Saturday, November 30, 2013

Turning Pink into Purple

Taking Avery's room apart to make it Harpers was so much harder than expected. Over the last 17+ months I've had a love hate relationship with that room. After we lost Avery, I hated going into her room. I was a stark reminder of a future lost. Over time, it became my sanctuary. I would spend hours sitting in the rocking chair, writing to her and reading. It became a place where I felt close to her. It was her room. But as the weeks turned into months, I found myself in the room less and less. It became a place where we kept her belongings and momentous we had gathered. 

In the last 2 months, Harpers things have slowly been added and honestly the room was a cluttered mess. This weekend was the weekend to make the transition. To transform Avery's room into Harper's room. Thanksgiving night we worked to clear it out so we could paint in Friday.  I was doing well until I had to take down the wall decorations. The decorations I spent hours picking out and putting up. I lost it. I felt like I was taking her down to put her away to be replaced by Harper.

It got worse the next day when it came time to paint. Avery's beautiful pink was going away, being replaced by Harper's pretty purple. Painting made the transition permanent. It became so very real. To make matters worse, the paint didn't seem to be going on well, my husband was really frustrated and both of our emotions were running high. Half way through, we were both questioning why we were even repainting. I felt absolutely horrible.  Painting really wasn't necessary. Why did I feel the need to cover Avery up? After many tears and much talking, we both found peace with giving Harper her own room. As much as Avery deserves to always be part of us, Harper also deserves her own identity too. After coming to grips with the fact that paint or changing the room isn't getting rid of Avery, the day went much better and the paint turned out beautiful. 

Saturday was time to get everything in order and put up Harper's decorations. The day went pretty well. It felt nice getting the room ready for Harper's impending arrival. We put up the art on the walls, washed the new bedding and blankets and organized the closet. 

I was doing well until it came time to change out the bedding. I will always absolutely love Avery's jungle bedding. As I folded up the blanket to put away for good, I felt like my heart was going to explode. She didn't get to use many of her belongings in her six short days but every night we got her ready for bed by laying her in her crib to dress her in her pajamas. She used her bedding, even if only very briefly, and there I stood, in a now purple bedroom, folding her perfect blanket and putting it in a bin. The perfect decorations for the perfect room all ended up in one Rubbermaid bin that will go in the attic. That's it. Avery's room no longer exists. And I feel like the hole in my heart is gaping wide open again. 

I know it's just a room. It's just a place. Her room is not her identity. But when all you've had is six days, it's hard not to cling to physical things. It's hard not to tie part of her identity to the things that were part of her short life. It's hard not to feel like once again I am being pushed further away from her. 

And at the same time, I feel guilty for feeling so terrible about changing the room. There really was no part of getting Harper's room ready that was fun or exciting. Getting ready for Avery was such a happy time. Once again, nothing is the same the second time around. But poor Harper deserves my happiness and excitement over her arrival. And so far, I really haven't been able to find that excitement. I am so afraid I will let her down. 

So here I sit. Torn between two worlds-one pink, one purple. With a love for both but with no idea how to balance both. I love my daughters dearly and want them both to feel that love. 

Avery's pink Jungle room. 

Harper's purple room (still a work in progress)

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks

It's still hard many days to be able to see past what is missing in life and see what is still here to be thankful. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't sit and wonder what life would be like if Avery was still here with us. 

The holidays make that especially hard. Watching families celebrate with each piece in tact, seeing the million posts on Facebook of baby's first Thanksgiving, reading how everyone is thankful for their kids. It's enough to make a grieving parent want to lock themselves away from reality. 

Last year, that's exactly what we did. Las Vegas was out anti-Thabksgiving. It was what we needed at the time. But this year, we are back to reality. Back to turkey and football with the family. Back to the stark reality that this is NOT how we envisioned Thanksgiving when we were pregnant 2 years ago. But today, instead of focusing on the life I'm missing, I want to take some time and focus on all that I do have to be thankful for this year. 

I am thankful for...

God's unending love and grace. He has kept me going even on the darkest days. And His promise that one day, we will all be together again. 

Avery-my beautiful girl and the time we had with her, the things she has taught us and for her unending love.

My amazing husband who picks me up when I can't get up on my own, who walks this journey with me and who loves me and our girls unconditionally. 

Harper, my sweet and stubborn rainbow baby. The one who has brought hope back into our once dark and dismal lives. Avery's little sister, who will know all about her big sister in Heaven. 

Family who has stuck by outside through everything. Those who still speak her name, those that don't think we should be "over it" already, those who have kept us standing. 

Friends, old and new, who are like family. They never cease to amaze me with just how much they care for us and her and will continue to help keep her memory alive.

Even in our darkest moments, we still have lots to be thankful for. ❤️

Monday, November 18, 2013

Today the Storm is Raging

I woke up in a storm this morning...

I've had my ups and downs lately but I really thought I was learning to cope and function through the downs better. It had been quite some time since I had one of those days where I just couldn't do anything. I woke up and instantly felt anxious. No exact reason to be found just extremely anxious. I thought once I got to work, I'd be distracted enough to get through the day but once I got there it got worse.  I lost it and couldn't put myself together. There was nothing specific to set me off. No triggers. No major significance to the day. But I was a mess. I ended up leaving work within a few hours. 

I've been trying to pinpoint why I'm struggling so bad today. And still have no exact answers. I think it's a compilation of things...

The impending holidays...I'm dreading them. I thought they would be easier than last year since I'm pregnant but every bit of me wants to run and hide from them like we did last year. They are such an in your face reminder of all that is missing. Avery would have been so much fun this year. But instead we face the holidays without her. We must watch those around us and their happy families share in the joy of the holidays while we feel so incredibly incomplete. 

Harpers approaching due date...I wish I could fast forward to January. No make that February so I can get last her first 6 days of life too. I've had a few good weeks just enjoying pregnancy and looking forward to the future. But now that we are less than 9 weeks from her expected arrival, fear is over taking me again. I am terrified of losing her before she is born. And I'm terrified of losing her once she is born. 

Balancing Avery and Harper...I've had 2 amazing baby showers in the past week. And while they were wonderful and we are truly blessed to be surrounded by those who love us, it's still very bittersweet. We are all so excited for Harper's arrival yet if Avery were still here, I don't know if Harper would be coming. It's hard to celebrate and be completely excited when this thought is in the back of my mind. I'm still trying to figure out how to balance both without letting either of them down. 

Flashbacks...while I've been good at not focusing on the day we lost Avery, I've had a lot of brief flashbacks lately. Out of nowhere my mind briefly goes back to a moment of that day. Waking up, following the ambulance and calling family, my husbands reaction to the awful news, saying goodbye. I can still remember every vivid detail. These flashbacks don't last long and I can quickly refocus my thoughts but they are still a dagger to the heart and come out of nowhere. 

Shifting Avery's room to Harper's...we have a 2 bedroom house so I have no choice. I've kept Avery's room her own the last 17 months but January is quickly approaching and Harper needs her own space. Part of me is anxious to get Harper's room ready but a huge part of me isn't ready to get rid of Avery's room. I know I have to, I just wish I didn't have to. And it's crazy since it's just a room but it's hers and has been for quite some time. 

Today is just one of those days where the rainstorm seems to be stationary above my head. I hadn't watched the news to be told the storm was coming. I was caught off guard by one of those storms where the rain comes in every direction and no umbrella can keep you completely dry. Today's storm caught me unprepared. I had no umbrella handy, no raincoat or boots tinted to fight the cold rain off. I had let my guard down, and thought these storms had passed. But the truth is these storms will always come and go. Somedays I will be better at staying dry, others, like today, I just need to embrace the storm.  I need to let it soak me and know that eventually this storm will pass and I can dry off. 

All I can do on days like today is pray and know that I am not alone. "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds."Psalms 147:3

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Being Needed

At about 4 this morning, I was woken up by the sound of my dog coughing in the living room. I ignored it for a few minutes but it just got worse so I got up to check on him. Poor thing spent the next 30 minutes hacking and hacking. Nothing but a dry cough but the poor thing was miserable. He eventually stopped and we went back to bed, leaving our door open so that we could hear him if he got worse. But he felt so bad he instantly crawled in bed between us and snuggled up. After another round of coughing he finally fell asleep tucked snugly between us. 

By this time, I was now wide awake and as I laid there trying to fall asleep again, snuggling with the dog, my heart was warmed. He needed us to comfort him. It felt so nice to be needed. But as quickly was I felt warmed by his love, I realized I never got that with Avery. Yes, clearly in her 6 days of life she needed me, but she wasn't consciously choosing me. I never got to experience her choosing me when she was sick or hurt. I never got to snuggle her in bed when she wasn't feeling well. I never got to really mother her. It breaks my heart that she and I both missed out on this. 

It still never ceases to amaze me that  the littlest thing can bring me back to what I have been missing out on with Avery. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that I'm a mother that has never been able to experience most motherly duties. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

CYG Days 21-31

Day 21: Honor

After receiving Avery's name from Carly in Australia we decided we would honor Avery during our travels by writing her name wherever we go. I love the idea of having pictures of her with us wherever we visit. She may not physically be on our trips but she's always in our hearts no matter where we go and this is how we chose to honor that. 

Since then, the idea has spread and we've had family and friends take Avery on their trips with them. Avery has been all over the US and the world. 

This is a small sampling of the hundreds of pictures we have of Avery's travels around the world. 

Day 22: Words

As I've said many times, I don't know where I would be without my eternal hope that I have through my beliefs. God has held us and comforted us through our darkest days. Even when I pulled away, He was there. This verse reminds me that He is the God of all comforts. And as He has comforted us, it's now my goal to be there for others who are grieving their babies. 

The loss of Avery will not be swept under the rug as a bad thing that happened. I will use the loss of Avery to bring attention to pregnancy and infant loss. I will use my experiences-good and bad-since losing Avery to be there for others going through the similar situations.  I will use my tribulation to help others. I will be her voice since she cannot have one. I will make a difference because of her. 

Day 23: Tattoos/Jewelry

My husband was never big on tattoos. But after losing Avery, he knew he wanted one for her. We took a trip with his brothers and their wives within a few weeks to get his tattoo. It's pretty, girly and pink-a perfect representation of our little princess. I knew I wanted to follow suit but it took awhile for me to make a decision. I had a great friend sketch out my idea to incorporate her name, a heart and an infinity symbol. It represents my infinite love for her. I got it done the day before my 28th birthday, 1 day shy of the year mark of us finding out Avery was Avery. 

Over the last 16 months I've also collected a number of necklaces that mean the world to me. The one with her initial, birthdate and birthstone I had picked out before she was born but we lost her before I could order it. I decided I still wanted it and it was the first piece of jewelry I have for her. The next was made by a sweet baby loss mom, Lori, using a butterfly. Butterflies have their way of always crossing my path now and I always feel it's Avery saying hi. The next I fell in love with when I saw it. It represents my hope for our reunion with her in Heaven. The last piece my husband bought for me last Christmas. What should have been our first as a family of 3 was a somber day. He picked this out to represent our family of 3 and how we will always be intertwined. 

To some jewelry and tattoos may seem like just things and in reality they are, but to us they are physical, outward ways to show her with us daily. Other parents have their babies with them to show off, for us this is what we have. 

Day 24: Artwork

My Avery sunset picture taken by Carly in Australia is still my favorite piece of artwork we've received in the last 16 months. It was actually the first piece I received after losing Avery and this sunset speaks volumes to me. When I received it there was so much about it that brought me comfort and seemed like a sign from Avery. 

1st-I received it exactly 2 months after burying Avery. I had just gone back to work and was having an exceptionally hard day when I received this from Carly. It was just what I needed that day. 

2nd-The colors instantly reminded me of Avery. The beautiful pinks and purples were colors that will always be associated with our girl. 

3rd-I love how the sun is just barely peaking through the clouds. Avery had the cutest, chunkiest cheeks. They were so big, we really only ever got to see a small bit of her eyes shining through. The way the sun only slightly shows make me feel like Avery is in the picture, smiling with her eyes barely squinting though her cute cheeks. 

This picture now hangs on a canvas in our house. Another piece of Avery we surround ourselves with to keep her close. Another way we include her in our daily life. 

Day 25: #SayItOutLoud

I want the world to remember that Avery, and every baby taken too soon, is just that-a baby. A human. A person. Someone's future. Someone's hopes and dreams. 

Avery was here. Avery is my daughter and always will be. She is not just a sad thing that once happened to us. She is not just a small event in history. She is a person. She deserves to be spoken of, to be remembered and to be loved just as any living child would be.

Don't write off our babies as if they didn't exist. They were and always will be a part of our everyday.  Even if they never made it out of the womb, even if they were born straight into Heaven, even if they only took one breath and even if they were only here minutes, hours, days or weeks, they are our world. They are our children and should never be forgotten. 

Day 26: Community

Our baby loss community has helped me find strength through our shared bond. Because of this community, I do not feel completely alone; I find reassurance that my thoughts and feelings aren't crazy but rather normal; I find courage to get through the toughest days; I find healing though sharing; I find love, compassion, understanding and friendship from people walking the same path as me. I wish none of us were a part of this community but since we are forced to be, I am thankful for the bond we have formed. 

Day 27: Signs

I truly feel we've experienced many signs from Avery in Heaven. Whether it's a beautiful butterfly crossing my path bringing peace, a rainbow after a storm bringing hope, an "A" appearing randomly to make me feel she is saying hello or a cardinal showing up at just the right time, there are so many things I feel cannot just be coincidence. 

Most recently and maybe one of the most clear signs was during the recent 2nd Annual Avery Diane Hanson Memorial Golf Tournament this September.  Shortly after the start of the tournament this "A" appeared in the sky and could be spotted all along the golf course. I feel Avery wanted her presence to be known on a day that was completely about her. So many people saw the "A" in the sky that day. It truly brought comfort on a day that was very bittersweet. 

Over the last year or so, I've blogged about some of the signs I've felt. You can read about all of them here:

Day 28: Special Place

Avery is always with me and I feel her near often. But if I had to pick the place closest to me, it would be her gravesite. It is a beautiful location under a strong, shady oak tree. While it may sound odd to some, this is the one and only place I still have that I feel I get to mother. 

She doesn't need me anymore but her gravesite does. It was one of the last things we were able to do for her. From picking out the perfect spot for her to be, to designing her unique and beautiful headstone, I've been able to do for her even with her not here. I've been able to mother her special place. And Every week I continue to do so. We bring new flowers weekly, we decorate for holidays and look for cute additions to her spot that remind us of her.  It's not much but it makes me feel needed still.  I know it's just a place, I know she isn't really there but it's all I have left. 

Day 29: Healing

I truly do not believe my wounds will be completely healed until I am with Avery again.  However, I have been able to find more peace and healing than I would have thought possible 16 short months ago. I would have never thought it possible to feel happiness, joy or anything positive in June of 2012. Life stopped at that point, I fell apart and I didn't think I would ever be able to put the pieces back together. 

Since then, I have started to put some of my pieces back together even though there is always going to be a big piece missing. I attribute this healing to many factors; family, friends, faith, support, connections with other moms, etc. I think what's helped me most is being able to share Avery with others. Having family or friends bring her up without my prompting adds a small stitch to the gaping hole in my heart. Sharing her with others who are on this journey helps me know she will always be a part of me. Hearing stories of how she touched the lives of complete strangers brings me great pride. Knowing that her cousins and her sister will always know her as part of our family gives me peace that she will never be forgotten. 

The wounds remain and always will but sharing her with those who accept her means the world to me. It's helped me get this far in my journey and it's what will keep me going even on my darkest days. 

Day 30: Growth

I changed as a person on Oct 15, 2011 when I found out we were going to be parents.  I changed again on June 6, 2012 when Avery came into the world. I was a mom through and through. The second she was placed in my arms, I knew there was nothing I wouldn't do for her. Life was no longer about me, it was all about her. I was again forever changed on June 12, 2012 when my world came crashing down, when Avery left our world. In the last two years, I've been through so many changes as a person. I will never be the same person I was before Avery entered our lives. 

Some days I feel more compassionate whereas others I still feel very bitter and cynical. I'm learning to embrace the new me. I will never be the carefree person I once was. It's impossible-I know too much; I've experienced too much. This world is so incredibly unfair. But at the same time, I've grown stronger as a person and found my voice. I am not as quiet or reserved about my thoughts and feelings as I once was. Avery has helped me find my voice. I don't care if talking about her or other babies taken too so makes others uncomfortable. This is life, this is the real world. It's messy and uncomfortable. Change doesn't happen when people are complacent.

I am sure I will continue to grow and change as I continue on this journey. The person I am today and the person I am 5 years from now will not be the same. But one thing will remain constant as the years pass-my love of my daughter and my passion to break the silence surrounding pregnancy and infant loss. 

Day 31: Sunset

As the Capture Your Grief project comes to a close I would like to thank everyone who has followed my posts and supported me sharing my grief and my thoughts this month. Your support means so much to me and I am so thankful you allow me to speak out about my journey.   Even though October is coming to an end, our grief will not. It will be with us forever and it's our burden to bear. But thanks to great support, I know it's not a load I bear alone. 

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month but please don't forget about the families who suffer daily with their grief, please don't forget the 1:4 women who will experience the loss of a baby, please don't be afraid to speak our babies names year round. My hope is that projects like these will help break the silence surrounding pregnancy and infant loss

The sunset tonight at first looked like it would be ruined by clouds. But as I was standing on the dock, looking for a shot, I was taken aback. Not only was the sunset beautiful but there was also a rainbow burst at the far left. Id like to think its a sign from Avery of great things to come with our own rainbow. 


CYG Days 11-20

Day 11: Emotional Triggers

Early on it was hard to predict what would send me I to a downward spiral. The sound of a baby crying in a restaurant, diaper commercials, pregnant women all sent me running for the hills, normally crying in public. As time pushes me forward, my skin has become tougher, my mind able to block out the sting. Normally keeping myself together isn't an impossible feat but there are still a few triggers that send a deep stabbing pain piercing through my heart and unfortunately, these are hard to avoid. 

• Ambulances, especially number 24. I will never be able to erase from my memory how it felt to follow that ambulance through town to the hospital. Every time I see one, I'm sent back to that awful morning, reliving every painful detail.
• The emergency room at our local hospital. Same as above. I never want to step foot in that area of the hospital again. Just being near that section of the hospital is enough to send my hear racing. This is, for me, especially hard to avoid since I work very closely with the hospital for work. 
• The songs we played at her funeral, Hallelujah, Heaven is the Face and When We All Get to Heaven bring me to my knees. They are all perfectly beautiful but as soon as I hear those first chords start to play, I'm sitting in the font pew at Avery's funeral all over again. The first two songs I easily avoid by turning the radio but the hymn is hard to avoid when it seems to be sung at church frequently. Every time I try so hard to make it through and every time I fail. 

Day 12:  Article. 

I love Still Standing Magazine. There are so many articles I've read that have really resonated with me. If I need to be lifted up, there's an article. If I need reassurance that I'm not crazy for the way I feel, there's an article. 

One thing I've struggled with is guilt after Avery. SIDS (and any loss) will do that to you and the guilt is amplified. The what ifs, and why's  plague me. It's hard to accept that your child is gone for no real reason and yet you did nothing wrong. We are use to cause and effect. I know the effect, but what was the real cause? Did I miss a recommended precaution? Should I have checked on her 5, 10, 15 minutes earlier? The questions running through my head are endless. It's taken me the last year to stop beating myself up and to accept I did nothing wrong and this was out of my control. It's not my fault, I'm not a bad mom and I didn't do anything to deserve this. 

This article helped me allow myself to let go of the guilt and accept that I am not a failure as a mother. I am a damn good mother and until my dying day I will be the best mother to Avery that I can be. Read the article here:

Day 14: Family

"The people who are there for you on your darkest nights are the ones worth spending your brightest days with."  

Our family is more than just those related to us through blood. To us, our family are those who have been there for us the last 16 months. They've been with us through our deepest darkest times, through our healing, through our anger, through our rejoicing, through us despair. Our family has proven their love and support for us over and over again. I am so thankful for each and every person who has made it a point to be a part of this journey with us.  It's not an easy journey to be on, some have gone astray along the way, but those most important to us are here, by our sides every day helping us through. 

Day 15: Wave of Light

We spent the evening with other loss parents at a beachside Wave of light ceremony. The event, hosted by Elizabeth Ministries of Melbourne, included luminaries and candles on lit on the beach. This is the second year we attended with two great friends.  We attended last year but when it came time to share, I couldn't. This year, I was able to share a little bit of our story and it felt amazing to share Avery with this group. It was a beautiful evening. 

It was also amazing to come home to see so many friends and family had also lit their candles in Avery's memory that night. 

Day 16: Seasons

Summer will always remind me of Avery. She was born and went to Heaven during the summer. The Florida afternoon thunderstorms started the day she was born and it stormed every afternoon for the 6 days she was here with us and for the months to follow her passing. The beautiful sunny mornings and afternoon storms of summer will always bring me back to Avery's summer, the summer of 2012. 

Day 17: Time

Early on, time was my enemy. I felt I was caught up in a strong current being pulled further and further out to sea, losing contact with the shore. 
Every day past June 12th I felt I was being pushed further and further away from Avery. I felt like I was losing more and more of her. But now, as time continues pushing us further from the day we were forced to say our unexpected goodbyes, I no longer look at time as an enemy. Time is no longer the villain because no matter how many days it's been since I've held and loved on Avery in person, she is always here with me. And as the days add up since she was last here, the days tick away toward the day we get to be together again. Everyday that countdown clock gets closer to our sweet reunion but until that day, I carry her heart in mine. 

Day 18: Release

Over the past 16 months I've struggled with the guilt over losing Avery. Deep down, I know that it's not my fault. We did nothing wrong and I know that, but as a mom, I feel I should have been able to keep her safe. The "what-ifs" make the guilt worse...what if I would have woken up a little bit earlier, what if I would have purchased one of those monitors, what if I would have just kept holding her that night instead of laying her down, what if I missed something...the list goes on and on. SIDS is awful. There are no answers, there is no closure. I am working to let go of these things. It's not my fault and no matter how many scenarios I play in my head, none will bring her back. It's getting easier to let these thoughts go but some days they still plague my thoughts. 

Day 19: Support

I am beyond blessed for the support I have in my life. My husband is my rock and our friends and family hold us together when we feel like crumbling. However, over the last 16 months I have made so many connections with others who are walking in my same shoes. Nobody else can really get it like these women (and men) do. They've been walking this same path, the understand these feelings like nobody else can. I've made some beautiful new friends along this journey through our babies.  Whether it be from blogging, online support groups, Facebook or local support groups, this network of support is amazing.

Last year a good friend shared this poem with me the same day it was read at an Oct 15th event we went to together. It gives me goosebumps every time I hear it because it is so true. We all hate these shoes but we will forever be stuck in them. 

Day 20: Hope

My hope for the future is that more awareness would be brought to pregnancy and infant loss so that the taboo would be broken and support be prevalent. 

My hope for the future is that there would be a cause found with SIDS and a cure. There has to be something causing this nightmare. No parent should ever face this cruel unknown. 

My hope is that technology and medicine would advance to help prevent miscarriage and stillbirth. 

My hope is that no parent would ever have to suffer this heartache. 

My hope is that Avery's Light will continue to shine and bring support to those in need. 

My hope is that this rainbow I'm carrying helps fill our arms, our quiet house and brings us true happiness. 

My hope is that one day, she will not go through the devastation we've experienced. 

My hope is that I continue to live my life in a way that makes Avery proud. 

CYG Days 2-10

was bad a posting my daily Capture Your Grief photos to the blog. Better late than never, right?

Day 2: Identity

Avery Diane Hanson, no name will ever be as perfect. We knew if we ever had a daughter, her name would be Avery. There is no significant meaning to it, other than on vacation 3 years before she was born we had a waitress names Avery. We both loved the name and it stuck. There was no second guessing her name when we discovered our baby was a girl. 

Avery's middle name is after my grandmother. She was the rock of our family and I grew up spending many nights at her house. She is forever missed and forever loved. 

Like her name, Avery was perfect and brought so much happiness to our lives before SIDS took her from is 6 days after she was born. 

❤️Avery Diane Hanson❤️ June 6-12, 2012❤️

Day 3: Myths

Time does not heal all wounds. It simply puts more space between losing Avery and today. Time does not heal, my wounds will always be present. Time simply helps us learn to live with our wounds. Some days they are more raw than others. 

Day 4: Legacy

Since Avery's passing we've created a small non-profit, Avery's Light (, to help other families experiencing pregnancy and infant loss. Since Avery's passing there have been 2 Memorial Golf Tournaments in which proceeds went to build Avery's Place, a playground for our church. We've also used proceeds to sponsor the building of 100 bears through Molly Bears and will be using the remaining proceeds to help local families. And we have many friends and family who frequently perform random acts of kindness in her memory. 

Even though she is no longer here physically, Avery's Light continues to shine daily and she is touching so many lives. I am so proud of the legacy my six day old daughter has left behind. 

Day 5: Memory

I am so thankful to have many great memories through my 9 months of pregnancy and 6 days of Avery's life. While it will never be enough, I am thankful for those memories I do have. We had 9 months and 6 perfect days with her. One of my fondest memories was on June 10, 2012. She was 4 days old and it was the first time I was alone with her at home (even if only for an hour). My husband ran to the grocery store and I stayed home. I spent that time just mommy and daughter. We cuddled in her room, I read "I'll Love You Forever" to her and she in return blessed me with some of my favorite memories of her. She was smiling and making silly faces while we sat and rocked. It was a great afternoon, one that stays in my heart and really helps me to remember that I still am a mom. 

Day 6: Ritual

Every week without fail since June 16, 2012, my husband and I always visit Avery at the cemetery on Sunday after church. We bring fresh flowers, clean up her area and spend some time there with her. Even though we know she is not there, she's in Heaven, it's still our place to feel close to her. This is our special time as a family, our family ritual that brings us peace and comfort each week. 

Day 7: Where I am now...

1 year, 3 months and 25 days of missing her later and daily my grief shifts and surprises me. It is constantly changing and evolving in new ways as the days continue pushing us forward. 

Today I am 24 weeks, 3 days pregnant with our rainbow, Avery's little sister. This has changed my grief. In some ways it has lightened the load; it's given me hope. Hope that very recently seemed so far away. Hope that I'll be able to raise and parent this child and get to actively mother her here and not only in memory. It has given me something to look forward to, something positive to fill my thoughts. But it also has made aspects of my grief heavier. I'm afraid Avery will be forgotten by others, I fear I will disappoint her, I worry that I won't be able to mother a daughter in Heaven and one here on Earth. She's been my life and now I must figure out how to balance her and her sister. 

This photo represents my two girls. Avery through my bracelets I always wear in her honor and Harper growing daily inside of me. This is me now. 

Day 8: Color

When we found out we were having a girl we were thrilled. Avery was the first girl on my husbands side full of boys. We knew pink would be her color. Her bedroom had pink walls and matching accessories, her closet is full of pink. 

Since losing her, pink has taken on a whole new meaning. Pink represents Avery in our family, even to the youngest members who have pink matchbox cars that they call their "Avery cars." Whenever we do something to recognize or honor her, pink is the color of choice. Pink will always be Avery's. 

Day 9: Music

There are so many songs that have hit me in different ways since losing Avery. Some, like the ones we played at her funeral, crush me. I cannot listen to them. Others bring me hope and are a reminder that this pain is not eternal. One of my recent favorites is Carrie Underwood's "See You Again." I will see Avery again and I am so glad I can live in this hope. Without that I don't know how I would get through each day without her. 

The photo is of a necklace that has hung in my car over the last year. Like the song, this necklace means a lot to me and has brought me hope and peace. Read the story behind the necklace here: 

Day 10: Belief

My faith brings me hope and peace and helps get me through even the darkest of days. 

I believe God sent his son, Jesus, to die for us and forgive us of our sins. I believe that one day, when my time comes I'll be in Heaven. I believe Avery is safe in Heaven, surrounded by Jesus and our family members who have gone on before us and I have faith that one day we will be together again. This faith brings me peace and hope for the future, this gets me through my worst days, this reminds me that her death was not our final chapter and I look forward to that day when we are together again. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Fear- I can't do this again

As I lay here unable to fall asleep thanks to the time change and my husbands snoring (sorry baby) my mind keeps drifting to January and how I am going to be able to cope with having Harper at home without losing my mind. Tomorrow we have 2 OB appointments and a meeting with a new pediatrician. Up until this point in my pregnancy, I've been worried about losing her before birth. I haven't really let my mind go to bringing her home. But tonight I cannot help but worry about losing her once we are home. I cannot go through that again and tonight I cannot help but remember back to that awful day. 

I'm not so much focusing on the beginning of the nightmare but more on how it felt once we walked out of the hospital without Avery. All I had to show for her was the pajamas she was wearing and the blanket she was swaddled in. I remember vividly the car ride to where we decided to stay. I remember just clinging to her things and staring blankly out the window thinking that this must have somehow been an awful dream. I remember my husband and I getting to our friends house where we stayed the first few days and just laying in the guest room holding each other, holding her stuff and crying until we somehow fell asleep. I remember feeling so incredibly empty. Not knowing how I was going to survive. I remember visitors coming to see us but feeling like a zombie talking to the.  I was there physically but mentally I was nowhere to be found.  

The next day we were forced to plan a funeral for our daughter. The car ride to the funeral home was so quiet. Neither of us knew what to say. I remember losing it as we pulled in. Every part of my body screaming to run far, far away. I remember sitting there staring at the cars driving by thinking once again this must be some horrible dream. I remember staring at the only coffin choice we had and once again falling to a million pieces. 

Those first few weeks were so incredibly empty. I stayed in bed and tried to sleep as much as I could so I didn't have to face the sounds of my ridiculously quiet house.  If it wasn't for Gods love, I don't know how I would have survived those early days. And as I may here thinking back to those darkest days I am almost paralyzed with fear that I will have to go through all of it again. I've survived once but twice is more than I think anyone can bear. I'm so scared. I can't have two daughters in Heaven. I can't go through it again. 

I pray constantly that this time will be different. I pray that we  get to see Avery before Harper does. I pray for strength to get through these next few months leading up to her birth and then for peace she we bring her home. Prayer is all I have. And it should be enough but sometimes, many times I am still just so scared.