A Reminder

I had a little Christmas reminder this morning.  I woke up in the middle of the night to feed the baby.  During the day, I use pre-made bottles that I put in the bottle warmer, but at night, she’s hungry and we don’t have 5 minutes to wait.  So I just make a bottle fresh at that time.  When I turned on the sink no water came out.  My first thought was “oh no, they think we didn’t pay our bill!” But we did 🙂  My next thought was something was wrong with our house, and we were going to be out of water for awhile and have to pay big bucks to have someone come fix it.  I waited until a reasonable time in the morning to text my neighbor to ask if they had water.  They didn’t either!  Whew.  Turns out there was a water main break and a lot of people were out of water.  And thankfully it wasn’t out for too long either.  It came back on later in the morning.  I was texting my neighbor telling her how I had trouble making a bottle and had to use cold water and then the bottle warmer.  And that I should have run my dishwasher last night.  And I wanted to take a shower first thing this morning but now couldn’t.  And I was going to start my washing machine first thing this am, so now my plans to be productive were ruined.  She was super gracious and super kind and replied.  And then she said she was thinking about how blessed we are and all of those who don’t have running water.  Wow.  It hit me so hard.  I was sitting here thinking about how I wasn’t going to be able to sanitize my baby’s 12 (expensive brand) bottles in my sanitizing cycle in my sweet dishwasher.  And that my hair might just have to go another day without washing.  And our piles of laundry (because we have that many clothes) would go unwashed for awhile.  And I’m so thankful that she reminded me of what’s important.  I forget.  And I forget really quickly, too.  What makes it even worse is that my daughter used to not have water.  My own daughter lived the first part of her life without running water.  Every day.  She never knew what water was until she came to us.  And it scared her pretty badly for awhile. 

I have debated so much how much to share of our sweet Firecracker’s story.  On the one hand, her story is one of redemption and God’s love.  If you can’t see God’s hand and love and redemption all over her story, then you aren’t going to be able to see it anywhere.  He has cared for her and loved her when no one else has.  Part of me feels that it’s this amazing testimony that needs to be shared.  Because it’s amazing.  And so many people don’t even know this happens in our own city.  I didn’t.  But then part of me wants to fiercely protect our girl.  I don’t want people to know that she was disadvantaged.  I don’t want anyone to look down on her because she has had a hard life.  I don’t want people to judge her or see her as dirty because of her story and her first family.  I struggle with this.  I never want to write words that she will grow up to read and be embarrassed of.  I never want to write words that anyone could use to harm her.  But I want her story to be told.  And to be known.  And I never want her for one second of one day to doubt how much God loves her and how much we love her.  I never want her to think that because of her hard life, she is loved any less.  I want to use her life to teach her and others how beautiful God is.  And how he can take ashes and turn them into beauty.  That’s what He has done and continues to do for our Firecracker. 

So today I choose to share this precious part of her story with you.  Not because it’s dramatic and I want to up the drama on how bad she’s had it.  Trust me — there is nothing I could add to her story to add drama.  It’s all there.  And there are a lot of parts that I will never ever write here.  There are a lot of parts that are so sacred and for her to know when she’s ready.  But for right now, I share with you that to say that I am thankful God gives me reminders.  How quickly I forget of what life is like for so many, including what life was like for my own daughter. 

Today I pray you are safe and learning lessons of your own that make your heart grateful. 

day 26 // celebrating, remembering, + the wave of light.

Wednesday, October 15th, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, but you know that already because you read my blog.  And so many of you supported us by remembering our sweet baby G, along with many other babies who are no longer here.  I want to thank you for your support — for us always and for so many others who come here for this great community.  Thank you for loving on mamas and families like us.

 

Here was our Morgan family candle ::

WaveofLightMorgans

On this Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, I’m lighting a candle on remembrance of our son, Gabriel, and all the other precious babies who are not here. I hope tonight that all mamas who have lost a baby know they are loved and their baby is remembered.

Candles from you all ::

WaveofLightAmyRoss WaveofLightBeccaE WaveofLightCarolinaBeth WaveofLightCaseyA WaveofLightFrancesca WaveoflightJennyColvin WaveofLightLauraJ WaveofLightmomanddad  WaveofLightShellyM WaveofLightSheriMae WaveofLightSueS

 

 

Thanks for sharing love and hope!

 

xo!

day 15 // pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day 2014.

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  I seriously cannot believe it has been a year since we marked this day in 2013.  It’s crazy how a day I didn’t even know existed, is now marked pretty big on my calendar.  I’m a big supporter of this day.  I think it’s really important to take the opportunity to remember women and families who have lost a baby.  It’s easy to feel forgotten and alone when you’ve lost so big.  Especially when we are surrounded by people who have what we so desperately longed for.  Our family has been so incredibly blessed by so many people as we walked through losing our son in 2014.  The love and support we’ve been shown has blown us away.  I know many women who don’t have any support.  Not from a husband, family, or anyone.  Today is a day to share hope with all the women who have lost, and especially these women who really need to see some love.  It’s all around us.  One in four women will have a miscarriage.  That number doesn’t even include stillbirths or neonatal loss.  It’s all too prevalent.  Let’s spend today taking time to remember the babies who are no longer here with us.

 

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So today, just like last year, I am asking you to light a candle.  At 7 pm tonight [or another time if that doesn’t work for you!] light a candle wherever you are in remembrance of a baby who is no longer here and to give hope to their parents.  Then send a picture of that candle — text, email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or anything else you want to us to help spread awareness of infant loss and most importantly share hope.  Help mamas know they aren’t alone.  I cannot wait to put all of the pictures together to see the beauty that is people coming together, encouraging, and sharing the burden of loss.  Thank you for loving us, thank you for loving others, and thank you for remembering our sweet Gabriel.  We can’t wait to see your candles!!

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Check here for some of last year’s candles!

 

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And in case I haven’t adequately expressed how much last year’s candle lighting meant to me, here is something I wrote on October 16th last year ::

I want to thank you all so so very much for remembering Gabriel last night.  I was BLOWN AWAY by the love.  That is what hope is.  I wish I could have bottled last night up so I could take a big whiff of it whenever I needed encouragement.  We feel so loved and so blessed to have people who not only haven’t forgotten our baby but also took the time out of their lives to do a kind act for him and us.  So touched. 

 

Tonight I will be lighting a candle at 7:00 and remembering many babies.  I will remember a sweet little baby who just passed away a few days ago.  I will remember twin boys who passed away a handful of years ago.  I will remember a baby girl who passed away just over a year ago.  I will remember a baby girl who’s parents fought so hard to keep her here.  I will remember a sweet baby who passed away in the womb.  I will remember my friend who had an ectopic pregnancy almost a year ago.  I will remember the women who are pregnant with a baby who they know won’t live.  I will remember the women who have had a miscarriage.  Many friends of mine who have known that pain.  There are a lot of little and significant lives to remember today especially.

 

 

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day 6 // who i watched.

Today I watched a little boy/toddler named Gabriel.  He was at our house playing, eating, and hanging out with me and Jack.  It was kind of wild to have another Gaby here.  And pretty beautiful, too.  I was concerned it might confuse Jack, but he seemed to understand the difference.  A brief moment that was a gift.

 

little boys times two littleboy

day 5 // what a day + where our hope is.

So technically this post is going up at 1 am on the 6th; however, I am backdating this post to the 5th because I’m still operating in the 5th mode and today has been crazy so I’m just getting this to post.  Also, I have had computer problems for the last hour and a half and just got my computer turned on.  I’m new to the MacBook Pro world — have always had PCs before.  I’ve had a lot of issues with my Macbook not turning on.  Does anyone know if this is a common problem?  I don’t know much about computers.  And on another note, I want to wish my friend Deanna a very happy birthday today!  She is one of my oldest, best, lifelong friends — and I think we’ve been friends for 25 years now!  Happy birthday, Dee!

Today was a really fun day!  We woke up and decided to do something fun.  So we gave Jack a few options, and he chose to go to Dollywood.  In a random occurrence, both of my siblings were able to come with us!  So Aunt Z, Uncle Baggee, and Becca piled in the van and we all went to Dollywood.  It was the perfect day for it!  Not too crowded and a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  The weather was perfect.  Jack rode his first roller coaster.  I couldn’t believe he was tall enough.  If I could put emoticons in here I would load it up with them.  Ones that express how terrified I was and that I couldn’t believe it.  I even asked a woman working it if it was “really ok [with a little wink]” for him to ride it.  Apparently the standard heights they set up aren’t good enough for me.  But he rode it and had a blast on it!  Such a fun day.  He also requested the water ride, which means the River Rampage.  A classic that Linds, Bud, and I haven’t ridden together in probably close to 15 years.  You know what kind of rides you don’t have to wait in line for in the fall?  Water rides.  I debated the whole way to the ride and I was super nervous because I thought it might be a bad decision to ride it when it’s cooler out.  But Z assured me that it was nearly 70 degrees, the sun was shining, and the water would be warm from the end of summer.  So we rode it.  And Jack loved it and got totally soaked.  Then Tommy paid $5 for a “dryer”, which I put in quotes because I’m pretty sure the only thing it dried was his wallet out of money.  Thankfully I had a change of clothes for Jack so we were able to get him dried off.  The rest of us walked around in soaking wet jeans for the rest of the day.  But it really wasn’t cold in the sun.

We were planning to leave there around 5 because Tommy and I wanted to go see our friends’ new baby — their rainbow baby — this evening.  But we got caught up at Dollywood, and apparently behind the mad rush of everyone leaving when they closed at 6, so it took awhile to get out.  On the way home I checked my phone and saw that our friends’ new baby was being admitted to the hospital.  And my heart sank.  So fast.  I couldn’t believe it.  They had finally gotten their sweet baby and had just brought him home and been able to introduce him to his brother.  And just like that he’s sick and put in the hospital.  I knew it would be especially hard for my friend because last time she had a baby in that hospital, her baby died.  So I went to see her but had some issues getting in there.  Because it was later in the day the front doors were locked.  So I went through the ER and had to check in with a security guard who informed me I could not visit.  Once I told him the name he checked his role but didn’t have their names on there.  So I stood there with big ol’ 32 oz. Cokes in hand telling him to look again and that I had stuff to bring my friend.  He said “nope, I can’t let you up.  and this isn’t exactly a lot of fun for me.”  I was desperate because I had a phone charger for her and her phone was dead.  Very important things.  So when he made another comment about this not being his idea of a good time, I said something along the lines of yes, I understand that.  It’s not my idea of a good time either.  My son is at home and cried because he didn’t want me to leave the house, and the Good Wife is on and I’d rather be sitting on my couch watching it and eating ice cream.  But I’m here because my friend’s 3 day old baby was admitted, and last year she had a baby in this hospital who died.  And last year my baby died.  So this is a big deal.  And I have her phone charger.

At that point the tears started coming, and he either felt bad for me, thought I was crazy, or just wanted me to stop talking because his demeanor changed and he said he would see what he could do if I would wait.  So I stepped outside because that ER was insane with people and I have a little bit of a compromised immune system.  And I sat down on the pavement outside the ER, and I just cried.  The tears just flowed.  I’m so sad for Ray and Julie.  My heart is heavy for them as they endure this hardship, and I know the uncertainty of their sweet baby’s health is so scary.  Why some people endure so much and others don’t is something I don’t think I will understand.  Julie and I talked about this on Friday.  But I think in those moments outside the ER I just grieved for their Nora and for our Gabriel.  With tears filling my eyes and running down my cheeks I just wept for our babies.  To have to fight my way in to see my friend who I’m so bonded to because both of our babies died was one of those things that caught up with me in the moment.  One of those things that made me overwhelmingly sad.  So I sat on the sidewalk and cried.  And then I knocked over one of the Cokes and it poured out all over the concrete in an instance, and I cried some more.  Then I pulled myself up — like I’ve done so many times in the past year and a half — wiped the running mascara off my face as much as possible, and walked back in.  The security guard let me in, and I gave Julie her phone charger.

As I drove home tonight I cried some more just thinking about things.  Thinking about life.  One of the things I was afraid of after Gabriel died was that I would forget.  Not him — I knew I would never forget him — but that I would forget my desperation at that time.  Because as broken and awful and miserable as losing a loved one is, there’s something beautiful about being so low that every breath you breathe is a desperate need for God.  I knew that as time went on that would go away, and it did.  Tonight reminded me of our desperate need for God every day.  If our hope is in anywhere but Him, we will be crushed.  While things move smoothly in life I tend to forget my state of desperation, where as a little over a year ago I walked in it every day.  Seeing a little tiny, new person laying there completely helpless — totally in the hands of God, reminded me of how He holds us and how we need him every day.

*Please pray for our friends and their sweet baby boy.

why i don’t care about the prince’s birthday.

I hope I’m not kicked out of America for this.  Because Americans love them some Royal family news.  But I don’t care that it’s Prince George’s first birthday.  In fact, I am going to proclaim to the inter webs that I’m not celebrating it.  I don’t wish against him or his family.  They’re lovely people, I’m sure, and I mean, who doesn’t look on admiringly at that family wondering just for a moment what life is like to be royalty.  However, we focus on them and this baby way too much.  We are obsessed and following his moves and pointing things out and so focused.

But I think our focus is on the wrong things.  Did you know that 1 in 4 women have a miscarriage.  Next time you’re in a room with women, look around know how many around you have lost a baby.  The last girls’ night I went to there were 5 women and 2 out of the 5 have had miscarriages and I lost my baby after birth.  This is a real thing, and women all around us are hurting, grieving, and not holding their babies.

So let’s celebrate life and celebrate a birthday — it’s a big deal, and life should always be appreciate and celebrated!  But let’s not spend all of our energy wishing a prince in another country a happy 1st birthday, when we could spend that time writing a quick note to a woman who needs a pick-me-up.  A woman who on this day is probably a little extra sad that she doesn’t have her baby, because all around her is talk of babies and a gorgeous, healthy one year old boy that isn’t hers.

 

Thanks for listening.  Let’s love on the women around us a little more.

he’s 3!

I meant to post this on Sunday but got caught up in the celebrating!

 

Today is Jack’s birthday!  He is 3 years old!  We’ve been busy celebrating this boy and having so much fun!  It’s hard to believe how quickly 3 years can go by.  They’ve been the best 3 years of my life.

 

 

Morgan family jack kissesMorgan family softball

Morgan family maternitynaptime smiles

FamilyPicturesFall2013006_thumb.jpgg day 18 Jack and mommy.adventures.jpg first night without paci

 

Jack's birthday hayride

birthday hayride!   

 

 

 

Happy birthday to my sweet, sweet boy!  He has the most tender heart I’ve ever seen.  He is sensitive but not soft.  He’s a rough and tumble boy with a heart for others and a heart that God uses to bring healing to those around him.  He’s the most precious human I’ve ever known, and I still can’t get over how blessed I am to be his mama.

5 years of marriage.

Five years ago we were married.  It was a beautiful day in East Tennessee and we had such a sweet wedding day.  I know that neither of us imagined what our future would hold just 5 years down the road.  As we stood up together in front of our family and friends we made promises and committed to each other forever.  In sickness and health, in good and bad, in rich and poor, for better or worse.  Those words were dear to my heart, but I had no clue how deep they would become and run in our marriage.  We were happy and started our life of bliss together.

morgan wedding

 

 

morgans

 

A mere 2 weeks after we got married we moved to Maryland.  It was when we finally got there after a 12 hour drive that should have taken only 9 hours and pulled off into our new apartment, that I first realized life wasn’t always going to be what I had imagined.  The very nice apartment I thought we were moving into, wasn’t so very nice.  I had never lived outside of Tennessee before.  I had never seen so many of the things we saw in DC.  I had never been so far away from my family.  I had never lived in 600 square feet with anyone before.  I had never taken the Metro to get around.  Never ridden buses to get places.  We had never bought a house before or worked with a crooked realtor in the past.  These were all things that Tommy and I had to adjust to and work through together.  These were all things that helped to form the foundation for our marriage.  These were all really, really good things.  Some moments were tough, some were scary, some were fun, and some were just down right hilarious.  Most of these things are things we look back on so fondly of our first year of marriage.  Most of them are things we look back on and laugh about and appreciate so much.

 

I think being able to handle the little twists and turns that happened in the first year or two we were married, really helped pave the way for how we would handle the real stuff next.  While we wouldn’t have imagined having Jack the day after our 2nd anniversary, having him in our lives is far better than any plan we had.  We didn’t think we would end up back in Tennessee for a long time, if ever, but we got to come back home when Jack was just over 5 months old.  Just when we felt like we were back on the track of planning our life out again, we decided to have kids 2 years apart.  And as you all know, we learned how to let go of planning and control.  We certainly never would have imagined having a baby with a fatal chromosomal syndrome.  We never would have thought we would lose a child.  While being a parent is hard in general, losing a child is the worst thing parents could go through.  But the amazing thing is that I didn’t have to go through it alone.  I have always had my husband by my side.  The man God chose for me — knowing he would be my best match to go through all of these things in life.

 

When I reflect on our marriage and our 5 years married, I am blown away by how loving and wonderful Tommy is.  He has always stood by me, supported me, loved me well, and the same for our boys, too.  He is one of the kindest, most loving people I’ve ever known, and I’m so thankful I get him.

 

Now when I think about our future, I don’t plan or really imagine what things will be like.  I’ve learned in these 5 years that I just can’t even imagine.  And while we’ve been through some really, really bad, worse, sickness, and death stuff, we’ve also been through some really precious, sweet, lovely, hopeful, joyful, and life stuff too.  Five years feels big and while I’m celebrating that time together, I also look at it and just celebrate that we’ve survived all of this stuff that we have.

5 year anniversary

 

I am so very thankful for this man, my husband.  I love you, Tommy!  Happy anniversary!

happy mother’s day.

Happy Mother’s Day, dear moms.  I hope you feel loved and celebrated today.  I hope you are appreciated and are able to appreciate your blessings as a mom.

 

Yesterday I shared some words of wisdom from a dear friend.  Today I have a post I want to share written by one of the most precious women in my life.  God has used Kelly in my life in so many ways.  We met Kelly and her husband during a very formative time for us — our college years.  As a dating and then engaged couple we really learned a lot about marriage from Kelly and Adam.  I loved babysitting their awesome kids and seeing how they parented.  Many years ago Tommy and I heard Adam talk about how we are stewards of everything and how even his kids didn’t belong to him, he was just stewarding them.  That has always stuck in mine and Tommy’s minds.  That was before they lost 2 of their sons.  And before we lost Gabriel.  Tommy and I also believe that the example of how these two walked through that paved the way for how we would walk through losing our child.  God has used them in big ways in our lives, and we are so thankful to know them.

Kelly is a wonderful mama, and I look up to her so much.  I want to do pretty much everything like her — I want her to come help me decorate my house, teach me new recipes, and more importantly pay attention to my kid’s heart.

 

I hope you will read these words that she has written.  I was incredibly moved by them.  As I read her post I realized that I have been off track.  I have been more focused on my performance as a mom and Jack’s performance as a kid.  I’ve been focused on perfection and not on his heart or mine.  His heart is the most important thing to me, and I am so thankful for the reminder of that and the awesome privilege it is to be his mama.

 

from Kelly…

 

Over the past 12 years of stewarding little stories I have realized the importance of parenting with a pupil’s heart. Moment by moment as they change, I am offered the priceless invitation to grow right alongside them. So, before I launch into what being a mommy means to me… I feel led to begin with what I know it is not. Being a mommy is NOT about being an expert or getting it perfect. Instead, it’s ignoring the reoccurring voice of fear… choosing to be a constant learner and daily embracing the greatest gift of all… grace.  

In our crazy, wild home, being a mommy means knowing my 4 Smalls have just as much if not more to teach me… than I have to teach them. It means… apologizing often … laughing at myself, dancing crazily as people watch, nursing ailments and personal “chefing” for little bellies with special dietary needs. It means advocating health on ALL levels (spiritual, emotional, physical and mental). It means super- raggedy homeschooling. It means equipping and celebrating successes in the midst of giant failures. It means modeling out respect and honor beginning with my relationship with their daddy. It means publicly grieving over pain filled losses as well as publicly belly laughing as I play. And, in my less than glamorous world, it means… being transparent enough to admit… most days I don’t really know what I am doing. I too, am just a little person in need of MUCH GUIDANCE as I walk out this God-given assignment. And, not only do I deeply desire the grace-gift they carry, I desperately need it.  

To be completely honest, I have received more education in these past 12 years of being a mom than I could’ve ever obtained at any prestigious university. And yet somehow I feel like I know less than ever before. So, at the end of everyday… I always come back to this one thing… GRACE. Being a mommy means an abundance of grace-exchanges. At some point on my journey I hope to receive a “Masters” in this subject. But, today, I am just thankful to have the opportunity to sit under some of the most powerful, little teachers my heart has ever known. So thankful.  

 

Thank you, Kelly, for sharing your words and wisdom!

 

_______________________________

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom!  She has been a rock for me my whole life.  She works hard and is so respected and loved by all of us.  Mom, you take such good care of all of us — still — and I’m so very thankful to have you as my mother.  I love you!

Happy Mother’s Day to my mother-in-law also — to the woman who raised the love of my life.  You raised a wonderful man, and I’m so thankful for that.  We love you!

 

If you know anyone who has lost a child or could use a pick me up today, share my letter for mama’s with them.

you are amazing.adventures

 

On this day, I’m acutely aware of how hard it can be.  Last year was awful.  It was 1 week after Gabriel was born and died, and I can’t believe I even got out of bed that day.  But I did, and I don’t remember a lot of it.  But it was a very hard day.  I know there are many reasons for people to be sad today.  The cemetery is pack on Mother’s Day — mostly with people visiting the graves of their mom’s, but for some like me, it is to visit the graves of our children.  Whether today is hard because of death of a mother or a child, infertility, dreams that haven’t happened, just know that you aren’t alone.

 

happy mother’s day!

for the mom who’s lost her child.

you are amazing.adventures

 

 

Dear mom who has more children than anyone can see with you,

 

[Deep breath]

Hi, sweet mama.  How are you feeling this Mother’s Day?  It’s nice to be celebrated as a mom, but it can be so painful when it just brings reminders that part of us is no longer here.  That we are forever changed because a chunk of our heart has passed away.  That our very life as we know it, will never be as we had imagined or thought.

 

I know this day is hard and that it can bring so many emotions with it.  I know we all remember and celebrate in different ways.  I also know that ignoring this day, ignoring the memories and the celebrations of our children — of our motherhood, is so much worse than embracing it in all its forms.  While remembering and talking about the hard parts of our motherhood can be painful, pretending it didn’t happen is just excruciating.  Our children are precious and each of them should be celebrated.  You are a mother — whether you were pregnant for 8 weeks or have children who have children of their own.

 

Be strong today.  Stand tall and remember that you have strength and support from those around you and those who walk this road with you.  Be proud today.  Be proud of your amazing children both here on earth and those who are already in Heaven.  Share their stories and take the opportunity of this day celebrating moms to do what moms do best — brag on their kids.  Be real.  Tell people how you are doing today.  It’s okay if today seems impossibly hard.  It’s okay if today isn’t really that hard.  Share with people who don’t understand what all comes with losing a child.  Tell them how you wouldn’t trade motherhood for anything in the world.  Be brave.  Even though this day isn’t the same for us mamas who know the loss of a child, it doesn’t mean we need to hide out around this time.  Be kind to yourself.  So much of motherhood is demanding.  Do what you need to do today.  Want some quiet time?  Ask for it.  Need some help?  Ask for it.  Want to do something adventurous?  Go for it.  Want to spend the day in your PJs?  Call me, cause I’m in!

This is my prayer for you today — that you will be all of these things.  That you will feel loved.  That you will celebrate the special blessings in your life, even if they were here for way too short a time.  

 

And know that you are not alone.  Ever.  At all.  You may not be surrounded by children, or you may but are still missing the one who isn’t here.  But that doesn’t mean you are alone.  Because even if you have no one beside you, you have all of us mamas who know the ache you know.  Who hurt deeply on this day where we celebrate moms.  Who don’t get to hug and kiss those precious faces that we see each time we close our eyes.  Who take a deep breath before walking into a room of moms and kids, knowing we are “that mom” — the one who lost a child.  Who feel torn between living in a world that is our reality and wondering so often what could have been.  You are not alone.  And you are loved.  So very loved.

 

Mama, you are amazing.  Happy Mother’s Day.