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.

 

 

pregnancyandinfantlossbyShanaSmith.jpg
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Project Gabriel support group meeting #2.

Monday night was our second peer support group meeting for Project Gabriel.  It was another really special night  — just like the first one.  I am so thankful to the ladies who came to be open, to love, to support, and to share.  There were wonderful women sitting in that room, and I am so thankful to know them.  I am truly so honored to be a part of this!  It is amazing.

 

The next meeting will be on Monday, June 16th at 7 pm.  Please spread the word for anyone you know who could benefit from this meeting or enjoy the support and community.

 

 

On a Morgan family note, Anni-Jack-a-birthday week has kicked off and is in full swing!  We started off the weekend of festivities by taking Jack to his first baseball game last night.  It was so fun and Tommy caught a ball!  There’s a lot more fun to come, too.

a little weight encouragement + it’s the weekend baby we’re about to have us some fun.

I mentioned the other day that I was so frustrated that I haven’t lost any weight.  Then I saw this article on Twitter which reminded me why I always told clients not to pay too much attention to the scale.  Yesterday morning I woke up and put my jeans on and they felt great.  They pulled up easily and buttoned smoothly for the first time in awhile.  It felt great.  Then I stepped on the scale an hour later and weighed the same — still.  And I felt bad, when just an hour before I had felt so good about my health and progress.  It was such a good reminder to me that the numbers aren’t as important as your overall health.

 

We are settling in for a fun weekend — I’m all about the cooler weather we are going to have.  I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

 

If you are in the Knoxville area and know anyone who would be interested in this group, please spread the word.  We are meeting on Monday evening — any woman who has been impacted by miscarriage, perinatal, or infant loss — we would love to see!

 

Peer support group meeting

 

 

 

 

happy weekend!

 

 

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.  

Gabriel’s first birthday.

May 5th came and went just like that.  On Monday, we celebrated Gabriel’s first birthday.  A year ago he was born, and we held him in our arms and watched as he took breaths and listened as he let out sweet cries.  And we loved all over him, and we kissed his chunky cheeks so much.  And we spent hours just admiring every single thing about him.  It was such joy.

 

He passed away 2 hours later, so the same day that we celebrate his birth, we also celebrate his arrival in Heaven.  Monday was the first anniversary of his arrival in Heaven.  It would have been his first birthday if he had still been alive.  It marked one year since he was born — since I gave birth to our miracle baby.  It’s amazing how quickly this day arrived.  It’s so hard to believe it has been a year since we had him.  This time last year I dreaded being this far out.  I hated thinking about being so distanced from when I held him.  I hated thinking about the memories fading.  How I wouldn’t be able to feel him in my arms any more.

 

And it’s true that the memories have faded.  I can’t remember vividly what it felt like to hold him.  So many things have faded.  But I will never forget that day.  And when I close my eyes I can almost still smell how amazing he smelled that day.  I will always cling to what I can hold on to from our second son.

 

May 5th is a day worth celebrating, and we had a lot to celebrate this year.  I wanted to celebrate Gabriel’s birthday.  I wanted to celebrate that Gabriel is in Heaven, and I wanted to celebrate how far we have come — that we are still here, that we are survivors.  Sunday was more of a pensive day for me because I had Gabriel on a Sunday last year.  I kept remembering how I was in labor and when we went to the hospital and what time he was born.  I thought about that a lot on Sunday.  But on Monday, I just wanted to celebrate!  If Gabriel was alive we would have had a party for him and celebrated his life.  Gabriel was alive and is now in Heaven which gives us so much reason to celebrate.  So we had a really fun day!

 

We went to Dollywood!  I hadn’t been in over ten years, and Tommy and Jack had never been.  So we sun screened up and made the hour drive to have a great day.  And we did!  We had a blast!  It was just so much fun to be together as our little family — the 3 musketeers.  We call ourselves that because we are such a bonded unit and we have been through so much together.  The weather was gorgeous!  A little hot — or a lot hot to me — and so sunny and just perfect.  I was surprised at how many rides Jack could ride.  He LOVED it!  He wasn’t afraid and had so much fun.  The water ride we went on was my favorite, and he loved it, too.  We spent the day at the park having such an awesome day riding rides, carousels, trams, and trains.  Then we headed home.

 

On our way back into town we stopped by the cemetery.  It was beautiful and sunny and just another day at the cemetery.

 

 

It was the perfect way to spend Gabriel’s first birthday.  We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day, and more importantly, we couldn’t have had a better day together as a family.  We miss our precious baby — a lot — and hitting this mark feels like so much time.  It feels like an accomplishment — sort of like a sense of ‘we’ve made it’.  We will still grieve and still miss our G all the time.  But we have come really far, and have continued to stay bonded together through the hard times of last year.

 

One of the biggest parts of Monday was the love we got.  We are so incredibly overwhelmed by the love and support we have. It was so amazing on Monday to be so loved.  We felt completely undeserving of such love and are just so very thankful to all of you who have reached out to us and supported us.  Thank you for the cards, the love, the gifts, the food, the messages, the kind words, the prayers, and for remembering us.  I couldn’t believe how many people remembered our sweet G’s birthday, and that made my mama heart just burst with joy.

 

I used to be so afraid of people forgetting our sweet G, and Monday just showed me that hasn’t happened.  Thank you for loving our family so well.  We are incredibly blessed.  And we are thankful for you.  God has been so gracious to us and brought us through the last year and a half.  And we have seen the hands and feet of Jesus through friends and family.  So thankful for the love that has been poured out on us.  Thank you, sweet friends, for loving us so well.  We love you!

 

Here are some pictures from our G Day…

g day 2 happy first birthday Gabriel!

g day 3 g day 4 g day 5 g day 6 sleep kid on the way home  g day 7 g day 8 g day 9 g day 10 g day 11 g day 12 g day 13 g day 14 g day 15 g day 16 g day 17 g day 18 g day 19 we’re going to Dollywood!  g day

i miss my son.

I miss him.  As Gabriel’s first birthday approaches.  As new life is all around.  As our most joyous month is just over a week away.  As I plan Jack’s 3rd birthday party and realize I will never get that for my second born.  All of these are just little things that are part of life and make me miss him so much.  Last night I sat.  I just sat and listened to this song, after reading my friend’s blog about how that song made her feel about her baby in Heaven.  And as I listened to it and imagined what it must be like for Gabriel in Heaven — which I can’t even imagine — but knowing that he is there, I felt so far away from him.  Some times it does feel like we are only separated for a brief moment.  Our lives here are short in the grand scheme of things and having the hope of knowing that we will see him again one day is an amazing comfort.  And sometimes it feels as if we are only briefly separated.

 

But some days, like today, it seems so far away.  And I feel so far away from my baby.  How I’ll never know so many things about him.  I don’t get to watch his personality develop or see if he is like Jack or so very different.  I won’t have the opportunity to worry about him  — in good and bad ways because that’s what moms do.  I won’t know if he would have been a good or bad eater.  A good sleeper or up all night.  Many of the things moms complain about, I would happily take if it meant time with my son.  I wonder if his very dark brown, very curly newborn hair would have fallen out.  Would his hair be curly at one year?

 

If life went how I planned it, I would have two boys sleeping upstairs in side by side rooms.  I would walk upstairs each night and look in one room, cover Jack back up and kiss his squishy cheeks, then quietly close the door and go to Gabriel’s room.  I would pull the blanket back over him, scoot his pacis back beside him so he could reach them if he needed them, lean far down over that crib rail and kiss his squishy cheeks, then quietly close the door behind me.  I would walk back downstairs to our room and lay down knowing I had a perfect life and a perfect family of 4.

 

But my nights don’t look like that, my life doesn’t look like that, and I don’t have 2 boys sleeping upstairs.  We have the side by side rooms, but one of them is empty.

 

I walk upstairs each night and see the empty room at the top of the stairs that is Gabriel’s room.  I walk past it to go check on Jack every night.  And as I quietly close Jack’s door, I walk back past G’s empty room.  Sometimes I stop in the doorway and just look.  Occasionally I will imagine what life would be like with G in that room.  But most of the time I just accept it for how it is because all I’ve ever known is that room being empty.

 

If my plans had worked out, I would have boys about to turn 3 and 1 next month.  I would have a big boy running, wild, always playing with cars, trucks, and tractors, and I would have a no-longer baby toddling around right after him, I imagine.

 

 

My house feels empty, my arms feel empty, and my heart feels heavy.  Sometimes the pain of loss is so great that it physically hurts.  I know I am being healed, I know God is completing a work in me, and I know He is going to take these ashes that are my life and make them beautiful, but I am still broken.  I still have a broken heart.  And I miss my son.

 

Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!  
Psalm 126:5  

project Gabriel support group meeting.

adventures of jack and me-2

 

Monday is the first peer support group meeting as a part of Project Gabriel.  It is for mamas who have lost a baby through miscarriage, perinatal, or infant loss.  And any woman who has experienced this is welcome!  This is our first meeting, and I’m hoping for a time of community and for women to just gather and not feel alone.  If you are thinking about coming, please do.  I would love to meet you and know you.  And if you know someone who should come, please pass this on and encourage them to.  It doesn’t matter if it happened last week or 10 years ago.

 

We are meeting on Monday, April 14th at 7 pm at the Chick-fil-A at Homberg Place in Knoxville.  I am so excited for this.  And just really hopeful of what the evening will be.  Thank you for your support and kinds words.  This wouldn’t be happening without all of the support and love from you all.

 

 

thank you.

Wow!  I am so overwhelmed by the love and support yesterday.  Thank you for your encouragement, love, and words of kindness yesterday on Trisomy 18 Awareness Day.  And mostly thank you thank you for all of that about Project Gabriel.  I am so thankful for how you encourage me.  Seriously, I am blessed.  So thank you.  Truly.

 

If you missed my post yesterday, you can read it here.  And if you haven’t headed over to Facebook to like the new Project Gabriel Facebook page, please do.  I want it to reach those who really need it, and having support and people sharing and spreading the word is the best way to do that.  Click here to be taken to the page.  Or you can find it at Facebook.com/ProjectGabriel

 

Thank you!  My heart is overwhelmed with love and just so thankful.

 

If you are new here, thank you for reading.  I am so happy to have you here reading.  I’m off to watch Tennessee in their first [and hopefully not last] game in the NCAA tournament.  Go Vols!

it’s trisomy 18 day!

Dear friends,

It’s Trisomy 18 Awareness Day!  A day where we focus on T18 — the chromosomal syndrome our sweet baby G had.  We are going to spend the day remembering him, celebrating his life, and spreading awareness about T18 but also infant loss in general.

T18 Awareness Day

via

 

 

Today is one of those days I’ve set apart and made really special in my own heart.  I think the reason it is such a big deal to me is because I feel helpless, I am helpless.  As I learned about this day last year while I was pregnant with our T18 baby, I knew that in the future I would have to take advantage of what this day was set up for and spread awareness — do something.  And I have all of these dreams and big ideas in my head.  Some of them may happen, some may never come to be.  But I want to do something.  As a T18 parent, I have been helpless.  I would have done anything to save my baby’s life.  Any amount of procedures, doctor’s appointments, whatever it took.  But there was nothing that I could, nothing that our doctors could do.  Our Gabriel had Trisomy 18, and his days were numbered just as each of ours are too.  Feeling helpless is a terrible thing.  It’s something that doesn’t sit well with me.  So for over 14 months now, I have been learning to rest in that and rest in God’s powerfulness and not my own.  It’s been a hard lesson and one that I imagine I will continue to learn for a long time.

 

However, within that feeling of helplessness, I believe that God has stirred something in me.  I believe He has been at work for over a year now on my heart.  Seeds were planted a year ago, and they have taken root, taken hold of my heart, and are bursting forth.  And I am busting with excitement to share what all of this means with you!

 

A year ago, while I was still pregnant with Gabriel, Tommy and I knew that we wanted to do something to honor our sweet G.  We weren’t sure how that would look, what form it would take, and when it would happen, but we definitely had the stirring that we needed to do something.  We explored several very different ideas — I mean incredibly different ideas.  But we weren’t ready for it yet and none of the ideas really felt right.  In September, it hit me!  Just like that.  I knew exactly what we needed to do.  So I introduce to you first, dear friends, Project Gabriel.

 

 

Project Gabriel is a support network for women and their families who have experienced miscarriage, perinatal, or infant loss.  Project Gabriel is brand new and just getting started, and I am beyond thrilled to share and have this safe place for women who need some love, support, and encouragement during the most difficult time in their lives.

 

As the first act of Project Gabriel, we will be having a peer support group for women who have lost a baby either through miscarriage, perinatal, or infant loss.  This first meeting will be on April 14th at 6:30 pm with the location to be announced.

 

Project Gabriel

 

This is the passion of my heart, and it is with great joy that I share it with you today.  It’s both terrifying and exciting to share this little secret with the world!  And now, I need your help.  I want to reach as many women as we can.  If you know a mama who needs this support, who could benefit from being around women just like her who know that deep pain of losing a child, would you please let her know about our group?  I know the way for us to make the most impact is to have support from friends and the community.  Thank you friends for how you have supported and loved me over the past 14 months.  Now let’s do it for other women, too!

 

First up, would you head over to Facebook and like our Facebook page?  You can click on like our Facebook page, or find the site at Facebook.com/ProjectGabriel

 

And please share this post with anyone you think could use it.

 

so much love!

 

\\\\today I have the incredible privilege of sharing on one of my very favorite blogs Naptime Diaries  so head over there and check out Jessi’s great blog and incredible heart\\\\

 

Last year’s Trisomy 18 Awareness Day post.

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If you are new here, thank you for coming over to read.  If you’re interested in knowing more about our story here are some posts to catch you up quickly:

when we shared that our 2nd baby was very sick

the definite diagnosis of T18

sharing details about baby G in the womb  

when G was born

Click on the Gabriel category to read more about our precious baby.  We celebrated every day with him — the special, the mundane, the hard, and the joyful, and I’ve shared a lot of it here.