Monday, December 15, 2014

"What IS this?"

The other day our family was leaving a holiday work party when Max asked for a drink of water in the car. I fumbled around at my feet in the passenger seat of the car, feeling for a stray water bottle I try to keep near for moments like this. All I could find was one HUGE apple juice container that we had filled with water on a recent hike.

"Here give him this," Kyle says as he hands me a small water bottle he had grabbed from the party.

The only problem was this wasn't regular water, it was with a "splash of lemon." Basically this water tasted like really weak, artificially sweetened lemonade.

"He isn't going to like this..." I warned.

"He won't even notice, in fact I bet he will like it," Kyle countered back.

I reached my arm back to Max and Max willingly grabbed at the water, took one drink, and sincerely shrieked,

"What IS this?!?!?!"

It was hilarious.

That is what Max is these days. A mix of hilarity and curiosity that keeps me on the edge of my seat, waiting for the next thing he will say. Sometimes when he talks to me I get sidetracked thinking...but you were inside me once, just a tiny little thing, and then you depended on me for everything and here you are chatting it up about pajamas and candy and letters. 

"Mom, what letter starts with wall and firetruck and parking garage?" At bedtime we have switched from me singing a requested song to snuggles where we talk letters and a lot of other random things like friends and choices made that day and the way things work. I can see his brain trying to figure this world out and it is FASCINATING.

"Hey Mom? Can I watch Human?" He requests.

"Human?" I query back, not sure of what he is referring to.

"That show where the human leaves the north pole and throws snowballs...." He goes on trying to explain what he means. Logically, Elf should be called Human if you really think about it...

Max is my strong-willed boy. He makes big expressions and uses his whole body to talk and explain. He is a master at playing pretend, especially when it involves fighting bad dragons. Playing with Dad is the clear highlight of his day and he continues to be the best helper with Daniel. He has nothing but love to give his brother.

"MOM!!!!!!" He comes running into the bathroom as I am finishing getting ready for church.

"What is it love?" As he rushes in, tears are streaming down his face. He was watching the start of Prince of Egypt and Moses' mother had just put him in a basket into the river and watched it float away...

"The mommy needs her baby!" He continues to cry, "She needs her baby back."

What do you say to that? Especially after all we have been through, this small scene became so very real for him. He doesn't understand much in regards to James but I think he understood what it would mean to lose Daniel and it terrified him. My heart softened in that moment, oftentimes it is hard to see beyond my own grief and emotions. But in that moment I was reminded of my beautiful firstborn, a boy who continually surprises me with his depth of character at the age of three.

He is never not fascinating.

(As before, all of these beautiful photos were taken by the VERY talented Hannah D Photography.)

Monday, November 24, 2014

That Balance of Laughter and Tears

We had the VERY talented Hannah of Hannah D Photography take some family photos of us recently. I plan on sharing a few in the next few posts.

I remember thinking vividly during Daniel's pregnancy, "When he comes then I will be happy/free/healed."

I side-eye myself for thinking that now...

I mean, I know where those thoughts came from. They were clinging tightly to the hope that sadness and grief is something one can end. That it is finite.  I thought to myself, if I have a baby in my arms to love and snuggle, then my focus can shift and I can stop thinking about what it would be like if James was here.
I feel bad for doing that to Daniel, for piling up so much expectations upon him as an infant. Thankfully, I realized that while Daniel brings an immense amount of joy, he needs to be his own person, he brings a joy and peace that does heal but it doesn't end the longing for James.

Losing James brought about an awareness of trials in my life. Before I walked with ease noticing hardship around me but I held it at arms length. Sadness did not need to touch my happy life thank you very much. But when you go through an immense sadness, one that stays around forever, that you think about everyday, that gets easier with time but never ends, you start to analyze how other people handle it all. Do they talk about it still? Do they shove it in the closet and grieve when it bursts out around important dates and occasions? Do they wallow in that sadness, declaring that joy is NOT possible anymore? Are they quiet, sharing with close friends, opening up to only those who they know will not trample upon the tenderness that remains? Do they never talk at all?

It fascinates me really.
Perhaps I thought there was a correct way, after all I lost both of my most beloved grandparents as a teen and it was certainly sad and I cried with real sadness for the first time. I loved them both dearly and often I love thinking about all the amazing memories I got to share with them. But it didn't shake me the way losing a child has, a loss that was so very much a part of me. I lost a part of my life that never was able to come to fruition. It became an existential crisis constantly plaguing my thoughts. If he had lived...who would I be? Would I still be keeping that hard sadness at an arm's length?
Where was I going with this? Oh yes, how people handle grief.

I suppose it is obvious that there isn't one correct way, but there are certainly healthy and unhealthy habits associated with grief. The main one being coming to the conclusion that joy is impossible to achieve after loss. It certainly feels that way, pretty much 99% of the time, but I know with a surety that God did not intend for us to be miserable. He does not want sadness to consume our very being.

Sadness and grief and longing and anger are all a part of this mortal experience. We need to know these emotions, these deep and difficult feelings. We need to acknowledge them but not run away with them.
I see so many who are consumed by their grief, so much so that it keeps them from being happy for those around them. I get it, trust me. There was a period there where I didn't feel like anyone else deserved a baby if I didn't get mine. I don't know exactly why we lost James, why I had to experience this sadness, but I do know that to let the sadness envelop me and take over would be to let darkness win. I now know that my longing for him is for always, and no one can fill his void except him. But in the meantime I can look up from that hole that my focus lands on and see the joy and happiness around me. I can see that joy and participate within it, I can smile and laugh and it doesn't mean I am covering up the hole or ignoring it. I just know deep down in my heart that each of our loved ones so desperately want us to be happy despite it all. To find that balance of laughter and tears and live with them together.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Choosing A Name

We chose Daniel's name carefully when we were still living the life of a graduate student family, traveling from city to city, our dressers were suitcases and our beds were graciously offered by the kindness of others.

I wanted his name to reflect this journey or at least reflect the endpoint. I searched online and in books. I desperately wanted something that meant "light" or "life" but for boy names this was hard to do. We went over our family names and none seemed quite right. Daily, I would create a new list of possibilities and then offer them up in our nightly discussions. Many grimaces were made. 

We are both traditionalists when it comes to names, but Kyle tends to have much stronger opinions relating to less used names. He grew up in a swarm of other boys names Kyle and found that as a child, each new Kyle was a new friend. I, on the other hand, grew up with two very unique names--my full name being Virginia and the name I went by being Gina. The first Virginia I met was my 8th grade English teacher and the first Gina I encountered was at 17, working up at camp. I reveled in the uniqueness, it made me feel special and I always imagined how awful it must be to have to go by your first name AND your last initial. 
So the debate went on for awhile until we came down to two names Henry and Daniel. I was on team Henry and Kyle was voting for Daniel. Henry means, "ruler of the home" and Daniel means, "God is my judge,"so clearly we had jumped off the name with deep meaning train because it was impossible to find one that really felt right. Kyle and I liked both names overall and so one evening we sat Maxwell down and asked him what the baby's name should be, "Do you think his name should be Daniel or Henry?" 

I posed the question, hoping my favorite would win and that Max even understood the question we were asking him. Then Max said in the most matter-of-fact tone, "His name is Daniel," and promptly turned around to play with a toy. We looked at each other incredulously. He had decided so quickly and assertively that we didn't quite know what to do with ourselves. Well then, a name had been chosen. 
Baby Daniel, I would repeat over and over when I was alone. I wasn't entirely happy with the meaning of the name, "God is my judge." What was that supposed to mean? I had come to terms with Henry's meaning in that it is a great responsibility to be a ruler, a ruler is one who is to serve, to help and aid and surely this baby would do that for our home. But how was I supposed to come to terms with the meaning of Daniel? It felt so.... I don't know, unfeeling?

Then one day I was reading the words of the president and prophet of our church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He used the story of Daniel to demonstrate the principle of  having courage. He said,
"Our scriptures are filled with examples of the type of courage needed by each of us today. The prophet Daniel exhibited supreme courage by standing up for that which he knew to be right and by demonstrating the courage to pray, though threatened with death were he to do so."

As I read these words, it became clear what "God is my judge" also meant. It means courage to stand for your principles, courage to do what is hard, courage to not let outside forces stop you from doing what you know it right.

Suddenly, Daniel felt perfect. I needed courage for his pregnancy and daily I found it. To put faith and hope in a happy, safe delivery. To trust that my body could take care of another. The courage to be a mother and to be happy within my circumstances.

Choosing his middle name also held deep meaning to us. There is a man who taught scripture classes when both Kyle and I attended the University of Washington and over the years he has become a mentor and most importantly family to us. When I was laboring with James, it was an insert in my scriptures with an explanation he had written of a particular scripture (Isaiah 61:1-3) that allowed me to accept the trial that I was given. The scrap of paper had been placed there years in advance, but in that moment, it was everything. It gave me clarity and allowed for my heart to be open to the spirit that was there in that room. To recognize that in our darkest moments, God is there. Giving us aid and transforming us.

We called him and talked to him about losing James and then we asked him if he would come to the burial to speak. Kyle and I were both planning on speaking, forming small talks to offer to our families. Our hope was that his words would be an offering to us. I didn't expect him to come, not because he wouldn't but because there were many circumstances in his life that made it difficult. But he came, and with him, I was reminded that Heavenly Father does answer prayers and most often he does it through people, earthly angels. His presence was like a salve, calming and healing to the wounds I felt.

Over this past year I have come to recognize more and more that the lessons he taught me when I was new to religion, new to having a relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have carried me time and time again. Daily my mind will remember words he said, a principle he helped me to discover, or a story told that had deeper meaning. He taught me how to look for God's hand in my life and those lessons have proved invaluable in my day to day interactions. He has been a great teacher and example to not only me, but our entire family and so the middle name Todd was chosen for our precious Daniel.

Names are so important and the stories behind each name is equally important. I want my children to know who they were named after and why. I want them to draw from those names when they need it, to look to their namesakes for inspiration and guidance and to live up to those names when the time comes.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Yesterday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day. It's ok if you didn't know, I wouldn't know either except for the reminder from online support groups. I can't ever seem to comment in those groups, so I silently participate, reading every now and then and occasionally offering kind words or aid. I still can't get over that we lost James, I still think about him every single day. I don't know if Daniel would be here, had James not died but I can't help but imagine what it would be like to have all three. It would be crazy, most definitely. But all I can think of is the love. I love them all tremendously.

Life lately has been a mishmash of pure bliss in having Daniel here safe and sound, but for the first week I kept calling him James. It kept slipping out and I would feel sad and horrible for it and then I would feel sad and aching for James. Eventually my psyche learned that Daniel is his own person and it hasn't slipped out since that first week. Daniel seems to be understanding of it all. Babies are like that.

Trying to learn how to parent two children at once is its own struggle. Two precious souls vying for my attention. One depends on me wholly and the other can't decide whether he wants to do it all himself or if he wants me to do it for him. Working out the kinks is sticky business and I am reminding myself to be realistic. Mistakes made are opportunities to learn.

When I nurse, I invite Max to snuggle as well. He takes that opportunity to give both Daniel and I hugs and kisses and usually brings over a book to read. We have checked out an enormous amount of books from the library each week to supplement our collection and Max is always excited to read something new. It has become our "thing," to explore the world of books (I knew my English major would come in handy somehow).We go on walks if the weather permits and in the morning, during preschool and semi-consistent toddler naps, Daniel and I snuggle and I kiss his cheeks over and over.
The hardest thing lately has been adjusting to where we live. It is always hard adjusting to a new city, but this move has been the hardest by far. Living in the area that produces the nationals largest amount of potatoes (if you thought it was somewhere in were wrong) leaves much to be desired. The people are incredibly nice here, but I miss old friendships, the ease of getting together and the exhaustion from trying to make friends after so many moves this year has become apparent.

I keep waiting for things to ease up a little, for little problems to lessen or lighten or even disappear. I keep waiting for someone to knock on my door offering a paid dream vacation for my family to go anywhere. But at the end of the day, I lay in bed and when I think about it, I have so much to be grateful for, as cheesy as it sounds. Life lately is one of growing pains that come with so much being new; new job, new town, new baby, new friends. An explosion of change, just trying to embrace it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Daniel's Birth

Baby Daniel Todd Prescott arrived safely into our arms on Monday, September 8th, 2014. 
8 lbs 4 oz/19.5 in

To tell the story of his birth is to rewind to getting pregnant once more and wanting above all else for this baby to arrive in our arms, "full of life," a phrase I would repeat over and over in prayer and meditation. Being pregnant after a stillbirth is to endure nine months of anxiety and fear and facing it all, sorting out what is understandable and valid versus what is unnecessary and warped. 

I delivered James' naturally and so badly wanted to do the same with Daniel, however I felt the odds stacked against me as I was treated as high risk. About two months prior to Monday I was at a routine non-stress test to monitor baby (which I did twice a week along with an ultrasound once-a-week) and baby Daniel started showing distress. So I was sent immediately to the hospital (all while experiencing a mild panic attack) to find out that all was well except for the fact that Daniel had a nuchal cord (cord wrapped around his neck) which would cause some heart variations. So I was told not to worry, that 25% of babies have nuchal cords, etc. 

After expressing increased fear and worry, I felt a great deal of peace and increased trust in my doctor as he took the time while on vacation to talk to me and relieve any fears. We continued to monitor and then over labor day weekend (also my birthday weekend) after completing my ultrasound and waiting to finish my non-stress test, I received a call from the on-call doctor saying that my fluid levels were too low and he wanted to induce me. He was being cautious which I appreciated but after some discussion, I was able to hydrate and have another ultrasound a few hours later to compare fluid level readings to really make sure it was necessary. We were totally prepared to get induced and felt a great deal of peace about going forward with it if the second ultrasound gave us the same low levels. However, the second ultrasound revealed the initial had been faulty and I was discharged with full assurance that baby was 100% okay. 

However, that roller-coaster Friday made us antsy to just get baby Daniel here and as we approached 39 weeks I felt an increase in my anxiety. It was palpable and my twice daily kick counting turned into hourly checking for m)ovement. Poking and prodding whenever my mind reminded me of how close I was before and how I just hadn't noticed that he had stopped kicking until it was far too late.

So at my last doctor appointment we decided to schedule an induction for 39 weeks + 4 days, three days before his due date. Talking with my doctor I expressed my sincere desire to have a healing birth. In my mind that meant approaching it as naturally as possible but ultimately getting baby here alive. He was extremely supportive of this and I felt a great deal of peace surrounding baby's arrival. 

Monday came and I arrived at the hospital at 6am and had my membranes swept and was given Cervidil at 7:30am. After an hour or so, I was able to get up and start walking at get things going. I immediately starting feeling contractions intensify, especially in my lower back. I was reminded of the back labor I experienced with Max and grew increasingly worried as I tried to work with both the physical pain of labor as well as approach and confront the emotional pain and trauma from James' birth. 

Kyle was an amazing support and listened to and encouraged me every step of the way. As contractions and pain intensified I felt a increased prompting to receive an epidural. I was EXTREMELY hesitant toward this fact due to my strong desire to deliver naturally, but the prompting continued and I expressed this to Kyle. He reminded me of my desire for a natural birth but of course was supportive with however I felt was best to move forward. 

My contractions reached a point where I finally requested an epidural from my friend Stephanie (who is a CRNA at the hospital). She had stopped in to visit previously and we had talked about her epidural technique. She explained that she liked to give enough pain relief to take the edge off but still allow the mother to feel contractions, move her legs, and feel the baby moving. I was shocked that that was even possible due to my only other experience being complete numbness and inability to move. She assured me it was possible. 

When they checked me (before the epidural) to see how I was progressing I was at 5 cm and in extreme pain. I had been staring at that pain level chart in the room, the one with faces going from smiling to frowning with tears. The crying face was emblazoned and I realized I had reached that point as each contraction came I was crying. I was crying because of the pain, I was crying in remembrance of the pain I had felt bringing James' into this world, dead before he had ever had a chance to be alive. The pain was continuous, I felt no break, no relief between contractions and then Stephanie came and provided the peace and calm that felt SO necessary for Daniel's arrival. 

Her promise of an epidural that took the edge off was true and I felt extreme peace at that. I also felt a great deal of peace regarding my decision to go forward with the epidural even though once they checked me after it was given I had already reached a nine (meaning I was in transition stage and had gone from 5 cm to 9cm in about 15 minutes). I was able to laugh, apologize for biting Kyle during one contraction, and have the mental clarity to approach Daniel's delivery. 

My doctor arrived a few minutes later and in a room of complete peace and silence he asked if I would like to start pushing. 

"Once you feel ready, go ahead."

The spirit in the room felt exactly like it had once James' had been delivered, except in addition to the sadness of losing James, there was an additional layer of happiness, of Daniel's arrival. Of knowing with a surety that James was there helping us bring Daniel into the world. I was grateful for the mental clarity that the epidural gave me to deliver Daniel in a room so calm and quiet. 

I pushed for under ten minutes, remembering to breath, to give the last bit of shared oxygen to the baby within me still and then he was born at 4:38pm. Most surprising of all was that he had managed to remove himself from that nuchal cord that had still been there in the ultrasound just the week before. He came out looking freshly bathed, but with the grumpiest grandpa face I had ever seen. He nursed and we sang to him and I was surprised that I didn't cry.

I was up in the clouds once more, surrounded my all the angels that had guided me during this pregnancy and kept both me and Daniel safe. Angels who had ministered to my heart and spirit and who had led me to have the most healing birth I could have imagined. The peace was overwhelming.

Maxwell came about an hour later and then I cried. He walked into the room and a few quiet tears fell as I watched him take his time, observing from a distance, and talking to us about preschool and a new toy from Grandma, as if Daniel's arrival was nothing new to him. He expressed his excitement with me being able to carry him once again, since Daniel was no longer inside my belly. He stayed for a little while, then left to go grab some food. Before he left, he gave me a kiss and then without prompting he asked to give one to Daniel as well. Then off he went.

Birth stories are always amazing to me. Each experience is so unique, so singular to mother and child and family. So much can be wrapped up into hopes and expectations and so much can depend on nurses and doctors and elements that are beyond your control. 

I wanted a healing birth and in my mind it looked very specific, very thought out in my mind and controlled by my hopes and expectations. Daniel's birth taught me that healing doesn't always look the way we imagined, but that when we seek healing with sincerity, open to letting go of complete control, we can experience exactly what we need. 

My greatest hope was having a baby arrive in my arms "full of life," I received that and infinite amounts more.

p.s. Upon arriving home the following day, I noticed we had received our first bloom from the flowers we had planted in memory of James. A beautiful reminder that James is never far from us.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Faith for the Best and Faith for Acceptance

I try my best to say a prayer at the end of the day. When I pray, I pour out my heart to my Heavenly Father and then I lay down and wait and listen and sort out all the thoughts in my mind, utilizing the spirit of prayer to guide me towards understanding and peace.

The other night as I lay down on my pillow I found my mind stuck between two different paths of faith. I felt I could choose to have faith that this baby would come healthy and living, a much harder path for my mind to take but one full of hope for the best possible outcome. On the flip side of having faith that it will all work out was the path my faith was fully walking down: faith that to accept whatever happens. Now, this has room for a hopeful outcome, but realistically it was consumed in mental preparation for the worst to happen. To prepare for loss again felt safe, it felt like the only way to protect my psyche. 

I vocally expressed to Kyle, "If it happens again, I don't think I can do it. I think I would have a full on mental breakdown. You would have to send me away because it would just be too much." Not the most desirable conversation to start, but I had to get it off my chest. 

"I feel like because I don't want it to happen again, I so badly want everything to go smoothly and perfectly and happily, that because I want it so bad....that it means that it is bound to happen. If I am not willing to accept this trial again, to say that I could have the faith to make it through again, that it means I didn't learn enough from it yet, that more suffering, more sorrow, more learning is needed." 

I tend to just start talking to my husband and the conversation turns into a long stream-of-conscious monologue. I rarely pause to let him divert the direction, he has learned there is no point, I have to talk it out, vocally, to make sure all the pieces of the puzzle are there. 

Then we work together to sort through them and piece them together so that they make sense and that we are both happy with what we are seeing. 

So on and on I went until I was out of breath, exasperated and confused at my mind. I could see the disparities and flaws in my logic, but that didn't make them any less real to me. 

"Why can't you have faith in both?" He finally stated, entering in on my ramblings, "Why must you choose one or the other?"

This was an entirely new thought in regards to this subject. My mind mulled over this ray of light, already illuminating so much. Both, I thought to myself. Faith that it will all work out but also faith to accept what is brought my way. What if the two paths I felt were so far apart were actually linked together. I realized that I have faith in a lot of things at the same time, why did I think faith was so singular. I honestly felt I could only devote my entire faith in one solitary thing, I felt I had to choose. In reality, I always have faith in multiple things, but it was the seeming dichotomy of two paths that made me feel like it was a choice to make. 

It didn't have to be.

We talked it over, this idea of faith in two things at the same time. As our conversation finished and the light was turned off, I let out an exhale and gave silent thanks for an answered prayer.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Choosing Joy and Managing Anxiety

Often I feel helpless towards the anxiety that bubbles up every so often during this pregnancy. I entered into this pregnancy knowing that anxiety would be a reality but that doesn't mean that it is any less surprising when a panic attack comes on. Thankfully they have been few and far between but when something rocks me, when fear and grief and darkness enter back into my mindset, I feel a suffocating pressure.

It surprises me that whenever a friend or acquaintance announces a safe and happy delivery online, that while overall I am joyful for them, underneath lurks a jealousy that feels ugly. In my mind, safe deliveries feel like a twisted lottery and when I lost James, it was because my number was up. Every delivery of a living baby is warped in my mind to mean that I could be that 1 in 160 once again.

This year I have found that the mind is a strange place, it has the capability of so much power over our general state of happiness. At times, I have felt that there was absolutely no control over where my mind took me. What I have come to realize however, is that with guidance, effort and consistency,  I can direct the state of my mind away from the anxiety.

Shop for baby
One of the hardest parts after losing James was packing away all that I had taken out in preparation for his coming. All of the onesies and blankets and that stupid bassinet, all were shoved quickly into a closet. Choosing to actually buy more baby clothes is one way that I feel helps me to choose joy. Choosing to plan and prepare and imagine, despite all that I know could happen. Every time I purchase something, it feels like a small step towards hope and that hope brings me a lot of peace and joy.

Rereading The Gift of Giving Life
I first read this book when I was pregnant with James and it helped me a ton to connect to the spiritual side of pregnancy and birth. I also reread portions of it after I lost James, to try to help me understand that even though things had not turned out how I imagined, that there was still meaning and beauty within it all. I was so happy to open it once more once we unpacked it from a box where it has been kept for the last six months. It has an entire chapter on fear that has been IMMENSELY helpful in reminding me how to have peace, which as I have said before is a huge aspect of me feeling joy. (FYI this book is written by  LDS women and therefore much of the vocabulary and references are LDS based. However in reality, I imagine any woman of faith would enjoy and benefit from it). What I love most about this book is that it is a collaboration of personal stories and articles written by midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, etc. It is wonderful to just pick up and thumb through and read a portion at a time, at a pace that works for you.

I have never been consistent at documenting my pregnancies but this time I have made more of an effort to. Each picture of my rounded stomach is a reminder that there is life inside and that brings great comfort.

Enjoying the Kicks
This baby kicks and kicks and kicks and I don't mind one bit. Yes, it can be incredibly uncomfortable. It can be distracting when I am trying to relax or go to sleep, but I am never NOT grateful for each reminder that this boy is alive and well.

Prenatal Yoga
Yoga has been a HUGE lifesaver for me. It focuses my thoughts and reminds me to prepare and take care of this body so that it can do its best growing the life within. Additionally, it helps relieve so many aches and pains that I feel that sometimes contribute to my general state of anxiety. It relaxes me both physically and mentally and gives me a feeling of strength. Overall, I REALLY love it when I make the effort to do it. It can be hard to completely focus and relax with a toddler suddenly visualizing my body as his personal monkey bars, but over time and a promise of ONE crawling under me in hands/knees position, he has been wonderful at giving me a little space. Of course, I also go into it expecting to be interrupted, giving myself permission to press pause or end before it's over.There are some BAD yoga DVDs out there, but I have LOVED Jane Austin's prenatal yoga DVD and the Body Talk Daily series for free on YouTube. I switch them up to keep things exciting.

Writing and Talking
I write on here when I can, but I have started to keep paper by the side of my bed because right before I start to drift off, a barrage of thoughts, worries, epiphanies, and ideas come to my mind. It can keep me up if I don't get them onto some sort of solid source, so I write with a pen and paper. Most of it is rambling, stream of consciousness, but it feels good to let it out. Alternatively, I have been known to wake Kyle up in the middle of the night, to call my mom during her lunch break, and to go over and over the same thing with friends when I visit. My verbal communication skills are probably even more rambling than my written, but nevertheless a listening ear is a huge help.

Scripture Study/Singing Hymns/Prayer
Connecting spiritually with Heavenly Father ALWAYS provides the necessary perspective shift when I feel anxiety and darkness start to close in. I am not perfect at scripture study or always remembering to pray when I start my day, but it has been an incredible lesson to me to realize how much I NEED that spiritual nourishment for my general well-being. It alters my day for the better every single time and I am grateful for an understanding, patient, and merciful Heavenly Father who remains consistent in His outpouring of love. I feel that love when I pray and sing and study.

Time with Family
My husband and son are my rocks. Sometimes I selfishly want to spend time alone, and at times this is necessary. But my days go best when I find joy in who I have around me. They know me and love me and care for me and at the end of the day, they aid me in finding joy now.

My anxiety often convinces me that once baby comes happy and healthy THEN I can be happy and relax and breath and all will be well. But it just isn't true. I will feel the loss of James forever, this is the reality that I have come to accept. Some days feel worse than others, but I KNOW that joy is still possible. Peace and comfort are still attainable and that James WANTS us to choose joy. He wants us to be happy within our circumstances. Pregnancy after loss is tough, I knew it would be going into it, but I am grateful for the way it has stretched me to grow. The observations it has forced me to make about myself, to be honest and open to my weakness in all aspects and to continue living onward through them, gaining understand, strength, and peace along the way.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Making Memories on Vacation

When I was a child, almost every summer we would venture as a family to Useless Bay, Whidbey Island located up in Puget Sound. I have so many fond memories of walking in the sand and finding crabs and building forts from driftwood and just being.

I badly wanted that for Max and so at my insistence, some of my family gathered once more at Useless Bay. I was so excited to share this place with Max; Kyle unfortunately couldn't make it due to work.

Arriving was pure bliss. The sun shone and the air, the air smelled so familiar, nourishing my soul immediately. I felt this internal heaviness and anxiety lift.

Lots of dead crabs and washed up jellyfish.

                          Driftwood dreams...                                                           An extra birthday celebration with family

Unfortunately after a day, the weather gave out and we were met with dark stormy clouds, whipping wind, and lots and lots of rain. It is to be expected really, you can never count on sunny weather, especially in western Washington. At first, the weather got to me. It was the week after commemorating James' death and all those dark, stormy emotions caught up to me. I couldn't run from them.


One rainy morning (after having enough of letting the gloom get to me), I decided to just love it for what it was. I decided to just walk in the wind and rain. It wasn't so bad. In fact, when I let it, it still nourished my soul.

Plus, realizing Max had complete indifference to the weather was helpful. Rain or shine that boy loved walking far out with the tide and finding treasures galore. He would point out every sand dollar to me and we would search for rocks or driftwood and lift them to find crabs, his favorite were tinted a dark, murky green.

I was so glad I decided to just let go of unnecessary expectations. When I did, I found that joy and memories were right there waiting to happen.

Me: Max what is your favorite thing about the beach?
Max: Green is my favorite.
Me: No, not your favorite color. What do you like to do best at the beach?
Max: crab.