Saturday, December 24, 2011

And The Winner Is...

We Have Our Winner For The Top It Cakes and Cupcakes Dozen Cupcake Topper Drawing!

It's Lucky Number 13!
Congratulation to Deni of Foxy Troxies and Anchored by Hope
Deni, please send me an email at doinggoodinhername (at) gmail (dot) com with whatever contact info you would like me to pass along to Karen at Top It Cakes and Cupcakes. 
Thank you so much to everyone who played along!
And a very special THANK YOU to Karen, for donating the toppers for this giveaway. Be sure to check out the other goodies she offers at her website here, or her facebook page here.

True Random Number Generator  13

Friday, December 23, 2011

25 Days of Giveaways Day 23!

Really excited to be a part of Tina's 25 Days of Giveaways, from the blog Living Without Sophie and Ellie.

This year my dear friend Karen at Top It Cakes and Cupcakes has offered a dozen of her beautiful fondant cupcake toppers for my giveaway.

The great thing about these cupcake toppers is that you save money by baking your own cupcakes, and then add these to the top to finish off with a very professional (and delicious!) look.

Top It Cakes and Cupcakes can make just about any design you can imagine...

Karen makes toppers for life events like baby and bridal showers...

And has designs to fit any and all party themes.

These are some of the toppers she created for the Snowflakes' Christening.

The possibilities are really endless. I invite you to check out her website here.

This prize is for a dozen toppers in the design of the winner's choice. The toppers are made of edible fondant, and measure approximately 2 inches in diameter. They fit easily atop your standard frosted cupcake, and have a 12 month shelf life. The winner of this giveaway does not have to redeem their prize right away.

To enter this drawing leave a comment below letting me know what you might like to use the toppers for, or, if you don't know yet, you can enter by just leaving a comment to say hello.

This drawing will be open until midnight EST on 12/23, at which point I will pick a winner using's random number generator. Good luck!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I've never gone this long without blogging.
I don't know if it is the time of year, a bout with the stomach flu, dealing with Bubba's allergy, or all of the above, but I find so many posts floating through my head these days, and so little time to sit and write them.

I hope the holidays are being kind to you all. I know that for the ALI community in particular, this time of year can feel especially cruel. A reminder of all we should have, that we don't. A big giant slap in the face from the universe.

I recently ordered the book of this, we will not speak, by the incredibly talented Angie M. Yingst (fellow blogger, BLM, and all around cool chickie) and she wrote something in one of her poems that really, really struck a chord with me.

She said:
"Though we have lost a petal, we are still flowers
lush and full together, in a garden of hope."


Even when it feels like there is nothing left in this world worth living for, there is still some measure of hope to be found. Sometimes it is just out of sight, tucked away behind all of your troubles, but hope is there nonetheless, whispering that you can move forward. That things can get better.

When I lost Peyton, this community gave me hope in the knowledge that I didn't have to go through this alone.

When I lost my fertility, this community gave me the hope that I had other options to build my family.

When I started bleeding, and was told to prepare to miscarry my twins, I found hope in the words of comfort and encouragement that came my way. That same hope carried me through nearly seven months of bedrest.

Hope - from all of you.

So now here I stand, on the other side.
I have two healthy children here with me, and though we are missing their big sister (we always, always will) this holiday once again feels joyful.

There were more reasons than I can count (or recall now) beating me down with the message that things were hopeless, but each morning I am greeted with two smiling faces who remind me that even though it felt like it at times, hope was never lost.

There is always hope.

That is my message to all of you reading this. No matter where you are in life, no matter how things feel, or seem, regardless of what you are now facing, there is always hope that things can get better. If not this Christmas, maybe next.

Sending love, light, and above all, hope, to my sisters (and brothers) in loss this holiday season.


I am participating in this year's 25 Days of Giveaways blog hop. Be sure to check back on 12/23.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Do You Exhale?

Just a quick note to say that the Fall/Winter issue of Exhale is up. For those of you who don't know, Exhale is a semi-quarterly online literary magazine for the Adoption, Loss and Infertility Community. There are some truly beautiful voices in this issue, so be sure to hop on over and check it out!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Always Something

When the Snowflakes were just a few weeks old, Bubba developed colic. He would writhe and scream at all hours of the night, and we were ready to pull our hair out. The Ped told me that, in all likelihood, he had a milk protein sensitivity, which is very common in babies under one and usually something they outgrow, and that I should cut all dairy out of my diet and see if it made a difference. The relief was nearly immediate. Within a week's time, our house was colic free.

A few months later, Bubba developed a rash all over his body. We went to the Ped and blood work was ordered. It was an extremely scary time, as you may recall from my post "24 Hours In Hell". The bloodwork came back clear (THANK YOU JESUS!) and we were told that the rash could be a virus or could be eczema. It turned out to be the latter.

I have tried everything to bring the boy relief. Cut dairy, soy and wheat from my diet for 6 months. Used calendula cream, and Aquaphor, and dressed him in cotton. Made sure not to allow him to overheat. Worked to find a balance between bathing him too often to where he would dry out, and not often enough, where his skin would grow aggravated.

At his six month appointment, the Ped told me that I could try re-introducing dairy, wheat and soy into my diet. I did and the boy was fine. No reaction. He still had eczema but it wasn't any better or worse based on what I had eaten. Seeing this, the Ped told me last month that Bubba had probably outgrown his milk protein sensitivity, and I could try yogurt.

I gave it to both babies. Squeaks gobbled it up and was fine. Bubba ate two bites, and his eyes swelled shut. His body was immediately covered in hives. I called the Ped (it was after hours) and the nurse on call told me to give him Benedryl. I was shaking. And scared out of my mind. His reaction was getting worse by the minute. Thank God I repeated her instructions back to her, because she had said a half teaspoon, and I heard it as two teaspoons, and could have killed him. Always, and I mean ALWAYS, repeat back what they tell you in an emergency situation.

The next day I called an allergist and today we finally got in to be seen.

So here it is.

Bubba is severely, and I mean SEVERELY, allergic to dairy. The allergist told me all sorts of scary stuff today, like that if I drink a cup of coffee with milk, and then kiss him, that I could cause him to have a reaction. He wants me to introduce him to peanut butter and eggs immediately, because he is very likely to develop an allergy to these two things, given his history, if we wait. I guess the idea is to cut that allergy off at the pass, by exposing him to those things before he has an issue with them. He was tested for those and came back negative.

I was given a DVD about what to do in an emergency, and a "practice" epi-pen to show anyone who comes to watch the babies. Later today I will go to the pharmacy and have his prescription for the epi's filled.

I'm trying really, REALLY, hard not to be freaked out by this. I already live in a world where I worry (too much) about people touching the babies without washing their hands, for fear that they could get sick. Now, having to be a watchdog over who may or may not have touched dairy, and having to worry about whether they might touch or kiss him before washing, is, I am sure, just going to make me that much more neurotic.

It's hard enough as it is, when parenting after loss, to keep perceived threats in perspective. And I know that in the grand scheme of things, this ain't so bad. But it seems like there is always something keeping me on high alert. It would be nice to be able to relax. To just be.

But then I wonder-
once you've lost a child, is "just being" even possible?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pressing Pause While Flashing Back

I participate in a weekly critique group. It is a wonderful, blissful two hour block of time devoted to writing, and I love it. We meet in the evening, and usually run late, so I tend to go to bed thinking about the feedback I received, and then stay in the same train of thought as I wake overnight to feed the babies.

The other night, when the snowflakes woke me at around 4AM, I started thinking about words. Which words are the right words to convey what I am trying to say. Which words have the strongest impact on imagery etc. etc. For some reason I got caught up on the word "doorknob" of all things, and before I knew it, I was holding tight in my mind a clear picture of the doorknob to a family suite that I used to pump in at the NICU. 

PTSD is funny that way. You really never know what is going to trigger you.

When I look back on the fact that we only actually spent 8 days in the NICU before Peyton was transferred to the oncology floor, it is so hard to believe, because those 8 days felt like a lifetime. Those days, despite the fact that Peyton had been diagnosed with such an awful disease, represented the best of times that we would share with her.

8 hopeful days.
8 days of believing naively that she would make it.
8 days spent surrounded by supportive staff who encouraged things like skin-to-skin time to improve her bloodcounts, and breastfeeding.

I am not knocking the care we got on the oncology floor, but there was a different level of attention that we received in the NICU as parents. A level that now, in retrospect, I realize must come from working in a place where you see so many parents come in with their children, and leave without them.

As my mind wandered from the doorknob, into the suite, I could see myself, and feel it like I was actually there. I couldn’t tell you if it was day 4 or day 5, but I had gone in to pump while Peyton napped.

 I was pumping, for my child.

A small TV against the wall was showing an interview with Mariska Hargitay. She was talking about her career, and life growing up as Jayne Mansfield’s daughter.

I won’t even attempt to try and understand why I remember that interview. I have come to realize that little about PTSD makes sense.

When I finished pumping, I walked over to a sink in the room and cleaned the bottle parts, careful to do so in the most sanitary way so as to protect my immuno-compromised child. My husband was at the lunch cart, buying us a snack.

I remembered it.
Smelled it.
Felt it.

I knew I was flashing back, and yet I chose to stay in that moment. To hold onto it. Despite the worry and the exhaustion, I was hopeful in that moment. I was making milk for my child who (I believed at that time) would need it. I was gearing myself up for the long haul. This was going to be my new life – living in a hospital rather than home with my first child – but I had accepted it.

There is another memory that comes right after that one. It is not a pleasant memory. It is the moment where my hopes were dashed some five minutes later and down the hall, but I pushed that memory away, and chose instead to hold onto the moment that had come calling for me.

Usually flashbacks make me want to run. There are more moments than I can count that are so painful that I can’t write them. The only post I have ever taken down from this blog was when I shared just such a moment. I took it down because it hurt more to have it out there than to not.

But not this moment. In this moment I was too naïve to recognize that the battle had already been lost. That she was born destined to die. That there had never been any hope. In this moment, this memory, I was just a mother, doing my best to make milk for my child, and looking forward to her waking from a nap so I could hold her again. In the entire span of Peyton's short life, this was as good as our time together ever got to be.

Remembering doesn't change anything. We still lost Peyton. She won't come back. But the flame of hope that burned that day, and the feelings of love I felt for my first child, are not to be forgotten. I choose to cup that moment gently in my hands and fan it from time to time, so as to feel its warmth against my skin. To watch the beauty in that ember glow.

In flashing back to how it felt to be in that room, I choose to pause.