Run 4 Everett

Friday, December 30, 2011

A few thoughts...

As the year quickly comes to an end, I can't help but look back and think of all the things we accomplished in 2011. Dave, Lilli, and I have come so far on our grief journey this year. There's still more work to be done, and honestly I think that will be the case for most of our lives.

February 2011, the six month anniversary of Everett's birth and death was the absolute most hardest for me. It's when the shock fully "wore off", and reality, or integration, set in. It was hard to breathe, it was hard to cope, it was hard to make it through a single day without crying and feeling miserable. As the year went on, that feeling became a little more tolerable each day. We focused on Everett's race and building a legacy for his life that will always mean so much to us. It felt like August would never get here and then somehow it did. We found out we were expecting baby number 3 and held the first Run 4 Everett. It was a huge success, raising around $10,800 for the Kate Carmichael Stillbirth Program, AKA: Kate Cares. It was more than we ever expected it would be.

The holidays have been tolerable this year, where they weren't at all last year. I felt like I could cope better, but the feeling of someone really important missing from our lives lingered all month long. It set in on Christmas day and I felt really depressed all day long. We planned to go to the cemetery to visit Everett and I just couldn't do it. I knew if I did I would break down, like really break down and I didn't want that for Lilli. She got to experience me doing that so often through the holidays last year and for a long time after. We chose to go to the cemetery to visit Everett the day after Christmas. My in-laws had gone on Christmas Eve and left a beautiful little tree and ornament for him. A tradition we started on Everett's birthday is to send balloons to him in Heaven. Lilli wanted to make sure he had fresh balloons to play with. So we went to the party store on the 26th and Lilli picked out 5 balloons. Three for us to send to Everett, one for her to keep, and one to bring to my grandmother.

When we got to the cemetery it was sunny and bright out. We let the balloons go one at a time and like to imagine that where ever the wind takes them is where Everett is in Heaven. We did our traditional blowing kisses to Everett and Lilli always sends him up big hugs. She also had Dave hoist her up to touch his name on the wall he's placed in. I'm not sure how much longer he'll be able to do that, she's getting pretty heavy.

I want a way we can make his resting place a little more personal. With him being placed where he is, there's not a lot we can do with it to make it personal for him. We looked around at some of the other names and wall spaces and have noticed that some people have pictures of them on the wall. We decided to do that for Everett. We will use one of the black and white close ups of his beautiful, perfect face to have mounted to the wall near his name. They make them out of ceramic, I believe. That makes me feel a little better to have a personal touch there for him.

As we cross into 2012 at midnight tomorrow, I can't help but feel excited about it being the year we get to meet our baby girl. It will be the second year for Run 4 Everett, and it will continue to be a year of change for us. Change for the better, I hope. We will always have an empty spot in our hearts for Everett, but know that our baby girl will fill our lives with so much joy, just like her big sister and big brother do. We can't wait to meet you in March, sweet baby girl!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011


My anxiety has been through the roof, to say the least, over the past several weeks. Mainly pertaining to my pregnancy. I felt our first, Lilli, moving around 16 weeks and it was fairly easy to distinguish and became regular movement very quickly. With Everett, I felt him for the first time around 15 weeks. Probably because I knew what I was looking for. He was very consistent with his movement until around 30 weeks and that's because there was a major problem going on, unbeknownst to us at the time...

This child, however, is giving me a total run for my money and causing me to skip heartbeats from time to time! Her movement has been inconsistent at best. At least that I'm feeling. My placenta is in a completely different place than it was with the other two (they never attach at the same location) and that is causing a pillow effect with her movements. The placenta seems to be taking the brunt of her moving and not allowing me to feel her. Very unsettling for someone who's experienced a loss! It wouldn't be so bad if I knew that was just going to be the way it was, but I'll have several days in a row where I feel amazing movement (because of positioning) and then other days where I feel pretty much, nothing! I will be 23 weeks in 2 days. I should be feeling more than nothing at this point.

I spoke to a couple of my baby loss friends about my anxiety levels and they recommended I get a fetal doppler at home. I had contemplated this very early on (13 weeks). I spoke to a nurse about it and my OB at the time and decided not to do it. Then I was glad I didn't get it because every time I went in, for a long time, they could never find this little girls heart beat with the doppler and I'd end up having to get an ultrasound anyways! I didn't want that stress at home. The further along I got, the easier it became for them to find her heart beat. I decided it was time to get the doppler.

I contacted the gal I had been in communication with back in the fall. She started and runs a non-profit out of California called Tiny Heartbeats. This program allows moms like me (who've experienced a loss) the opportunity to have a professional grade doppler at home to listen to their baby's heartbeat whenever they need reassurance, for free. The head of this non-profit had previously experienced a loss as well. They do require you fill out their waiver and you are required to have a prescription written by your OB. My OB had no issue at all writing that out. I will not use the doppler for self diagnosis, I'll be leaving that up to my OB and anyone else who cares for me during this pregnancy. I strictly want and need reassurance that she's alive in there!

I had a rather unsettling weekend with rare movement from our baby. I contemplated going in to triage at the hospital for a fetal heart beat check. Finally, after lunch on Sunday I started feeling some subtle movements. On Monday, when I got home from work, I found my doppler in the mail! I was so excited. I immediately had to try it out. I found her heart beat immediately and to be honest, could have listened to that sound all night. Our 4 year old thought it was pretty cool to hear her sister's heart beating.

Movement was better yesterday and I did not feel the need to use the doppler since I was getting my reassurance from the baby. One thing I did not expect was our Lilli needing reassurance too that her sister is OK in there. She asked me two different times to listen to her sister's heart beat, she needed a "fix" before she went to bed in the evening. I sometimes forget how unbelievably traumatic Everett's death was on her too. She worries from time to time that something will happen to her little sister because something happened to Everett. I know we all worry about that and feel like so many people, other than my husband and I, are holding their breath until she arrives safely next year.

In the mean time, I have my doppler to get me through the holiday's, since I'm done with OB appointments until the new year. I can't wait for January to get here, my OB will start seeing me weekly and I'll have her heart rate monitored twice weekly, the very first week of 2012. They are keeping such a close eye on this little girl, which makes me feel good about the care I am receiving. I start my official non stress tests in 5 weeks!

Happy Holiday's to all!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Heavenly Connection (gender revealed)

I've written in past posts about the connection Lilli has had with her baby brother since his death. She's informed us, at different times, how Everett communicates with her. The thought of it warms my heart that not even Heaven can stop them from having a beautiful relationship. However, the older she gets the less we hear about adventures she and Everett have in her dreams together. A couple of months ago, Lilli was spending the night at her grandparents house and woke up to a bad dream. She told my mother in law that she dreamed Everett couldn't find her, because she wasn't at home. He kept looking and looking, but didn't know where she was. We let her know that he'll always be able to find his big sister, where ever life takes her.

Two weeks before we found out we were pregnant, Lilli came to my husband and I and told us that Everett told her a little girl was waiting in Heaven for us. She said I was supposed to be this little girls mommy, Dave, her daddy, and Lilli was to be her big sister. We went through so many fertility woes and weren't sure if a pregnancy was going to happen for us, at this point. It sounded nice though. Then on Everett's birthday, when I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive, we thought there might really be something to what Lilli was telling us. Everyone we told about what she had said took thier bets that Lilli would be right. This would be a little girl meant for our family. Since we've let Lilli in on the pregnancy, she has been adamant about having a little sister and has always referred to the baby as a girl.

Since I'm high risk pregnant I get to have lots of extra testing done, that other people might not have or choose to have. We would rather know ahead of time if something is wrong and chose to have non-invasive genetic testing done on our baby. At this ultrasound (around 12 weeks), if the baby decided to cooperate, we would get a sneak peak at the gender. The very experienced tech took several profile pics and asked us if we wanted to know. We said yes. She said she was 75% sure this baby was going to be a boy, based on what she saw. We couldn't believe it! We had been thinking and planning up to this point for a girl and had to let the shock set it. My husband and I didn't have a preference on gender, we truly just want a live, healthy baby. I have to admit that I was nervous when I heard it was a boy. Boys tend to be more hyper active in the womb than girls and we were told that's what caused Everett to become so tangled up in his umbilical cord. On the plus side, we saved all of Everett's clothing and would finally get to use them on a little boy. We also worried that another boy would feel that we were trying to replace Everett with him. We actually worry that any child will feel that way. No one can replace our Everett and we would never expect, or want them too. We love each of our children as their own individual selves.

We let Lilli know that they said this was going to be a boy and she looked at us crossed eyed and told us that it wasn't. We let her know that they said they were fairly certain this was another baby boy and began referring to the baby as her brother. She still wasn't buying it. She finally started referring to the baby as her brother, instead of sister. She kept telling us, though, that there is a little girl on earth still waiting for us. Dave and I wondered if that meant we were supposed to adopt a little girl, as I'm not sure my body can handle another pregnancy. Plus I'm getting close to that "age" where more things can go wrong. Lilli calmly referred to the baby as her brother until about a week before my 16 week ultrasound and started talking about her "sister" again.

At 16 weeks, I went in for an ultrasound with my new OB. The tech asked if we wanted to know the gender. We told her what had previously been told to us. She looked and looked and got a really good look between the legs. She informed us we were having a girl! I must have asked her 4 or 5 times if she was sure. I couldn't believe it! Here we had been searching for boy names for a month and thinking of another boy and Lilli was right all along. Or I should say that Everett was right. I couldn't stop crying. I just cried and cried. Lilli asked me why I was sad and I let her know that it wasn't sad tears, they were happy tears. We got confirmation that the baby looked really good, measuring in at 5 oz and only measuring 3 days ahead of schedule. It's important she doesn't grow too big too fast, as Everett did. At the end he was measuring 4 weeks ahead of schedule. They'll keep a close eye on her growth each month. As of today, our baby girl (yes we had it confirmed again) looks good and is only measuring 4 days ahead of schedule. Still within normal range! :)

I feel this brought me (and my husband) offical confirmation that my children, in fact, do have a Heavenly connection. Not that we doubted them before, but to know for certain is a wonderful feeling. Love truly knows no boundaries. Love you Lilli and Everett! You two are the best! Can't wait for you little sister to arrive next year!


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Being Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving and a time for me to reflect on things I am thankful for this year. This time last year, I could barely function and honestly I just had to sit and try to remember what we did for Thanksgiving in 2010. Did we have it here or go somewhere? Then I remembered that we decided to spend it with family in Florida. The holidays last year are such a blur to me. I just wanted them to be over.

There is no way I could have gotten through this past year, if it weren't for some amazing people in my life. We only met because we had something awful in common. We all have lost a child. My fellow baby loss moms (and dads) have been a source of strength for me over this past year. I hate we had to meet the way we did, but I am so incredibly thankful to have these people in my life. I have learned so much from all of them about their beautiful baby's, their grieving process and how no one else "gets it" like they do. I am also thankful for the amazing grief and loss nurses I've had in my life this year. Their knowledge, skill, understanding and patience is greatly appreciated.

We have so many other people to be thankful for when it came to Run 4 Everett 2011. There were so many people who came to participate, volunteer, support and donate to this important event. I have to say, Run 4 Everett became our lives over the past year. It was our passion and mission to bring awareness to the issue of stillbirth. It is our son's legacy. So many people helped spread the word, donated or came to the event and for that we are forever grateful. To raise $10,800 for a first year event was unbelievable. That money will continue to help the mission and families who are helped through the Kate Cares Program.

Finally, I am also so thankful for a husband who has stood by my side during thick and thin and a daughter who has compassion and understanding at such a young age, unlike anyone I've ever known. They make my life such a brighter place every day.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

A little bit of crazy!

Well, I've been working my way, for a little while, into my first (un-official) breakdown. At 15 weeks I started feeling this little baby moving periodically. I wasn't expecting big kicks, just some swishing, rolling, and a foot here or there. Maybe once or twice a day and I was happy with that. Then something changed. I'm not sure if it was the position or what, but I've been feeling increasingly un-easy this past week. For the last three days, I've been feeling nothing, nada, zip, zero movement. Not good for a woman who had a stillborn baby only last year! My mind has taken me all kinds of ugly places this week and I have gone back and forth from being OK to feeling like I'm going to loose it. Just needing a little something from the baby to let me know that beautiful heart is still beating. I don't think that's too much for a mama to ask for.

I figured once I started feeling some sort of movement, I would be less anxious. Finally, I would be getting reassurance this little one was alive. But as it turns out, this pregnancy has been very different from the previous two. I've had elements of both pregnancies wrapped into this one. I had no morning sickness with Lilli and overall felt pretty good, tired, but good. With Everett I developed a very strong gag reflex in my throat and would throw up most mornings. I've had the gag reflex with this one, but it hasn't been as bad, only getting sick once or twice a week and at 17+ weeks, it appears to be subsiding (where it lasted the entire time with Everett). I felt Lilli move for the first time around 16 weeks and she was pretty regular with her movements. I felt Everett around 15 weeks, probably because I knew what to look for. The movements never stopped with either of them and got stronger the further along I got. This baby, however, is throwing me through a loop.

I've been on edge for the last few days with feeling nothing from this baby. I've been having bizarre dreams about the pregnancy when I sleep at night, and wake up with my mind focused on worrying why I'm not feeling any movement. After I eat dinner, I'll lay quietly on my side trying to feel something, anything and have gotten nothing. My fears got the best of me today so I ended up contacting the grief and loss nurse at the hospital where I switched my care. She was really supportive and positive and told me to contact my on call Dr., which I did. I went in for some reassurance to listen to the heart beat, hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. It's what you do when you've gone through what I have.

The first nurse came in and was very pleasant. She put the doppler on my belly and looked and looked and looked. She couldn't find a heart beat. I was trying to stay positive, but it was growing increasingly hard. Then another nurse came in for a try. She looked, and looked and looked. She tried all kinds of positions and angels with the doppler and after some hard prodding, I lost it, started crying and begged them to just get an ultrasound machine. My fears had overcome me. It was like flashing back to Everett all over again. I could see the worry in my husbands face. My daughter tried to tell me things would be OK and rubbed my arm. I wasn't so sure though. They paged the Dr. to come in and set up the ultrasound machine. The doctor put the probe on my belly and saw the heart beating. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then the baby started moving all over the place. I couldn't feel one bit of that baby moving! I finally had some reassurance. We left the triage area and I broke down in tears. I knew this road was going to be hard, but this is much harder than I imagined. Especially with not being able to feel this little one move!

I was able to come up with a plan with the grief and loss nurse for extra reassurance in between appointments, since apparently this little booger is going to be so much different than the big brother and big sister that came before. I love you little squishy, but please, please, be kind to your mama. Feel free to kick the crap out of me (while your in there) and I promise never to complain!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Long Road

I'm not gonna lie. This pregnancy after loss thing has been hard for me. It's not hard every day, but some days my mind is my own worst enemy. I've been trying to change that with more positive thinking, distraction, and anything else that will get me through the day. I'm hoping it will get better with more regular movement, and reassurance through the big anatomy scan, that things are looking OK.

I'll be 16 weeks on Friday. I have an ultrasound scheduled and it cannot get here soon enough! I will always have that image in my head of the last time we saw Everett on an ultrasound and that flicker, where his heart was, was gone. I worry everytime I go in for an ultrasound with this baby we might see the same thing. I've been told, by experts, this is normal. It doesn't feel normal. It sucks.

I struggle between wanting to be happy and cherrish every minute I get to spend with this baby, and having a protective bubble formed around myself to help ease the blow of something that "might" go wrong. No one gets to know what the future might hold for them and I am no different from that. We found out at my last ultrasound that they were 75% sure of the gender. We will find out 100% on Friday, if the baby cooperates. I am hoping this will help with the bonding process so we can finally put a name on this munchkin. Although we plan to keep the name to ourselves.

Lilli is starting to get very attached to this baby and likes to hold and hug my belly regularly. This was something we encouraged when I was pregnant with Everett so she could try and bond with her little brother. We didn't encourage it this time around for fear of the unknown and wanting to protect her from the pain, grief, and loss she felt after Everett was gone. She just likes to do it on her own and I no longer discourage her from doing so. If that gives her comfort, then so be it. A couple of weeks ago she hugged my belly tightly and told me she doesn't want this baby to die. She wants this baby to come home with us. I told her that daddy and I very much want the same thing. That about completely broke my heart to hear her say.

I ended up having to change some things around recently, mainly with a new OB. It was unbelievably important for me, and my husband, to get what we needed from our doctor. First and foremost, an understanding of what we had been through with Everett and how that affects this pregnancy. Because it does affect this pregnancy. Also, not holding me to a delivery standard, because if I've learned anything with my last two children, it's that I don't fit in the neat little bell curve of other pregnant woman (really there shouldn't be one). I happen to be way off in left field somewhere. We got into that with Everett, being told I HAD to make it to 37 weeks regardless of what was going on inside of me and with him. I'll be damned it that's giong to happen again. I want and need to be listened to! I never was with Everett. While it would be good for the baby to make it to a "safe" gestational age, I've never had a baby survive in the womb that long. Lilli came at 34.5 weeks and Everett died at 35 weeks 6 days. I think we are finally on the right path, which helps ease anxitey on that level.

This has certainly been, and will continue to be, a long road. One that we are willing to take, because the end result is so worth it. I can't wait for this rainbow baby to get here next year, but for now, I still have to take things one day at a time.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

It's been a while...

So I've been pretty quiet on the blog front for a while now. It's certainly not been for a lack of things to say. I've just not been sure when the right time is to talk about what's been going on over the past couple of months. So I'll just start...

We've been undergoing fertility treatments a good chunk of the year. We decided to give it one last go before I had further testing done. It was time for me to take a pregnancy test on Everett's birthday (Aug. 11) and much to our surprise, it came out positive. We were happy, scared, worried, happy, and a little terrified all mixed into one package of emotions. I didn't have much time to think about it because it was just over a week before Run 4 Everett. We got through all of that and a week after the race I started having some bleeding, well, a lot of bleeding. I feared I was miscarrying. After an early ultrasound it turned out I wasn't. They weren't sure what was going on. I had a few more scares like this over the next several weeks.

After my 8 week appointment with my fertility specialist, I was officially handed off to my MFM (maternal fetal medicine OB-AKA: high risk OB). Dave and I handed picked her after everything we went through with Everett. Obviously we would not be using the same hospital system and doctors that let him die. The bleeding and spotting subsided and I started feeling a tiny bit more comfortable with our new situation. However, please know that comfort, bliss and pure, uninhibited happiness, will not be emotions we will experience throughout this pregnancy until this child is born alive and well, safe in our arms. I am still holding my breath each day that passes.

We attended the Walk to Remember at St. Francis Hospital last weekend. It was a beautiful, perfect day. As they got ready to read our babies names, a big gust of wind swept over the crowd, kind of like our babies were there with us. Dave, Lilli and I participated in the walk, along with many of our baby loss friends and their families. I had an incident, a little after the walk, where I felt like I may have leaked some fluid. It is the third baby, things just don't work like they used to! We got to my in-laws to visit with my sister-in-law and family who came in from out of state for a visit. I headed to the bathroom and much to my surprise I was covered in blood. How could this be happening, I thought! I immediately told Dave we needed to go to the ER. I was horribly upset and prepared myself for the worst, seeing that blank spot in the baby where the heart is supposed to be beating. They paged someone from OB to come down and perform the ultrasound. I held my breath, I prayed. As the doctor put the probe on my belly, there was that beautiful flicker, and the baby was in the middle of doing somersaults! We still have no idea what happened to cause the bleeding.

Today I had an appointment to check for possible chromosomal abnormalities and the ultrasound part came out well. Besides, anytime I get to see this baby, and it's beautiful heart beating I am happy. We will wait for the combo results of the screen to come back in another week and then part two of it at 16 weeks. I will be 12 weeks tomorrow. We were able to find out (for the most part) what we are having. The tech, who is awesome, was 75% sure on the gender, but we won't be revealing that for a little while. Good to keep some things to ourselves! :) I also plan to not decorate the nursery or buy anything until after this one arrives safely. We have plenty of gender neutral clothing, we have a crib and bassinet, bottles and diapers sitting in the closet.

As I approach the end of my first trimester, I do not feel safe. Most people do when they hit that 13 or 14 week mark. I know too much, I have seen too much, and I have been through too much to ever feel safe again. Right now, we are taking each day as it comes and thankful for each day we get to spend with this little one. Nerves have certainly been worn down already and we pray that we get to greet this beautiful life with tears of happiness come mid-late March.

P.S. Don't ask me what my due date is, it's irrelevant.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Where did the month go?

This month has been extremely stressful, for so many reasons, yet has managed to fly by! Run 4 Everett was a huge success, minus a few bumps that were out of Dave's and my control. Our apologies to you if you ran the 10K and hit the off roading snag that should have never happened!!! We have raised over $10,000 to be given to Kate Cares! That is a huge accomplishment, in my opinion. I had set a goal (this first year) to raise $5000, so double is awesome!

Even with some of the snags in the race, this money will go to help so many families, like us, who deserve answers and will get them. With the stillbirth research that is being done, our hopes would be that no other family has to endure this type of loss in the future. A huge thank you to those who came out to participate, those who donated, those who supported us this past year with this endeavor, and those who volunteered. You made our dream a reality and without you, we could not have accomplished this goal. We plan to tie up remaining loose ends with the race and then will take a month "off" from all things race related. After that it's back to planning for next years event.

I started a new job this month, crazy timing, but it's been going very well. I enjoy the work I'm doing and like that I still get to stay home with Lilli several days a week. I have to say though, it's nice for me to feel useful and fulfilled in a "work" capacity again! Plus Lilli loves her pre-school and friends there.

Summer feels like it is winding down, and with cooling temps you can almost feel a crispness in the air. Although it's supposed to get hot again this weekend. We usually visit an apple orchard or two in the fall and this years visit will be different from last years. We were just starting the healing process and seeing moms with new baby's, around Everett's age, was just torture. I actually broke down to Dave in the middle of the pumpkin patch last year telling him how that should have been us with our new baby. I feel like so much healing has gone on this past year, although there's still plenty more to work on. I hope everyone has a safe Labor Day weekend!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy Birthday dear Everett!

Dear Everett,

Today is your first birthday. I still can't believe how fast a year has gone. If you were here with us today, we would have gotten to watch you make a mess out of your first birthday cake, covered in icing and enjoying every second of it. We would have watched with joy as you tore open all the pretty wrapping paper and looked at what fun presents you got. We would have looked forward to seeing you walk for the first time, or as it was with your sister, run. We would have smiled at you with love as you called us momma and dada.

We miss you so much, my beautiful boy. We miss everything we would have been doing with you, we miss seeing you, we miss holding you, we miss being with you. I am sure you will have an amazing celebration in Heaven to mark your one year of becoming an Angel, and your birthday. I will always feel a special connection to you because I knew you when you were alive. I feel so lucky and blessed to have gotten to feel you move inside of me and be with me every moment of your life. Daddy, Lilli and I will still celebrate your birthday. You will always be such an important part of our lives.

If I had a wish for your birthday it would be for you to continue to watch over your big sister and be near all of us when we need to feel your presence. It gives us strength and comfort to feel you close by.

I will cherish the memories of bringing you into this world, holding your beautiful body in my arms, rocking you, being able to stroke your soft hair, and feeling the power of all the love I have for you. I will love you forever. I miss you dearly everyday. Happy first Birthday, my amazing son.



Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August 10, 2010

One year ago today at approximately 5:35pm our beautiful Everett took his last "breath" in my womb of the lobby of "that hospital". I felt him move for the last time, and quite the move it was. It's as though he struggled for the last time and was saying goodbye, so I'd notice. We were still filled with excitement that I was finally being induced and we would soon get to meet our amazing son. It was only minutes later that our life was shattered as we were told that our son no longer had a heart beat. This started the hardest journey of our lives.

Through this process I've grown in ways I never thought possible and have seen my husband grow. I am so proud of him for taking the high road through this grief process. Not that he would have done it any other way. He has been my rock, just as he has for the last 11.5 years of our marriage. But if anything would put that to the test, this experience would.

One of many things I've learned this past year is men and women grieve in COMPLETELY different ways. And there were times I was mad at Dave for that. It seemed like I was the only one falling apart all the time while he had it all together. But he didn't. He took a brief period of time off work and then dove into it head first. I think guys are more susceptible to doing that. His running has been his outlet and his way of being close with Everett. He typically runs in the wee hours of the morning when it's still dark out and the stars are filling the sky. I learned that I had such a different relationship with Everett than he did, so of course we would grieve differently. We had to relearn what normal was for our life. I think we are finally getting there.

I knew before Dave did that Everett had passed. It was after they had been searching for his heartbeat for some time and I just knew he was gone. Dave tried so hard to be optimistic and positive that they'd find it, but I knew differently. I felt in my body and heart that Everett was gone. It wasn't confirmed until the Dr. brought in the ultrasound machines and I'll never forget the look of shock and horror on Dave's face. His beautiful son he had wanted for so long was gone.

I know there will be sadness today as it marks the one year point of our son missing from our lives. But tomorrow, we choose to celebrate Everett's birth and what his life means to us. We all miss him terribly and our hearts still ache for what should have been.


Sunday, August 7, 2011

I Hate Stress

I hate stress. I seem to ALWAYS encounter it, and over the years have learned (a little) how to handle it better. Although lately, my depression and grief issues over loosing Everett has surfaced full force making most things that don't go as I planned or expected stressful. I hate that!

I woke up early this morning to a familiar tingling sensation and slight pain in my upper lip. Yep, it's cold-sores. I officially have worn my immune system down. So now I have to deal with these unsightly, painful blisters on my lip, in addition to swollen glands in my neck. Good times. (Note the sarcasm)

There have been a number of things stressing me out lately, but I didn't realize how much until early this morning when the physical result of stress smacked me right in my lip. One thing that really frustrates me is people who say they are going to do something, and you count on them to do it, and then they don't follow through. I'm mainly speaking in regards to the race. There have only been a very few select people I have been able to trust/count on to help me with things, and those people I/we greatly appreciate, are like gold, and should be treated as such. We have some amazing friends who have helped spread the word, flyer-ed all over town, and generally have been there for us over this past year. You know who you are and Dave and I would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts! The others, well, I just need to let that go.

Another thing that has been extremely stressful and something I haven't shared, except with a few select people is that we've been trying to conceive, rather unsuccessfully (surprise, surprise), for many months. I haven't felt comfortable sharing this because I don't want people asking me all the time if I'm pregnant, how things are going, or anything else about it. I always run a risk of miscarriage because of medical things going on with me and know that if or when I get pregnant again, it's not going to be an easy or anxiety free road. I don't think I'll breathe a sigh of relief until I get to hold a healthy, living, breathing child in my arms. And I know there's never any guarantee that the child will be either. I know that sounds kind of crass, but I no longer get to live in a world where bad things don't happen to me, or others I know or care about. My innocence bubble got popped wide open a little while ago.

Things get tweaked with my fertility procedures each month, I get to take the hormonal roller-coaster known as fertility drugs and every month we complete a fertility procedure to try and get pregnant. So far nothing is working and my fertility specialist suspects I might have a polyp in my uterus acting like an IUD. So I have a procedure scheduled to see if that is the case, and if so, will have to have surgery to remove it and then time to heal afterwards. I was really upset about that at first, but think I'm really ready for a break as fertility treatments, meds, procedures, etc. are emotionally draining. They were draining the first two times as well (trying for Lilli and Everett). I hope that this is the cause of why we haven't been able to get pregnant and they can fix it and we can move on with this next chapter.

Lately I have been thinking more about how much longer we are going to try for another baby. Merely for the fact that I feel like I'm stuck in this idea of what my life was supposed to look like. I was supposed to have two, living children. We still very much want another child to join our home and Lilli has been telling me for over a week that she wants a sister this time. She said she already has a brother, and isn't real crazy with how that turned out. We don't discuss the fertility stuff with her, or that we're trying. She's told us this all on her own accord and says there's a little girl in Heaven waiting for us to be her parents, and for Lilli to be her big sister. I wonder who that might be. It makes me smile to hear her talk about this. According to Lilli, she's hanging out with Everett, but at some point will join us here on earth and in our homes to stay. I'm not sure where my child gets this stuff, honestly.

So just a few stresses going on lately. Hopefully my lip clears up before race day and I can fit some exercise into my schedule to help with the stress levels that are likely to only go up this week as we face Everett's first Birthday. I miss that little boy so much.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Warning: Bumpy Road Ahead

I've been handling my grief pretty well lately and feel like I've accomplished some major healing milestones in this past year, so I was surprised when my grief snuck up on me and hit me in the head like a ton of bricks last night. I'm not sure exactly what triggered it. Usually something does.

I was putting Lilli to sleep last night and just started thinking about how this time last year when I put her to bed, I had Everett with me. He was alive, and we were anticipating his arrival at any time, due to all the problems I was having in the pregnancy. I started thinking about how it's almost the month of August, and almost to the one year mark of when he died, and then when he was born. I started crying and couldn't stop for a while. It's been a long time since I've really let myself cry, so there was quite a back up of tears. I miss Everett so much right now, it hurts almost as bad as it did when we lost him. That, I wasn't expecting. I know there will always be a void, along with missing, and sadness, but it's like the grief scab got ripped wide open. All I can say is, this really sucks. Big time!

I asked my husband through tears tonight, "why did this have to happen to us"? He pointed out the fact that why does it have to happen to anyone. We aren't exempt, we aren't any different from the other 26,000 woman in the US each year who loose a baby through stillbirth. I guess this whole thing is a continual work in progress and I know will take so much more time to heal. One year is not much time in the grand scheme of things. But still, it really does suck.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Brain Clog

This week is completely flying by, for me, and I feel like I'm running out of time to get everything done that needs to be done. I start work next week and have tried to cram one too many things into my week before I go back.

I feel like my brain is on overload and am having a difficult time formulating simple thoughts at times. That's a little troublesome. I have learned to laugh at myself (A LOT) lately when that starts to happen. It's like I know what I want to say, and mean to say, but it doesn't come out that way.

The very first Run 4 Everett is only three weeks from Saturday and I'm starting to feel the pressure. It's like planning my wedding all over again, except with more people and without the nightmares that I'm wearing the wrong dress! This event is a BIG DEAL! I want things to run as smoothly as possible, I want people to have a good time, and I want families who've experienced a loss feel like they matter. I also know that things like this aren't without flaws and I can't make everyone happy. I've certainly found that out from a few sour folks along the way. A couple of those folks I encountered last week. It really reminds me that no matter what we've been through this past year, some people really are just that unhappy in their own lives and will try to take you down with them. You know the old saying, "Misery loves company".

I think part of the other reason my brain is clogged is that we are quickly approaching Everett's first birthday. He would have been turning one, two weeks from tomorrow. That seems so hard to believe. One year ago today I was halfway through my high risk stay at the hospital, and a year ago tomorrow was when my doctors made the first fateful decision to send me home, when they should have been delivering me instead. I don't know if those doctors ever think about those decisions they made and their consequences of not listening to the testing (Everett), not listening to themselves, and not listening to me. I hope in some ways, not ill intended, that those moments and decisions haunt them in their medical careers, if not for any other purpose but to remind them not make the same mistakes with another baby and family.

I made my last ditch effort to speak on behalf of Everett by filing an official complaint with our State's Attorney Generals Office, against the OBGYN practice and Maternal Fetal Medicine Office that were responsible for Everett's death. It's the last form of recourse we have in having an "official" person review what happened, and possibly file something against the physicians medical licenses. It was found by both attorney's and three other medical specialists that medical standard of care was not met and had it been met, Everett would have (most likely) been here. I'm really hoping something happens with this, but not holding my breath either.

Each day that moves forward is a day further ahead in the healing process. On the flip side, each passing day gets me further away from remembering what my little boy felt like in my arms, what he smelled like, and how soft his hair felt. That has been hard for me as we quickly approach the first anniversary. And could be another reason my brain has been clogged up lately. So many emotions, and feelings to sort through.

Lilli continues to tell me how God and Jesus take care of Everett and all his needs, and how nice they are to him. That gives me comfort to hear from her, even though I already know it in my heart. Someday, I will have to write a blog called the God and Jesus chronicles. Lilli really does have ALL kinds of stories of things that Everett does with them. Apparently they take him shopping in Heaven, and bought him a toy similar to what Dave and I had purchased for him shortly before he died. It's so he wouldn't miss it, and us so much, she said.

I really do count my blessings with my amazing little girl. I'm so proud to be both she and Everett's mommy. Maybe once this upcoming month passes, my brain will start to function at a more normal capacity. One can only hope!


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Turning the corner

I have some news. Good news for a change! I got a job! Not just any job. When I was going through this process of seeking employment, I was careful with who and what I chose to apply and submit resumes to. I didn't want to just get any job that would bring income in, it had to mean something to me. It needed to be someplace I would enjoy staying for a long while, and someplace that was supportive in general with their employees.

I think I applied for around 15 different positions at a variety of places that fit that criteria in the last 8 months. Interviews were few and far between. I saw some report on Yahoo this week that actually listed Indianapolis as the top little big city to live for a variety of reasons. One being job growth and low unemployment rates, compared to the rest of the US. Although I know that with me personally and several other people I know, weren't experiencing this when applying for jobs. It seems the applicant pool here is huge and would take knowing someone to get your foot in the door for an interview. That's what happened to me with this new job.

I interviewed for this new position last week. Of course, when I left I thought of about a million more things I should have, or could have said to sell myself to them. I felt uncertain about how the interview went. Isn't that how it usually goes? I got the call I had been waiting so long to hear, yesterday, that I got the job! I was ecstatic! Finally! This isn't just any job either. It's something that I've been very interested in for a variety of reasons. I will be working at an adoption agency, being a part of a team that helps families make their dreams of completing them a reality. It doesn't get much better than that, at least in my opinion. I will be working part time, which is also, in my opinion, the best of both worlds. Lilli is excited and a little apprehensive about returning to pre-school. She asked me, and told me, she wants to go to work with me. It will be a change from what we've both been used to for this past year, but it's going to be a positive one. I'm so glad she will be returning to such an amazing, and supportive pre-school. She starts Kindergarten in just two short years! That will be here before we know it!

The new job starts during an incredibly hectic month for me, August, but I know I can handle it, and I'm so ready for it! I will also, by chance, be off on Everett's first birthday, which is important to me. We plan on spending the day as a family and will visit Everett at the cemetery with some small birthday goodies and balloons. I have no doubt that a big celebration will be planned in Heaven, with all his friends and family, up there, in attendance. I recently found out that two other angel's (in the Indianapolis area) joined him into Heaven at the same time and share the same birthday. Their special mommies will be walking and running in their memory at Everett's race next month.

It feels good to be rejoining the working world and I'm so excited for this next step and adventure in my life!


Monday, July 11, 2011

11 Months!

I can't believe that my baby would have been 11 months old today! That just seems mind boggling to me. Probably because he hasn't been here, except in spirit, to share it with us. The past six months seem to have flown by. I often think about all the things Everett would be doing and enjoying with us today, if he were here.

About a year ago today marks the final four week count down leading up to Everett's death and birth. It was the most terrifying month of my life. I was in and out of the hospital 8 different times due to decreased movement and heart rate issues those last four weeks. Never knowing what to expect next and feeling a sense of doom looming around me all the time. I also felt such a huge amount of helplessness. I was still working while all of this was happening, which added another level of stress to the mix.

The beginning stages of grief were down right miserable. I can't even put to words how miserable I felt during that time period. There was so much hopelessness after Everett was gone, and the constant reliving of everything that took place; if only they had delivered him sooner, if only they had listened to me, if only they had listened to themselves, he would be here with us right now and we wouldn't have had to experience the worst pain of our lives. I kept asking myself over and over again, 'how could this have happened', 'why did this have to happen'?

August 10th of last year (around 6pm when we were told the words no parent ever wants to hear) marked the beginning our our new life and NEVER in a million years would I have guessed that I could have survived the loss of our son. But I went though it, and somehow managed to survive. I feel somewhat stronger since the loss of Everett. Mainly because I've had to be. I've had to keep putting one foot in front of the other and I want to make sure that as many people as possible know our story, to try and prevent another tragedy, like this one, from happening again. It was preventable, and it never should have happened. I want to make sure that pregnant moms out there know how to make their voices heard, with their physicians, and concerns listened to when they feel something isn't right. I want to make sure pregnant moms know how to properly track their baby's movements (click here to learn) and not just brush it off and think 'well, it's late in the pregnancy and they just don't move that much anymore'. I want to make sure that stillbirth is talked about in society and research continues so that ways to prevent it can be found and passed on to medical professionals.

To make it 11 months without our son is a big deal. Next month is going to be even bigger (and harder) and we will celebrate our Everett's first year in a big way with family, friends, and the race. I miss him terribly every day, and while things get easier with time, I never, ever, forget him or what he meant to our family. For the rest of our lives there will always be a missing piece in our home.

Love you Everett. Mommy misses you and holds you close in her heart always.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Beautiful Grandmother

I have one grandparent left here on earth. My grandmother on my dad's side. She is a beautiful and amazing woman with the most stunning blue eyes you've ever seen. Kind eyes, that make you happy when she smiles through them. My grandmother has had a pretty wonderful life. She has also had a rough go of it for the last 4 1/2 years.

Over the weekend we made the hour trip to an outlet mall for some 4th of July shopping and deals. The outlet mall is pretty close to where my grandmother used to live and made me think back to fond memories I have from when I was a child through my adult years. My grandmother J has always been present in my life. My grandfather was too, but he passed away from ALS in 2000. She and my grandfather lived in a beautiful, yet comfortable home on a lake about an hour from our house. I spent A LOT of my childhood there, especially in the summers, playing with all my cousins, swimming in the lake and going out for boat rides while I watched my aunts, uncles, and older cousins water ski. In the winter, if it got cold enough, we would ice skate until we froze! It was fun. We always looked forward to going down to their house and spending a weekend, or a week. I have memories of going out on canoe rides around the lake, and fishing with my dad and grandfather. We would head to the local bait shop on a Saturday morning. I always made my dad bait my hook. I'd touch the fish, but no way would I touch the worms.

My grandmother would cook big meals for all of us to eat, at times there were 20 of us down there on a weekend, while my grandfather would grill the burgers and dogs after a long day of being out on the boat and swimming. They always had ice cream in their freezer for all of us kids to eat (11 grandchildren), homemade chocolate chip cookies, and would make a big batch of popcorn in the evenings for us to munch on while we watched TV. It didn't get much better than that.

In the years after my grandfather died, my husband and I spent a lot of time going "down to the lake", as we call it in our family, to visit with my grandmother. She was never a typical "old lady". In fact, she seemed so young, vibrant, and full of life you would have never guessed how old she was. She always kept up her appearance, was up to date on the latest fashion trends, and her makeup always looked perfect. We would sit in her living room and give each other pedicures. She loved to shop and we certainly did a whole bunch of that together. She shared my shoe addiction, and we'd ooh and ahh over different kinds of shoes. We also shared a love for gardening. She grew and tended to a traditional English Garden in the front of her house. It was beautiful, complete with boxwood's and roses. Whenever my husband and I would go down she and I would head off to an out of the way nursery because they had the best and most beautiful plants there. I loved spending my time with her. She always had interesting stories to tell and was full of family history knowledge.

In 2006 her beautiful home on the lake burned almost to the ground. This was devastating to our entire family, as this home held so many memories and good times. My husband, an architect, redesigned it to suit her needs and thinking about her aging built the master suite on the first floor, complete with a balcony for her to sit in the mornings and look out at the lake. We spent so much time there that year, working with the builder, picking out finishing touches, new furniture, paint colors, etc. The house was complete and she got to enjoy it for just two months before she suffered a massive stroke.

Did I mention how physically strong my grandmother is? She survived the stroke, but it left it's impact on her body, mind and speech. She fought damn hard at regaining her strength back, and worked on her speech. She was never able to go back to the house to live though. I think that's when I first started grieving my loss of her. After her stroke, she was never the same person. She was still sweet, and funny and beautiful, but very different too. I missed the grandmother I knew.

She was doing better for a little while and even able to live an assisted living apartment. But the last couple of weeks have not been so good. She was diagnosed with vascular dementia after the stroke. A type of dementia that occurs after a traumatic brain bleed. Lilli and I went to see her today. I prepared myself for her not knowing who we were and what she might be like during our visit. Nothing could prepare me though for what I would find. I went up to her and said hi. She smiled at me through those beautiful blue eyes of hers. I asked her if she knew who I was. She asked, "who"? I told her Steph. She looked off in the distance, like she was in a far away place. I spoke to her about how she was doing, and she kept repeating, Steph... Steph... She mumbled something to me I couldn't understand. Then she looked up at me and said, "Stephanie"! She then told me she loved me very much, and went back to mumbling. Tears started streaming down my face. I hugged her and kissed her and asked if I could rub her head. She seemed tired. I ran my fingers through her hair and told her how much I loved her and missed her and how she is such a special grandmother to me. She looked at me off and on. Still peering out in the distance. She cried. She appears to be in a state where she gets moments of lucidity back but knows something is terribly wrong. That must be terrifying.

We were able to get Lilli on the unit to visit with her and she lit up! We told her Lilli was her great granddaughter and she was very happy to hear that (she knew Lilli well before this stage progressed). It warmed my heart to see my daughter smile and play with my grandmother, just as she always has. My grandmother has always been so special to me, and I hold her close in my heart. It was time to go. Lilli and I told her we would be back to visit. She watched us get on the elevator and Lilli blew a kiss to her. I love my grandmother so much. This process is going to be so much harder that I thought it would. It really is painful to see someone you love suffer through something. Any prayers for her would be much appreciated.


Monday, July 4, 2011

A Year Ago Today

One year ago tonight I was sitting in a lawn chair watching a beautiful display of fireworks ignite in front of me. One year ago tonight, I watched my daughter look with excitement to the lit up sky and cover her ears at the loud noises, but smile at all the pretty colors. One year ago tonight my little boy was safe, and sound, and alive in my belly.

Everett had great hearing at that time in my pregnancy and could hear quite well all the loud noises going off around him. He didn't like it. I giggled as he would move like crazy every time another loud firework would pop in the sky. It got too loud for Lilli so she went to sit in the car and watch with Daddy. But Everett and I sat out, under the night sky and enjoyed the fireworks display together. I rubbed my belly each time a noise startled him and let him know it would be O.K. That this time next year he could see what all this noise was about. Next year is here but our little boy isn't.

We will head off to watch the fireworks again, shortly. I will miss having my little guy safely close to me as we celebrate the Independence of our country. I will, however, cherish the memory I have of spending the 4th with him last year, and having those moments to ourselves.

Mommy loves you Everett, and not a day goes by that I don't think about you, talk to you, and wish that things had been so different. You will always be a special, amazing child in our life. Love you always.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

The survivor

I've been having a hard time these past few months with something. My sister was expecting her third child the second week of July. She would be having another little boy, to join my other two nephews. I had been doing OK around other pregnant people, but this one hit a little close to home, and a little close to Everett. I gradually came to grips with the fact that she would be having a little bundle of joy to bring home, while my arms are still empty, and still aching. It's just the way things worked out.

The plan was for my dad to come out and be here with her during labor and to help out with caring for the little guy afterwards. My mom wasn't able to get off of work, so she would be staying home. My sister was scheduled to start the induction process on Monday June 27th. We would all go visit with her and the baby after he arrived. But Mr. Jack, my nephew, had a different plan. I got a phone call Friday (June 24th) the late afternoon, asking if we (hubby and I) could pick up my dad Saturday instead of her and her hubby. I said, sure, but why? Her water broke and she was headed to the hospital. I asked her to let me know if she wanted me there or needed anything.

Later that evening, after she got checked in, I got a text to come on over to the hospital. So I did. She was still in labor, but would like for me to be there when Jack arrived. I was honored, but worried. I felt sort of like a glutton for punishment. Was this stupid for me to go? Did I have any business being there after loosing Everett less than a year ago ? Was this going to bring up my "baggage" and would I fall apart? Or pass out? That certainly wouldn't be beneficial to anyone! I got in my car and made the drive over to where she was. Thankfully, she wasn't delivering at the hospital where I did! When I got there she had been placed on some oxygen and was relatively calm. That made me calm.

Labor went very quickly and it was time for her to push. I helped on one side, while her husband helped on the other. Next thing we knew Jack West was entering this world. I know, kind of sounds like a cool movie star name! I can't believe how calm everyone was. No yelling, no crying, just peace and calm in the room. The doctor had to unwrap Jack's cord from his neck and placed him for a second on my sister's belly. He was purple and he wasn't crying. Then she pulled the rest of his umbilical cord out and there was a knot. It wasn't tight like Everett's, but it was still a knot. I thought in my head, 'are you f-ing kidding me'? I lost it when I saw the knot and briefly broke down crying. The nurses quickly whisked little Jack off to his warming station and worked in a calm, but driven manor to get him breathing on his own. My sister was very concerned, and had a look of terror on her face. A look and feeling I know all too well. I tried to block her view of what was going on and reassure her that he was going to be fine. I had to believe he was going to be fine. I could see his belly moving up and down. I started praying (quietly) to God and to Everett, to let this little boy be fine. I prayed to not let another tragedy happen. Not to this little boy! They had to bag him, and probably worked on him for about 10 minutes, until he finally started breathing on his own. His skin pinked up and the room returned to calm.

After some more checking, apgar testing, temperature taking, and making sure Jacks' well being was stable, my sister was able to finally hold her little boy in her arms. He is perfect. He self soothes, by sucking his thumb or on his fingers. He was starving and ate almost 3/4 of an ounce his first feeding, in about 2 minutes time. I remember it would take Lilli 1.5 hours to eat that amount. She'd always fall asleep! After I was certain all was well, I hugged everyone and said my goodbyes and headed home for my bed. What a night. What a survivor. It's the happy ending I needed to see. Now if I could just experience that for myself, minus anymore drama...


Monday, June 20, 2011

Father's Day Photo's

Yesterday was Father's Day and it felt like a half way normal day. We were still missing Everett immensely, but as time moves forward each "first" seems to get a tiny bit easier. I was doing OK, until we saw a family out at a restaurant with a little girl and a baby boy. Everett would be a little over 10 months old now, and while I don't have quite as hard of a time looking at baby boys, it still hurts and I can't help but feel a little jealous that those families have their precious boy with them. I guess that's normal.

The thing that brightened up both of our days was we went to Wal-Mart to do a little grocery shopping and a woman wearing a very colorful "costume" (aka: moo-moo) serenaded Dave in the deli section, singing Happy Father's Day in the tune of Happy Birthday. It made him blush and feel a bit weirded out. I laughed hysterically. Let me tell you, she could really sing!

I took some photos of Lilli and "Everett" for Dave for Father's Day. I sent some out to my dad too. I was trying to figure out something creative to do instead of a traditional gift. I selected the photo below as the "winning" one that went into Dave's special frame. I used a simple, white, shabby chic style frame, and added a star to the upper left corner of the frame painted the same color as the blanket Lilli was sitting on. This was the blanket Everett was wrapped in at the hospital. It was one of the last things to touch him. Then I met with our awesome jewelry designer from The Silver Dragon Fly, who made one of our pendant designs into a charm she affixed to the center of the star. It is a silver tear drop charm with Everett's sailboat and the word Faith below the boat. He loved the gift.

The winning photo for Dave!

I thought this one was a sweet shot,
this blankie is her best friend,
so of course it had to be in the picture.

She is such a good big sister to her brother.
She loves him so much!

P.S. If you want to order the charms, Terri is donating 25% of all sales from each charm to Kate Cares! If you have experienced a baby loss she can make a pendant for you from your child's foot prints. Just mention Everett to her and she'll still donate 25% of your sale to Kate Cares. What a generous and awesome lady she is! Check out her other designs too!

Hoping everyone had a good Father's Day!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

In Limbo

Being a stay at home mom is HARD, to say the least. Some people are cut out to do it for a "living", and they do it well. I have some friends and family who are those people. Me, however, well, I've always been a worker of some sort. Now before you start bashing me, let me clarify that doesn't mean I'm saying that being a full time mom isn't work (hard work), because I know first hand what work it is. I am really missing my work life, outside the home, though. I have LOVED being able to have time to stay at home with Lilli. To watch her grow into this little person, with a strong mind of her own. By the way, I have no idea where she gets that (snicker, snicker). But I constantly feel like I'm in limbo. This was never meant to be a long term change. Just enough time for me to get adjusted to two kids, and without loosing all of our income on child care expenses.

I have been working (for pay) since I was 11 years old. That's when I started my baby sitting business. Back in "those" days you could babysit at that age. Just as long as you were responsible, I guess. I got my first "real" job at 16 and have worked pretty much non-stop since then. I put myself through college. I took classes as I could afford them and worked my ass off each summer to pay for the upcoming fall semester. That's partly why it took me double the traditional time frame to finish (I changed my major one too many times too). It's hard when you are 18 to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life! Some people just know, and while I kind of did too, it took me some time to find the right fit in college course work. However, when I entered into the criminal justice program, everything just clicked. I was already working in the professional/social work/criminal justice world at this time. I just needed the degree to go with my experience. I ended up quitting my job and focused on school full time for a year and finally finished. I continued in the social work/criminal justice world with work and spent about 10 years working in Domestic Violence Advocacy in one way or another.

That line of work takes a toll on you emotionally and physically. I developed a pretty good protective barrier and learned, over time, how not to take my work home with me. But after working crazy hours, carrying a 24/7 crisis pager, and having a pregnancy from hell, it took it's toll on me. Dave and I decided it would be best for me to leave my job, once I was put on full time bed rest. That was such an agonizing decision. I was scared to join the ranks of the unemployed. Would I be able to find another job? There were so many unknowns and I tend to be a bit of a planner. This was very scary and new territory for me. So July 30, 2010 was my last day of work. I had been discharged from the high risk unit just a few days earlier. I went in, cleaned off my desk, said some goodbyes, and after 5 years at the agency I worked for, that was it. Kind of an anticlimactic end to my DV career. It felt bittersweet. I focused my time on Everett arriving soon. I was told from my OB's that I probably wouldn't make it past that next week.

Fast forward to now. At the end of next month I will have been a stay at home mom for a year. Wow. I honestly never saw that coming. I am glad I have had time to heal, mainly emotionally, from Everett's death, but I feel so ready to get back to something. Some of my fears with finding a job have played out recently as I have applied for several positions I'm well qualified for, and never received a phone call, let alone an interview. I know the job applicant pools are saturated with people, mainly overqualified and employers are taking advantage of being able to hire someone with more education than necessary for the job, at a lower pay scale. I experienced that with a job I interviewed for back in November. It required a bachelors degree. They ended up hiring an attorney for the position. I guess I can't blame them.

I am considering applying for grad school for next year (2012) if I continue to not find something. It seems so many positions that used to require a 4 year degree are requiring more now. It's hard to justify spending that kind of money (on tuition) when I most likely wouldn't get enough of a pay raise to cover the cost of the student loans. I know everything happens for a reason, well almost everything. And I'm hoping in the not too distant future I will find what I've been looking for. It's taking a lot longer than I expected, but I tend to be a little impatient.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

The lawyer stuff...

Warning: This is going to be a long one! But please bear with me, it will be so informative!

I've debated whether I would blog about this subject for quite some time. And had things gone differently yesterday, I think it's safe to say I wouldn't be blogging about it at all. But they didn't, so I feel compelled to talk about what happened.

Some people have asked us over the course of things, and some have wondered but been afraid to ask, if we were going to sue over what happened to Everett. That isn't really a simple yes or no. When many of our family members found out he had died, they went straight to anger and asked immediately if we would sue. I couldn't even think about it. I was so much in shock, and devastated. I couldn't go there. But then time passed and the anger over what happened to our little boy settled in. I couldn't stop thinking about it. I couldn't stop thinking about everything that happened. About how my doctors blatantly ignored every and all warning signs he was giving off, for over four weeks. How they ignored me when I expressed extreme concern over what was happening in my body and asked to be delivered, several times, and was continually turned down.

I understand that through the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the push is to deliver after 37 weeks, however, when almost every single non-stress test wasn't passing, and I was having bad biophysical profile readings, and decrease in movements, an exception should have been made to deliver earlier. My son was obviously in distress. Hell, I was in distress every time I'd go into the doctor office, have bad testing, get sent to the hospital, or specialist(who really didn't listen to me) and get sent home. It was maddening! I had no control over what was happening inside my own body. I can't even begin to tell you how helpless, and hopeless that makes you feel.

The thing that sealed the deal with wanting to talk to a lawyer was that we were granted a meeting with all four physicians involved in our son's death, along with a "higher up" at the hospital and a person from risk management. This was last year. I came armed with research I had done on cord accidents, a list of very direct questions for the doctors and a little bit of hope that some compassion would be shown towards us over what happened. I also brought a framed picture of Everett, and Lilli holding Everett, showing them who was missing from this meeting. I needed to know that these physicians had learned something from what happened. Not to make them feel humbled in front of us, but to know they learned SOMETHING from our sons death that they could take with them for future patients. And I told them that. We needed to know they would not repeat the same mistake with other patients and have other babies die senselessly. We needed them to know how loosing your child is some of the worst pain you can imagine, and how it changes you for the rest of your life. And no matter how much time passes, you never forget your child or stop thinking about them. The reason we needed them to know this is because up to this point they hadn't shown us an ounce of compassion that they had learned any of this. Maybe it was that their lawyers had told them not to show compassion. Maybe they were taught this in medical school? All I can do is speculate and hope that somewhere deep inside they really are human and felt something over what happened.

What we really needed to hear from them in this meeting was that they were sorry about what happened. I'm not naive, I didn't expect them to admit any fault. Just a simple, "I'm so sorry this happened, and I'm so sorry for your loss". We didn't get that. One out of four physician's told us they were sorry, and that they would remember our son and take that into consideration with future patients. One. It would have made the WORLD of difference to us to hear them all say it, or at the very least an "I'm sorry". Show some form of compassion. I called out several of the doctors for not even coming to my room to see me, after I had Everett. They had taken part in caring for me for over 8 months and didn't even come to my room to look at me face to face to pay their condolences. There were many excuses given. Some even stated they were at the hospital, but thought it would be best to let us grieve privately. All I wanted them to do was sit on my bed next to me, hug me, tell me they were sorry he had died, and show some compassion. That's it. If I didn't want them there, I would have told them, and they could have left. Note to any physicians or future physicians reading this: It is so INCREDIBLY important to show your patients compassion. It's not a sign of weakness, it's a sign you are human. That will take you further than you can imagine in your career.

My husband and I left this meeting thanking them for being willing to sit in front of us and listen. We got exactly what we expected we would from them. It still didn't make me feel a whole lot better, but at least they knew where we stood. Even though they didn't tell us to our faces, I'm hoping something about our story and our son penetrated through their skin, and their hearts.

It was after this meeting that Dave and I felt more certain than ever that we owed it to Everett to have everything investigated and looked into. We decided to have an attorney review my medical records. We picked a legitimate injury attorney, not an ambulance chaser, who holds a good reputation. They looked over my medical records in office with their team. After a couple of months it was determined that medical standard of care was NOT met in our case, and determined had they (doctors) delivered me sooner our son would have been here with us. However, it was too big of a risk to take on the case, not knowing that they would get a settlement. Too much grey area. This is how injury lawyers make their money. These cases are typically long, and expensive, so it was turned down. I was upset, my husband was upset. We wanted justice for Everett, and any future families and babies out there who could suffer the same poor "judgement calls".

We decided to let it go and move forward, after some grieving over that decision. That is until another physician looked over my medical records and pointed out that medical standard of care was absolutely not met, and with my testing I should have been immediately delivered at a certain point. We decided we would get a second opinion. Early this year we met with another law firm. The attorney was nice, and understanding. Unusual for an attorney! He had his reasons for being this way though. He agreed to give our case a second look. It was reviewed by someone in house who agreed it needed to be looked at by an expert. So off to the expert it went. After waiting many months for some answers we were told that the expert had come back with a decision. We were called to the office for a meeting. I felt sick, and I think my husband did too. I was a mess from the time I found out there was a decision until the time of our meeting. My dad asked me what my biggest fear was, and I responded with "I'm afraid that they will say no, and that will mean that Everett's life didn't mean anything to anyone but us". My husband and I felt like we knew what the outcome was going to be and that's why we felt so sick. We felt like they were going to say no.

10 months to the day Everett died, we went in for our meeting and the attorney nicely told us that the expert felt our case was defense-able. Meaning, there wasn't a clear cut "smoking gun" that pointed to Everett's death. Could the law office have over-ridden this decision and taken it on anyways? Yes. But that would have been a bad business decision on their part, and we understood that. They already spent a lot of money preparing all our documents, paying for the expert opinion, and getting nothing in return from us. I was devastated. I understood completely, but I was still devastated. He offered to give us the names of some other attorneys that we could contact to get another opinion. They may look at things differently, another expert might view my medical records differently. My husband and I agreed a while back, that whatever this decision was, we would leave it be with that. Good or bad. If it was a yes, we were ready whole-heartedly to fight for our son. I was so ready to fight for our son! If it was a no, we agreed we would find some peace with that decision, eventually, and move on with our lives. So, even though we have slowly, but surely been moving forward with our lives, now we really are, as this is no longer hanging over our heads.

One thing we did get for certain from the expert reviewing our medical records, is that we are even more committed than ever to get the message of Kate Cares out there to other families. This program could have given us additional answers and input into Everett's death we didn't get, and there are still many questions we will never have answered since we weren't given an option. You see, the hospital where I delivered does not participate in Kate Cares (and they won't). Kate Cares is so incredibly helpful to so many families going through a stillbirth. Most of the hospitals in our city do participate in it, and know the importance of having a program like this available to families who need it. By not having this program available at the hospital where I delivered, they are hurting the most vulnerable patients, the ones who are lost to stillbirth, and the families who are left to pick up the pieces.

Dave and I were already committed to this cause, as soon as we found out it existed last year. We are even more committed to raising funds for this important organization, and to continue to grow Run 4 Everett year after year. Thank you to those of you who have supported us, and Run 4 Everett through this entire past year. We are really looking forward to August!


note: While I will not openly name the hospital where I delivered, I will say that where I attend my grief support group is NOT at or affiliated with the hospital where I delivered.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Everett's Garden

We started a small garden for Everett this spring. We have garden's all over our yard, but this is a special spot with special plants that will make us think of him every time we see it. It's just in the beginning stages so it is small, but will certainly grow in years to come.

An overview of Everett's garden, still a work in progress. The little boy sculpture was given to us by a dear friend of my mom's. He's reaching up to the sky, and has star cutouts on him, as well as stars dangling from his hand.

There's a blue hydrangea, the kind that's supposed to bloom all summer, and the angel was in his floral arrangement at his funeral. There is also a butterfly bush, some shasta daisies, coneflower's, and a pretty red plant that Lilli picked out.

A close up of the sailboat, Everett. Everett's room was sailboat themed and we built a large sailboat with his name on it for the wall behind his crib. I found this boat last year and painted his name on it along with the star and heart and gave it to Dave for Christmas.

Everett's room, so you get the idea of the significance of the sailboat. We couldn't find a stencil we liked, so Dave made the sailboat border and hand painted each of those boats around the room.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Hot Days are Here Again!

We hit a record high yesterday as far as temps go here. Yay for us. (note the sarcasm) 95 degrees was a wee bit too warm for my liking. Not to mention the humidity was horrible to match. I'm thinking we need to move somewhere other than here to enjoy more even keeled temps. It gets so cold, windy, and snowy in the winter and then we get to experience polar opposites in the summer. I think the humidity is the worst of all. I can say that having experienced heat, without the humidity. My parents live in the mountains in Arizona and enjoy nice weather most of the year. Whenever we go out to visit, I NEVER experience a bad hair day. Which is no small feat for me considering my natural curly/wavy/unruly hair. There just isn't any humidity out there. It's so weird. We do find ourselves sucking down bottles of water and applying massive quantities of lotion to our skin during our visits. So I guess it's a trade off. Oh yeah, and they have a small water table problem. But did I mention I always have a good hair day out there?

As the temps have been soaring this week, I've been taking Lilli to the pool to swim, which has been a nice, welcome relief from the temperatures. I have a feeling it's going to be a really hot and humid summer, mostly because it's always a hot and humid summer. So many more visits to the pool there will be! That's much better than being cooped up in the house. The longer I get stuck in the house, the more likely I am for depression to set in, and while it's always there in the background, I do a pretty good job keeping it at bay, as long as I'm busy.

With all the heat in the air, it feels more like August around here then June. Before you know it, before I know it, Run 4 Everett will be here. I can't believe it's just 2 1/2 months away. We are really looking forward to this event and promise to have a lot of cold water, power aide, etc. for our participants!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011


This month has been kind of a difficult one in a different way. Of course I still miss Everett, but some of my focus is on that of others lately, and it's got me thinking.

We had a good friend of Dave's (from high school) loose her husband tragically about a week and a half ago. It happened so suddenly and could have been prevented. He was doing something he loved, bicycling, and was hit by a car. He was only 40 years old and left behind not only his wife, but two amazing kids, extended family, and numerous friends.

How many times have you passed (on the road) a person riding a bike, someone walking, or running and thought, they don't belong on the road? Well, the fact is, they do. Sometimes there are no other options, but to use the road. I know that's the case near where we live. And I worry about my husband every time he hits the pavement running, especially if it's in the wee hours of the morning. Will people pay attention, will someone see his reflective vest, and God forbid someone be distracted (texting while driving), as someone was in our neighborhood last year, hitting and nearly killing our neighbor. It's every driver's responsibility to watch out for EVERYONE on the road. Whether it's another car, motorcycle, bicyclist, walker, or runner. Slow down, give them some courtesy and take your time. You will make it around them and still get to your destination.

In the past week and a half I have thought of, and prayed often for my husband's friend and her family. I think about how her life has changed forever. How she lost her soul mate, best friend and father to her children. I know what that deep grief and despair feels like, but not on that level. I noticed on FB that everyone told her to be strong. I remember when we lost Everett how so many people told me/us to be strong. Well, what if you don't want to be? What if you just want to loose it, and fall apart. What would people think? There were many days where I simply didn't care what others thought. But I didn't feel like I could share those days with anyone but myself and husband. Because people worry. People wonder if you are going to fall off the deep end, and you may wonder that yourself some days. It must be so incredibly painful for people who love you to watch you crumble to pieces before their eyes. Especially when you are the one who is usually strong for others. I think people simply don't know what else to say, so they tell you to be strong. And you feel like you have to.

For me, in terms of grief, strength has a different meaning. It means being willing to ask for help when you need it and feel too overwhelmed to make it day to day. It means being able to lean on the strength of others to carry you through, especially when you aren't used to doing that. But if you or someone you know is newly grieving over a loss and you don't feel like being strong, that's OK. It can be quite a relief to let yourself fall apart and have moments where all you feel like you can do is scream, especially when nothing else seems to be in your control. Those moments will pass and you will eventually regain your strength. And who knows, you may surprise yourself and become stronger than you ever were before.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

9 Months

Dear Everett,

You would have been 9 months old today. Can you believe that? 9 months! What a big boy you would have been. I have no doubt you would have been wearing at least 12 month clothing (possibly 18 month) right now!

Your daddy, Lilli, and I miss you so much. Lilli talks about you all the time. She is such a great big sister to you. She wants to make sure people know who you are and that you are important in our lives, even if you aren't physically here with us. It still hurts so much inside when we think about you and how you should have been here. But not to worry, we are doing big things all because of you.

Lilli regularly informs us that you are growing up in Heaven, and so does your cousin Ethan. I think they might know something... Feel free to continue to visit and play with Lilli in her dreams. She really loves it when you do that.

Loving you and missing you so much,

Mommy, Daddy, and Lilli