Thursday, May 31, 2012

All the Crying..

I have had so many people read my blog. So many people send messages to tell me to keep writing. The thing that is so funny is that I am the QUEEN of editing and errors in other peoples work and here I am just writing whatever I want, however I want and not adhering to the rules of English. I am not using correct punctuation and there are fragments everywhere. I don't care. I just hope that none of my English Professors read this. English was my minor in college.

I love that so many people are reading this blog. It is a part of me that I want understood. I am grieving and I am hurting and I need to get it out in a healthy way. I didn't want to be the one to sleep for two weeks and not shower because my life just couldn't go on without my baby. The fact of the matter is that I have no insurance, I have no job that lets me take a leave of absence. I am self employed. We have two businesses and I am needed. Don't think for one second that I wouldn't LOVE to sleep in. I would love to take a few days and go to the beach. I wouldn't mind just driving to some sleepy town to eat in a diner with my husband and drive back. BUT the fact is that we work. A LOT. We have to be here so that we can make a living. Our businesses are just the types that require the owner to be there at all times.

Sometimes I cry when I write. Sometimes I just feel relief. There are times when I cry two or three days later if I happen to go over a post. I won't say that there has been a day since I lost her that I have not cried. I am not sure that is possible right now. But I don't want all of my posts to make everyone cry. I know that it is sad. It is so sad. It is tragic. It is the kind of thing that you want to protect yourself from if you are expecting. You want to do everything right so that you are not one of those women who sleep for two weeks and not shower.

People say that I am strong but the fact is I want to crumble. I want to walk away. I have had all the crazy thoughts that people have when they suffer a loss. Being strong is something that I have always been good at. I don't necessarily enjoy HAVING to be strong. I remember thinking just a few short years ago that I was tired of having to work so hard when I am educated and talented. I wanted to be taken care of. I wanted to be able to stay at home and have babies and worry about what to cook for dinner. The truth is that I wouldn't be able to stand it. I have to be doing something at all times. I think that women who are fortunate enough to not have to work are very lucky... but most of them still work outside of the home or volunteer a lot.

It has been very hard to go back to work. I only had two days off for the funeral and the previous days I was in the hospital and literally had my laptop there doing work. It is hard when people come in and they want to see me but I feel like if I go out to talk with them then five other people will want to come up to me. It is not that I don't want to see people. I DO! It is just the other random people that have "heard" that something happened that I don't want to deal with.

There have been difficult customers at work. That happens from time to time. My staff have been great at thwarting catastrophes because I just don't want to deal with people and do damage control. It is amazing how nice someone becomes when they find out that your baby just died. The fact that we are out of creme brulee is not such an issue if your baby just died. People are weird. They can be total A-holes and then find out that you just lost your child and then they want to hug you. I want to throw you out of the front window because I don't know you and you just yelled at me because we are out of creme brulee and I really don't care because MY BABY DIED.

Anyway- the real reason for this particular post is because I don't want all of you to be sad. If you cry- make it a good, healing cry and then smile. Zoe Jane is fine. She is doing exactly what God wants her to do and where He needs her to be. Make it a cry that cleanses your soul and makes you a better person... even for just a day or two. And then smile. Because I will be fine too. I am working through this and your comments and love and support are good for my soul.

But don't bitch at me if we are out of creme brulee... because I will throw you through the front window...

The Pictures...

I was at Sams this morning buying some things for the cafe. I never go to Sams. Bryan goes almost every morning to get last minute things that we need because we always forget something or change our minds about menus for the next day. While I was there, looking at my list, my phone beeped. I am one of those people who is OCD about their phone messages. I am a deleter. I look at messages and then delete. I read Facebook posts and messages and then add appropriate comments. I looked at the Facebook message that appeared and it was from the Photographer. THE PHOTOGRAPHER. The precious woman with long braided hair who came to the hospital as quickly as possible to take pictures of us with Zoe Jane. Her name is also Jennifer. I know her. We have had the pleasure of working with her on weddings in the past. I know her work and I KNEW that my baby girl would look perfect in her photos.

Jennifer sent me a lovely message and let me know that she had been thinking about us and that when she left the hospital that day that she was worried. Worried that we wouldn't grieve. Worried that we had it together a little too much. She didn't know if we were in denial or if we had already accepted Zoe's passing. Then she stumbled across my blog. She said that she felt relief. She thought that it would be helpful to other parents who have lost a child. I stood in the canned goods aisle of Sams with tears streaming down my face. She told me that I would receive Zoe's pictures in the mail today.

In a way I was scared. Would she look the way that I remembered her? Would I cry? Would Bryan break down? Would I feel comfortable sharing my little girls pictures with other people? There were other things that flew into my mind... How did I look at that time? I had been in labor for 17 hours and I didn't have make up on. My hair wasn't fixed. I had needles in my arms. This is the Southern Girl way of thinking and I always swore that I would be one of those that put my damn makeup on right after delivery! Guess what? I didn't. And my sister was RIGHT THERE. She knows better than to let me get my picture taken without makeup. I was too out of it.

I worked in the kitchen with Bryan today and was actually outside on the phone with the funeral director talking to him about the death certificate when the mail came. After I wrapped up the phone call I walked in and Bryan pointed to a pile of mail. There were cards and bills and a package from Jennifer. I knew what was in that package. So I opened it last. There was also another package in the pile. I didn't recognize who it was from so I ripped into it and guess what was there? The glucose monitor that my doctors office repeatedly failed to order for me while I was pregnant. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes at 18 weeks and this week I would have been 26 weeks pregnant. I lost Zoe two weeks ago. It took them THAT LONG to get me the supplies that I needed to check my blood sugar. It pissed me off. Bryan threw something in the kitchen. I had to just put it away.

I stared at the brown package wrapped so carefully and tied with twine. The Photography seal on the front. I slowly opened the package and found a black box. I looked at Bryan. We exchanged a silent understanding and stepped out to the patio. Together we opened the box and among the black tissue paper were pictures of our baby. I started to silently cry. Tears literally falling down my face. I had to hold the pictures away from me so they wouldn't get wet.

The pictures of Bryan holding her are my favorite. His hands are so big and she is so small. I love the pictures of her little feet and her little hands. There are two photos of my sister holding her and they are gorgeous. My sister is so pretty holding my sweet little girl. I think about what Jennifer said in her message. She prayed that we would grieve. I have been waiting for these pictures. They are a part of the grieving process. A part that is important. We need to be able to remember just what she looks like. How precious she was. Her lips and nose and toes and fingers. Her tiny little fingernails. Her big feet!

I hope and pray that every parent that has to experience the loss of a child is also fortunate enough to experience someone like Jennifer Hood. She is an angel that God has here on Earth to help us remember our babies that are now with Him. So kind. So understanding and so compassionate. I will treasure these pictures forever. I have framed one of her and her Daddy to put on his side of the bed. We will always have the image of our little girl. Framed in time by one of God's own workers. Thank you. We will never forget your kindness.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Man Who Shares My Bed

Today was so busy. I have been working in the kitchen with Bryan this week. We work really well together and can send out food like crazy! I love him so much and I am blessed to have such a talented husband. I have talked him into a new menu and some new items for Specials and people have been happy so far. There are so many aspects of my husband that people don't know. When we met it was truly what people call love at first sight and I always thought that was a bunch of baloney. We just met at random and when he came in the next day to see me I was really surprised. After the day that we met there wasn't a day that I have been without him.

Bryan is one of those guys that you are automatically intimidated by because of his stature and the always what I call "mean" expression on his face. Once you say something to him he lightens up and loves to joke with people. I know that some people probably wonder how we get along so well when he is so serious and I am always really friendly and talkative. We balance each other out. He thinks all the time and I do all the time. Then he tells me what he is thinking and we "do" those things together. I can always tell when he is about to come up with some new venture because of the way his face looks.

It's amazing the things that we do together and it works out so well. We redesign the store, stage the window, work on a wedding, cook, work on a project. I can come up with something in my head and he can create it. He can come up with something and I can create it. We take the words out of each others mouths all the time. We finish the others sentences. Our birthdays are a week apart.

He always tells me that I am beautiful. He calls me Baby. He hugs and kisses on me in the morning before he gets out of bed. He buys me a lot of chocolate and I don't even really like chocolate, but he does and he always ends up eating it. He has terrible handwriting. He can paint a mural on the wall or paint a scene on the window. He can sing but he has never sang a song for me. He loves Texas country music and good beer. He likes to grill meat. (And it is always really good) He likes my cooking. He always reaches for my hand when we are out walking anywhere. He is jealous of every single ex boyfriend that I ever had whether he knows them or not.

I had hoped that Zoe would be able to sing. And paint or draw. I don't think that she would have escaped those talents because we are both artists. I have always wanted to sing in front of people but I am scared to. I know she would have been able to.

The past several nights I haven't been able to sleep so I stay up as late as possible because I know the nightmares are coming. I know that I will wake up in a sweat and not know where I am for a few seconds. Sometimes I think that the events of the last couple of weeks are a dream and things are OK, she is still inside me growing. Then I realize in my sleep deprived state that it wasn't a dream and she is really gone.

Today Bryan said that he knew exactly how I felt. He said it is like when you come back from Iraq and you wake up from a crazy dream and you are confused. When you hear a loud sound and you get scared. We were just sitting at the bar talking about tomorrow and he told me that. He KNOWS how I feel.

My husband is a Godly man and that is important. His relationship with God has been one of the things that reminds me that we are good together. Sometimes I have to remind him that God knows best in every situation, and this one is no exception. I prayed for my sweet husband and God sent him to me and I truly believe that. On our first date when our food came he reached across the table and said grace. That is really when I knew.

We are not a perfect couple. We argue and sometimes I want to kick him in the face...but then I want to hug him and tell him that I can't live without him because I know that I need him. I can't figure out who needed the other most but I am really blessed to have him in my life.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I have been reading a lot about infant loss. It is way more common than one might think. There are women who lose several babies and still try again. And again. These are STRONG women. If you know one you should buy her a Wonder Woman cape. Maybe even the lasso.

People have asked us over the past couple of weeks if we will try again. The honest answer is that we do not know. There are so many questions to be answered and I am just not sure that I am up to even  thinking about it yet. I am 35. Almost 36. The risks become greater as each day passes.

Another thing that I have been researching is the effects of infant loss on the father. Moms definitely get sympathy and love. Dads are supposed to be strong. Moms get to stay in bed and cry. Dads have to go to work. This is sad because the dad didn't have this child growing inside of him. He didn't have severe morning sickness for 20 weeks. He didn't feel the baby kick. But she was half him. He loved her. He loves her. He is her Daddy.

There are times when Bryan and I just look at each other and we KNOW. We know the other is thinking about Zoe. He reaches for my hand and squeezes tight. I am a little scared to tell him everything. There are thoughts that are crazy. The nightmares have started. I don't sleep well. I relive the loss over and over with different scenarios. I wake up in a cold sweat and wonder why I am in my bed instead of at the hospital. I feel like I look terrible everyday. I need sleep. And some really good eye cream.

One thing to remember is that yes... our hearts are fragile. BUT we love our family and friends and we appreciate every kind word that you speak to us about our daughter. She isn't here but she WAS here. Her name is Zoe Jane and we want to hear you say her name and not avoid it. I hate the fact that I am now a Mother but my little girl is in heaven and I can't spend time with her. I can't teach her how to braid hair or tie her shoes. We can't go shopping or have family pictures made. I wanted to get homemade Mother's Day cards and breakfast in bed.

Do you know someone who has lost a child? Who has lost several? Pray for them. But most important tell them that you love them, you are thinking of them and tell them how strong they are. Even the dads, because they need the comforting words too. Daddies love their babies too. We can't forget them.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The First Visit

I had to deliver some flowers to the funeral home this morning. Working on Memorial Day. It never fails that when there is a holiday I end up working. On my way to make the delivery I really noticed all of the flags that were out. It made me sad. I miss my Papa Crawford quite a bit. He was the kindest man that you would ever meet. He always sat at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, a legal pad and a pencil. He was the type to "figure" things and let you know what was up. As a little girl I would get his legal pad, thumb through a few blank pages and draw him a picture with a note so that he would see it. And man, he was handsome. Even as an older gentleman he was handsome. He had huge muscles and always wore jeans and a white v- neck T-shirt that really showed off those arms.

When Papa became sick I didn't get to see him very much... but when they knew he wasn't going to make it much longer all of the kids, grandkids and even a few great grandchildren were called upon to say goodbye. It was so sad. Here was this great man lying there who was always so spry. I just remember holding his hand and telling him that I loved him over and over.

If I had known that in just a couple of years he would be watching over MY baby, his great-granchild from his oldest grandchild, then I would have reminded him to keep plenty of legal pads and pencils for her. I really hope that she is up there learning how to "figure" and sneaking a few pages ahead to leave him a note and picture.

Today was my first visit to the cemetery since last Monday. Today was a week since we laid Zoe Jane to rest. As I was driving there I tuned into Pandora and listened to music that took me back a few years. No matter what song it was, it made me sad because there are songs that match moments in your life. I told Bryan that I needed to spend some time there alone today so that I could just talk to her. Her flowers had faded and I brought her a tiny little pot of pink daisies that just looked like something that she would love. Her gravesite really is peaceful. There are two big oak trees and they cast a cool shade over her spot for most of the day. There are lots of birds and it is just really quiet.

I sat on the sidewalk next to her spot and told her how her Daddy and I met. I told her that he just walked into my shop the day after we met at an event and said "I wanted to know where your shop was and really, I just want to get to know you." I told her how I was so happy that I married him and what a good man he is. That he wanted her so much and what a good Daddy he would have been.
I told her how sorry I was that I didn't talk to her enough, sing to her enough or read her as many stories as I should have. I also told her that I am sorry if I did anything wrong. I can't help but think that I did something wrong and that this is all my fault. We still have no answers from doctors and all I can do is blame myself.

As I left the cemetery I felt peaceful. I feel like she can hear me. I just keep praying that God will let me see her in a dream. I really want that. To see my little girl and how she looks. Does she have my hair and fair skin? Did she get blue eyes or green? Is she tall like I imagine with my lips and nose? I know that one day I will see her but the waiting is the hardest part.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Saturday Thoughts....

“You look smaller than the last time I saw you. Did you lose weight?”

“I was pregnant the last time you saw me.”

“You were pregnant?! When did you have it?”

“Last Friday. She died.”

Awkward silence. Averted eyes. All of a sudden there are a million excuses to leave my presence. It’s really ok. There is nothing that you can say or do that I haven’t already heard. I am getting through this at my own pace.

Today I stayed in bed a little longer. I vaguely remember crying in the middle of the night and Bryan holding me. Then I fell back into the abyss of no thought and deep sleep. We both slept late. It wasn’t really sleeping… just a lazy Saturday morning full of tears. I miss her little lips. That’s all I keep thinking about. She had those sweet little lips that pooch out while sleeping. I wish that I could kiss them. I wonder if God tells her that we love her. I hope so.

I found something to wear today. I even shaved my legs. My stepdaughter said that I looked pretty. I think that I may get a pedicure so that when we are at the pool tomorrow my toes look cute. Bryan wants to eat at the taco place but we are eating Mexican food tomorrow…plus I know that the people that own the place will look at me with sympathy and I may cry. I love them so much. They are so nice.

Maybe a cheeseburger and fries? I think that is what we will do. Then I want to buy planters for the plants that people sent to Zoe Jane. I need to keep them alive, make them grow so that she is remembered.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Friends come to you from different places. From different points in your life. Some of them keep in touch and others come out of hiding when you need them most. Some of the people who are just acquaintances turn into great friends during times of loss and you wonder just how long they have been hanging back waiting to present themselves to you as a friend.

I felt really alone last week. The things that were happening in our life seemed like a bad dream. I still didn't really get it until I was released from the hospital and only had one day to prepare for Zoe's funeral. Bryan and I were literally lost. Driving around the neighborhood just wondering what to do next. This was the time when we needed people. You don't realize that you need people. You want to be alone. You want to sleep. Loud noises bother you. Chatter bothers you. People just being there kind of get on your nerves. WHY are they all up in your business??? You are not hungry or thirsty. You don't need another hug because their perfume will linger and make you sick to your stomach.

Yesterday was one week since we lost our baby girl and I didn't think that I would be able to get through the day without throwing something across the room. It really hit Bryan hard yesterday too. He hurts as much as I do. He thinks about her as much as I do. He plays her song on his phone as much as I do... but we hide that from one another to protect each other.

Early yesterday one of those people who just do something precious and unexpected came in the door to see me. She gave me a lily from her garden in a beautiful planter. She loves lilies. Her husband orders flowers for her from my studio and always reminds me that she loves lilies. They make her happy. She brought a piece of her happiness to me and I love it. I only pray that I can make it live the way that she does. I want to take that lily and transplant it and make it grow into a wonderful symbol of love and friendship. She cried as she handed it to me. She sat at the bar and LISTENED to me. Just that simple act of kindness formed a strong bond that we will forever share and I am so grateful to call her my friend.

I received an e-mail from another dear friend yesterday and although I don't have his permission to share it, I am positive that he won't mind. It touched my heart and made me realize that there are people who DO think about you. They DO wonder why things didn't go another way and they genuinely care that your heart is breaking.

"Hey Jen.  I called earlier but know it must be extremely difficult to talk.  I really am still in shock about your loss. I keep thinking of the movie Heaven Can Wait with Warren Beaty, in which his guardian angel pulled him away too soon thinking he was about to die, but it was a mistake, he was supposed to live.  It just seems like there was a mixup in the universe like that.  When I saw the picture posted of Zoe Jane’s feet, I think I looked at every single line in those feet trying to read what might have happened, like someone would read a palm.  And really trying to figure it out with the notion something could be fixed somehow.  But I know some of the fixing just takes time.  I absolutely believe in spirit and body being too very separate things.  It is certain that a new beautiful and lively spirit did enter the universe last week.    And its one you will surely be reconnected with at some point.  In the meantime, don’t lose all of your spirit!  And yes, easy for someone to say that isn’t going through what you are going through, but it’s just me trying to interpret a strong caring for you and what is going on."

***So to the exceptional people that touched me are forever stamped onto my heart and I know that Zoe Jane loves you could she not? 

Thursday, May 24, 2012


The light from the bathroom was left on and it is extending onto the tile and hurting my eyes. I am too tired to get up and turn it off.. It is all the way across the room so I just turn over. I can't tell if it is sunny outside because the black out curtains are doing their job. I almost wish that it would rain today. Not be quite so pretty out. I woke this morning to my husband putting his arm around me and placing his hand over my stomach...just in the place where he could feel her kick. Except she isn't there anymore and it made me cry. I keep thinking about her pictures. I only have one picture of her little feet. I am waiting to get the pictures from the photographer who came after she was born. I am starting to forget what her little face looked like and it hasn't even been a week. Today was the day that we lost her. Just a week ago. Her heartbeat was there and Bryan heard it when the nurse checked. Then he went to work, I took a nap in the hospital room that was so quiet... and when they came back to listen for it again it was gone. She had slipped away while I was sleeping. But I had JUST felt her. She was just there. There was a moment in time that I thought she was just hiding. She was OK. I would deliver her and she would be breathing. Wouldn't that have been a miracle?

If you see me today and I can't quite focus on what you are saying...please understand that she is all that I am thinking about. I am not OK. I won't be OK for some time. She was my beautiful, precious little girl and all I can think is that I just want her here... with me.

UAMS called yesterday. The lady who gave me the box of tissue. The one who hugged me. She called and left a message to say that she was thinking of us and she had been crying. How does she do her job? How does she handle the common occurrence of infant loss? I called her back. She was so kind. She listened to me. She told me that she was setting me up to see a rheumatologist and that she and the Specialist had been reviewing my case. They want to help. They want to see us if we choose to try again. They want to figure out what is wrong with me so we can manage it. I have been constantly amazed that my local hospital has not called. My doctor has not called. But I am supposed to call them to schedule a follow up appointment. Follow up to what? Follow up to the fact that I have no baby?

I also want to say that I have to be honest. If I can't say what I am feeling here then I am lying to all of you and to Zoe. Some of the things are harsh, but I am not directing them towards anyone. I really don't know what to do. I don't want to leave my house today but we are busy, I have meetings, there is an awards ceremony at the school for Bryan's kids. My head is stuffy and I have nothing to wear. I don't want to face another hug or sympathetic look and yet when people say nothing it is awkward.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Fear

So I am totally afraid tonight. I have two stepchildren who have been with us for the past six months and TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL. Bryan and I work ALL day. EVERYDAY. My grief is masked right now by the fact that I have to get through meetings with brides, catering jobs, getting the kids to school in the morning. Let's get this straight. I am NOT a mom. This was not a job that I chose. It was something that was put on me by someone who decided they didn't want to be a mom anymore. My greatest fear through this whole ordeal is that I will hurt them. Not physically hurt them but ignore them. They are kids. They have stories to tell about their day. They color pictures for me, want me to read to them, work a puzzle or two. I can't do it right now. I feel guilty but I need my space. I need some time. I am their stepmom and it still isn't a role that I am comfortable with. A stepmom is just a replacement mom. I don't know how they acted as babies, I have no baby pictures or milestones from their formative years. What am I going to DO with them all summer? What will I do when I want to pull the covers over my head in the morning and sleep a little longer? Why do kids have to get up at 6 a.m. DURING THE SUMMER and on the WEEKENDS?

This doesn't mean that I don't love them. It doesn't mean that I want them to go away. My mother just sent me a text and said that this blog sounds like I don't love my children. That isn't it at all. But they are not MY children. I treat them like mine, but even if they were mine I would still feel the same despair right now. What do you say when they ask questions that even you don't know the answer to?

I had hoped that Zoe Jane would help me to learn to be a better stepmom... With her I would have that motherly instinct. The all knowing eyes in the back of my head like a superhero. I would understand why kids were the way they are. Even though I am technically a mother to Zoe Jane, she isn't here- so does it even count?

The Extraordinary People

There are people who you love... people that you have known your whole entire life... or maybe THEIR whole entire life... and you never really know the depth of their love for you until you experience a loss and they become your hero.

My sister is beautiful. She was the youngest and spoiled rotten. Gorgeous little blonde curls and blue eyes and so mischievous as a child. She got away with anything and could just grin her troubles away. I remember her first day of Kindergarten.. I was in the fourth grade and my teacher let me leave just a few minutes early every day so that I could make sure that she made it on the school bus. She only weighed 35 pounds and you could miss her if you weren't looking. The bus ride home everyday was long and by the time it stopped in front of my grandmothers house she was dead asleep. I had to carry her off of the bus and down the long drive to Nanny's house. Of course when we got into the house, there was cake and milk for a snack and she was wide awake!

We shared a room for as long as I lived at home. I was so much older than her but she was so funny. Watching her grow up has been an adventure. A couple of years ago Kristy became pregnant and I lived with her throughout the pregnancy because her husband was back and forth to Ireland and she needed help. Frito chili pies from Sonic at midnight, Capri Suns, pudding packs and A LOT of Debbie Snacks helped her through her pregnancy. I would often wonder how this little sister of mine would be as a mom. Really? Kristy as a mother? She was carefree and rock n roll and can name every hair band from the 80s and 90s! We proceeded to decorate the nursery in rock guitar music theme.. her shower invitation was a backstage pass concert ticket, everyone came dressed in rock attire. Surely this little boy they were about to call Logan was going to be warped.

I was totally wrong about my sister. Logan was born and she is a natural mother. She is funny and kind and smart and just does everything right. I was also right about Logan. He is warped. He is hilarious and loving and walks around decked out in cool clothes with his little blonde mohawk sticking up three inches high. He makes monkey sounds at the top of his lungs and kisses you when he does something he isn't supposed to. He stakes out your bowl of ice cream and doesn't leave your side until it is gone.Logan now has a sidekick in his brother, Jensen, who is going to be the sweetest of the two I think...

My sister did everything for me these past couple of weeks. She kept Bryan's kids, she made their lunches, found them daycare, answered questions that I couldn't. She still made time to be at the hospital non stop and she made funeral arrangements for my Zoe Jane. She went out and found the most perfect doll dress and bloomers for Zoe to be laid to rest in. It was the most beautiful dress I have ever seen and it fit her perfectly. She made a headband with feathers for her to wear, she bought her a cross necklace with diamonds and a memory box full of things that were uniquely ZOE JANE. Beyond all of this she was there. She loves me. And she became not only my hero but the best aunt in the world to my baby girl.

Below are the words that Kristy spoke at Zoe's Service

Friday Afternoon I had the privilege of holding my niece Zoe Jane and although she was just a tiny little thing she was so beautiful. She definitely has her father Bryan's height. She would have been great at sports. Her little hands and feet were so tiny and perfect and her lips....well, she got those from her Mom and Aunt Kristy. Even though Zoe was already gone I could see her personality. She was gonna be talented for sure. And so beautiful and I am sure slightly hard headed. She had the sweetest side, so loving and caring like her mom. She was gonna be the type of person who would have done anything for you. The type that would have made mud pies with flowers on top for every person she could name off, including every pet.

You could also see the direction side of her too. But considering how hard her parents work at their could she not inherit that part? I could picture her spending summers working in the cafe at about age five pointing out all the customers tea glasses that were getting low to the wait staff. I know this is just the side of Zoe that I saw in the short half hour I got to hold her. I am sure that Bryan and Jennifer could probably write a book filled with details of what they saw in her. What I do know is that on Thursday God looked down and saw something amazing and He said "Zoe Jane, you are too beautiful and too special for this earth and I can't wait another minute without you here beside me." So He reached out and took Zoe in His arms and at that moment Zoe arrived in heaven.

It's great knowing now that we have our own personal angel and I know that every time we rethink an action, or spend a few more seconds at a stop sign that Zoe is overseeing things and looking out for us. Bryan and Jen, I know your heart is breaking because mine is and I'm just the aunt. But I know Zoe is happy and probably bossing everyone around and directing all the tea parties for everyone. I know she loves you so much and I know it will take some time but she doesn't want to see you sad because she is so happy and she has millions of people who love her so much between earth and heaven and she has so many people to play with. Daddy Zeke and Papa are there to spoil her rotten. Jen and Bryan I love you so much and I am here for you to help you to remember Zoe.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Random, Mean, Stupid and Funny

Are you pissed because you can't find anything to wear? You still look pregnant but you aren't and your old clothes don't fit... you are still swollen and your feet still hurt and you aren't supposed to be doing much for a while...

Are you tired of people saying that you have an angel watching you from Heaven?

Does your husband kiss you more? Hold your hand? Get right up next to you in bed at night?

Do you feel guilty that you went to a restaurant to eat after you got out of the hospital because there was no food at your house and you couldn't cook it if there were?

Are you mad at the "best friends" who didn't come to your baby's funeral, didn't call, didn't send a message?

Are you amazed at the people who barely know you... the people who are now extraordinary in your eyes because they did so much to ease your pain?

Do you find that people just don't know what to say so they say nothing at all?

Do you notice that they sky is blue? That there are butterflies EVERYWHERE

Does the wind on your face feel good instead of hot as your husband is driving you aimlessly around with the windows down because the two of you don't know what to do next?

Did you consider moving to another state, starting a new job, getting away from it all? Only to realize that you would be miles and miles away from where you laid your child to rest?

Did someone get their feelings hurt because they weren't listed in the obituary? Did you care? Or did you just want to scream at them and say "I buried my baby today!!!"

Do the phantom kicks bring you comfort and then rip you to shreds when you realize they are not real?

Are you singing the music that was at the service over and over in your head?

Are you regretful for not holding her just a little longer?

I wish that I had kissed her fingers and toes.

I love my sister more than ever after this week. She became the strong one who handled everything for me.

 Are you reading everything that you can get your hands on about Heaven?

Did you throw away your prenatal vitamins?

Do you give away the things that you bought for her?

Are you afraid that you are going to become one of those crazy ladies that rocks a baby doll and mutters?

Are you able to laugh at all? Smile and mean it?


I wish that my friends who are pregnant would understand that coming around me is not going to cause them to lose their baby... and the ones who have come to see me and offer support...well, you are just some of the most courageous and strong women that I know.

I was a little mean at times while I was pregnant... and blamed it on the hormones.. do I get a free hall pass for just a little while longer?

Do you celebrate your due date even though you lost your baby months before?

Sweet Beautiful Zoe Jane

Here Is My Story..

It is surely just a dream.... a strange dream. A nightmare in parts. A sweet, lovely, ethereal dream at other times. But then the pain hits you in the heart. It throws you into a place of darkness...and yet there is light because she was there... that tiny little baby was a beacon of light for just a short time. So you focus on the light and at times it helps. At times it makes it worse. The questions swirl and rage around you. Trying to make sense of what just happened can make you crazy. Finding answers becomes an addiction. You read, you research, you pray, you scream, you cry, you cling to every word of every story that is similar to yours trying to patch this puzzle together in your mind with tape that won't hold it all together.

Christmas Eve morning of 2011. I thought that I felt different. I had bought a pair of little boy socks, a pair of little girl socks, a gift bag and a pregnancy test. I took the test while I was alone in the little loft that I share with my husband. His children were here for Christmas break but they were with him at the time. It was just me and Rowdy... my Yorkshire Terrier who is always by my side. I took the test and then went into the kitchen to keep my mind off of it for a few minutes. When I walked back into the bathroom, there it was.. it said PREGNANT. I was super excited! I literally looked at my dog and jumped up and down. I dug in my chest of drawers for the socks and gift bag and just for good measure threw the test in the bag too. When my husband came back we went downstairs and I told him that I had a present for him. He looked in the bag, took out the socks and the test and just smiled really big. He hugged me, we kissed... we were so excited.

Things were rough from the start. I was sick EVERYDAY. We own a restaurant and just the thought of working made me even more ill. It got to the point where I could stay in bed until about ten every morning, get up, get ready and make it downstairs to the cafe by eleven to help out. I had migraines, gout, I couldn't eat. Finally at about 20 weeks I was ok.  I could eat real food. I could go to work. I had a little more energy. My feet and ankles were swollen but I was fine. I could feel her kicking me at certain times of the day and waited in anticipation for those sweet little love taps. We went for the Level 2 ultrasound at UAMS when I was 23 weeks. It had taken about a month and a half to get an appointment and we were anxious. I had levels that were high for spina bifida and we were concerned... but the consultation before the ultrasound was reassuring and I went into the ultrasound room with confidence. The scan was done. We were told to wait. We waited. And WAITED. Then the specialist comes in and tells me that my levels were off the charts. I should have been in for this test weeks ago... but my OB/GYN made the appointment for me... I thought everything was fine and this was just routine. The scan found no neural tube defects. No spina bifida. It did find that our little girl didn't have enough amniotic fluid, she was measuring at about 20 weeks, and looked to have a bowel obstruction. I was 23 weeks. She was behind. The man held my hand... this doctor that I didn't even know. He told us that she had about a 25% chance of making it through the next four weeks to a viable stage where they could take her. He told me to go home, rest and come back in four weeks. We would see a neonatalogist, possibly hospitalize me to keep her growing inside me until they could take her.

The appointment was booked. They gave me a box of tissue. The assistant who was in the room when the doctor told us was crying. She hugged me. I didn't know what to do. My husband and I went to eat lunch at our favorite pizza place and we both just sat in the booth and cried. There was baseball on in the bar and a really nice businessman sitting to the other side of us. He just kept looking at me with sympathy, not even knowing that my world had just been torn apart.

We returned home and decided to tell people. We needed prayer and lots of it. We had prayed over this baby every single day since before her conception and she had to make it. She was a fighter. She was hard headed like me and she would make it! I was really careful. I stayed in bed. Two days after the news I had an appointment with my OB/GYN. My mom and my husband were there. Blood pressure was too high. I was admitted into the hospital on Wednesday, May 16th. Fetal heartbeat was good. I needed bed rest, to get my blood pressure down and to make it another four weeks. They checked heartbeats frequently, she was kicking in there and doing well. Thursday morning my husband came to the hospital around 6:30 a.m. The nurse came in to check for the baby's heartbeat and there it was... right in the middle of my belly.... good and strong. He left to go to work and my sister came by for a visit and then I turned on my left side to rest and take a nap. About 11 that morning the nurse came in to listen for heartbeats. She couldn't find it. A second nurse couldn't find it. A third nurse from Labor and Delivery couldn't find it. BUT I HAD JUST FELT HER. She was kicking me. Find her heartbeat please....I was screaming on the inside. My mother came, I was in ultrasound within a few minutes and the tech scanned and took pictures. I was put back into a wheelchair and taken to the hall. I looked up at my mother with eyes that were pleading for her to say that my sweet baby girl was ok. She just shook her head no and I started crying, holding onto my chart... being wheeled down the long halls to my room to wait for a doctor to confirm what I already knew. I sent my husband a text and said that I needed him there now. He was there within minutes. He walked in, sat next to me and I said, "We lost her"- he crumbled against me and we just cried. There is nothing to do at that moment except hold on to each other.

Later a doctor that I did not know was there to tell me that he would start induction about 7 that night. It was 1 in the afternoon. As a pregnant woman you fear labor...but you know that the pain is worth it because you have this precious child who is you. As a pregnant woman with a baby that has no heartbeat, you fear everything. I had to deliver her. We had to make funeral arrangements. We had to figure this out. I was in labor for 17 hours. My nurse was not kind. She was business. She had a dead baby to get out of me and then she could go home. I begged for an epidural. Contractions were two minutes apart and I finally got what I had been asking for. She wouldn't let me lean into her. ROUND YOUR BACK... I had no support. I was having a contraction and the nurse wouldn't let me hold onto her. I braced myself the best I could with my arms and rounded my back. I finally felt the medicine... I laid back on the bed and fell into a fog.

I remember my mother, my sister being there. My husband. This nurse who hated me. The doctor came in but didn't say much. I remember looking at my husband and telling him that I was falling off of the bed. Then the doctor checked me and said she was here. The baby had just come out, placenta and all... but I didn't know. I could see her head across the room on the table. Everyone was looking at my little girl but I couldn't see her or hold her. I remember saying let me hold her... but it must have been only in my head because then I was vomiting...  There were a hundred people in that room... the anesthesiologist was back. Why was he there?? Later I was told that I had experienced a seizure because the IV drip was too much. I had bottomed out. The nurse told my mother that it was normal. My MOTHER IS AN RN.... it is not normal for anyone to seize during delivery.

I willed myself awake. I could see this tiny pink bundle. There was a blanket trimmed in lace with butterflies on it. Swaddled among the folds was my Sweet Zoe Jane. She was so tiny that I couldn't believe it. Her fingers were perfect with little nails. Her toes and feet so tiny. She had long legs like her Daddy and she had his forehead. But on that face were my lips and my nose. She was beautiful. She was gorgeous. But she was not breathing. I wanted to breathe life into her for just a few seconds. I asked God to please let her move in my hands. I wanted to kiss her fingers and toes but I was scared that she would just fall apart if I did. I touched her. I felt all of this crazy love for this little bit of me wrapped in pink. There was my dream. My little girl. My heart. My Sweet Zoe Jane.