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.

31 days of beautiful.

Happy October, friends!  It’s Fall.  It’s going to feel like it soon, and before we know it this month will have flown by just as quickly as all of the others have in this year.  This time of year is certainly crazy, isn’t it?  I feel like it’s our busiest season yet.  We are doing more, reaching further, and finding ourselves busier than ever.  Some of that is good and maybe some not so much.  So before this month just slips away in the chaos, I want to be intentional about it.  I want to remember something significant from this month.  I want to have challenged myself to reach beyond the day to day and really be.  Be present.  Be intentional.  Be challenged.

And so it’s for these reasons that I love this challenge and am joining in with the Nester as she writes for 31 days in the month of October.  I joined in last year for the first time, knowing exactly what my topic needed to be.  You can find my 31 days of hope from last year here.  This year I am excited for my second go at 31 days of writing as I write every day this month on the topic of ::

beautiful.adventuresofjackandme

Why beautiful?  

This year’s topic wasn’t as obvious to me.  And truthfully, I’ve not been brainstorming it for all that long!  Because the fact that it is October is completely blowing me away.  Before I knew it, it was the very end of September, and I had to kick it in to gear to get this going.  Ever since I took the summer off from blogging, I’ve been out of my regular rhythm.  And while I certainly enjoy posting, I also found so many other things to fill my time.  I am hoping that this October challenge will help me to get back on track and back in this space.  I miss you all!

So while I was pondering my topic ideas, this one came to me.  It’s not perfect, it’s not definitive, and it’s so broad that I’m not sure where I’ll go.  But you can certainly expect to see a home project or two, a recipe or two, a beautiful picture, a beautiful story, and all of the random things that pour out of my heart, mind, and mouth.

My real goal in this topic to look and see what is beautiful in this life all around me.  And I look forward to having the month of October to do that.

Thanks for joining me here!  I hope you will follow along on these 31 days of beautiful.

Day 1//  31 days of beautiful

Day 2//  beautiful in pictures

Day 3//  just beautiful

Day 4//  the beautiful part of sports

Day 5//  what a day + where our hope is [aka: the story of how I cry to a security guard]  

Day 6//  who I watched

Day 7//  beautiful to you

Day 8//

Day 9//

Day 10//

Day 11//

Day 12//

Day 13//

Day 14//

Day 15//

Day 16//

Day 17//

Day 18//

Day 19//

Day 20//

Day 21//

Day 22//

Day 23//

Day 24//

Day 25//

Day 26//

Day 27//

Day 28//

Day 29//

Day 30//

Day 31//

beautifulbutton.31days

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  

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!

10 months.

Yesterday I posted a recipe, and I accidentally posted it before I was finished writing it.  So if you read it shortly after I posted it, you may want to go back and take another look.  I left out the nutrition information the first time around.  So I had to make some edits.  You can look at yesterday’s post or just click here to check it out.

 

Wow, it’s been a long week, and it’s only Wednesday!  Come on weekend.  I had a doctor’s appointment yesterday and have another one today.  Tommy was traveling Monday and Tuesday for the 3rd week in a row.  And I’ve eaten way too much ice cream this week.  Whew.  Need a fresh start.  Maybe I will do a “fresh start Thursday” this week.  Anyone else need a fresh start this week?

 

 

Today is a sweet day and a harder day.  It’s a sweet day to remember our precious baby G, as it has been 10 months since he was born.  It’s hard to believe that he would be creeping up on 1 year if he were here.  It feels like only yesterday he was born.  Time is funny like that.  Yesterday I was deeply missing my baby boy.  While the really hard moments are fewer and farther between now, there are still times where my heart hurts so bad that it physically hurts.  It’s a reminder of my need for God every day, every moment.  At those times I have to remember to just keep breathing.  And thankfully, it passes.  And it passes quicker these days.  Grief lightens, but it’s always present.

So on this day, we remember where we were 10 months ago.  We remember meeting our sweet Gabriel.  We remembering celebrating him and life.  We thank God for the time we got to spend with G.  And we continue to miss our G.  We continue to grieve.  Thank you for loving him with us.

 

Gabriel 10 months

Sweet flowers with Gabriel’s initials on them were delivered on my doorstep this morning along with a giant Coke, and apple slices for Jack from my sweet friend, Becca.

standing on holy ground.

This week is beautiful here in East Tennessee.  Beyond beautiful.  We’re talking 60 degrees, even 70 yesterday.  I went by the cemetery today before I picked Jack up from preschool.  It was a perfect day to go.  The warm weather, mixed with sunshine and partly cloudy skies, with an incredibly strong and present breeze made for an amazing visit.

 

I like to drive through the cemetery with my windows down.  I open the sunroof and roll the windows down, and usually turn my music up really loud.  I’m pretty sure I would have found that inappropriate before – and I do try to be respectful if other people are around and turn down the music – but for me, that’s just part of how I do it.  There is something about feeling the fresh air in the cemetery and listening loudly to music praising God and exclaiming His truths that makes it part of how I grieve – how I handle visiting the cemetery as much as I do.

 

Today was a perfect day to make that drive.  As I drove in and around and up the hill to Babyland, where our sweet G is buried, I took in the beauty of the day and the anticipation of this visit.  I visit a lot, so it’s not like it’s a big deal for me to go.  But today something seemed a little different.  Because I was short on time I left the car running and just hopped out quickly.  My current very favorite song for our lives was playing and was at the perfect point.  I could hear the music as I felt the incredible presence of the wind around me.  And as I stood with my feet over where my baby’s body is buried, my eyes closed, and my hands out, I sang along to this song.  To this exclamation of truth.  And proclaimed it in our hearts and in our lives.  And as I stood there soaking in this incredible moment, feeling the intense presence of God in the strong gusts of wind, I became very aware that I was standing on holy ground.  This plot that belongs to us.  This patch of dirt.  This marker that marks where our son’s earthly body lay to rest.  All of those things I had known of this place became the background to the very holy ground I was standing on.

 

I was suddenly reminded of the Holiness of our God.  Of His power.  Of His presence.  And how He is God over all – the big and the little.  As big as life and death.  And as little as growing the grass around this grave plot.  I was blessed with a holy encounter with our Father today.  One that commanded reverance.  One that reminded me of His power and His presence.  One that I am thankful the Lord allowed me to be a part of.  And one that brought my mama heart deep comfort in knowing that my baby is intimately known by our Creator, just as I am.

 

this hope is an anchor for my soul

 

The song is Anchor by Hillsong.  And it is unbelievable.