Thursday, July 25, 2013


"A Rainbow Baby is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn't mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope."

For those of you who don't know me in real life or stalk me on Facebook (stalking is what Facebook is for, right?) we found out in May that we are expecting our rainbow, Avery's little brother or sister, in January. 

Since going public with this news, I have received lots of support and encouragement. But I also get the impression from many outside of the baby loss community, that now that I have some "good news," I should be able to get over the loss of Avery. I'd like to set the record straight on this and  say that the news of our rainbow does not mean the clouds and storm are over, or that they never happened, it just means we have a little more hope and light coming our way. 

What some may not understand is that nothing will ever fill the hole Avery left. No matter how many rainbows we have, the chamber marked Avery in my heart will never be full.  It will always beat for her and always be incomplete. To say this baby will make it all better and the bad days go away is nonsense.  It would be like a second time parent forgetting their first born just because a second baby arrives. Your heart doesn't replace the space your other children take up, it expands and allows more love in. 

Also, while we are overjoyed at the thought of having another baby to hold in our arms, I am now very much aware of how much can and DOES go wrong during pregnancy and infancy. Just because I'm pregnant and I have made it into the fictional "safe zone," does not guarantee me a baby come January. Nor does it guarantee that this time next year, I'll have a happy 7 month old at home. Truth is, nobody knows what is going to happen. That's a lesson I've learned all too well. The ignorant bliss I experienced with Avery is long gone. I find myself making a lot of "if" statements. "If I make it full term," "if we bring the baby home," "if we have a baby this time next year." And I honestly, feel like an awful mom for feeling that way.  Slowly, I am starting to allow myself to connect with the baby, plan for the baby, etc but doubt still clouds my thoughts. My innocence was lost that awful morning. 

Please don't get me wrong, we are very excited to get a chance to be parents again. To hopefully bring home a child that we get to have and hold for many years to come. To watch take their first steps, cross that graduation stage and one day get married.  We are thrilled to one day share Avery with her sibling and know that they will keep her memory alive long after we are gone. We look forward to being able to be parents to more than a grave and a memory of a child. We look forward to sleepless nights yet as we get further along with this pregnancy, Avery's absence is felt stronger than it has been felt in a long time. 

We are entering into a whole new phase of grief. It is hard to handle excitement and hope when your heart is still so very broken. I am constantly reminded of everything I didn't get with Avery and I find my heart aching in new ways.  I am reminded that I should have a 13 month old at home. I am constantly reminded that while I am already a mom yet I still feel clueless to the whole parenting thing. We only had 6 days with Avery and only 4 of those days were at home. I don't know how to soothe gas pains or teething pains. I don't know the best diapers.  There is so much I don't know about being a mom and yet I'm becoming a mom for the second time. 

I'm afraid of how I will mother both of my children when one is here and another one is in heaven.  I'm afraid Avery's memory will fade. I'm afraid this baby will live in Avery's shadow. I'm so afraid of heartbreak again. 

So while yes, this baby does bring hope to our lives, it does not negate Avery's existence. It does not replace Avery or the missing puzzle piece in our lives. This baby, like any second child, simply adds to and expands our lives an our hearts. And we are very thankful to have another miracle coming our way. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Where is the Justice?

I'm sure I will catch some heat for this post and I'm ok with that. Unless you are living under a rock, I'm sure you've caught some news on the big murder trial taking place here  in Florida. The trial is taking place 45 minutes from our home and we, like all Americans, have been inundated with news surrounding this trial.  Last night the jury came back with their verdict and the news erupted again. Everyone is talking about this case, it's all over the news, everyone on Facebook has an opinion, celebrities and leaders are expressing their views. I'm not writing this post to discuss the details surrounding this case or give my opinion. I'm writing to express my disgust with our nation. 

I spent the day yesterday at a fundraiser for a local group that supports families of loss with care packs. The leader of this group carried her son to term knowing he would pass soon after birth due to a medical condition. This event was full of families like mine whose lives are forever changed by the loss of their perfect, innocent babies. It was great to see so many supporting a worthwhile cause and heartbreaking to see the many faces of loss including young children missing their siblings.  I left the event with a renewed sense of purpose; more needs to be done in support of our families. 

This evening we were then flooded with the news of this trial. People are protesting, calling for change by politicians, getting angry and upset over this case. And I sit here thinking how wrong it seems that so much focus is on ONE case when there are THOUSANDS of babies dying every year without a true explanation. Where is the anger and outrage over this? Where is the nationwide call for change? Where us the justice for these babies and their families?

The news media focuses on so much negative; a robbery, a shooting a crash yet in the United States there are 26,000 stillbirths, 600,000 miscarriages and 4,500 sudden unexplained infant deaths annually. 

These statistics are outrageous yet how often do you see stories on the news about pregnancy or infant loss? How often do you hear celebrities tweeting about it? How often do your friends post on Facebook about it?

Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm just being sensitive but to maybe if more people cried out in anger at these statistics the government, our leaders, the medical world, our nation as a whole would spend more time and energy working on ways to reduce these numbers. After all, these aren't just statistics, these are our children who will forever be missing from our families. 

I'll get off my soapbox. Again, I do not write this to be insensitive to those directly involved in this case. I do not write this to express my views on the case but rather to point out yet again that 1:4 pregnancies end in loss and are swept under the rug. I really hope that we can see changes occur surrounding loss, more support given to families if loss and medically improvements and cures are found. Let's break the taboo and work to find ways to truly prevent SIDS, miscarriages, stillbirths and other causes of infant loss.