to fight it. The attending physician said that it also appears she has got an ear injection that stemed from the virus but turned into a bacteria. He gave her an antibiotic for that and sent us on our way.

Monday morning I followed up with her pediatrician who didn't like the antibiotic he prescribed. She said it wasn't very strong so she gave her a shot of Rocephin. Betsy continued to be sick and had almost constant diarrhea. She hadn't thrown up again since Sunday but she was so sick. We went back to the doctor on Wednesday and she admitted Betsy to the hospital for some IV fluids. She said it would be a lot easier on everyone and we wouldn't have to force liquids down her so much. She said this was just give her a little "tune-up" and she would feel so much better. Of course we were scared to death. She hasn't been back to the hospital since she left 2 years ago and all we could think of was 'hasn't she been through enough!' I wish God would cut her a break sometimes.

So we were directly admitted to the hospital and Tony went back with Betsy to get her IV started. I haven't felt this bad for her in a really long time. I just feel so helpless for her. She has been relatively healthy given her rough start to life so when anything happens I just freak out.

So we spend night #1, Wednesday, in the hospital. It was very rough. The three of us probably got a total of 5 hours sleep. As soon as Betsy would fall asleep she would use the bathroom. And her little bottom was so raw that she would just scream in pain. It was just a nightmare. It was one of the longest nights of my life. We sure were looking forward to going home the next morning.

Thursday morning Betsy's pediatrician came in and said that Betsy's lab work came back and showed that her potassium was very low. This was due to the fact that she hadn't had adequate nutrition in the past six days. She said that since she continued to have diarrhea all night and even threw up once, it was due to her potassium levels. It can be a dangerous deal when this happens so she decided to keep her another night to run another bag of potassium. We were so sad. I have to say though that my little angel is such a trooper! She was so good on Thursday and even played alot. We could tell she felt so much better and went all day with only a handful of dirty diapers. Such an improvement. By that evening Betsy went to sleep soundly and slept ALLLLL night in her little uncomfortable hospital crib with her arm stretched out beside her with her IV. I'm so proud of that little girl, words cannot express.

By Friday morning we were cleared to go home. Bety's stool cultures came back positive for rotavirus, just a type of virus. There is a vaccination for it but since she was in the hospital for the first four months of her life she didn't receive it. You have to have 3, or 4?, shots by the time you are 32 weeks and her pediatrician did not feel as though she should receive it being so tiny. So she got it, may not be the last time, but if she ever gets it again it wont be as bad. Thank God. And Thank God for watching over my little princess and keeping her as healthy as possible for a 24-weeker. She is such a miracle.

This is Betsy upon arriving to her room. We were waiting for the topical anesthesia to soak into the spots on her arm to try an IV and also waiting for the nurse to bring over the crib for her to sleep in.

Betsy wandering the halls. They had a playroom but she enjoyed the train in the hall the most.

Playing with her interactive DVD.

Here is Betsy with her new doll, "Debbie" as she named her. She really tried to play with her when she first got her, but she just didn't feel good. :(

This was our last morning. Betsy was feeling so much better and was HUNGRY! It was so nice to see her have her appetite back and her doctor said let her eat what she wants. So she got bacon and eggs.

It took a solid week. A REEEEEEALLY long week for mommy and daddy and Betsy, but Betsy finally felt better and was just as energetic as ever. Welcome back Betsy!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Sometimes I wake up from a dream and it will be a dream so good that I will try to make myself fall back asleep just to keep dreaming. It makes me wonder where exactly my thoughts come from. I have always believed that dreams are just insight into your unconscious thoughts. Doesn't explain the nightmares or bad dreams that I sometimes have, although it's been quite a while since I've experienced one of those. I did a report in college about dreams. During that time I researched every dream out there, the experiences we sometimes have as we are sleeping, such as falling, or being chased by something that really freaks us out. I don't think I delved into the dreams we have after we we actually experience something, and how those "somethings" seem to follow us, or not follow us, around in our dreams.

When I was pregnant I dreamt about the babies all the time. Except I didn't have all three babies. Sometimes I would have just one baby and sometimes two. I remember having a conversation with my best friend about how I couldn't picture myself with three babies and that deep down I honestly didn't think I would be having three babies. It was as though I KNEW something...that my mind was telling me something that I had no way of really truly knowing. Was that even possible? Why would I dream of only having one or two babies? Later in the pregnancy I finally had a triplet dream. I had all three babies. This dream only came once though.

After I lost the girls I've only dreamt of them a handful of times. It absolutely drives me crazy that I think about them all the time but can't, no matter what I do, make myself see them in my dreams every single night. Why? You would think that would be the place where my unconscious mind goes into overdrive and all I do is dream of my babies. I miss them so much, why can't they come to me?

Maybe I'm blocking it without being aware. Blocking the pain of my babies really being gone. Maybe my mind is full of so many other thoughts that the dreams of the girls won't come through. Maybe that doesn't even make sense. I have dreams with Betsy. It's like my mind is not letting me enjoy all three of my girls anymore. It's beyond bizarre to me and probably will never be an explanation. I just want to see them again.

The past week or so I have dreamt of my cousin Lance. He's there in every single one of my dreams even if he is just in passing. Even if I barely see his face as he runs past me, he is there. I can't seem to shake this feeling that he is really gone. I finally quit replaying the phone call over and over like I had been doing every night. I had to make myself quit doing that. I still close my eyes thinking about him though. His wedding was coming up, supposed to be this Saturday, so of course I had a wedding dream. It was his wedding but he was not there, we had already buried him but we were still having a wedding. I saw him, but I knew he was gone.

So maybe dreams aren't supposed to really MEAN anything. I sometimes think I read into them too much and just expect them to give me answers. The truth is, when I close my eyes and fall asleep my mind must have it's own little teaparty in there. It amazes me the things I see and do when I am totally unaware. I can't make my girls come back and maybe that is why they quit coming to me in my dreams. I have to learn to deal with the death of my cousin whether I really want to believe it or not so maybe that is why he shows up so much.

I guess I finally feel at peace with my daughters being gone and even though it still hurts so much, maybe my mind has already placed them in my heart. I see them in there every day.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

There I Am...

Last week I submitted my name, picture and story to be on a website called Faces of Loss. I had only found this website a few months ago through another babylost mom and had really wanted to submit my story. It's basically a place where other babylost mommies can go to share their story and to meet others who have faced the same grief. It's showing your face to let everyone know you have suffered infant loss. I thought what an excellent way to bring others to my blog and to learn about my girls. I finally got around to e-mailing them and asking for my story to be put on their page. This morning, it was there.

I have to admit that my heart sunk a little when I saw my picture with the words, "I am the face of multiple losses" under it. I mean, of course I expected it to be on the site within a few days but when I really saw it then it hit me. Hard. I AM a face of loss. There are so, so many women out there who have lost their babies. I am one of them. I am a statistic. That sucks. It sucks that I had to find this website and it sucks that my face is on there. It sucks that other people have to read my story just to meet my babies.

However, I am thrilled..for lack of a better get a chance to meet other babylost mothers. I think that we all share an unspoken bond that can never be broken. We have suffered the greatest of loss, our own children, and although that is something that is so traumatic and so heartbreaking, it is nice to have other people to talk to who have experienced the exact same pain. Just browsing other stories I found so many ladies who I can connect with who I don't even know. It's people I feel totally "safe" talking to about Grace and Olivia. If you are new to my blog please click the link to the side of my blog "To Start at the Beginning" and read about my babies. Thank you.

Here is the link with my story. You may have to scroll down until you find me.

Faces of Loss: Faces of Hope

Monday, November 15, 2010


Dear Girls,

I just want you to know I have really been missing you lately. I hope it doesn't seem as though I have forgotten you. I know it seems like it sometimes with our lives being so busy around this house, but please know you both are ALWAYS on my mind. It's been a while since I really just sat down and looked through your pictures. I used to do it all the time. Please know I don't have to look at your pictures to really truly remember you. Your beautiful faces are etched in my memory like stone. We have been enjoying Betsy so much and really having such a great time watching her grow. I watch her and every single day I wonder what my triplets would be like. I wonder if you girls would all be friends and if you would look alike. The days are becoming a little easier but it's not because I don't miss you so much. Its just because I have your sweet sister to focus on and to remind me every single day how precious life is and I picture you both in her. So it's like I see you all the time in her. She is such a delight. I know you both are so proud of her.

I hope you have got to see my cousin Lance. He is such a handsome guy I think you would recognize him right off. I miss him so much too and I just know he has already got to give you girls a hug just like I asked him to do. Remind him just how much I miss him and love him very much.

My heart aches for the losses this family has had. You always think it will happen to someone else. I miss you girls terribly. There are days that are harder than others. Certain songs trigger memories. Sometimes when your Daddy and I are driving in the car and we hit a bump I remember when I was pregnant and every teeny tiny bump in the road would hurt my belly so bad because it would jiggle you girls around so much and you would bounce off each other. There are times we go over bumps and I think I can still feel you all bumping around in my tummy. It's a feeling I miss so bad.

There will be more letters to come for your girls. As I was reading back over some of my last blog posts I realized that the entire purpose of this blog was to remember you girls and to celebrate Betsy. It has been a while since I remembered you in words so I decided I would write to you more often. I miss you and I love you both.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

YOOOOOO Blogga Blogga

Alright, so first let me say that without a doubt I think that Tony and I are awesome parents. I like to think we are fun and cool and really go above and beyond for our daughter. I know that she is spoiled and because she will be our only child, who cares!? I think there is a fine line between being spoiled and being well-loved and I think our daughter is unconditionally well-loved with a little touch of spoiledness. With that being said, I will introduce you to my daughter's most favorite thing in this world, Yo Gabba Gabba. Seriously sometimes I think this girl loves them more than she loves us. I have to admit I am slightly jealous of them. She says "Gabba" when she wakes up, goes to bed and when she takes a bath. This girl is OBSESSED! I will tell you how the obsession started: When Betsy came home from the hospital she really favored her right side. Her head would always turn that way and she would rarely move her head in the other direction. We worked with her alot but when I needed to get other things done I would put her in her activity play center with the TV on her left side and try to find a show she would be interested in so it would force her to turn her head to the left. I struggled finding something she would watch, mostly I tried cartoons to no avail. Finally I found this show and BAM! she was hooked. She watched an entire episode. The next time I put in on she literally cooed, bounced and kicked she was so excited. Pretty funny! Now 2 years later she is still totally hooked and embarrasingly enough...we love the show to!

Betsy was her favorite Yo Gabba Gabba character for Halloween and everywhere we went little kids were so excited to see "Foofa"! So, as the involved parents that we are, when we heard there was going to be a Yo Gabba Gabba Live Tour we knew we HAD to go and take little Miss Betsy. So..we did. Last Friday was the concert. The closest they came was Tulsa but the 2 hour drive was totally worth it to get to see her face light up when she saw them. Tony and I, being the super cool dedicated parents we are, even made homemade T-shirts for us to wear and Betsy sported her Foofa costume.

Betsy's Lovey came with us to enjoy our good times and we were happy she was there. We HAD to listen to the Gabba CD the entire way really, we HAD to..Betsy wouldn't quit screaming for it and since this was her special day we listened and sang along happily. Once we got there Betsy had money to spend! She bought two new Gabba tour t-shirts that are super awesome! She got a tour poster and a Yo Gabba Gabba light-up glow stick. She was packed with goodies! Here are some of the highlights:

Betsy dancing along

Me and Betsy dancing. They gave us DJ Lance Rock glasses and who am I not to wear them with pride?!?

I have to say we all had the time of our lives. It was so much fun to get to take her see her most favorite characters live in person. She really enjoyed the show and even danced along most of the time. It's these moments that make parenthood that much more fun. Who in a million years would have thought I would get excited to do something that is so corny! But to see the joy it brings to my little miracle made every second worthwhile. And to end the night....we of course watched Yo Gabba Gabba on DVD all the way home.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Social Life

Today Betsy started a Mother's Day Out program. I had been debating for a long time on whether to put her in one or not. They ended up being more expensive than what I originally thought, but not near as bad as it could have been. I have the tendency to be a little over-protective...I prefer the term "hands-on" mommy. I really don't want Betsy to be away from me and I have a hard time just leaving her with anybody. My mom, so far, has been the only person we leave Betsy with. It's just a comfort thing. I think, what can be better than her ACTUAL mommy but MY mom!?! So far, it's working for us.

So I realize that Betsy's only social life is with me. And on occasion when we go play at the mall or at the park she gets to play with other kids. She of course goes to Sunday school and she has a few friends in there. And of course she has our family and cousins that she sees when we visit them. I have been totally satisfied with this arrangement. I do, however, completely understand the importance of being WITHOUT mommy sometimes and being able to play with friends when mommy is NOT around. Plus I know how much she LOVES other children. And I'm very curious as to how this will help her in her speech development (one of the main reasons I did this).

So, we enrolled her in a Mother's Day Out program. She will just be going one day a week and today was her first day. I knew she would love it because she really enjoys being with other children. She pranced right into that room like she owned it. She walked right up to another little girl and started playing with her. I was so happy that she didn't even cry when we left and didn't cry one time while she was there. Couldn't help but feel a tad bit proud when another child came in and was throwing a huge fit when his momma tried to leave. This was NOT his first day but he still didn't want to stay. Betsy is just such a good girl!

I am not comfortable leaving her for her nap time there yet, as their nap is a different time than we have here at home and I don't think she will do well with that. I decided to pick her up 2 hours early and forgo the napping process there. I'm content bringing her home and letting her sleep for her usual naptime in the comfort of her own home. So she is only there for 3 hours. It was 3 hours I had to myself to do WHATEVER I WANTED!! And guess what? I didn't color, do play-doh, watch Dora, play house, or even rock a baby doll. NOPE! I came home and enjoyed some time to myself, caught up on some work and even got to play on the computer some! It was amazing!

I have to admit, it felt totally weird not having little girl here with me. Even my dog kept checking to see if she was here. I called to check on her...twice..and of course she was fine. They said she was fitting right in and playing really good. I cried, just a little, to know that my baby was not here with me and I couldn't see anything she was doing. BUT, she is quite the social butterfly and made lots of new friends. When I went to pick her up, she kept pointing back in her room. She wanted to go back in and play. Her teacher kept telling me how pretty she was (of course!) and how good she was. I think she will enjoy going back. She even brought home a pretty handmade fall wreath made from paper leaves and a paper plate. I just love that girl.

Here she is getting ready to leave the house. Sporting her Dora backpack and pink lunch bag.

Getting ready to go in!

Her new class and meeting her very first friend.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Three Halloweens

Just for fun I wanted to post pictures of Betsy every year thus far for Halloween.

1st Halloween, 2 months old (still in NICU), Snow White:

2nd Halloween, 14 months old, Kitty Cat:

3rd Halloween, 2 years old, Foofa:

I can't believe how much she has changed and how FAR she has come!

Halloween Weekend

We had lots of fun this Halloween. I think as Betsy gets older, everything becomes more fun because she is getting older and able to enjoy more. Here is Betsy painting her very own pumpkin.

And here is the finished product. I think she did a really good job!!

This year for Halloween she dressed as Foofa from Yo Gabba Gabba. If anyone knows Betsy you know she is obsessed with Yo Gabba Gabba! I have to say she is the cutest little Foofa I have ever seen.

This year we went to Haunt the Zoo. They have different scenes set up throughout the zoo and you walk through and get candy. It was lots of fun. Super crowded. But fun. Betsy really enjoyed herself.

We met a couple from church there. Their little boy, Jason, and Betsy are in the same Bible class and Betsy just adores Jason. Here they are together, Foofa and Tigger.

We went a few other places as well, like Quail Springs Mall to trick or treat. Lesson learned. We won't do that again. Trick or treating was from 2-4 and by 2:30, stores were running out of candy. It wasn't really worth our time to go there. We also went to our church's fall festival. We have a very small church but they really do cute activities for the children and it's all free. Overall, it was a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Living on a Bridge

As I sat down today to start my blog, I really don't have anything of interest to say. I have had a few fun activities during the last week that I will blog about at a later time but really I am just still at a loss for words about anything. I am still mourning the loss of my cousin Lance. It's been almost two weeks and every single night as I am trying to fall asleep, I relive the moments when I found out he was gone all the way up to his funeral. I keep replaying everything in my head and I don't know how to make that stop. I try to move along but still find it so hard to believe that he is really gone. At Thanksgiving I will still be expecting him to walk through the doors. It will be so weird, our family not entirely complete anymore. I keep myself busy through the days and weeks but still he is not far from my mind. I hope and pray that angels guided him to my daughters so that he can truly see how beautiful my girls are. I miss Lance so much still.

Also I was wondering...can you have a mid-life crisis at age 32? If so, I wonder if I am having one. I feel as though I need some kind of change in my life. I am desperately wanting to go back to school. It is such a dream of mine and I am having a really hard time facing the fact that this dream will just fizzle away. I doubt I will be able to go back to school. Financially, we can't afford it right now. I could probably get financial aide but then I think, I will be 36 years old before I get a "real" degree and finally settle into a career. Bummer. Big Bummer.

Also I wanna move away. I don't know why but Tony and I both have thought about moving somewhere. I feel like there is some major bullshit in my life right now that I wanna just run away from and never have to face. Yet again, I am an adult and I surely know that running away from issues will not resolve them. I am facing things like a big girl and some things I am trying to avoid all together. I feel as though I have been hurt one too many times by people who are supposed to love me. I feel as though I have dodged one bill too many for the millionth time. It's stress at it's finest people...that is my life.

So I feel as though I am suspended on a bridge right now. One leg is on one side with only Tony, Betsy and myself and we are running as far away as we can from our present lives. We want to take with us our friends, our church family and our favorite TV shows. The other leg is on a side of life where we have nothing like we have now. We are debt-free and living in another town. But our friends are not there and our church family isn't either. I'm suspended.

It is an uncomfortable place to be. It is constantly being rocked by winds of change in the lives of people around us. It's a feeling of always being the last one picked for sports during recess when you were a kid. So here I sit...suspended. I am in the midst of this ever-present internal struggle. I am on a tightrope of staying in faith while not getting my hopes crushed. I live in the expectation that our promises will one day be fulfilled and our lives will be exactly the way we want them to be. Through it all, I have to keep my eyes on Jesus. I need to be reminded of my favorite scripture, Jeremiah 29:11: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Wouldn't it be just like the devil to put me and others into a self-absorbed tailspin? Wouldn't he love to keep us wrapped up in this roller coaster of emotions so we don't fulfill or even SEE what God has in store for us?

I do live in hope because, after all, bridges do lead to somewhere. And that somewhere is usually good.

Friday, October 15, 2010

October 15-Wave of Light

...The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 314, has designated the month of October, as "Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month" and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month.

NOW, THEREFORE, I RONALD REAGAN, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities...

(taken from the 1988 Presidential Proclaimation)

With all the publicity and marketing of Breast Cancer Awareness, it is not really a shocker to me that people are unaware it is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. We are overlooked. At times I feel I have way too much 'awareness' of this topic, but I do know too well that the silence surrounding the girl's death is often the hardest part of it to take. The fact that it is taboo to talk about it. Like we are morbid or obsessed if we mention our child's name. To me, they are still my children and I love to mention their names and speak often of them.

So how to spread awareness? Well, sometimes I am stronger than other times. Sometimes I have more energy for this, and other times I am using all my energy to just get myself out of bed in the morning. I have posted things on my facebook for all to see. I wish I had made a pink and blue ribbon to wear or tie on a door knob or something. Pink and blue are the colors of Pregnancy and Infant Loss. But the way I like to remember and participate is the Wave of Light being held this Friday, October 15th at 7 p.m. If we all light our candles at 7 pm our time zone we will have a continuous wave of light around the world.

Remember Grace and Olivia as well as all babies who were born to soon and never got to come home. Never got to sleep in their mother's loving arms. Never got to live. I miss and remember my girls every day but I am glad there is a specific day set aside for everyone else to remember them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Such a Great Loss

I remember growing up listening to my mom talk about her cousin David that was killed in a car accident when they were young. My mom would talk about David and how close they were and how much she misses him so, so many years later. I now know all too well that pain.

In the early morning hours of Thursday, October 7, my phone rang. I keep my phone on silent through the night and how I heard it vibrating is beyond me. It was approximately 5:20 am. Tony was already up for work and was watching TV in the living room. I picked up the phone and saw it was my mom. I mumbled hello as I tried to wake up and speak clearly. My mom said, "Is Tony there with you?". Immediately I knew something was wrong and I automatically thought it was my grandpa, just due to his age and health. I said, "yes, WHY!?" There was a pause. My mom's voice was quivering. "I have terrible, terrible news". At this point I was in shear panic. "Mom, WHAT!!" I cried. She blurted out, "Lance was killed in a car accident." I jumped up and starting running to the living room. "NO! NO! NO!" I screamed. I was a bawling mess as I yelled the news to Tony. I finally had to hand the phone to him because I couldn't control myself.

My cousin Lance was only 24 years old. He is my mom's brother's son. My first cousin. We all grew up close, all of us cousins. We spent all our holidays together, most of our summers, and any time my mom had a break from school we would go to my grandparents. My cousins are what make my memories there. We were all fairly close in age, just close enough to be good friends, but just far enough apart to get on each other's nerves at times. My cousins are also my friends.

Lance was involved in an accident that took his life. Apparently he was in a friend's jeep but he was alone. I'm not sure of the exact details, as I haven't asked yet. I don't know that I really want to know exactly what happened. I don't know if he lost control or swerved to miss a deer or cow or something in the road. Nonetheless, his jeep flipped and he didn't survive.

I must say this has been the toughest thing for me to face and deal with. I try to explain it as easily as I can. Losing Lance has been difficult. I don't want to compare the loss with Grace and Olivia, but it is a total different hurt. I think when I lost the girls it was almost a "peaceful hurt" if that makes sense, where this has been so tragic. I am not minimizing the death of my babies by any means, but this hurt is so different, so deep.

I was so fortunate that I got to spend a little time with Lance and his daughter, Callie, just a mere 12 days before his death. I got to spend time with him when we went down there for Allie's 2nd birthday. Lance brought his daughter over to play with Betsy and I am so thankful for those last memories of them together. I took many pictures as I am preparing to make a family photo book of our entire family to present to my grandparents for Christmas. I look at these pictures, that were taken so close to his death, and my heart just aches all over again.

When my mom speaks of her cousin David that died, she talks about how she didn't have any closure to his death because she was not able to see him after he died. I was thankful to have this closure with Lance. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever experienced, to see my cousin laying there in his casket. The overwhelming sadness and great loss our family felt will never be able to be expressed in words. I am thankful that he looked so peaceful. He literally had a smile on his face, the same smile I have seen for many, many years. That brought such a joy to my heart as I felt as though he WAS in total peace. My heart is so heavy. I am sorry that our family had to deal with this. I am sorry that Betsy will never know her cousin Lance and what a great guy he was. I hope that as we watch his daughter Callie grow up, that we all remember to share with her what a wonderful daddy he was to her. Lance's fiance, Sarah, is expecting their second child due in April. I hope we all remember to share Lance with this new baby as well.

My favorite part of his funeral service was when the preacher reminded us all to be thankful for the times we had with Lance. We were blessed to have him for 24 years. Some people don't even have that long. We have 24 years of memories to last us a lifetime.
Our hearts are aching still but we need to be comforted in the fact that Lance is NOT aching. And we can smile knowing he was the first in our family to get to hug my girls.

Sarah, Lance and Callie with Ma on Easter

Here is Lance and his daughter Callie, listening to a book from our Ma.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 4, 2010

Getting Easier, Still Hurts

Today marks the 2-year anniversary of Olivia's death. I remember after we lost the girls I would sometimes ask other babylost mothers, "Does it EVER get easier?". I hurt so bad that I couldn't imagine any less pain than I felt. Some of them told me, yes, it does get easier but you will always feel the hurt. So here it is, a mere two years later, and it still hurts just as bad as the day it happened. Yes, it is easier to deal with. I don't have the tears to cry every single day, although some days I remember better than others and a few tears will fall. My heart aches every single day for this baby girl, every day I think of her and every day I miss her. It's something I will have to live with for the rest of my life. It's my "new normal" and I have found that I have adjusted quite well. I have never forgotten. I still remember the phone call that day and I still remember every detail of that sad day. I have learned to pick up the pieces and be strong. I have learned to focus all my time and energy into my living miracle, Betsy. All the hurt and sadness I feel I have learned to turn into overwhelming love. Olivia's clothes we put her in to take pictures still smell of her. I have kept them tightly sealed in a bag to try to preserve that smell forever. I know it will eventually fade, much like my anger and sadness. But the memory will last forever. My hurt will last forever. Yes, it is getting much easier to deal with the fact that she is forever gone. But my heart still hurts for her.

The Cord

We are connected,
My child and I, by
An invisible cord
Not seen by the eye.

It's not like the cord
That connects us 'til birth
This cord can't been seen
By any on Earth.

This cord does it's work
Right from the start.
It binds us together
Attached to my heart.

I know that it's there
Though no one can see
The invisible cord
From my child to me.

The strength of this cord
Is hard to describe.
It can't be destroyed
It can't be denied.

It's stronger than any cord
Man could create
It withstands the test
Can hold any weight.

And though you are gone,
Though you're not here with me,
The cord is still there
But no one can see.

It pulls at my heart
I am bruised...I am sore,
But this cord is my lifeline
As never before.

I am thankful that God
Connects us this way
A mother and child
Death can't take it away!

~ author unknown ~

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Playroom Transformation

We decided to make Betsy a playroom because our 3rd bedroom was being used for my office but we were also storing some toys and other things in there too. Since I am only working part-time I kinda felt like that room was starting to turn into a junk room and I hated having an entire room in our house go to waste. We decided we would rearrange our bedroom to fit a small desk space in there for me and transform the office into a playroom. Big pat on the back to Tony and I because we worked really hard to do this. It took a lot of work. We were very pleased with the outcome. Betsy officially now has the two nicest rooms in the house: Her room and her playroom.

Here is the progress:

This green wall is not completely done. We originally got two butterflies to paint on the wall around Betsy's name to memorialize Grace and Olivia; however, the butterflies turned out to be too big. We are going to paint two white doves sitting on the vines we just haven't gotten the dove stencils yet.