Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sandy Hook

Virginia Tech.

Horror stories that feel a world away. You weep for the families, you watch the coverage, but you think, "That could never happen. Not here. Not where I grew up. Not in my back yard."

And then it does.

Sandy Hook Elementary School was just a few miles from my childhood home. A short drive from the ice cream shop I would frequent after dance lessons. Nearby the movie theater where I went on some of my first dates.


If you can't safely send your kids to school in Newtown, Connecticut--there is no safe place left.

Prayers to the victims. Their families. To the heroes. The community. To our state. To the first responders. To the littles who have forever lost their innocence at the hands of a man so selfish and full of evil that he could steal these 27 people from our world.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

For My Little Butterfly

I did not write this poem.
I don't actually know who did.
I just know that a friend who loves Peyton dearly shared it with me today,
and it really touched my heart.

If anyone knows who wrote this poem,
please let me know.

Peyton girl, this one is for you. xoxo

“Butterflies are Free”

I thought I saw a butterfly,
Flying in the sky.
The colors were so beautiful,
It made me want to cry.

I know you were the butterfly,
So beautiful and free.
No more pain and tears for you,
Cause butterflies are free.

Free to watch the children,
Playing in the sun.
Smiling, laughing, growing,
Always having fun.

They will see the butterfly,
In the sky above.
They will smile and laugh and sing,
They will feel your love.

A day will come when in the sky,
There will be two butterflies.
We’ll fly together you and me,
Cause butterflies are free.


Monday, November 26, 2012

I say this. And I mean it.

I went to visit Peyton on Thanksgiving morning. I had to deliver a set of handprint turkeys to her from her brother and sister, and with the twins down for a nap, and Hubs home making mashed potatoes, it was a rare opportunity to get up and spend some quiet time with my girl.

Her hill is just as serene as it's always been. Just me, and Peyton, and the squirrels rustling through the leaves, and a very faint hush of traffic off in the distance, and sunlight working its way through gray clouds. It was, like my girl, pure beauty.

I sang Peyton the songs I always sing her. Smile, You Are My Sunshine, Smile Awhile. I even added the Mr. Turkey song that C, the daughter of our closest friends, taught me.
Mr. Turkey. 
Mr. Turkey.

Big and fat. 
Big and fat.

I'mma gonna eat you. 
I'mma gonna eat you.

Just like that. 
Just like that.
C was born just a few months before Peyton. It's hard to believe, watching C now, what Peyton would be doing if she were still with us. Singing songs about Mr. Turkey that she learned at preschool. Playing dress-up with her friends. I walk the line, between remembering Peyton as she was, and imagining her as she would now be. I suppose we all do, don't we?

I filled Peyton in on all the happenings in our life. My mother's upcoming surgery. Our continued job search. Our plans with family for the day. I cleaned off her headstone, wiped the dust from her picture, gave her kisses and said the rosary, and then, as I always do, ended our visit by turning back to blow her a kiss and say:

"Thank you for all of the blessings you have brought into our lives."

I say this. And I mean it.

I am thankful.

I am thankful to Peyton for the little messages and signs; the way she pushes the boundaries of separate universes, planes, and times to bring me comfort in the knowledge that there is something bigger than me outside of this life.

I am thankful that because of her, I love more, and know how important it is to let those that I appreciate know just how much.

I am thankful for the community of strong, powerful women (and men) that she has introduced me to, whose grace, resilience, and compassion inspire me every day.

I am thankful for those who are earlier on in their journey, who reach out to me and afford me the opportunity to be a listening ear, to be able to say (and know and believe) "Things will get better. There is joy ahead for you."  Because I have been where they are, and I have survived it.

I am thankful, even, for the hardships, and the lessons I have learned. That there is no point in living if you are not loving fully. There is no point in being human, without reaching out through bonds to your fellow man.

I am thankful for the depth that Peyton has instilled in my life. The way she has taught me how little "things" matter, and just how much people do.

I am thankful that in her short little life, she loved me despite my weaknesses. She let me show my emotion and my pain, and still cuddled up to my chest to reaffirm what I meant to her.

I am thankful to Peyton for inspiring me to start writing, and for teaching me that the time to write is now, not someday.

I am thankful to Peyton for the role she plays in keeping her father and I together, when statistically, child loss and infertility can easily rip apart even the strongest couple. And I am thankful for the hand that I know she played in bringing her siblings into this world, healthy and whole. Without Peyton, our twins wouldn't be here. Some people struggle with that, but I accept it now for what it is--a gift.

I am thankful for the way that a falling leaf now represents so much, the way that rays of sunlight through dark clouds feel like a hug, and a flickering of the lights is a special hello.

I am thankful in knowing that I owe the best, and closest, relationships of my life to Peyton. She showed me who to let in, who to let slip away, and most importantly to truly appreciate those who love her as much as I do.

I am thankful for the lesson that life is too short to spend being miserable or surrounded by the wrong people, even if it took me millions of tears to get to this realization, and the freedom that comes (when I let it) in realizing that most things are out of my control. Peyton's too-brief life, and the change she affected over the course of it, taught me that most hurdles in life can be overcome with the love of good friends, a smile, and a (sometimes twisted) sense of humor.

Mostly I am thankful that I have always felt her with me. From the depths of despair, to feeling the sunshine on my face, and everywhere in between. Love never dies, and some bonds can never be broken.

I am thankful for all the blessings that loving and losing Peyton has brought into my life...

How could I not be?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Cobblestone Streets

We walk down cobblestone streets.
I hold tiny hands
while a girl, maybe fourteen

whispers to her friend,
"My Momma used to hold my hand like that."
I look down and see

your brother,
those big blue eyes
like yours, but not--young, naive.
He smiles and turns to

your sister
as she toddles along.
A pair of pants on her head,

making sense of the uneven path before her,
and I can't help but wonder

how lucky can one person be?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Catching Up

The days are busy, I am spread thin. As a result my blogging suffers--I apologize.

Thank you so much to everyone who continues to follow us on this journey. Here are a few updates:

My husband was laid off in August.

This week marked 20 beautiful months since the Snowflakes were born. It is hard to believe how quickly they have grown, the time is truly flying by. They are saying some words (more Bubba than Squeaks surprisingly) running and jumping everywhere. They love books, give kisses, and do lots, and lots, and lots of giggling everyday. They also have hit some really cool milestones, like ENJOYING putting their toys away at the end of the day, so that's awesome. With twins, so much of each day seems to fly by that I almost can't believe it when I sit back and see how much they have changed right before my eyes. Blink and you'll miss something it seems.

They are healthy and happy and such joys. 

Here is a fairly recent picture. It's not as easy as one may think to get a pic of two toddlers looking at the camera, as is evidenced here, but I can't help but think those rays of sunlight are Peyton, and that all three of my children are with me in this one. Bubba is in my arms, Squeaks is in the background pushing her car.

And here is a closeup of them:

Bubba left, Squeaks right.

I hope this post finds you all feeling some measure of joy in your day to day life, and that those still early in their loss, or struggling with infertility, can see where my family is, versus where it was two years ago, and know that this is possible. 

There is joy waiting for you after the sorrow. 

There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I'll never be okay with this.

If you are looking for a positive or uplifting post, you have come to the wrong place.

Four years ago today, Peyton's suffering ended and my suffering began. 

I would like to say that loving and losing Peyton made me a better or stronger person. I would love to bask in gratitude for all of the lessons she taught me, or feel joy that she is with Jesus. There are a lot of beautiful ways I would love to be able to spin this in my mind, but the reality is that four years ago today my child struggled for her final breaths in my arms.

I will likely never be okay with that. 

I am angry and hurt. I am sad and bitter. I walk a line between feeling incredibly blessed and grateful for the joys in my everyday life, joys that I know Peyton worked hard to bring me, and feeling an immense amount of sorrow over how incredibly robbed she was. Of life. Of joy. Of growing up. Of everything.

Peyton never even felt the sun on her face. She never breathed fresh air. 

She was born into a world where she gave only love, and knew only pain.

I guess four years is not long enough to blunt my anger at that.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Catalpa

I watch the catalpa sway.
Wind catching her leaves just beyond the window.

Planted after you passed.
She is taller than I, now.

Her roots--a lifeline that winds deep,
through rock and sand,
before finally meeting fertile soil.

She is here for the long haul.

Despite the wind that sways her.
The heat of sun that burns her.

Despite the loneliness the cold nights bring.
Or the weight of snow that pushes down upon her.

At times she may seem stark--bare even.
You may wonder what is left of her.

Yet she continues on.

She spreads her limbs to embrace the wind.
Even if doing so may hurt her.

She turns toward the sun to feel its light.
Even if doing so may dry her.

She allows the cold to seep into her trunk,
Even if doing so may chill her.

She does so, because that is what it is to live.

And like my love for you, little one, regardless of the elements, she grows.

Reaching up toward the heavens you now call home

--Kristin Binder 9/18/12

Thursday, September 6, 2012

BlogHer Book Club: Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay

I'm not usually a big thriller reader, but something in the description of Trust Your Eyes, by Linwood Barclay, intrigued me, and I jumped at the chance to get my hands on this book to review for BlogHer's Book Club.

We first meet Thomas Kilbride walking through the streets of New York. He is a world traveler of sorts--though we don't know why. A spy? I wondered. An FBI agent? I was unsure reading the opening of this novel what Thomas' role was. What I was sure of, though, was that he was important.

Thomas stops to take in the sights, and looks up, to a window to an apartment above the street, where he spots what appears to be a woman with a bag over her head. I wondered at this point what Thomas would do. Would he run up there? Would he save the woman? Would he spring into action?

Thomas did none of these things.

Ray Kilbride's father has just died. Home for his funeral, and to settle his father's affairs, Ray also is unsure of just how to care for his younger brother, Thomas, a schizophrenic.

Thomas is obsessed with maps. He spends his days on a Google Maps type program, called Whirl 360, virtually visiting streets in every city in the world. He memorizes what he sees--down to the smallest details. It is a talent, he believes, that will save lives. Thomas Kilbride thinks that he is doing important work. He believes that Bill Clinton has asked him to memorize all the maps before they are wiped out forever. He doesn't know exactly what will take the maps away, a cyber virus perhaps, or a nuclear blast, but he does know that when that happens the CIA can count on him to recall what was lost.

Many of the things Thomas Kilbride believes, do not exist, so when he comes to his brother Ray for help about what he believes to be evidence of a murder on Whirl 360, it is hard for Ray to take him seriously.

Only--there has been a murder, and it is linked to a high profile politician. When Ray agrees to check things out on a visit to the city to appease his brother, his snooping alerts the wrong people.

The thing that Barclay does so masterfully in Trust Your Eyes is create several character's with truly unique and distinct voices. While Ray Kilbride is the main narrator of the book, the reader also gets to experience the POV of Thomas, a gold-digger, a hit-woman, a crooked union boss, a politician's manager, and others, each with clearly distinct voices and motivations.

As a writer, I appreciated this aspect of the book just as much, if not more, than the page-turning suspense.

*I was provided with a copy of this book to read and review, as well as compensation for my time, by BlogHer Book Club and Penguin books. All views expressed in this review are my own. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

To Peyton, On Your Fourth Birthday


Today should be your fourth birthday. I imagine you here, brown curls, blue eyes. This year feels so different, or maybe the wave just hasn't come for me yet. I am sitting here, next to the light that you have been turning on for me all week, thinking about how amazing and strong in spirit you are to continuously find ways to remind us of how connected we are. How can I feel anything but joy, love, and appreciation for that? You make me so proud.

It feels like Daddy and I have every ball up in the air right now, juggling a million decisions at once, but I know in my heart that no matter where they land, no matter where we land, you will be right there guiding us.

Some days I miss you so much I can taste the mint of your hospital room in my mouth. I can feel your head on that heavy place in my chest. I nearly believe that if I reach out just far enough, you will be there reaching back. I am learning to live with the fact that you won't. I am learning to accept a life of never again getting to cuddle and hug you. It's hard. It's always hard. It always will be hard.

Some mornings I hear your brother and sister laughing in their room, and like to imagine you in there whispering little jokes in their ears, or singing them songs. Maybe you are.

Squeaks reached out for your picture the other day. I explained to her that you are her "big, little sister." She just laughed. I promise you that I will raise your siblings knowing how amazing you are.

Peyton, there are so many things I wish could have been different. So many things I wish I had done differently. So many scenarios that I play, and replay in my mind, just searching for the one that would have saved you. I wish I could have, baby.

Daddy, Bubba, Squeaks and I are going to be sending lanterns up to you tonight. Will you look for them, baby girl? Will you feel the heat of my hugs in their flame? I hope so.

I love you my sweet forever-baby girl.

I will never stop wondering why you had to go.
I will never stop feeling grateful to have had you to love.

Happy Birthday.


Peyton Elizabeth 
First. Loved. Always.


September 4th is here already. 

To honor what would have been Peyton's 4th birthday, we are doing a Gift Card Drive to benefit families with critically ill infants at Connecticut Children's Medical Center. From Sept. 4th (the day she was born) through Oct. 2nd (the day she passed) we will be collecting gift cards to the following establishments:

*Dunkin Donuts 
*Shop Rite, Stop and Shop, Walmart, Target, Price Chopper, etc.
*Gift Cards to Area Gas Stations (Sunoco, Shell, Valero, Getty, Gulf, Mobil, BP) 

These gift card donations are tax deductible. Please provide us with your address and keep your receipt.

Gift cards of any amount would be greatly appreciated and can be mailed to:
Doing Good In Her Name
P.O. Box 1281
Burlington, CT 06013.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

What does it feel like?

The first year was intense.
The second felt like Groundhog's day.
The third full of anxiety and apprehension.
The fourth?

Next month would be her fourth birthday, so what does this fourth year without my little girl feel like?

Surreal. Distant.

I wonder did that happen to me? All of that?  Was she ever really here? She feels so far from me some days that the distance hurts more than the memories. Did I really watch her die? Was I that woman who cried and wailed and gnashed my teeth in agony over losing her and my fertility?

Sometimes it is so hard to believe that this life, this me, is the same person who lived through that.

Sometimes my days are so busy, and exhausting, and full of squealing toddlers, and diaper changes, and milestones that I almost feel... dare I say it... normal.

I never thought I would find myself here. In this place that feels a lifetime away from that place, and while my blessings are too many to count, and I am grateful beyond belief for this new normal (or as close to normal as I will ever be) I have to wonder at what expense to her memory this is happening.

My visits to Peyton's hill are few and far between these days. Most often they are (like all attempts at accomplishing things with twin toddlers) hurried as I race to say what needs to be said, or to feel what needs to be felt, before one or both of her siblings start to cry, or fuss, or... or... or...

My Snowflakes are now 17 months old. 17 months that have gone by both at the pace of molasses and in the blink of an eye and they are truly all consuming.

They deserve all of their momma's attention... don't they?

But what about her? The littlest big sister.  What about the one who came first and mewed at my chest and comes to me in the quiet time before I fall asleep?

Does she not deserve my full attention too?

There is no handbook for this. No "How-To" guide on how to be a mother here and there at once, and so my children who are here, who press for my attention and fill my day with the delights of their milestones, they get nearly all of me these days. As a result, I feel a distance from Peyton that I never could have anticipated.

Even things I want to do, like focusing on Doing Good In Her Name, just don't happen. I keep saying next week, or next month, and those timelines come and go without progress because my here and now of mothering twins, and trying to freelance for extra money every free second I have, gets busier (and more hectic) by the day.

Of course the love I have for her is no less, but that connection--the way I used to talk to her in my heart and mind all the time--it is fading.

So what does this fourth year without her feel like?

I guess I would have to say that it feels like I am losing her all over again.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tough Questions

I'm over at Still Standing today, talking about choosing how to answer the tough questions after your child has died.

Friday, June 29, 2012

So much change, so little time.

Each Friday, Exhale highlights a piece from a former issue on our FB page.

Today it came time to re-run a post I wrote for our Spring 2011 issue entitled, "Sharing My Fears on Grief's Roller Coaster." In that post I talk about what happened when we lost Peyton, and in the year that followed, and why I chose to write about my darkest days here, even when I knew that in doing so I was exposing my own weaknesses and feelings of guilt.

Today I was re-reading my own words, lines written in what feels like another lifetime, and I came across this:

"Twenty eight days later, Peyton’s entire lifetime, with a still empty car seat heckling me from the back of our Ford, my car rolled to the front of the line, the pulley chain was attached, and I began my unsteady journey along the tracks of the roller coaster they call grief. A ride that, up until recently, I wasn’t even sure I had the strength to survive."

I wrote that a year ago. One year. That is all.

I read that post and I think, "was that me? Really? Still so hopeless. Still so unsure that I could find joy again."

I cannot believe how much my outlook has changed, how much I have healed. I cannot  believe how much my pain and love for Peyton has morphed into something beautiful.

Sometimes when you are living life without all of your children here on earth, each day can feel like the one before and the one before that and the one before that. A never ending cycle of Groundhog's Day grief where nothing changes.

But you know what? Even when it doesn't feel that way. Even when (as was the case when I wrote this) a happily-ever-after feels insulting in its impossibility, change is happening.

Sometimes it takes looking back to see how far you have truly come.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

When bloggers lie about loss.

I posted earlier about a blog I had come across that devastated me. It was one I had never read before on which a BLM reported that her sweet little rainbow had been killed in a car accident.  

A short while later a firestorm of comments showed up on her blog, and around blogland, claiming the story to be false. Some of the info to back up these accusations were the fact that some of this blogger's dates on her timeline didn't add up, or that her actions (such as blogging as her daughter was passing or shortly thereafter) didn't make sense.

The truth is, I don't know what the truth on this story is. I don't know anything beyond what this woman has chosen to share on her blog, and I can only react in the way that feels right and good in my heart to the information I have been given.

Are her dates screwy? Maybe. But in the spirit of full disclosure, until someone mentioned them, I hadn't even read her timeline.

Is blogging right after the death of your child strange? Define strange. After Peyton died, the first thing, and I mean THE FIRST THING I did when I got home, was march across the street to return a bowl I had borrowed to a neighbor. Why? I don't know. Maybe I needed to say out loud, "my daughter died." Maybe I wanted to rub some of my pain off onto someone else. Maybe I was just plain crazy. People do strange things in the face of the unimaginable, who am I to judge?

I don't know if this woman is lying. Lord knows this community has had more than it's fair share of heartache over trolls and scams through the years, but I would rather show compassion and support to someone who turns out to be a troll, than have to live with having compounded someone's grief with accusations.

I will never understand how or why someone would pretend to be a babylost mom. This is a club that no sane person would ever join by choice, so to try to understand the actions of someone like that just seems a terrible waste of time. 

If this woman (or any other) is lying, then wouldn't the "worst case scenario" of reaching out to comfort her be that another little girl never died, and we as a community sent love and compassion out into the universe? If that is the worst case scenario of offering condolences to someone without knowing all of the facts... I can live with that. 

Babyloss is taboo and infertility is taboo and because of that many bloggers here choose to blog anonymously making fact checking near impossible at best and so yes, there is always the chance that someone in blogland isn't telling the truth. But that is something the person telling the lies has to live with, not me.

I have to live with how I choose to respond. 


Sometimes you learn of someone else's loss and the hand they have been dealt is so unfair, so unimaginable, so terrible that it squashes the air out of your lungs and makes you wish like hell you didn't live on this side of the universe. This was that type of story for me. Please, please rally around this woman and send her some love and support.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Artist's Way Toolkit

I have never done product reviews here because in the context of this blog most review opportunities just don't make sense, but because writing and creativity have been so cathartic and healing for me I decided to make an exception when Blogher approached me about reviewing Julia Cameron's My Artist'sWay Toolkit.

As a mother who is also a passionate writer, I struggle to find time in my hectic day to devote to my creativity. The toolkit is like a one-stop (online) shop to keep all your little creative ideas and inspirations together and to provide you with daily affirmations and inspirational exercises. 

First, I am turned off by the fact that this is a service with an ongoing fee as opposed to an app that you pay for one time, but that’s just me.

One idea that I really liked, but that isn’t really all that unique (I have read to do this before) was the idea of morning pages—three pages to be written long hand each morning to clear your mind of thoughts that get in the way of your writing. These pages are not meant to be devoted to working through real projects or stories, but instead to clear the path in your mind so that you can get down to business when you are ready, rather than be stuck going over the grocery list in your mind, or re-hashing that stupid comment someone said to you.

The toolkit offers weekly prompts and exercises, and written and verbal affirmations. I always love listening to affirmations so that was something that did strike a chord with me, but the toolkit falls short for me in the same way that e-readers do. There are certain types of writing that I only do on the computer (working on my novel, blogging, writing essays) but really all of the intimate creative moments that this toolkit is designed for (writing exercises, jotting notes of inspiration, etc.) are those that I prefer to do by hand. I love the feel of a journal in my hand. I love the smell of its pages, and how my pen sounds scratching them as I jot down a note of dialogue that comes to mind, or a few lines of a poem. I just would never jot something down when I am about town, then come home and re-transcribe it into this toolkit.

Overall I like the MyArtist’s Way Toolkit in theory, but in practice it is a bit too time consuming for me. I barely have time most days to devote to my creative process as it is, and while I would like to say that this toolkit is just what I need to hold me accountable, it just sort of doesn’t work for me at this point in my life when I never feel I have enough time to do anything, much less something superfluous.
*While Blogher has compensated me to review this product, the opinions here are my own.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


This month I am participating in Kathy Benson's Time Warp Tuesday. Kathy's instructions are to "Write a new blog post on which you introduce, link to, and then reflect on your journey since you wrote the older blog post..."

For this month's theme of "Fathering," I am sharing the post, (Father's) Day, that I wrote in June of 2009.

In the post I say:

You were meant to be a Father. I don't know if I ever told you this, but it was you that made me want to have a family.I have been so fortunate to receive your love, to know your kindness,and I wanted to share that- you, with a child. 

There was so much pain, hopelessness, hurt and grief in my words of that post. I remember the guilt I felt every time I would see my husband, because (right or wrong) I blamed myself for being unable to bring Peyton into this world healthy. Everything after her passing felt so final. Like we were destined to live a half-life, walking this universe forever childless.

What a difference three years makes. 

I took this picture the other day:

The kiddos were sick with ear infections and nasty colds, and Hubs, home not even five minutes from work, quickly threw on sneakers and brought them outside. He found a way, despite how uncomfortable, feverish, etc. they were, to make them smile.

I went back to my old post and after reading it, I just feel so grateful. Grateful for the man I married. Grateful for the father I have given all three of my children. My husband loves without judgement. He is patient, and kind, and funny and I don't honestly know how we got from there to here, because survival felt impossible so many times over during our journey, but the gratitude I feel for having this man to share my life, my heart, and my family with--is immense.

His love for Peyton is never ending. His love for our Snowflakes is ever growing. He is the father I knew he was meant to be and more. The epitome of the word: "Fathering." 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Exhale is Live!

This post will be super short and sweet. 

I just want to share that Exhale is now live in its new home as a sister magazine to Still Standing. 

The new address is


Thursday, May 31, 2012

I Know What I Don't Know

People often ask me if the twins are my first, and when I tell them about Peyton they usually follow up with comments about how everything happens for a reason, blah, blah, blah.

The problem with this is that I know.

I know that if Peyton had been born healthy, we would never have tried to conceive so soon.
I know that even if we had turned to IVF eventually, and even if I had gone on to have twins, the result of those cycles WOULD NOT be my Snowflakes.
I know that only in losing her, I gained them.

What I don't know is how I am supposed to feel about that.

Friday, May 18, 2012

It's My Blogoversary... Well Sort Of!

"I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date! No time to say hello, goodbye! I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!" -- The Rabbit from Disney's Alice in Wonderland

Monday (5/14) was my three year blogoversary. Three years of sharing and crying and laughing and writing and blog blog blogging along this little thing I call life.

My first post, (5/14/09) was this poem:

(Mother's) Day

Where I had imagined breakfast in bed,I found only tears on my pillow.Where I had imagined flowers and a card,I found only flowers on her grave.Where I had imagined a home of happy chaos and noise,I found only weeping through silence.Where I had imagined my child at my chest,I found only emptiness and aching. Where I had imagined Motherhood celebrated,I found only another painful reminder of loss.~<3~
Needless to say, I have looked forward (LOOKED FORWARD!) to writing a new post this year. I was going to write a poem to follow up this one, a poem that touted the joys of Mother's Day with my rainbows here... but then vertigo hit.

It started out of the blue on Sunday morning. Well, that's not entirely true. I have been struggling with some lightheadedness issues the past few weeks. But Sunday morning it struck with a vengeance.The room was spinning. I vomited every time I so much as moved my eyes, or tilted my head. Except for breastfeeding, I don't think I got to hold my babies but for two minutes this Mother's Day which was, to say the least, a bummer.

Still feeling rather spinny nearly a week later (so please excuse any typos in this post) but it's my third blogoversary and I can't allow this milestone to pass without truly reflecting on how much has happened, how much my life has changed and evolved and progressed over the past three years and four Mother's Days.

Mother's Day used to taunt me. It was this cruel joke, this universal date of celebration that seemingly everyone got to attend but me. It made me think of a passage in Romeo and Juliet, where Juliet says:

 20   Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow'd night, 
 21   Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die, 
 22   Take him and cut him out in little stars, 
 23   And he will make the face of heaven so fine 
 24   That all the world will be in love with night 
 25   And pay no worship to the garish sun. 
 26   O, I have bought the mansion of a love, 
 27   But not possess'd it, and, though I am sold, 
 28   Not yet enjoy'd: so tedious is this day 
 29   As is the night before some festival 
 30   To an impatient child that hath new robes 
 31   And may not wear them. 

I have always loved that sentiment--picturing my beautiful Peyton as stars in the sky--but really the bit of this passage that most speaks, or I should say spoke to me about Mother's Day, was that of having bought the mansion but not possessed it. I was a Mother. I had carried Peyton. Formed her within me. I had birthed my child and yet Mother's Day felt like a joke. Like trying to get into a club and the doorman telling me my name wasn't on the list, or worse, that it had been crossed off.

When I wrote that poem up there, so much felt impossible to me. Heck, even the Mother's Day and year of blogging that followed that one felt like being stuck in some foreign land where the inhabitants used words I could only sort of make out, like "baby-wearing and weaning and teething." I knew what those words meant, of course, but without having experienced them--was I still a mother?

We were in the thick of infertility that year. Our first IVF had failed, and with it went two more promises at motherhood to add to my list.  Everything,then, felt completely impossible to me, but time ticked on, and my Snowflakes set up shop in my womb, and one short (okay - long, anxious, bed-rested) year later, I greeted Mother's Day and another blogoversary with two babies in my arms and one in my heart. I tried to document what I could over the next year here, but failed fairly miserably due to sleep deprivation, and extended breastfeeding, and mommy-brain.

This past Sunday marked my fourth Mother's Day without Peyton, and though I was so sick, so, so, so sick, I kept saying to myself, "well, this is certainly not the worst Mother's Day I have ever experienced" because somewhere in the back of my mind I knew the pain would pass, and the vertigo would pass. I knew I would once again feel well and find my joy.

I didn't know that the first two Mother's Days after Peyton died. I didn't know that joy was even possible, or what it was to feel hopeful and excited about the future. Back then I just kept trucking along because that's what we bereaved mommas do, we breathe-in and breathe-out and put one foot in front of the other until one day we look at the path behind us and say, "Holy shit--I survived!"

Mother's Day for me (and actually my life in general come to think of it) will likely never be a Hallmark Card Moment. Three years into this journey I am realizing I am okay with that. Hallmark Card Moments happen to the unbroken, the innocent. They happen to women who don't know that this side of the universe exists and only know Mother's Day to be a happy one of flowers and candy and joy and you know what I say to that--good for them. Good for those blessed by experiences that can be summed up in a few words written by another in a folded card. Good for them. I don't begrudge them-- but they are not me.

Having Peyton and struggling with infertility has brought me to a point where I don't need those Hallmark Card Moments to show me how lucky I am. I don't take anything for granted.

So here is to three years as the girl who lost her child, then her fertility, and somehow, in this mess we call life, found happiness. To three years that brought me so far down to rock bottom that I know what a gift I have been given in clawing my way back out again. To three years and surviving -- I'd be lying if I didn't say I was proud of myself for that.

And here is to all of you. To those whose stories pushed me forward when I thought there was nowhere else to go. To those who told me to keep trying because trying is never done. Who encouraged us to explore all of our options to parenthood--what a gift you have given me in walking this road with me. And to those of you who found your way here because you are fresh in your own grief, or infertility--here is to knowing the joy that lies ahead for you, too.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Peyton Pays Me A Visit

I've written here before about my mom's friend who claims to get random messages from people who have passed on. 

Are you feeling skeptical yet? I don't blame you.

I got the most beautiful message a few weeks (a month, maybe?) back from Peyton that I tweeted about and have been wanting to write to you all about, but life, and Provera, and so-many-diapers  and molars coming in have just kept me from doing it. 

Here are some things to keep in mind about this message.

1- I never talk to this friend of my mother's unless she is telling me she got a message, and usually she just gives the message to my mom to give to me. I say this to clarify that this woman is not around enough to know what I am up to. We aren't friends on FB or anything like that.

2-My parents have pretty much been travelling non-stop since Christmas, so it's not like my mother is around to see what I am doing, and then feed info back to this friend to turn into a message from Peyton.

3-The song I mention below is something that ONLY my husband and I know about. I sing it while breastfeeding at night.

4-I truly believe that if we open our hearts to messages and signs from our little ones who have passed on (or any loved one who has passed on, really) they will come.

Okay, here it goes.

So it is really important to me to incorporate Peyton into the Snowflakes' everyday lives. I am not going to go into this at all, because I wrote a column about it for Still Standing which comes out 5/21 and I wouldn't want to be repeating information, but saying that I incorporate her into their daily lives is rather relevant to this particular sign.

Each night I sing the babies a lullabye to the tune of  Frère Jacques  (Where is Thumbkin) where I go through all of the people in our lives. It goes something like this:
Mommy loves you. Daddy loves you. Yes it's true. You love us, too. Time to go to bed now. Time to go to sleep now. This day's through. This day's through.
Then I sing...
Big Sissy in Heaven loves you. Big Sissy in Heaven loves you. Yes she do. We love and miss Peyton, too. Time to go to bed now. Time to go to sleep now. This day's through. This day's through.
And on and on through our entire list of family, friends, and the last verse is reserved for Jesus.

Okay. So my mother's friend called and left me a message. I didn't get the message. She called my mother and said, 'I've been trying to get in contact with Krissy, I have a message from Peyton.' My mom, during one of her brief trips back home among all the recent travelling, was like, 'You know, Fran says she left you a message blah, blah, blah."

I didn't get it. Thanks AT&T.

So this falls off my radar, NOT because I didn't want to hear from Peyton, but because life sometimes really gets in the way of me being able to call anyone without so much noise in the background that I can't hear. Plus the Snowflakes, and Bubba especially, are really clingy right now, wanting to be held all.the.time, so holding two babies and a phone doesn't work, and trying to talk on speaker with two babies who don't want me on the phone and let me know at ten thousand decibels, also doesn't work.

So... I put the babies for a nap one day and I got a call from Fran who said she had had two messages from Peyton, but so much time had passed that she lost the first one, and hadn't my mother told me to call her etc. etc.

She gave me the message she could remember. She said that Peyton said this:
such a beautiful day, and it is a day that would go down in infancy (fancy was circled) babies are so beautiful are we knot and tied together forever in love
Okay, what? Peyton, Mommy is so frazzled and tired and gets no sleep, baby, you are going to have to be a bit more clear.

So I told Fran that that was sweet, but I really didn't know what the heck it meant and I appreciated it and would think on it and thank you very much. She said she wished she could remember her other message and I thought, if it is anything like that one no worries on forgetting it, and we hung up the phone. I then proceeded to do things around the house and was struck by the fact that Fran said she had called and left me two voicemails and why the hell wasn't I getting my voicemails, anyway? So I picked up the phone to check, and usually if we have messages the dial tone beeps, but there was no beep. I realized in that moment that I hadn't gotten any voicemails in, like, WEEKS! Which is fine, most people probably don't want to call and try to talk over babies, but no messages at all? That felt odd. So I dialed into my voicemail and lo-and-behold I had SIXTEEN messages!

I started listening to them, and then came to Fran's message and immediately felt my body go numb--wait, not numb, tingly? Yeah, I guess tingly is a better way to describe it. I listened to what she said she had been told by Peyton, immediately called her back, and started to cry.

This is the message Fran had left for me that day, some weeks before I heard it. A message that she couldn't recall at all later, and would have been completely lost if I hadn't realized to call into my voicemail regardless of the non beeping dial tone.

She said that Peyton told her this:
Sweet, sweet music drifts to my ears. I love to listen and still be a part of, instead of being apart. Always with you in love and peace, heart. 
Like I said earlier. Every night, every single night, we sing that song about the people we love. Every night we sing a verse for Peyton specifically to keep her a part of our daily lives. I still have chills just thinking about this message.

Thank you baby girl, for putting your love into words that your over-tired Momma can understand.

And here is another sign for you--even though it has been raining all morning, as I type this, butterflies are playing outside my window.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I Am Still Standing

Three and a half years ago, when I last held my daughter, Peyton, in my arms, I thought I wouldn't survive to see morning. Honestly, I don't know that I wanted to. What kind of a life could I possibly go on to lead with the type of pain I was feeling swirling in my chest?

Three and a half years ago I could never have imagined writing a sentence like "I am still standing." I couldn't have imagined overcoming infertility. I couldn't have imagined how absolutely joy-filled my days would one day be.

I am still standing.

I am still standing--and connecting with others.

The journey of loss and infertility can be so overwhelming. So devastating. So alienating. So when the amazing Fran of Small Bird Studios contacted me to tell me that she had this idea--this wonderful idea to bring women together from all different points in this journey to share their own corner of this loss universe and be a localized resource for others who walk in this old pair of shoes--I was taken aback. One place that could be a resource for those who had suffered miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, child loss. Those who got pregnant easily only to lose their beloved child, and those who struggled for years to conceive only to suffer the same fate. When she told me about her vision for Still Standing Magazine, I was intrigued and excited. When she asked me to come on board as a regular contributor, I was humbled and honored. I still am.

I am still standing--come stand with me.

At Still Standing, you will be able to find my column, "Over the Rainbow," each month. It is my hope that my words are able to honor the experience of parenting living children after the loss of your first child. This is a unique experience. There are fears, and joys, and entire thought processes that ONLY come into play for those of us who parent rainbow babies, and I pledge to speak to the experience with honesty.

I am also going to be one of the regular contributors to Still Standing's Humor Column. Does that surprise you? Maybe just a little? Believe it or not, I laugh--a lot. If you never knew that about me from this blog, I invite you to come meet that side of my personality over there.

I am still standing--and in good company.

We have several amazing contributors, each sharing their story, their voice, their advice based on where they are in their own journey. Some are new to this club and fresh in their grief, while others can look back on those early days with a knowing nod, and a promise of the healing yet to come.

I am still standing--and wherever you are on your own journey, I invite you to stand with me.

The magazine launches May 5th. You can follow us on Facebook, here, or sign up by clicking the photo

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Grumpalicious No More!

Sorry for the absence. Provera totally kicked my butt the last two weeks!

Just wanted to drop a line to say I am feeling much better now that it is working its way out of my system, and that I got to really enjoy the writer's conference I attended yesterday despite evil Provera's attempts to the contrary.

Thanks so much for the love and support and for putting up with the grumpalicious tone of my last post. We all have those days now and then, don't we? I am beyond blessed by this community.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Provera IS A Big Deal

A week and a half ago I started bleeding. I had had four AF's post-partum, all super light, but this was a ton of bleeding and by the third day I realized it probably wasn't typical. I called the doc who told me to come in right away for an ultrasound. They were worried I was miscarrying, or pregnant and having another SCH episode and I said, "That's not possible." To which they replied in an obnoxiously condescending tone, "It only takes one time," and I said, "Read my chart, it's NOT possible."

Anyway, long story short I went in and had the ultrasound, and of course was NOT pregnant, but they were concerned that my uterine lining was measuring at 14mm. They said they were going back and forth between ordering a D&C, and trying Provera. I asked why I couldn't just let it take care of itself (I was bleeding it out, wasn't I?) and they told me that it didn't work that way. I would likely start hemorrhaging within the next 24 hours if I didn't take some action to stop it. So we started the Provera, which the doc assured me, was "no big deal."

Okay, I don't know if it is all the changes my body went through with my pregnancy/IVF, or the hormones that are raging through me from extended breastfeeding of twins, but this last week of Provera has been hell, and remember, I am someone who has injected herself with hundreds of shots of hormones during my IVF cycles, but this is the worst of it.

My stomach hurts, I still (until today) was bleeding like crazy. I feel light headed. Depressed. Weepy. My legs are restless. I can't sleep. My chest feels constricted. My heart is out of whack. I developed mastitis in my left breast the second day I was on it, and last night just generally felt like I was crawling out of my skin. When I looked in the bottom of the bottle to see I was only half way there, it was overwhelming.

They say that when I stop taking it, a "normal" cycle should resume. Lucky me, this will just happen to fall on the day I go to the one writer's conference that I actually get to attend this year, a conference that I have looked forward to since last year when severe post-partum anemia made it impossible for me to go, and that I had planned to pitch the hell out of the novel I have spent the last three years writing at.

I don't really know what the point of this post is. To complain I guess. That I feel like crap and I am frustrated as hell with my body for never co-operating and just being "normal," and even though we weren't trying to get pregnant or anything, there was a split second of hope when they went to do the ultrasound that maybe there would be someone in there waving back at me (I bled my whole twin pregnancy as most of you will recall) and it was just a giant slap-in-my-infertile-face that no, you're not pregnant, you're uterus is just defective.


I turned to Dr. Google about having a thick uterine lining. DON'T EVER TURN TO DR. GOOGLE. Then I realized it was Friday the 13th when I was Dr. Googling and I freaked myself out even more thinking it was some grand sign that I was screwed. Anyway, this post is going nowhere, so I am going to just stop here.

I have a beautiful post to share with you all. It's about Peyton and a sign she sent me but I refuse to write it feeling this way.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Oh the ways they grow, and grow...

What a difference a year makes...

I bought the cutest little hats and bunny tails for the Snowflakes last Easter on Etsy, when they were itty bittys, and decided to try to make them work this year, too. It was a tight fit, but I am glad we went for it. Comparing the pictures, I just love seeing how much my babies are growing and changing.

Bubba at just under two months old (Easter 2011)

Bubba, at thirteen months old (Easter 2012)
He says Momma, Dadda, All Done, Nanana (Banana) and is cruising.

Squeaks at just under two months old (Easter 2011)

Squeaks now at thirteen months old (Easter 2012) 
She walks all over the place, loves to stand on her head,
and of course, is as squeaky as ever!

"Enjoying" Easter Then... 

Enjoying Easter Now...

My cup runneth over.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Fading Memories

I asked my husband the other day if he felt like he was losing Peyton. He nodded. I admitted that I felt it, too.

Peyton hasn't been replaced. She hasn't been overlooked, or intentionally forgotten, or fallen in any way down the rungs of love in our heart, and yet my husband and I, two parents who think of her multiple times a day, have felt our memories of her slipping further out of reach.

We started talking about the memories that we hadn't lost. The sweet, minty smell of her. How she let out a little kitten-like sigh when she would lift her head to readjust against my chest. I mentioned her hands, how they were exactly like my mother's but on a tiny scale, and how her entire life there was goo on her knuckles and a bruise on the back of her hand from that very first IV.

We talked about the emotions that follow us along certain drives--the drives down the roads away from our house on the way to and from the hospital. I remember in crisp detail what life was like the day before the fungal infection was discovered. How full of hope we felt. I remember conversations about the Fall, and stopping at Dunkin Donuts on our way to see her that first time. If I close my eyes, I can probably replay every moment of Peyton's short life in my mind.

My husband shared his memories, too. He said he didn't think that his were as crisp as mine--something he attributes to the fact that he didn't see Peyton's death coming. I saw it coming. I didn't want to, and wouldn't have admitted it even to myself at the time, but I did. In my heart of hearts, I knew she wouldn't survive and I am disgusted by that.

I started to say that I thought the reason we felt like we were losing the details of our daughter, Peyton, was a self-preservation thing--because to stay there, in that dark, early, abyss of grief would be so crushing we couldn't possibly survive. I do think to some degree that that's true, but as I was saying it to him, it hit me. My memories of Peyton aren't numbing or disappearing, so how can I say that I am losing her when every detail, every-single-detail of her tiny life, is burned into my brain?

No, it's not that I am losing her. It's that now that I have had other children, healthy children, growing and changing and doing-by-the-day children - the magnitude of just how brief, just how robbed, just how un-lived a life my first child had-- it's overwhelming. I only have so many memories of Peyton, because there only are so many memories of Peyton. Twenty-eight days of life is not enough.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Day in the Life of a SAHM of Infant Twins!

One day last week I decided to document a "typical day" as a fun exercise to stick in my journal, or the Snowflakes' baby books, or whatever. 

So here you have it. 24 hours in the life of a SAHM of one year old twins.


11:00PM Breastfeed twins, change diapers, put twins back in their own cribs.

11:30PM Finish up the writing I was working on, brush teeth, head to bed.

12:20AM Nighty Night.

1:30AM Snowflakes wake up. Husband brings them to me to breastfeed (my side of the bed is against the wall, so it's easier for him to get in and out) then we put twins back in their own cribs.

3:30AM Snowflakes wake up. Husband brings them to me to breastfeed. Too tired to move. Both babies fall asleep on my arms.

5:30AM Oh God! I can’t feel my arms! Nudge husband with foot who wakes up and helps me reposition the babies back towards my boobs to breastfeed. Change diapers. Bubba rolls over and snuggles up to my pillow. I don’t think so kid - back to your own bed!

8:30AM Where am I? Hear children playing peek-a-boo and laughing in their cribs. Sneak into the bathroom to pee and brush my own teeth before being discovered. Go to the nursery and turn on the lights. Sing “Good Morning, Good Morning, the best the best the best to you this morning. Good Morning. Good Morning. The best the best the best to you today.” Ask the kids what they dreamt about. Change two blowout diapers then head, with one baby under each arm, back to my bed to breastfeed. Squeaks likes to stand, kick, twirl, twist, and bite while nursing. She also makes farting noises against my boob. Bubba finishes before Squeaks is done. He rolls off of my arm and crawls over to the wall and starts slapping it as if to say, “good wall. Nice solid construction here.” Next, like a flash, he crawls over to our curtains and tries to tug them down.  With one free arm I wrestle him back to my side (Squeaks is still latched on.) Bubba  heads back to the wall. More “Good construction,” slapping. Squeaks finishes and joins him. She starts laughing, jumping on the bed, and slapping the wall. I grab one child in each arm and head downstairs to start the day.

9:00-9:30 Play with toys in babyland (Play Room). Throw in a load of laundry.

9:30 Serve breakfast of Organic Blueberry Waffles with Peanut Butter, and Sliced Banana. While babies eat, I sit at the table in front of them and work on sewing straps onto the crib rail guard I am making since the babies have started using their fancy new teeth on the furniture. Look up. Squeaks has put all her food in her hair. Bubba has fed a large portion of his breakfast to the dog.

10:00 Breakfast over. Wash hands AND Squeaks’ hair in the sink. Change Squeaks into second outfit of the day, as first is completely covered in food.

10:20-10:30 While babies play beside me, I log onto the computer, check email, learn about a new writer’s conference coming to the area!

10:45 Back upstairs to breastfeed them, check diapers, one requires changing. Put babies down for nap.

11:00 Ahhhh. This momma is finally getting her first cup of coffee. Swap laundry. Check email. Start to write an article for Still Standing magazine about parenting after loss

11:30 Second cup of coffee, wait what was I writing about again? Eat a handful of cheerios. Check out a website about another writing conference coming to the area. Facebook distraction – squirrel!

12:30 Uh-oh. Babies are awake. Go in to find that Bubba has pulled a fabric belt that was sitting on the rocker off of the chair and into his crib by reaching through the slats. Lovely. Pull chair away from crib. Better thought, pull crib into center of room so Bubba can’t reach anything. Diaper time. Head back into bedroom to tandem breastfeed. While breastfeeding attempt to read a book to the babies – they fight over the book – we only get through two pages.

Head back downstairs to play. Start cooking lunch. Throw in another load of laundry. Read books. Babies start to fight over pacifier –they don’t even like pacifiers! Bubba sticks Squeaks in the corner.

1:00 Lunchtime! Pasta, green beans, carrots, o’s. More food in Squeaks’ hair. More food thrown to the dog. Attempt to sew a few more straps onto the crib guard while the kids eat. Run out of straps. Make more. Bobbin runs out. Refill bobbin. Bubba does NOT find watching me sew entertaining and lets me know, at 10,000 decibels, that he is bored. "All done! All done!" Shakes head no. "All done!"

1:30 Back over to the sink. Wash hands. Wash Squeaks’ hair – again! Head back into baby land. Diaper change. Set kids up with toys, then back to the kitchen where I grab their leftovers, pour pasta sauce over it, and call it lunch for myself.

1:40 Sit down(next to them) to eat my mish mosh of a lunch. Apparently I am not close enough. They want to be held and start to cry. I inhale my lunch. Sit with them. Try singing a song. A book. Not working. They need a nap.

2:15 Back upstairs to Breastfeed and cuddle.

2:40 Babies are in their cribs, playing. Hopefully they will fall asleep soon. I head downstairs and turn on the TV. Get sucked into a Kardashian show.  

3:45 Babies spent the last hour playing in cribs. They NEED to nap if we are gonna get any sleep tonight.

3:50 Okay,  clearly they never got the napping memo. Peek a boos and tossing toys at each other has eaten up all of nap time. Back upstairs. Change them. Breastfeed. Bring downstairs to baby land. Read books. Bubba learns to push his car walker. Pushes it into my leg. I say “Ow” very dramatically. He laughs and pushes it again. “Ow.” Laugh. “Ow. “ Laugh.  Squeaks wants in on the action. Sneaks up behind me and pulls my hair. I say, “Not nice.” She pulls harder. Joy. Divert attention to crawling through a tunnel. Play peek-a-boo. Read more books.

5:15 Pack kiddos in the car.

5:30 Meet daddy at the trail after work. Throw kids in Ergos and go for 45 minute walk along the river. Bubba says “hi” to all the trees we pass. Squeaks peeks over my shoulder like the Travelocity gnome.

6:45 Dinner time!  Broccoli pancakes. Avocado. Apple. Daddy handles this meal. I swap the laundry and check facebook.

7:15 Time for a bath. Splash Splash Splash. Daddy does bath while I put away laundry.

7:30 brush teeth. Sing songs. Breastfeed.

8:30 Snowflakes in bed. Ahhhhhhhhh. Mommy and Daddy go downstairs and start thinking about our own dinner. Thank god for Once A Month Club recipes. Take out premade ground beef mixture and mix with vegetable barley soup, cumin, red pepper, salt, pepper, onion, garlic – Instant Chili!

8:30-10:30 this is a blur of TV/Internet/Email/Working on novel

11:00 Squeaks wakes up wanting to be fed and wakes up Bubba by throwing her lovey into his crib. 

And the cycle begins again...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hello Blog World!

Hello blog world.
It's me - Kristin.
I've missed you.

I have so much to write about.

My Snowflakes are one! I can hardly believe it.

We still aren't sleeping over here. Which may or may not be contributing to my lack of posts. I think if you took the last three nights, my husband and I may possibly have hit a combined total of five hours of sleep. It's exhausting. I'm not entirely sure why the babies are so off their usual 1-2 feedings a night schedule, but they are.

Let's see... what else?

My little Snowflakes are now 20 and 21 pounds, which explains why my knees pop when I carry them up and down the stairs! Bubba is talking up a storm saying "hi," "momma," "dadda," "hi dadda," and "all done!" Squeaks surprisingly is not one for making small talk, lots of noises and squeaking but only a few words - "hi," "mom," and "dadda," but she has been getting busy walking - she takes six to eight steps when she feels like it, then goes days in between when she doesn't.

Writing has been keeping me busy, busy, busy - or I should say attempting to write has been keeping me busy, busy, busy. I am in a mad dash to complete editing my novel in time for a writer's conference coming up this spring, although 'mad dash' may not be the right term because most nights, by the time the babies are put to bed and I sit down to type, I realize I am too tired to formulate coherent sentences and I give up. In fact, right now, I'm giving up. The babies are napping. I think I should be too.

Till next time...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Triggers don't care...

Triggers don't care...

that you are having a good a great a fantastic day...
that you spent the last two hours laughing with your children...
that your outlook on life is generally a happy one...
that you have come so far in your healing...
that you have spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours in therapy working through each and every painful memory so as to dull the pain of them...
that you have accepted that she is never coming back...
that you have finally, finally realized that missing your child doesn't negate your right to be happy.

Triggers don't care...

they are rude...
and inconsiderate...
they shine a spotlight on your darkest memories...
pour salt in your wounds.

Triggers are the uninvited guests at a dinner party who demand control of the floor.
They are the background music of a neighbor that you can't shut off, but have to learn to live with.

Triggers are powerful, but guess what?
So are you.

When they come calling remind yourself that you are more than those memories.
You are more than that pain.
Your loss is not all that defines you.

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and recognize that this feeling, this heart-stopping nauseating feeling will inevitably pass.

Your smile will return once again.

Monday, February 13, 2012


I looked at myself in the mirror this morning. I look younger--somehow. If you look past the worry wrinkles, and the generally dull pallor of my skin from these last few hard years, there is a sparkle in my eyes. It's a feature that left me when we were in the hospital with Peyton. My best friend, C, called me after seeing a picture of me holding Peyton and she was crying, not only because of what was happening to our baby girl, but because it scared her to see my eyes that way.

I thought for a long time that I would never get that back.

I think I am at a point now where a person on the street wouldn't know I was broken.
Someone meeting me the first time might say I am outgoing, even funny.

I spent the better part of two years leading with the "I have a dead kid" foot.
I don't know when the shift happened, but now I tend to lead with the "life is still worth living" foot.

Some people would think that this shift is due to having my rainbows here, and don't get me wrong when I say that they have brought an immeasurable amount of joy and love into my life, but I honestly think this change is the result of allowing myself to go there.

Where? There. Far, far, far down to the depths of my grief, and yes I say allowing myself to go because I gave myself permission a long, long time ago to feel what I needed to heal.

I think there is something to be said for going there. I know every single day how blessed I am to be here because I've been there. I can be honest to myself about expectations. I think a lot of people who are grieving, either because of outside influences, or as a self-protective measure, force themselves into a sort of false sense of healing before it has really come. It's the I'm Fine Syndrome, when people ask how we are and we say what we think will be the most comfortable for others to hear, rather than our real feelings. Maybe I am selfish. I never told people I was fine. I told my family, my friends, a stranger in the super market just how incredibly not fine I was at every opportunity.

I told them that my baby had died. That it was shocking. I walked them through every gory detail of what chemo did to her because to say it out loud was to reaffirm it had happened, and in some small way, to release myself of carrying that burden alone.

Maybe saying alone is unfair. My friends love me. My family loves me. My husband certainly loves me or he would have left some three years ago, but only I was Peyton's mother. Only I made certain choices. Only I witnessed certain things. In the world of PTSD, tragic loss, survivor's guilt, even the most loved person can feel very, very alone.

I have never sugar-coated what happened to Peyton. I don't refer to her as my angel, or say she is in a better place. I don't say that God needed a rose for his garden so he picked her, or tell people her last moments were peaceful - they weren't. I don't lie about her because it doesn't do me any good, and it doesn't honor all she went through.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I don't do these things, and yet I am healing. I will never be healed. None of us will be. The sooner we let go of that hoop dream, the better, because if you look to be healed, or for things to go back to the way they were, your life will be nothing but a fruitless search for the impossible. But I am healing.

A few years back I was friended on FB by a woman who had lost her first child to leukemia. She had a profile pic of her husband, a golden retriever, and her three living children. It was one of those posed pics where everyone is wearing the same colors. It was so beautiful, their smiles so genuine, that I broke down and cried. Was that possible? Could I ever get there?

Throughout my infertility and darkest parts of my grieving, I would go back to this woman's profile, and look at that photo. It became a goal for me. Something to wish on. This woman was a survivor. Her daughter, I am sure, had endured all Peyton had and more, and yet this woman as broken as that had left her, kept chugging along until she found her happiness. There is no happy ending. There is no happily ever after. You always feel that loss with you, but she found her happiness - the best she could make of the life she was given.

I look at myself in the mirror, past the wrinkles and the worry lines into the way my happiness has settled into the sparkle in my eyes and I am content with who I see... a survivor.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

This post will make you feel better about yourself...

Ever have one of those If I don't laugh I'll cry moments?
This whole morning has gone like that.

Squeaks has a stomach bug. It is not even 9AM and here is how this morning has gone so far.

Woke to learn that she had blown out her entire bed (thankfully it was Hubs who discovered this, and not me, so I was spared the cleanup.)

He brought both children to me to breastfeed. In the mornings we breastfeed laying down where essentially they are each laying in the crook of my arm as they feed. It's really sweet cuddle time... usually. 

A minute or two into our feed Squeaks started to projectile vomit all over me. Because of her location in the crook of my arm (essentially laying ON my arm) and Bubba on my other arm, I was pinned. She proceeded to vomit about nine times - in my face, across my boobs, into my armpit, under my back, all over my bed - you get the picture.

I cleaned her up. Scrubbed our mattress with vinegar and baking soda and decided to take a shower (because, as you will recall, I was covered in vomit) and that's when it hit me - we were now out of clean towels.

Happy Hump Day!