Monday, December 10, 2012

Chilly weather, warm hearts

Merry Christmas!!

Christmas is my favorite time of year.   I love the Christmas lights, music, trees, and the warmth I feel during the holiday season.   Last year my holiday spirit was lacking, but this year spirits are bright.    Brady is at a perfect age to begin understanding the magic of Christmas! Not a weekend goes by that we aren't out doing something  fun and taking in the warmth of the holiday.  

I want to wish you and your family a Happy Holiday! Don't forget the true meaning of Christmas!  Many blessings!

 Brady helped decorate the Christmas tree this year.  He was very proud for his work.
 A visit with Santa at Macy's in NYC!

 A Central Park carriage ride with me, my parents and Brady.
The bus ride home from NYC!  I think he had fun :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Our Next Steps

Over the past several months, we have talked and prayed about the direction of our family.  What does God want us to do?  He obviously did not want us to have Jordan, for whatever reason.  Would He want us to have another birth child? In the beginning, I thought the answer was to adopt our next child.  I was given a strong sign that adoption should be considered if not chosen.  Over the summer, we began to peruse adoption and all that comes with it.  After attending some informational meetings through 2 different agencies, we started to question if this was truly the right path for US.  We knew that we wanted to do newborn, domestic adoption, but with that comes open adoption meaning that we would have to keep contacts with the birthparents.  We felt uneasy with open adoption and what that could entail.   That being said, we put our decision to proceed on the back burner.

In the meantime, my Thirty-One consulting was lifting off and I was picking up tutoring clients as the school year began.  My evenings were consumed with my fun, little jobs.  We have not discussed adoption since early August mainly because we have been busy being happy just the way things were.

Sometimes when you are busy being happy, things just happen....for a reason.   After my Soul Searching, literally the day after, we found out we were expecting.   With emotions of excitement, shock, and nervousness we now begin another lengthy nine months of pregnancy.  Being pregnant has made me happy.  I have not had any feeling of doubt, but instead hope and faith that this pregnancy WILL end happily.   I am extremely hopeful and confident in my doctors and my prenatal care/plan.  I am already in the 2nd trimester and have already had 3 ultrasounds.  Things are looking good!

Please keep my family and I in your prayers as we continue our journey to obtain our rainbow baby in April. (A baby born after a previous baby death).

What I want this time:
1. Cards congratulating me on the birth of my new child.
2. Smiling, happy visitors at the hospital.
3. A planned c-section.
4. To hear my baby cry when he/she is born.

What I DON'T want:
1. Sympathy Cards.
2. To leave the hospital empty handed.
3. Have to make funeral arrangements.
4. Say goodbye before I say hello.
5. My prayers to go unheard.
6. To grieve the loss of another child.

18 weeks.

Friday, November 16, 2012


When you hear the word "anniversary" you think of something happy.  Normally the celebration of another year of marriage, but what happens when you have to "celebrate" the anniversary of ones death?  How do you celebrate death?

I have been kicking around ideas of ways to honor and remember Jordan on his first birthday, 11/16/12.  1. Do you bake a cake and sing "Happy Birthday" to someone who isn't living?
2. Do you mope around all day waiting for the day to pass?
3. Do you go through the box of memories you have created since the death?
4. Do you donate money to an organization in his honor?

There is no easy answer to this question and there is no right or wrong way of celebrating/remembering someone who has passed.  There is what I came up with this year.

1. I baked cupcakes and decorated them with butterflies.  I shared them with my friday morning prayer group.
2. I asked people to color butterflies in Jordan's honor.  What and awesome response we received!
3. Chad and I went out on a date!  We went to a matinĂ©e movie and to dinner while my parents watched Brady.
4.  We donated money to the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh in Jordan's name.
5. We release three helium filled balloons to heaven.
6. And yes, we did some moping around too. After all, this is not a happy day for us, but we are making the best of it together.

Thank you for all the prayers, cards, and support you have provided to my family and I over this difficult time.  We are blessed to be surrounded by people who care.  

Happy 1st Birthday to our sweet angel, Jordan!  We love you!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A New Hope

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Our Announcement photo. 

Our first ultrasound at 7 weeks

14 weeks!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Insecurities

Don't we ALL have insecurities?  I never really recognized I had insecurities until I began reading, "So Long Insecurity, You've Been a Bad Friend" By Beth Moore.   Some people are more aware of their insecurities, mine just never surfaced until reading this book and learning all the different types.

Well, one major insecurity I deal with is fear.  Fear of another loss, fear of failing, fear of something terrible happening to my family.  I have begun being fearful since the loss of Jordan.  There was NO good reason for his death.  He was an innocent baby taken way TOO soon!  Why?  Because of it, I fear for my family's safety at all times.  Life is fragile and precious!

I do realize that I cannot live my life in fear.  That God has the ultimate say as to what is going to happen.  My prayers have gone unheard before when I asked God for a healthy, living baby BUT I continue to pray because I know HE is listening.  He may not always give me what I want, but He hears my cries.   He knows I am still in pain and I know HE wants me to be happy.

Another insecurity I have is wondering what people think of me.  Since I have starting having children and writing on this blog, my life has NOT been perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  I am pretty blunt honest on my blog and I hope people appreciate it and don't judge me for my feelings.  After all,  you have never walked a mile in my moccasins.  (Some of you are probably breathing a sigh of relief) Loss is NOT fun.  Especially when its a child.

I have worried about people judging me for my ability to bring life into the world.  My first was born with hemifacial microsomnia.  Meaning that one side of his precious face is visibly smaller in size than the other. This birth defect is nothing more than a lighting strike!  It is not genetic, we just happened to be a statistic.  Brady is an amazing little boy.  At this age, he is not aware that he is different in any way.  Developmentally, he is on point.   Each day he wakes up and gives me a huge smile and a bear hug! He is such a lover and a gift!  I like to say that being normal is BORING!   My second effort to bring life into the world failed miserably and I was left with a gaping hole in my heart.  This was yet another example of a lighting strike...fetal hemorrhage only happens to one in one million people.

Well people, I have news for you!  I don't like to take NO for an answer, especially when it comes to my family.  I can tell you, we are not done here.  Call me crazy, but we WILL have another child at some point during this crazy road of life.  Wish me luck and better statistics!

We all have insecurities even if you are the type that hides them well.   This book I am reading in a book/prayer group has been instrumental, being around and talking to other women who are experiencing all different situations in life.  One can really learn from the journeys others have taken.

I hope I didn't ramble too much!  My emotions are on high with the one year anniversary for Jordan's birth looming.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Few Chapters!

I feel like it has been a little while since I updated the blog, so I will do this post in a few short chapters!  

Chapter 1: My Sister

Several weeks ago, my niece celebrated her 3rd Birthday!  It seems like just yesterday I was cursing my sister's name for getting pregnant before me. LOL.  No seriously I did!  Kam is doing great and plays SO well with Brady. They are the best of buddies!  A few weeks ago, Kate and her family came for dinner.  As they were leaving, Kam leaned in to whisper something to me.  (Kate had just told her something to tell me) I waited for her to remember what she was told and repeat it to me.   Soon she squeaked out, "Mommy is growing me a baby in her belly."

YAY!!! I was so excited for them!  She is currently 22ish weeks pregnant.  They found out they are having another girl!  Kam is SO excited to be a big sister. (I'm sure Kohl is excited to be a big brother too)  Please keep my sister and her family in your thoughts and prayers as they are nervous this time through.  She is in good hands and I have faith that they will be blessed with a beautiful, healthy, baby in January!

Chapter 2: Brady the Animal Lover

Brady is just like is me in that he LOVES animals.  Luckily, my parents live on a mini farm and we can go over whenever we want.  They have an array of horses, dogs, cats, and chickens.  Brady has NO fear when facing an animal of any size head on.  The other week when we were over visiting, Brady was petting the horses.  As we drove the golf cart away, he began rubbing his eyes.  Next thing you know his left eye swelled up with hives and began to water.   I took him to the doctor and by the next morning he was perfectly fine.

A couple weeks later, we went to visit again.  My mom had just adopted 5 new barn kittens.  Brady was so anxious to pick them up and carry them around.  This time, I learned my lesson and brought plenty of wipes for his hands.  He just LOVES animals.  Look at the smile on his face! haha

Chapter 3: Annie and her 5Ks

Annie is a friend that I met while we lived in Cranberry Twp.  She has a little girl named Meredith who is only a few weeks older than Brady.  The two of them became good friends and we saw them often.  Annie and I would do a stroller strength class at our YMCA three times per week, not to mention all the other activities in between.  Annie has been a great friend and has been a wonderful support for me through my pregnancy with Jordan and after during the grief!

Annie was one of the my teammates who ran the Pittsburgh relay back in May.  She continues to update me with her personal goal.   Her goal is to run at least one 5K per month in memory of Jordan!  Each time she wears her Angel shirt that we wore during the relay!  Her most recent 5K took place today. What a great friend!

Thanks Annie for always remembering my little guy!  It means the world to me :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Soul Searching

After you have been a stay-at-home mom for a couple years, even a couple weeks, you begin to wonder if you should continue your professional career.  In my case, I feel guilt about not financially contributing to the family.  I have been waiting for a job opportunity to fall into my lap and well, one fell and I began pursuing what I thought was a "meant to be job."

I was given the amazing opportunity to interview for any one of 3 elementary positions in the district where we reside.  REGULAR EDUCATION!!  Was this my "out" of special ed?    I took the timing and potential positions as a sign.  This was my break.  A way to begin contributing to the family funds again.  A way to get my foot into the regular, elementary setting.  I landed an informal interview, which ended up going well because they invited me back for a second interview.   I welcomed the second interview, knowing I would have to prepare and teach a 3rd grade language arts lesson to several administrators.

I wasted no time as I began to brainstorm the perfect lesson to teach.  I spent Brady's entire nap-time gathering ideas and creating worksheets to use.  I continued working feverishly that evening to complete the lesson plan and all the components I would need to teach a successful lesson.  As I was preparing, I couldn't help but think whether this was really the right move.  After all, I just started doing some tutoring and independent consulting for a company.   Thoughts began to pour into my already overwhelmed head:
1. School starts next week!!??
2. What will I do with Brady?
3. I am already making some money.
4. What about that beach vacation we were planning next week?
5. What if I get the job and I just can't juggle everything else?
6. I know what a nightmare I can be when I am stressed!  Look Out!!
7. Could I continue to be a good wife and mom AND hold a full-time job?

There were SO many unknowns.  I woke up this morning with my stomach in knots over the lesson and potentially accepting a teaching position.   Is being a teacher really worth it at this point in my life? NO.  So there you have it!  By 8 AM this morning, I was on the phone pulling out of the running.  When I hung up, I felt a sense of relief.   At this time in my life, it just wasn't "meant to be."

Instead, I will continue being a much appreciated stay-at-home mom!  Just check out all the fun things we do together!  I really don't want to miss one second of it!  Life is TOO short!

 He keeps me busier than a classroom full of elementary kids!

 What a good BIG brother he would have been!! Someday!

Giving Big Bird a BIG hug!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Brady's Safari

As an infant, we never decorated a nursery for Brady.  I always wanted to do something cute, but just never got around to it.  Moving to a house with a blank canvas motivated me to do something amazing. I contacted a woman who does wall murals that I had known since high school.  She came in prior to us moving and painted  Brady's room in two days!

 Brady just loves his new room!  He enjoys naming all of the animals and saying goodnight to them at bedtime.

As always, Jordan is on the fore front of our minds.  Cathy painted these two canvas paintings of the constellation that helps us find Jordan's star from the International Star Registry.   They were placed above Brady's closet doors.  I liked the fact that they can be moved, when the safari themed room get to be "too childish" in the very FAR future :)

If you live in the Berks County area, I would totally recommend Cathy Chervanick. You can visit her website at:

Remember My Friend Toni?

Well, she and her two precious kids came to visit us last weekend!  It has been about 7 weeks since we moved from Cranberry and have seen them.  Brady and his buddy D picked up where they left off.  It was as if they were never apart.  Toni's daughter, A, is 7 years old and played with the boys really well.    Their stay was short, but very fun!

We are blessed with their friendship and can't wait to plan our next get together!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pintrest inspired party!

For Brady's 2nd birthday, we had a Cat in the Hat themed party.  I got all my ideas off of Pintrest! I just LOVE that site!  It may be my new addiction :)

First is my candy jars. Layered with red and white candy.  I used Swedish Fish, mini marshmallows, Twizzler nibs, Hershey's cookies and cream bites, and Hershey's kisses.

Hat cookies: I used half of an Oreo cookie as the base.  I then layered Lifesavers Gummies using only the red and white ones.  I used icing to keep them together.

Instead of a sheet cake, I did Red velvet cake cups. I layered cake and cream cheese icing and stuck Cat in the Hat characters on popsicle sticks.

The "interesting" Twos

Before Brady even turned 2, I thought I was in for it.  NO was his favorite word for several weeks, using it to answer every question!  Taking him shopping has opened the door for a new challenge as well.  Putting him in a shopping cart is no longer acceptable to a 2 year old so now he either walks or if we are lucky there is a cart with an attached car available.  Kudos to whoever invented those!

Walking through a store starts out good, but quickly turns into Brady pushing the limits, taking items off the shelves or refusing to follow me.   I am lucky if we get out of the store without something we don't need or a smile on my face.

Brady has only been 2 for two weeks and since the actual turning of 2, he has been a real sweetheart.   Two has been fun so far, but I'm sure it will also come with its own challenges.   I am excited to watch him grow and learn at this very interesting stage!

Now that we have moved closer to family and old friends, Brady has had the chance to spend a lot of time with his cousin Kamryn, Aunt Kate (my sister), and Uncle Jer.  Brady and Kamryn get along well and enjoy playing together.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Relief after 8 LONG months

So 7/16/12 marks the 8 month mark of what should have been a growing, thriving baby boy.  It has been a long road of grief, a struggle I never thought possible.  To loose a child is unimaginable and I still can't believe it even happened.

The loss of a grandparent is hard, but they leave the world having lived a long life.  The loss of a baby is unexplainable.  Just when you think a new life will be starting, it ends without warning.  The aches of longing for him and wondering what life should have been like with him will forever haunt me.

Having said that, I have begun to move on.  I am starting to think of our future and stop lingering in the past.   If I Could Turn Back Time, knowing what I know now, I WOULD.  In a heart beat!!  But I can't, so all I CAN do is move on.   So instead of repeating myself in my blog entries month after month while sobbing, I have decided to continue my blog with Jordan in mind.  Instead of this being a blog just about my grief process, I will now incorporate the rest of my beautiful family and all the FUN we are having in the midst of our grief.

Hopefully this new venture will make me smile, remind me of how lucky I am, and help me to continue traveling down a long grief stricken road (I think I can see the light).

On a happy note, Brady just celebrated his 2nd birthday!  He has been impressing us left and right with all the new things he is learning each day.  He started off slow with talking, but now he has the hang of it, repeating most of what comes out of our mouths.  

I love our boys like only a Mommy could!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Facebook + Grief = Bad News

I am a facebook junkie.  I don't know why.  It is super addicting.  I will check my news feed several times per day.  I enjoy knowing what people are up to.  Facebook, however, it a place I feel that people like to post only their most happy events. (e.g., weddings, babies, engagements, new homes, birthdays, vacations, etc...)  People usually will not post negative, real life information. Therefore, facebook makes people's lives seem perfect and happy.

Since the loss of Jordan, I cannot help but compare myself to all those ladies having babies.  Having their first, second, or third child.  I often wonder why they get to be so lucky.  Why was I the one who didn't get to meet her baby?  A few ladies had babies around the same time I had Jordan.  It is hard seeing pictures of these babies, wondering what Jordan would look like and be doing at this stage in his life. I want to be happy for the people having babies and I do congratulate them, but secretly my heart is breaking because of what I am missing.  Lately, I suffer from self-pity.  Poor me!  My family should have been complete.  Two kids and done.  November 16th sure put a different perspective on what our family will look like.   I will forever want Jordan to be our missing link.  I still feel so incomplete without him and hope that our family will grow by at least one more at some point.

People that I have met after the loss of Jordan, will ask how many children I have.  I want to say 2 because that is the truth, but I don't want to have to explain myself OR make them feel uncomfortable.  I really wanted my kids to be close in age.  Brady and Jordan would have been 16 months apart... best buddies!  I had it all figured out prior to 11/16/11.  Now what?  I don't know if my body can physically handle another pregnancy.  Mentally and emotionally, I would be a mess.  It would be 9 months of hell, hoping and praying for a good/ healthy outcome.  Life is a gamble and until something this traumatic happens to you, you just wont understand all the emotions that go along with it.

Facebook is not healthy for me.  I have thought about deleting my account, but just can't seem to do it.  I started a page for Jordan that I want to keep going.  I want to know what people are doing and I want to use it to keep in touch.  Maybe I will just limit my time....checking it only a few times per week.   Facebook just seems to be a constant reminder of what I don't have and it makes me envious of what other people are so blessed with.

For now, I will keep my account open and hope that I can regulate my addiction.  Besides these thoughts, I really have been doing well.  We are staring to discuss options for our family and how we might go about having more children.  Please pray for us, that we will be able to complete our family in some way.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Recalling THAT day

On what would have been Jordan's 7 month birthday, I called to mind the events and emotions that took place the day he was born and the day he left me behind.  Why? Because a family we know is now going through a similar situation.  I know what they are going through, what they are thinking, and how they are feeling. Here are some thoughts about those two days that I have not shared before:

1. The agony of waking up from an emergency c-section, knowing your newborn is in bad shape.
2.  The loneliness I felt when I held Jordan's body in my arms.
3. Wishing the world would just stop b/c of my own tragedy.
4.  How could I possibly go on living w/o the son that was supposed to join our family?
5.  1% chance?? Why me?
6.  I found out on April 1st that I was expecting Jordan...April fools day.  What a sick joke!
7.  Jordan was supposed to complete our family, instead he left us feeling so broken.

Looking back at those days in November, I can remember the RAW emotions that I felt.  Seven months later, my emotions have definitely subsided.  I have stopped questioning what happened b/c there is nothing I can do to change it.  I no longer think of his death, instead I tend to think about the future and how I plan to continue to honor and remember Jordan through my family.

As I have written before, the butterfly has a great significance to me since the death of Jordan.   Butterflies are symmetrical and many things about Jordan are too:

1.  He was born on a Wednesday, the MIDDLE of the week. A day with equal days before it and after it.
2.  He was born on the 16th of November.  The exact MIDDLE of the month, having the same number of days before it and after it.
3. One of the first people to each out to me about her own story of child loss was Hannah, a name that is symmetrical.  Spelled the same way forwards and backwards.

As always, wishing Jordan a happy 7 month birthday!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

6 Months Ago

I really cannot believe my sweet angel would have been 6 months already!   I seem to feel his presence everywhere and continually see things that remind me of him.  Just the other day a beautiful yellow and black butterfly crossed my path.  Butterflies seem to be EVERYWHERE!   They are a huge Spring/Summer symbol that are constantly arising.   Then there was this one below that seemed to meet me at the door on my way down the stairs one morning.  It lingered around the door frame for a long time. Long enough for me to take several pictures from both inside and outside of the house. 

In just a few days, our family is relocating back to the area we are originally from.  We will be MUCH closer to family and long-time friends.  The whole move is bittersweet.  We will be leaving behind great friends, but moving back to where we call "home."   

We are taking the dogwood tree that was bought for us by our neighbors, in memory of Jordan.   I thank GOD that we decided to have Jordan cremated.  I could not imagine having to "leave" him again.  I feel as though I am writing a bunch of thoughts that don't flow very well, it is probably the stress of the move.  

So I will leave this post by saying: Happy 6 months Jordan!  I still think about you constantly and wonder how my life would be going if you were here with me in body instead of spirit.  I miss you each day and still do not understand why this had to happen.  

“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” 
-Ecclesiastes 11:5

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

My "girlfriends" in this journey

A BIG thank you to my "girlfriends" for helping me through this very difficult time!    

I make quotes around girlfriends b/c our wonderful facilitator refers to all the women out there suffering from the loss of a child, girlfriends.  We are NOT alone is this journey even when we feel like we are.  Thank you for touching my life and supporting me through my grief!  

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Running for Jordan

Six weeks after Jordan had passed away, I made my way back to the gym to begin working out again.  I was approached by one of the fitness instructors to consider running the relay in the Pittsburgh Marathon. It wasn't long before I committed and gathered a team of 5 women.   Two of the women were my neighbors, Toni and Brooke. Another was a woman I met doing stroller strength, Annie.  The last team member was Pam, a random woman who got stuck with us.  I stepped up to be team captain and we were registered just after the new year.

I was never much of a runner.  I always got shin splints when I would run.  The last time I ran a significant distance was in High school, during field hockey season.  I was nervous to begin the training.  I established a running schedule and really stuck to it, increasing my distance each week.   I ended up running the longest leg of the relay, with the most hills.  I had been training at a 10 min mile without inclines.

In the midst of training, I decided to buy a custom t-shirt to wear on race day.  The shirt was made to honor Jordan.  I was excited to get it in the mail and immediately showed it to Toni, one of my teammates.  She was offended I didn't ask her if she wanted one, SO of course I ordered one for her and asked the other team members if they also would want one.  I was excited that the other members also wanted to wear the t-shirt.   What a great way to honor my sweet angel!

Race day came on May 6, 2012.  With t-shirts on, we assembled ourselves at our exchange locations.  I was excited and nervous to run my leg.   My exchange came as Annie exchanged with me, about one hour and 30 minutes into the race.  I began my leg, which started at mile 9.  I began strong with fresh legs, passing many others right out of the gate.  I knew my 2 mile incline was approaching and wanted to save my energy.  I tried to get a consistent stride, but felt the need for speed.  Ahead, I saw the hill.  Half way up the hill, when I felt like walking, a few remarkable things happened.

1. A Christian song began playing on my ipod.  The only word I heard loud and clear in the song was angel.  The song made me push harder, knowing that I was running this race for my very own angel.

2.  Running up the hill, I dropped my head to watch the ground under my feet.  As I did, I saw a penny- heads up.  Why is this significant?  Just one week earlier, Toni told me that pennies are things angels throw down from heaven.
I found a penny today
Just laying on the ground.
But it's not just a penny
This little coin I've found.

Found pennies come from heaven
that's what my Friend told me.
He said Angels tossed them down
Oh, how I loved that story!

He said when an Angel misses you
They toss a penny down,
sometimes just to cheer you up
To make a smile out of your frown.

So don't pass by that penny
When you're feeling blue.
It may be a penny from heaven
That an Angel's tossed to you.

3.  As I saw the penny, I looked up to the sky as if to say "thank you" for showing me that you are with me.  Looking ahead again, my eyes immediately found a sign that said adoption on it. I laughed to myself and thought how ironic it was for all three of these things to happen to me within a 30 second time frame as I was climbing the hill.

As I laughed to myself, I also choked back tears. Literally choked!  Running and crying are not a good mix.  I composed myself to get through my leg.  As I continued running the remainder of my leg, several young children lined the streets, hands out to slap the runner's hands.  I took the opportunity to slap each hand that was outreached.   I will never get to slap Jordan's hand in a high-five, so I felt the need to do it to those who were there routing me on.  And although I know Jordan was right beside me,  helping to pull me through to the next exchange,  I will never have the opportunity to touch him again.  (Ouch! Writing that hurt! )

I must have had a pair of my own wings that day...I completed my 6.4 mile leg in 53 minutes.   That is a lot faster than the 10 min mile I have been training for. AND I had a 2 mile incline.  (Toot, toot) It is not often I toot my own horn.  I was proud of myself for sticking to my goal and accomplishing something I never thought I would do.

I did this for Jordan, but I also did it for myself and in the process lost all that baby weight- another accomplishment!

The shirts say: I have an angel

Monday, April 16, 2012

The affirmation of Jordan

So 5 months ago today, Jordan Reed was born.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of him.  Five months ago, I wasn't sure how I was possibly going to make it through such a horrible event.  The days seemed endless with constant thoughts about Jordan.  The "what ifs" and the "If onlys" were a consistent thought.  With any wound, no matter how deep, time does help.  It will never heal, but the pain has defiantly subsided.   (for now)

Today I decided to take Brady to the park.  Before playing, my plan was to run 3 miles with the jogging stroller.  I was being quite ambitious as I haven't even ran this particular trail without the stroller.  Well, needless to say we only made it one mile with several ups and downs in the terrain.  Pushing a stroller with an extra 30lbs is no easy task.   Phew! After one lap/mile, I noticed a butterfly at the place we started.  I stopped, got a drink and pushed myself to do one more mile/lap at a slower pace.   At the conclusion of the second lap, the butterfly was still in the same place.  I stopped again and watched it fly around, struggling to keep flight in the wind.  Soon it flew away, never to be seen by me again.  It was as if it was cheering me on and waiting for us as we came back to our finish line.

Now it was Brady's turn to play at the playground.  We were there about 30 minutes when a little girl and her grandma came and played at the same section as us.  The little girl kept following Brady around the playground.  It wasn't long before the grandmother began to coach the little girl my name as she climbed up and down the equipment.   Her name: Jordan.  I couldn't help but watch her and wish it was me calling my child by the same name!

These are just two small ways that Jordan is affirming his presence in my life and it is things that this that keep me going-  signs that he is near!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A Poem for Jordan at 5 months

No words I write could ever say
How sad and empty I feel today.

Jordan you were taken from us way too early
Gods plan for you I will never understand.
Everyday I think to myself how unfair it is
You weren't given the chance to become our little man.

Jordan to everyone here you will always be a son, brother, grandson and nephew
I'll cherish the memories I had with you
Even though they were way too few.

I've come to realize nothing will ever bring you back
I know because I've tried
I know because I've asked God why he took you instead of me
And I know because so many times I've just sat and cried.

Never did I think you would come into my life leave so quick and take a piece of my heart
No one can ever take away the memory I have of holding you in my arms as you decided to leave this life and part.

If there's one thing I can take comfort in...
It's that Kohl is with you so your time in heaven without us isn't so rough
I hope you guys will always look down on us
Our time to meet again will come soon enough

So go now and rest in peace Jordan
my son you will always be
The memories of your short time here will always stay close to me.

Jordan we love you more than you will ever know and you will never be forgotten.

Written By: Jordan's Dad

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Memorial

On Apri 7, 2012 we held a memorial service for Jordan and Kohl.   The planning began months ago with the preparation of a date and time.  My sister and I spoke regularly about the memorial and several emails were sent back and forth containing ideas.  

We agreed that the Easter holiday would be a great time to remember our little men.  After all, it is the celebration of the resurrected Lord.  The holiday was all together symbolic for our memorial service.  We decided to include a butterfly release at the conclusion of the service.  The butterfly means: entering of a greater life; just as our Lord and children entered their "greater life."  

At the beginning of March, I ordered a demo kit of Painted Lady butterflies.  It was my job to raise the butterflies and bring them on April 7th.  They came in two separate cups as larvae.  About 12 days after they arrived, they formed into pupae and hung to the top of the cup.  I then transferred them to the sanctuary and waited for them to emerge.  It was approximately one week later that they emerged into beautiful butterflies.  I cared for them by feeding them sugar water and orange slices and misting the sanctuary with water.
The life cycle of a painted lady butterfly is only about 2 weeks.  The butterflies, all nine, emerged 16 days prior to the memorial.  It was nerve wracking to think that they could die any time before the memorial even happened.  Luckily, with fingers crossed, all nine survived the 16 days and 4 hour car ride back to our "home" church in Fleetwood, PA.

My sister's job was to create the programs.  She did a beautiful job.  She designed a 3-fold program containing the order of events, a picture of each of the boys, and several poems and quotes throughout. It is something I will cherish forever.  In addition, she also made colorful butterfly sun-catchers for each family that attended.   They included Jordan and Kohl's name with letter beads and purple and topaz beans to represent their birthstones.  It was super creative and took many hours to make.

The service was really nice.  We invited only our closest family members for a very intimate memorial. We began the service with a prayer, followed by the lighting of two candles while "Held" by Natalie Grant played in the background.   My sister, Chad, and I all spoke.  My sister and I read quotes and passages we have come across during our grief process that struck a chord with us.  Chad read a poem he wrote himself.  Our pastor presented a sermon and then we all went outside to release the butterflies.

I felt a sense of relief after the service.   I was happy that we had planned it and were able to do it in honor of our boys.  I was able to rest a little easier that night knowing it was over.   I felt nervous and nauseous during the days and hours leading up to the service.   I wanted to make sure that we gave the boys the tribute they both deserved.  I wanted everything to be perfect without any regrets- and it was!  No regrets!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Adoption or biological?

Ever since I was a teenager, I have always wanted to adopt a child.   Since having Jordan, I am fearful that a similar situation will happen to us in the future.  Do I want to chance getting hurt so badly again? Life is an uncertain thing and only God knows what our future will hold.  Therefore, I have begun praying and asking God to send me a sign.  A sign that would lead me to choose adoption or pregnancy in our future.

My morning routine consists of watching GMA until 9:00 followed by Live with Kelly from 9-10.  During that time I will listen to the programs, eat breakfast, have my coffee, and tend to Brady's needs.  Just the other day, I decided to put PBS on for Brady instead.   He sat and watched The Cat in the Hat then Super Why came on. Brady lost interest, but I kept it on anyway.  Brady and I played with his train while this cartoon continued playing.

If you have ever watched Super Why, you know that they have several "words of the day" that are discussed.   During this particular program, one of the words was: ADOPT.

(Below is the summary of the episode from that day: I found it online)    

scene from episode
Ain't Nothin' but a Pound Dog, part 2

When Martha's family comes to take her home, she decides she can't leave her shelter friends behind. Adopting that many dogs is out of the question, so Martha, Helen, and T.D. cook up a plan to find families for the pound pooches. (2nd of two parts)


(E) adopt, affection, devoted, embrace, loyal
(I) adore, belong, care, dream, hope

As the word of the day, ADOPT, came on the screen, I stopped in my tracks and wondered if this was my sign.  Could it be?  Nah, it is just a coincidence.  I thought to myself, if a butterfly appears soon, I will know it truly is a sign.   I kid you not, about 20 seconds later the following advertisement appeared.   This time I was quick with the remote control to pause the screen for proof.

There you have it.  My sign.  So now what?  Well, now we wait until we are ready emotionally to take action.  Chad and I still need to do some major talking about this topic and I need to continue to pray about it.   Whether we have biological children or adopted children, I am hopeful that our family will grow.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Friend Toni

Let me tell you a little bit about my friend Toni.  I have only known Toni for about a year and a half.  She just happened to live in the house across the street from the one we bought in Cranberry Twp.  When we bought our house, she and I were both pregnant.   I was pregnant with Brady, and she was pregnant with her second child, Dane.
It wasn't until August of 2010 that I really started to get to know Toni.  By this time, we were both taking care of infants and sharing stories with each other.  We would bounce baby ideas and strategies off of each other.  It was nice to have her so close.   Our boys have really grown up together and have become good friends.   Just the other day, they were riding side by side in Dane's power jeep, enjoying one anothers company.   While the boys play, Toni and I talk and catch up on each others day.

When the weather permits, Toni and I usually always walk laps around our neighborhood, pushing the boys in the strollers.   We usually clock about 1.5 miles and not a silent moment comes over us.  We talk and talk and talk.   It is SO nice to have such a great friend who lives so close.  Last summer, we would talk about my plans for adding our second child.   Jordan consumed a lot of our conservation as I tried to figure out what I would do with Brady when I went into labor.  As you could imagin, Toni was the first to offer her time to watch Brady when our time arrived. 

Toni and her husband both work full time and raise two children, Dane and Abby.   I know how precious her family time is to her and how hectic her schedule can sometimes be.   Abby is involved in many after school activities and her husband, Kevin, travels overnight often.  I was not suprised when Toni offered to care for Brady while I was in the hospital.  That is just the kind of person she is.  Little did she know what she really signed up for until November 16th came rolling around.

After I had gone to the hospital for what I thought would be a quick check of Jordan's heart rate, Chad contacted Toni to watch Brady so he could try and make it for the birth of Jordan.  Toni stayed with Brady for most of the afternoon while unexprected events unfolded at the hospital.  Thursday, Toni came to visit me at the hospital since my in-laws had arrived and were able to watch Brady.   I did most of the talking as she listened to me ramble about what had taken place the day before.  She added words of encouragement and hope as I spoke.   As she left on Thursday night, we had made plans for her to pick me up Friday morning to drive me to Children's to meet/see Jordan.  Friday came and I had received several calls from Chad prompting me to come as soon as possible.  My gut told me things were not looking good for my sweet son.   Toni arrived and helped me into her car.  We were in route to Children's when I got the horrifying call that Jordan had passed away.   Only Toni and God were with me as I reacted in pure horror, screaming: NO!!!  

Tears of sadness ran down our cheeks.  We were both at a loss for words.  Fifteen minutes later, we arrived at Children's.   We walked arm in arm up to the NICU and into Jordan's room.  We were raw with emotion as our eyes set on Jordan for the first time.  We looked on as Chad held him in his arms.   I took a turn holding my sweet angel and then passed him to Toni when I was done admirring him.  What a friend!  She had seen it all.  She was right there with me in the midst of the worst time in my life. She was there to  hold my hand, to talk to, to cry with.  She knew what had transpired and how I reacted.  She was there. 

Afterwards, she contacted the Bunco ladies from our neighborhood and organized meals for us.  She and the other neighbors bought us a dogwood tree in memory of Jordan.  She called me every single day for the first month to check in.  She thought about us constantly and wondered how we were doing.  She invited us over for Thanksgiving dinner.  She continues to call on the 16th of every month.  She reads my blog entries as they are posted.  She listens to me talk about my grief and offers her support.   She has been affected by the death of Jordan as much as I have been.  She gets it.

Toni has been so helpful to me during my grief process.  I don't know if words can really express how fortunate I am to have such a great friend.  I am pretty sure God had a part in us meeting.  He knew I would need a friend like her to care for me in my time of need.  After all, my long time friends and family were fours hours away. 

Just a few weeks ago we got news that Chad's job would be moving us closer to family and old friends.  The news was bitter sweet. We were very excited to receive the news, but very upset to be leaving Toni and her family.   I know she will only be a phone call away, but knowing I can't walk across the street to talk in person or for a comforting hug will be very hard.  I hope and pray that our friendship will last for the long haul.  You don't find friends like Toni everyday.    We share a common bond, Jordan, and I am certain he will keep us close. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

He melts my heart

Brady is having fun coloring Jordan's four month butterfly! Thank God for Brady!

Keeping the faith at 4 months

    Oh the thoughts of having a four month old...I tried to recall what Brady was doing at four months.  I remember starting baby oatmeal with him and strapping him in a highchair for the first time.  By this point, he was able to hold his head up on his own.  We dressed him up as a frog for his first Halloween, right around his 4 month birthday.

     For some reason, I have been drawn back to the day we spent with Jordan at the Children's hospital after he had passed.  I recall asking the reverend how one goes about "keeping the faith" after such a horrible tragedy.   He went on to tell us the following scenario:  Unfortunately, you will never understand why God allowed this to happen.  It is like taking your newborn baby to the doctor's office for shots.  As parents we cannot explain to them why they need the shots b/c they cannot understand us, but we take them anyway b/c getting the shots is what's best for our child. As parents we watch as the shot is given and our child screams in pain, but we are there to hug them and sooth their pain.  Similarly, God is unable to explain to us as his child, why we had to endure such a loss- but we must trust that he had our best interest at heart and that he will be there to console us in our darkest hour. 

    Although my prayers for Jordan went unanswered, I continue to believe in God and the path He has chosen for us.   I hate that His path has included the death of our son, but trust that He will guide us to brighter days.

Happy four months to our beautiful angel!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Memorial Service

My sister and I are planning a memorial service during the Easter holiday for our angel boys.  I was working on the program today.   I never thought I would have to do such a thing.   My heart became weak and my fingers numb as I tried to think of the words I wanted to write in the program.   How can you possibly put all of your feeling and thoughts into a few sentences about a child you have lost??

My heart is broken and I wonder if it will ever be repaired.   I feel bitter this week.  I read stories, poems, and blogs.  They are all so inspirational and   How does someone who has lost something so precious have such hope.  Don't get me wrong, I have days where I am nothing but positive about the situation.  Then I have days like today that get the best of me.  Today I am drowning in my sorrow.

Monday, February 27, 2012

They Say There is a Reason

They say there is a reason,
They say that time will heal,
But neither time nor reason,
Will change the way I feel,
For no-one knows the heartache,
That lies behind our smiles,
No-one knows how many times,
We have broken down and cried,
We want to tell you something,
So there won't be any doubt,
You're so wonderful to think of,
But so hard to be without.
~Author Unknown

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kohl's First Birthday

2/25/12 was my nephew, Kohl's, first birthday.   He was stillborn.   My sister went in for her regularly scheduled c-section on 2/25/11 and a heartbeat could not be detected.  Little did I know what she was feeling or dealing with until I went through a similar situation with Jordan.

I spoke to her on Kohl's birthday.  She seemed to be holding it together.  She was touched by the people who remembered his birthday and sent notes to her that day.   We talk often about our angel boys.  It is bitter sweet having her to confide in.  If you have never lost a child, you will never understand the painful emotions we face day to day.  It doesn't matter how long you were able to spend with your child, the hurt and sting are all the same.

Some people will ignorantly think that b/c we didn't really know our children, our grief is not as hard and our pain is not as deep.  I can tell you that it is.  Our hopes and dreams for our babies were destroyed the minute they died.  We dreamt of their bright futures, what their personalities would be like, what their professions would be, where they would go to school, who they would marry and although we will never see their future, we will always wonder what they would have been like.

Our arms ache and so do our hearts.

We have unending love for our angel boys!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

3 months

Dear Angel Jordan,
      I cant' help but think of what you would look like and be doing at this stage in your life.   I look back at pictures of Brady at three months and reminisce about his days as an infant.  I continue to grieve your loss.   The 16th of each month should be a celebration of your life and all the changes you have made from one month to the next, however, it is more of a celebration of the steps I have made in my grief process.   The 16th is more of a hump for me.  Once I get over it, my emotions are pretty steady until I reach the next hump 30ish days later.
    I miss you each day and wish things would have had a different, more happy outcome. Since I cant change the hands of time, I have to deal with what I was dealt with; a beautiful birth and a premature death.  Either way, I am thankful to have met you and I am proud to be your mother.

Much Love,

Sunday, February 12, 2012


     We just returned from a vacation to Disney World.  It was a much needed getaway.  Brady and I spent two days together swimming and visiting downtown Disney while Chad sat through some business meetings.  Later, the three of us went to Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom.  It was Brady's first trip to Florida.   He was a great traveler!
  During our trip,  I couldn't help but notice all of the families with multiple children very close in age and think that should be us!  Although I tried to ignore  my feelings while I was there, they are catching up with me today.  I long to have a baby in my arms and it is during these times, I am thankful that I can pick up my sweet Brady and hold him tight.  Without him, I would be drowning in sorrow.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Gifts Through Grief

Monday was my third time going to a support group.  It consists of me and two other ladies.  Because it is through a church,  the facilitator ties in scripture to what we are experiencing.   This past week, they opened my eyes to three gifts.
1.  After my sister lost her second child to an umbilical chord accident, I was extra cautious during my pregnancy with Jordan.  During the pregnancy, I did not get overly excited about baby 2.  I always had a thought in my head that something similar would happen to me.  I did not organize a nursery,  I did not get the double stroller out of its box, and I did not put the infant car seat into the car.   All of which are out of character for me.  I am normally very organized and make sure everything is ready in advance.  Maybe that was God's way of helping me through.  I didn't have to come home to a house full of baby items set up throughout the house.
2.  A few months prior to my delivery, I was at Bunco with some neighborhood ladies.  During our break, one particular lady and I struck up a conversation.  She told me about her family and that they own a funeral home downtown. I had asked her how many children she had and she went on to tell me she has four living children and one in heaven.   She felt comfortable telling me the story about her son and I listened with heart ache.   Knowing her story and her family business, I immediately got in touch with her after the loss of Jordan.  Not only was she a valuable resource about grief, but she and her husband also took care of Jordan at their funeral home at no cost!!   People definitely come into your life for a reason!
3.  The last gift was given to me at the hospital.   It was hard being at the hospital where I delivered and not with Jordan at Children's, but it was a gift in disguise.  I was full of hope for Jordan during the days we spent apart.   I had a strong feeling that he would pull through and we would be taking him home soon.   Because he was alive, yet struggling, I was pushed to stay positive.   Even though he did not make it long enough for me to see him alive, I truly believe that he kept fighting long enough for me to be discharged.  Had he passed during my stay at the hospital, I probably would have been more of a wreck! Being in the maternity ward with a bunch of new moms and new babies is totally different when you are a new mom without a new baby!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I have been attending a weekly support group at a local community church.  My "sister" and facilitator of the support group will often refer to the grieving process as a Cyclone or a funnel cloud.  She uses this as a metaphor to describe how one may feel one day as opposed to another.  One day, you may feel ease and comfort and the next day, you may experience thoughts and feeling of despair and sadness.  The cyclical  poisons come and go with each passing day.

Since the autopsy results, I have felt a sense of relief and closure.   Instead of the endless thoughts  about Jordan and his passing, I am now able to fully focus on Brady.   This doesn't mean that Jordan is no longer thought of, he just isn't on the forefront of my mind.   It was exhausting, thinking of the events that took place between 11/16 and 11/18.  I believe that the autopsy results were God's way of closing the door.  It was his "gift" to us.  Some parents do not get results like we received.  We were blessed to be in a location where the NICU doctors were well versed in caring for newborns.   Unfortunately, our little and could not be saved.   Like the cyclone, I am currently having feelings of peace and hope.  We'll see what tomorrow brings.

There is not a day that goes by that I wish things would have been different with the birth of our son, but there is nothing I could have done then or now.   He is in God's care now, the best care out there.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

autopsy results

     I woke up this morning feeling nauseous about the days events. Today we were meeting with the doctor who took care of Jordan at Children's Hospital and the other doctor who conducted his autopsy.  I woke before my alarm clock was set to go off.  My mind immediately went to Jordan and the events that occurred during the length of his short life.  I wondered whether the autopsy would reveal something we didn't already know.
    My biggest fear of walking down the hall of the NICU was dismissed when we were lead to a conference room in a different wing/ floor of the hospital.  I just couldn't imagine having to pass the room Jordan was once in.   We sat with the doctors as they first answered the list of questions we had about Jordan's health.   They were honest and sincere as they delivered the news.  Summary:  Because of the hemorrhage Jordan sustained while in utero, he had lost a lot of blood which in turn put his body into shock.  His organs were suffering b/c of the lack of blood and oxygen.  The report revealed that his organs slowly shut down as the cells were dying.  He had very little brain activity and had his other organs recovered, his life here would not have been one I would have wanted for him.  
    One "what if" question that I have been running through in my head is: What if I had delivered at a hospital with a NICU?  Would he have had a better chance?  The answer they gave me today was no.  Even if I had delivered another location with a NICU, they would have had to transport him to Children's anyway.   Another "what if" question I struggle with is: What if I would have gotten to the hospital sooner.  The answer was, he would have had the same outcome.  They do not know when the abruption happened and his organs were already loosing blood and oxygen.
    We now have a little bit of closure to the situation.  Although this is not the anticipated outcome we wanted of a healthy, living baby; I am glad that he didn't have to suffer long before God took him from us and put him in a better place.  I still can't believe this has even happened. It all seems so surreal.  Why??
    After reading other blogs of families in the same boat, I began to regret my decision about opting out of having a photographer take pictures of Jordan after he had passed.  Instead, we wanted to remember him while he was alive.  Today, the doctors said they had taken a picture of Jordan before the autopsy and asked if I wanted it.  Of course I did and I was grateful that they did that for us.  In the moment, you are so overcome with emotions that you don't have time to think clearly about things like that.  
     It has been another emotional day as we sort through our emotions and deal with such a terrible loss.  We will continue to remember and honor Jordan and hope for better days.  For now, we are taking it one day at a time.
While we were at out appointment, Brady spent time with his girlfriend, Meredith.  They made cookies in the shape of a butterfly and decorated them with icing and sprinkles!  They were delicious.