Saturday, November 16, 2013

Happy 2nd Birthday Angel!!

Here we are, two years since Jordan was born.  I continue to think and be reminded of him each and every day.  November 16, 2011 was a scary day and it started the darkest time of my life.  I remember the pain and heart-ache that I experienced at that time.  I was in denial of the situation and felt as though I was living on auto-pilot.  I believe that God was helping me to cope rationally on the outside, but I was completely falling apart on the inside.

There were many people who told me that "time will heal."  I wanted to punch each person in the face who told me this!  I could not imagine ever healing from the death of my son!!  I sought out support groups, books, journals and blogging to deal with my feelings.  All of these things have helped, but TIME is what needed to happen.  It took time for me to grip the reality of postpartum without a baby.  It took time for me to understand that this was NOT my fault.  It took time for me to realize that Jordan was not coming back and that this really did happen.  Those people I wanted to punch in the face were right. And although I don't think I will ever heal from the loss of Jordan, time has definitely helped to heal the pain.  My heart will always be a little bit broken.

As I sit here, two years later, I feel a new sense of family.  I have lost, but I have also gained. I have gained empathy to a new extreme. I have gained a new appreciated of parenthood.  I have gained new friends.  I have gained a new BABY and I am so very thankful for these gifts.

Wishing my beautiful angel a very happy 2nd birthday! I will love you and remember you always!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Greedy for Sleep

Welp, I have yet to get a full nights sleep since I bragged about the ONLY night of uninterrupted sleep on Facebook about three months ago.  Any who, thats what babies do.  They get us all excited and hopeful after that first night of uninterrupted sleep and then they don't do it again until, well, who knows...?  By now however, my body is used to getting up at 1:30 AM and again at 5 AM just to be woken by the alarm clock at 6:30 AM.   I look forward to nap time when I hope to get some shut eye for 30 minutes and if that doesn't work out, a second cup of coffee.  Needless to say, I wouldn't mind a full nights sleep.  BUT, I know this phase wont last forever and I don't mind riding it out.

Although sleep would be nice, I am thankful for my healthy, baby boy!  After all, sleepless nights with a baby were what I longed for after Jordan passed.  What I wouldn't have given to wake up with a baby in the middle of the night.  There are many times when I get overwhelmed with the chaos in my life, but I am quickly reminded of how fortunate I am to have the chaos of two children because I know the flip side.  I know the pain of loss and the emptiness it brings.

I will have the rest of my life to catch up on sleep, so for now I will suck it up and enjoy holding Collin and rocking him as I feed him in the wee hours of the night.   I am blessed to have these two boys in my life!  I can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring. :)

An Update:
Collin will be 6 months old this weekend.  He is ready to crawl, but cant quite figure out how to move. He has the crawling stance down, but rocking is all he is able to do.  He just started sitting.  I have to sit behind him for now because he tends to throw himself backwards.   He is eating "solid" foods and doing well.  He is super happy and is always smiling and watching Brady.  

Brady started preschool and likes it a lot.  We just went on his first field trip to Weavers Orchard.  He got to pick an apple and try some apple cider.  We had Brady's annual doctors visit at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.  He is seen by the cranial-facial team once per year.  Eyes, ears, teeth, speech, and ENT are ALL perfect.  They don't have any concerns about him at this time.  They are however, going to do a jaw surgery on him when he turns five. This will help with some of the facial asymmetry and his crooked jaw.  My dad has agreed to do all of his follow up orthodontics, which will be nice!!  Its great having a dentist in the family!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Peace and Quiet

Here I sit in a very quiet house.  Creepy almost.  My husband took Brady to his parent's house for the weekend and Chad is going golfing.  I feel somewhat like a lost puppy, not sure what to do with myself.   So, Collin and I have decided to update the blog! What a perfect opportunity!  We took some new pictures of ourselves using photo booth.

Collin is 4 1/2 months old.  It is disturbing how fast he is growing.  At his 4 month well visit, he was tipping the scales at 16 lbs 4oz, measuring in the 75% percentile.  Needless to say he eats well.  So well, that he can't be too far away from me for any amount of time.  He is breast fed and HATES the bottle.  He has been struggling with a bottle since day one. I am not complaining, but it would be nice to get out once in awhile.  This mama could use some girl time. In fact, I went for a pedicure the other week, and had to take Collin along with me.  LOL. I am super lucky that he is such a good baby, molding to any situation I put him in.

As far as milestones, he is rolling over like a champ. So well, I had to take him out of his swaddle.  Now that was a nightmare!  Luckily it only took a LONG three nights to get him accustomed to the new feel of freedom within the crib.  He is already wearing 6 month clothing and I just washed and sorted 9 and 12 month clothes.  Before I know it, he'll be walking.

I am proud to stay that I have mastered the art of mom of two.  It really is an art, or maybe a circus act. I have a system down of caring for them by myself and even taking them to the store!! YAY!!  I haven't even had any embarrassing episodes YET!!  I know they will come, but am thankful that my trips to the store are quick and easy at this point.

Brady continues to be a good big brother, but just recently has had some trouble with boundaries.  He has been intentionally trying to scare and hurt Collin.  Time outs seems to put him back in line as a reminder of how NOT to act.   He will be starting preschool two days a week beginning September 10th.  His teacher just sent him a name tag to color and wear for the first day.  He seems excited.  We will be returning to CHOP for his yearly visit with the cranial-facial department.  We will be discussing jaw surgery that will take place sometime next year.

Signing off with Barefoot Moscato in hand, a sleeping baby, and a house to myself. :)

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Look

Back in 2011 and into 2012, after I had Jordan, I would see these beautiful new moms, proudly pushing their new babies through each store I went into.  I could not seem to get away from the constant reminder that everyone else had what I should have had.  Each time I would pass a new baby, I would give a look of despair or completely look in the opposite direction.  I just could not bare looking at babies.  Each time someone posted pictures of their new babies on Facebook, I would cry!  I was happy for them, but so sad for myself. This attitude continued until I got pregnant with Collin.

Getting pregnant again was like a new beginning, another chance, and a breath of fresh air.  I could feel a sense of hope come over me.  I was able to smile again.  I was scared out of my mind, but I was excited for the possibility of another child.

When Collin arrived, I became the proud mommy pushing him through the stores.  This time, aware of "the look."  There have been times when I have picked up on women who look at me with pain in their eyes.  I smile at them and wonder what lies behind their sorrowful eyes.  Could it be that they too have experienced a loss of a child?  I can't help but be happy for the life of Collin, but I also know the feeling of longing for a life that was taken too soon.

That said, I still long for Jordan and wish he was part of this family.   I am often reminded of him and think of him daily.   I am blessed to me a mommy of three!

Brady and Collin update:
Brady had his 3 year check up and he is doing well.  This summer, he has participated in 2 day camps.  He enjoyed both of them and show no signs of missing me when I leave.   He is becoming more confident in the water and goes down the slide at the pool.  Next week, he will be getting swim lessons.  He is busy, busy, busy!  I am wiped out by the end of the day!

Collin is almost 4 months.  He is growing like a weed!  He is beginning to roll over and show excitement with high pitched squeals.  He has a smile that melts my heart every time.  He has Chad's dimples.  (Super cute)

Thanks for continue to read my blog!  I enjoy updating it when I have time :)

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Two Months with Collin

When I initially started this blog, it was an outlet for me to write about my feeling after the loss of Jordan.   It was a great way for me to express my true feeling throughout my grief process.  I don't think I will ever be able to say that I am "over" the grief process, but my blog has definitely taken a different turn.  As I continue to think about Jordan and what should have been, I have now entered a new chapter in my life; the mother of THREE boys.

Having TWO living children has been quite an adjustment.  It was only last week when I felt confident enough to take the boys out to Target by myself.  It went well until the very end when Brady threw a the car. Thank goodness he waited until we got to the car.  Growing up, I never wanted to be "that mom" who couldn't control her kids in public.   Well, now I know that it has NOTHING to do with the parents.  It doesn't matter how good of a parent you are, you WILL encounter a "scene" with your kids in public at some point.

Collin is doing well.  He just had his 2 month check up this week and the doctor was impressed with his growth, weighing in at 13 lbs 14 oz.  He is in the 90th percentile for weight and the 50th percentile for both length and head circumference.  He got 3 shots and one oral vaccination.  He was in pain the rest of the day.  He continues to be fussy during the times he is awake during the day, but sleeps well at night.

On a Jordan note, I was hoping that the birth of Collin would somehow tie into Jordan in some way.  I was hopeful for a rainbow or a butterfly appearance on the day Collin was born, but nothing like that happened.  It was a few days later that my mother-in-law pointed out a significant number correlation.  Each one of our birth days equals 16, the day Jordan was born:
Chad-    1
Allison- 4
Brady-   5
Collin-   6

Pretty Cool!!

Monday, May 20, 2013


And we're back! Phew! It has been a VERY busy few weeks.  I completely forgot what it was like to care for a newborn and throw a 2 1/2 year old into the mix and you have a whirlwind! There have been a few adjustment to my daily routine:

1. I go to bed WAY before 10 PM.
2. There is NO way to keep my house clean and orderly.
3.  Dark circles are now a wardrobe must!
4. The crock-pot is my new best friend.
5. We rarely leave the house for two reasons: a) I don't feel comfortable or confident enough to nurse in a public place and b) Brady is completely unpredictable.
6. My biceps are getting back in shape b/c I carry 12 lbs around most of the day.

That said, I am loving every minute of it...well, most minutes.  

Collin is now 6 weeks old

Since I have posted last, we got Collin baptized along with his cousin Jocelyn. (Also a Rainbow baby) It was extra special this year because we chose Mother's day to get the babies baptized AND because last year at this very time, we were memorializing our 2nd born babies, not knowing that two new lives would be born just one year later.

Life is Good!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Our Rainbow Has Arrived!

After a long 9 months and much anticipation, Collin James Hoofnagle has finally arrived!  He was born on Saturday April 6th, 2013 at 8:48 AM.  He was 7lbs 8oz and 19.5 inches long.  When we heard him cry as the doctors pulled him from me, Chad and I could not help but cry as well.   Collin's scream was music to our ears!

I can't say however, that everything went as planned.  We were originally scheduled to have our c-section on 4-4-13.  When we went in with hospital bag in hand ready to have a baby, the maternal fetal medicine doctors were unable to extract amniotic fluid.  We were sent home extremely disappointed and even more anxious.  I was given 2 steroid shots to promote lung development over the next 48 hours.  

We then got the c-section rescheduled for 4-6-13.  We arrived at 6 AM for an 8:00 AM surgery.  The doctors and nurses were so nice and took us right on time.  It wasn't long before we were able to see our little miracle.  Unfortunately, Collin had to be taken to the NCIU before we could hold him.  The doctors had prepared us for the possibility that Collin's lungs may be under developed or that they might contain fluid.

Once I was out of recovery, they wheeled my whole bed to the NICU where I was able to hold our sweet, sweet bundle of joy.  He was absolutely perfect minus all the tubes attached to him.   He stayed in the NICU for 2 days until his blood oxygen level was stable.  Chad and I went to visit him every 3 hours.

Collin was able to come home with us when we were discharged on Tuesday.  He is such a good baby!    Brady cannot wait to play with his baby brother.  He is adjusting well to his role as big brother, asking to hold Collin often.  He has been a big help most of the time.  His new job is throwing the dirty diapers away.

I cannot thank everyone enough for ALL the prayers and kind thoughts leading up to the birth of this child.  We feel so completely blessed to have Collin in our lives!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Jordan, Our Middle Child.

So here we are, one week away from welcoming our Rainbow baby and I can't help but think about delivery day.  Will it go smoothly? Will something horrific happen?  Will I get to bring my baby home?  I am frightened at every thought that runs through my head.  All I want is a healthy, living baby.  I have prayed for it before and was left completely devastated.

You may want to know if I have prayed for another healthy, living baby and the answer is YES!!  Of course I have.  Every single day I pray.

When we lost Jordan, I asked the attending Reverend at Children's Hospital how one goes about "keeping their faith" when encountered with such a devastating loss. He told me a story that I have written about before in the entry titled "Keeping the Faith at 4 months."  I continue to think about how much God loves me and the children that I bare.  I have to believe that He has a plan for each of us.  This time I hope and pray that the plan is to keep this child in my arms.

Jordan will always be our MIDDLE child.  Quite symbolic after rereading my post "Recalling THAT Day, " Where I listed some symbolisms of a butterfly and how much of his life was symmetrical.   He was born smack dab in the middle of the month and on the middle most day of the week (wednesday).  Kind of ironic if you ask me.

I sit here, struggling with the new "what ifs" if this pregnancy and delivery.  Hoping things will go as planned and praying for a rainbow miracle to enter my life next week.

On the bright side, the doctors said the baby is measuring a week ahead (37 weeks) and already weighs 6lbs. 7oz!

Friday, March 22, 2013

2 More Weeks!

40 weeks is a long time to wait for anything, let alone a child!  I feel like a kid waiting for Santa's arrival.  We are prepared to welcome our 3rd son in less than 2 weeks!  We have been busy washing baby clothes and putting the finishing touches on the nursery.  We have a name picked and I just got done registering with the Reading Hospital.  The only thing missing is the baby!  

Recently the days seem to crawl.  Brady and I are waiting for Spring to poke its head out and show us some warmer weather.  Instead, we have been anchored to the house not only because of the cold, but also because Brady can't seem to handle himself in public.  I am thankful for the break when my parents volunteer to take him for the day so I can run some errands.  

It wont be long now until I have two little boys to care for.  I can't wait!! Sleepless nights are just around the corner.  And so is the joy of raising another child.  

Prayer Request: The doctor that I have been seeing throughout my entire pregnancy has called to let me know she will not be able to preform my c-section.  Instead, she must attend a memorial service for a dear friend of hers.   Please pray that in the next 2 weeks another doctor will be able to familiarize themselves with my case and history and that everything will go smoothly and in our favor on April 4th!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Countdown is On!

There are only 5 1/2 short weeks left until our rainbow is born!!

I say short, trying to convince myself that carrying these extra 30 lbs around with an aching back and a testy 2 1/2 year old, will go quickly :)

Despite some of the daily struggles of pregnancy, (getting out of bed, trying to cut your toe nails, washing dishes, climbing steps, finding clothes to fit, constantly having to pee, etc...) the 3rd time around has not been too bad.  I really doubted how my body would do this time, after having such horrible sciatic pain with Jordan.  I guess my body has become accustom to being pregnant. After all, in the past 4 years I have been pregnant 3 times!  By the time our rainbow appears, I could say I have 3 kids under 3 years old.

Brady calls this shirt my "tent"
Lately, I have had high anxiety. I know what good and what bad can happen with babies and pregnancy.  I have been praying for God to ease my anxieties and that is just what He is doing.  The signs have not gone unnoticed.

One particular sign appeared the other day.  I randomly got out the Honda Odyssey booklet we obtained a few months back.  I was paging through it with hopes that a mini van will be in my not so distant future.  (Look out soccer moms! Minus the stick figures on my back window) As I flipped through, I came upon a page that pictures not only the stunning Honda Odyssey, but also a rainbow, a butterfly, and 2 fawns (new life).  I stopped and smiled, taking in the beauty and meaning this page offered me.

In addition to the random signs of hope, my sister Katelyn created an amazing prayer calendar.   It began on week 20 with thoughts, prayers, and quotes that my friends and family submitted for me.

Katelyn is a very talented graphic artist. She created a beautiful rainbow and butterfly filled flip calendar that I seriously thought was store bought.

I get excited to flip the calendar to the next page week after week to read the touching words people have put together for me.  This also serves as a nice little countdown as well.  The calendar alone has kept my spirits and hope high!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Finished Bath

After a two week remodel, the boy's bathroom is finally done!  It was only suppose to take 5-7 days, but after some miscommunication with the contractor and having to order more tile for the tub, we are finally done!

Each day the "guys" were here, we would be excited to check out the progress.  Brady was a real trooper taking naps through some of the loudest construction.  He was excited to see "the guys" each day and he would even say goodnight to his new bathroom each night.

The nursery is still a work in progress.  The wains coating is up, but Chad still needs to got over it with a coat of paint.  The pressure is on...only 2 more months until baby #3 joins the family!

Monday, January 28, 2013


I would not consider myself obsessively superstitious, but I do have some superstitions especially when it comes to trying to avoid something bad from happening.   We all know how horrible my last delivery went and so this time, I am trying to doing somethings differently during my pregnancy, hoping that we do not have a similar experience.

Last Time:
1. I didn't prepare a nursery
2. I didn't buy anything new for the baby.
3. I had a name picked out and announced.
4. I did NOT announce my pregnancy on Facebook.
5. I delivered at Butler Memorial Hospital.
6. I was negative and complained often about pain and discomfort.

With Brady and This time:
1. I did/ will prepare a nursery.
2. I did/ am buying some new things for the baby.
3. I didn't/ don't have a name picked out OR announced.
4. I did/ am announcing my pregnancy on FB and posting pictures and updates.
5. I did/ will be delivering at Reading Hospital.
6. I was/ am positive and keep the complaining to a minimum.  The discomfort was/ is minimal.

Whether these differences will make a difference or not, I feel better about not repeating what I did last time.  Unfortunately I have been "ruined" after delivering Jordan.  I know that life is not guaranteed, so I have a stiff guard up even though I can feel the excitement and ignorance popping through once again.

Being pregnant and expecting a child is an exciting and life-changing experience, no matter how many times you have been through it.   I continue to pray that this upcoming life-changing event will end up making us feel overwhelmed with happiness and joy.    I have already been down the shock and extreme disappointment road and am hoping a person only ever has to experience that at most, one time.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Operation Baby!

There is a lot to consider when preparing for a baby.  While pregnant with Jordan, we never really prepared much, knowing that we would not be staying in our Cranberry Township home.   Looking back, it was a God sent.  I didn't have to come home to a waiting nursery adorn with adorable baby decor in the midst of the worst grief I have ever felt.   

Now that we are settled in our "forever" home, we are preparing a nursery where we will place our baby boy in April.  In preparation, we had to first move Chad's home office from a bedroom to the basement.  This project was completed soon after we found out we were expecting.  

Now we are in the midst of painting what will become the nursery and remodeling the bathroom the boys will use.   Chad and his dad worked hard over the weekend to paint the room a soft, powder blue. Our contractor will be finishing it with a white wains coating within the coming week.  As our remodel takes place, Brady and I are keeping busy and trying to stay out of the way.  On day one, we baked some chocolate chip cookies (just what I need).  He even helped to do the dishes. 

We are excited for the home transitions as well as our family transition.  It brings me joy to plan and prepare for the arrival of our 3rd child.   Stay tuned for the end results! 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Rainbow baby #1

My sister and I have a lot in common.  We both have toddlers.  We both experienced neonatal death.  We are/ were both pregnant with our rainbow babies.  I have walked in my sister's steps since we began starting our families. Although I was married first, she was the first of us to get pregnant and ever since, our family histories are almost identical.

So here we are...I am 25 weeks pregnant and she just had her RAINBOW baby!!!  I could not be more thrilled for her and her family!!  The weight of waiting has been lifted and they were granted their healthy, living baby!!

Being that our family histories are so similar, I feel even more confident that in early April, I too will welcome a healthy, living baby!  After all, what happens to her seems to also happen to me.  Although my sister has her baby in her arms and I am stuck waiting another 3 months, I have the advantage of asking her all kinds of questions about her birth plan to make sure I am doing everything I should be doing to ensure the best possible outcome.

I didn't always have a good relationship with my sister.  It all started when my parents brought her home from the hospital 22 months later.  I was horrified that I had to share the attention and since then, sharing has always been hard.  Especially when it came to boys in high school.  Now, 31 years later, I am blessed to have her. We are very close and often talk daily.  Now our children will be close, in age anyway.

Proud to announce the birth of Jocelyn Nikohl Kozlowski. Born 1/8/13: