Thursday, December 26, 2019


Today is my birthday.  I am 35.  Half way to 70.  My kids still think that I am 27 - though Dean is catching on.  Yesterday he said "now you'll be 28" and I realized he's getting too smart for this charade.  I claimed 27 as my last birthday back in 2011, never realizing at that time that by the time I turned 28 I would become a mom of loss.  My birthday has been extra hard during the last several years.  In 2017, desperately missing Lucas and Noah, having lived away from Andrew, Dean and Warren for a week at the holidays to avoid sickness during the most dangerous part of pregnancy, I started my birthday morning with a miscarriage.  The following year we expected to be holding our twins right around my birthday (though I was due the first week of January).  I remember thinking last year that at least it couldn't get any worse.  At least I couldn't add to the pain.  But oh, was I wrong.

When we found out we were pregnant, we were shocked.  Completely shocked.  We'd been told for over 10 years that it would never happen without IVF, but God proved he was bigger.  And when I put in the calculations and it spit out my birthday as a due date - what a gift!  Though we knew this child would be taken at 37 weeks with my history, it just seemed extra special to be due on my birthday, of all the days of the year.  And yet, here we are.  Barren and broken again.  Heading into a colonoscopy tomorrow so spending the day prepping and grieving.  Literally the crappiest birthday in the world.  The grief of losing Gabe has hit me so hard this year.  The lost miracle.  Some days it's just this dull ache, some days I can't catch my breath or stand under the weight of it all.  And after all these years, after all these losses, time after time, I feel immensely alone.  It's just too much for people to take on, I'm too much.  The thing with grief is that it doesn't just go away.  Every time I see an older girl take Hannah's had and I see the way she looks up at her with awe, my heart longs for Reagan.  Every time I see a rambunctious 2-year-old destroying this and getting into mischief, I long for Lucas and Noah.  Seeing a pregnant woman or a newborn breaks me to the core, because that is where I should be.  And I can't understand or fathom why it keeps happening to me.  Especially this last time with our miracle pregnancy that should have never happened in the first place, I just want to scream WHY???  Why would this happen just to crush me again.  I was already barely standing.  Today should have been a celebration, a joyous day for our sweet Gabriel.  Oh, how I miss you sweet boy.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy 7th Birthday Reagan

Seven years ago, in a still and quiet room, we welcomed our sweet Reagan into the world.  S.E.V.E.N.  It feels like an eternity and yet a moment - funny how that happens.  I remember every moment of that day like it was yesterday.  The way it felt to be walking down the L&D hallway long before time.  How scared I was once contractions begin.  No where in any of my maternity books did it prepare me for this moment.  I remember Andrew reading and praying over me, I remember how he held me close once those contractions picked up - hour after hour.  I remember the way our day nurse cried alongside us, the strength it took for her to care for us that day.  And again with our night nurse as labor continued late into the night.  I remember the quiet steadfastness of our doctor, who sat there with us, who showed the grace of God in his demeanor and care and tenderness toward the situation.  I remember not having a clue about any of it was going to go, how to breathe or push, how to face any of it but not having the strength to ask for direction or guidance.  And I remember the overwhelming guilt that I had missed something along the way, that something I had done or not done had caused this, wondering if I might ever be okay again, never knowing all we would face again in the future.

But then, you were born.  And in an instant, I was your mom.  I had been your mom from the beginning, but there was something about seeing you for the first time, something about getting to hold you, that flipped a switch for me.  I felt this love unlike anything I had ever felt before.  I had known you for every second you were here, had cared and sacrificed for you all along the way.  And I loved you so intently, with an almost innocence about it.  I'm not sure that will ever make sense to someone who hasn't experienced the death of a child at birth.  And I am so thankful that our doctor encouraged us to soak up those moments.  We had about 5 hours with you.  Five hours to make a lifetime of memories.  Five hours before we had to say goodbye.  Those hours brought us so much joy, and I am forever grateful for those memories.  For getting to study your face and see your already long eyelashes, your big pouty lips, your little turned-up nose.

I wonder now how different our lives would have been had you lived.  How our lives would have changed - Hannah loves playing with the big girls.  She's in awe of them at church and dance, watching and learning from them.  I imagine you in these cute matching holiday sister sets and it breaks my heart each time.  We miss you in our lives constantly, miss the role you have as our firstborn and oldest child. 

But, though there is grief in today, though my heart feels like it's breaking as I relieve all these moments, today is mostly about celebrating that sweet and precious time we had together.  For being thankful we had any time at all, for cherishing those few moments.  It reminds us that life is short and can't be taken for granted, that we are only guaranteed this moment and to make the most of it.  So, we celebrate you, year after year.  With cake and cards, with a therapeutic morning spent building a new garden space for you, with a meal together as a family, with sharing this intimate day together as a family and taking a timeout from all the work (homework, housework, and work-work) to just be still and rest.  And then, of course, because you chose to make an appearance on Halloween, we have an evening of gathering large amounts of candy that we never actually eat and we will throw out around Easter when our candy stash is replenished. 

It's not what I would have ever chosen as a start to motherhood.  And I would give anything to have you back in our daily lives.  But you, my daughter, have made a profound impact on our lives, and I certainly wouldn't be the woman or mother I am today without you.  I love you so much and miss you desperately.  Happy SEVENTH birthday my sweet Reagan!



Happy 7th birthday cake

Cherishing the moments

Thursday, June 27, 2019


With each of our losses, there has been some unknown component.  Either we were too early for testing, we denied testing, or everything tested normal.  There have been lots of guesses as to what is happening, but nothing concrete.  And for me, that's given me extensive amounts of guilt.  Maybe I did too much.  Maybe I ate the wrong thing.  Maybe I lifted the kids too often.  Maybe I didn't rest enough.  Maybe I simply WASN'T enough.  Ten years worth of guilt and questions, never with an answer.  For our sweet little miracle, I needed that answer.  And since, for once, my body didn't recognize what had already happened, we were able to get a few answers.

First, we were having a boy.  Of course I already knew this, I wasn't nearly sick enough for this little one to be a girl.  I was still functional (barely) so I told Andrew the week prior in 100% confidence that this baby was a boy.  Glad to know my mama instincts are spot on with at least this little detail.  Since our last transfer, we've talked extensively about our girl and boy names.  We've had a top for each gender, a plan.  Of course, in my mind, it was a twin set that I was naming.   But in reality, that didn't happen, and we will never get to call out or sweet boy's name in our home.  But it felt wrong to save the name for a potential future adoption.  I would never be able use the name again, knowing full well that had this child lived, it would have been his.  And so, we have given this child, this little boy, the name Gabriel Preston Savant, aka "Gabe".

But we also learned that Gabe would have been a very sick little boy.  He had trisomy 13.  I had never heard of trisomy 13 (we've heard of 21, 18, even 16, but never 13).  And this is because, babies with this diagnosis don't survive.  They don't live.  Had Gabe been born, he would have been in significant physical pain.  He would have spent his little lifetime either having multiple procedures or withdrawing treatment to allow the inevitable to take place.  And that would have broken me for sure.  I already know there is little worse than having your child in pain, that watching helplessly as they fight.  We lived through that for 3 months with Dean and Warren - but there was a different goal in sight for them.  For Gabe, no matter how the pregnancy turned out, we would have said goodbye to him in his first year of life.

But today, today he is whole.  Today he is healed.  Today he is complete.  That doesn't take away the pain I have.  That doesn't take away the questions of why he would have that in the first place, of why we were chosen for this.  But I can rest in knowing that one day I WILL know him without the pain between us.   And that helps a tiny bit.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Happy 2nd Birthday Lucas!

Two years and 1 day ago, our world crumbled.  I fell asleep to a kicking baby and woke knowing something was wrong.  And on June 9, a sweet nurse at the hospital sobbed alongside us as she gave us the news.  Our baby boy was gone.  We just struggle to get through June 9 each year.  But on June 10, we can celebrate.  Today, my sweet Lucas turns TWO!

Lucas was born in the wee hours of the early morning.  Unlike Hannah, Dean, and Warren, there was no team of doctors there.  No NICU staff standing by.  No big lights and excited voices.  With Lucas, all was still and silent.  A single doctor, a single nurse, and his mommy and daddy.  There were tears all around.  But, there was also joy.  That's such a hard thing to explain, but I so much loved the little time we had with him.  I love that I got the opportunity to know him a little bit, to study his little face - his cleft chin and pudgy cheeks and unibrow.  I love that I was able to read him a story, to sing him a lullaby, to hold him.  I have about 8 hours of memories with my sweet Lucas to last me a lifetime.

Happy 2nd birthday Lucas!  This year we are in the mountains for your birthday.  I'm sitting out on the balcony while Dean and Warren fight inside.  Daddy and Hannah are looking at pictures of us all together.  It's like any other day, except it isn't.  Because today is YOUR birthday!  We had big plans for today - a hike in the morning, a picnic in our favorite park, cupcakes and cards for your birthday party.  But the weather isn't cooperating with us and it's cold and wet today.  Which means, a dinosaur museum (which at 2, you probably wouldn't have enjoyed.  But by 5 you would love)  Don't worry - we are still planning on those cupcakes!  Mommy even made them gluten free so I can enjoy too!  But mostly, today is a day when we get to think about you a little more, get to talk about you more freely, get to remind your brothers and sister that not every day is about them.  I have missed you so very much over these past 2 years.  So much.  As Dean says, I so wish you were able to come live with us.  But ultimately, I know you are cared for and safe and loved now.  And so I'm resting in that on this dreary mountain day.  Knowing you are celebrating yourself with Reagan and Noah, with your 12 brothers and sisters in heaven.  What a party!  But don't grow up too fast, k??  Save something for Mommy to teach you. I love you fiercely my boy, always and forever.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Dark Day

Six years ago, I walked into work fairly carefree.  I had just had an OB appointment where they had listened to Reagan's heartbeat and told me she was fine.  I worked an 8-hour shift treating patients, climbing all over things, bending/squatting/lifting/teaching, doing what I loved with patients I cared for.  I had never experienced mommy intuition before, so I kept telling myself I was overreacting.  That the nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach was nothing.  I guess I wasn't quite convinced because I made a doctor's appointment, but I wouldn't leave work for it and I wouldn't have Andrew come with me.

What happened next I remember like it was yesterday.  I remember sitting in the office waiting, rubbing my large belly lovingly, telling myself she was just tired and sleeping.  I remember the doctor asking me why I had lost so much weight and scolding me for being concerned about appearances while pregnant - I guess a lot of thin women might get judged like that, but I was kinda pissed at him for the comments he was saying.  And I remember thinking this idiot, judgmental doctor doesn't know how to use a doppler, because he seemed to really be struggling with that.

But then I saw his face.  I saw the alarm in his eyes.  Those eyes still sometimes haunt me.  He reached out and touched my arm and said, let's get a quick ultrasound.  Except, they kicked out the woman who was in the ultrasound room to get me in.  And spoke in hushed voices.  And the doctor stayed in there with me, which had certainly never happened before.  I remember the exact moment I broke.  No words needed to be said, no one needed to explain.  I saw Reagan's still chest.  No flutter in there, no thumb sucking, no waving, no smiling.  My little girl, always so active before, was quiet.  The moments after that were a blur - calling my office to get Andrew's office number because he wasn't picking up and smart phones were newish, and I didn't have one.  Telling Andrew the horrific news over the phone.  Sobbing in the floor of the ultrasound room until Andrew got there.  I'm fairly sure they helped me out to the car, though I somehow managed to drive to the specialist office, where I met a doctor who would change our lives, but at the time I just sat there as he tried to explain what was happening.

Oct 30 is my 1st dark day.  There have been others since, but it was the first time my world was rocked.  I still sometimes have nightmares about the day.  And, every year, it my sad day for Reagan.  A day where I extend myself a little grace and allow myself to wallow.  Because tomorrow, well, tomorrow is her birthday.  A cause for celebration!  Tomorrow, we do happy things for Reagan, remember those precious moments we had together, teach our kids about Jesus and heaven and remind them that Reagan is happy and complete now.  Tomorrow is beautiful.  Today may be ugly and dark and hard, but I have tomorrow to look forward to.  And, at the very least, I can be so very grateful that, for both Reagan and Lucas, that their birthdays and death days were different, that I can have a day of sadness and a day of celebrating.  Because no matter how short their lives, they always deserve being celebrated.

Friday, October 19, 2018


I feel as though I am at an impasse.  Most families get to make a decision when they are done having children.  They have 2 or 3 or 4 (or 5) and say "I think we're done."  And I've always heard, "you'll know when you're done."  But here's the thing, I don't know.  In fact, I feel quite the opposite.  I have 2 more little babies out there, babies we have already prayed for and named and love, as crazy as that sounds.  My days are completely full, I am stressed to the max, I have more laundry than I can keep up with, more toys than storage space, and an endless amount of junk that I trip over.  Our home is messy.  I forget to meal plan and we scrounge for dinner, calling nachos and hot dogs a meal, and throwing in a few baby carrots for good measure.  It's not a glamorous life we lead by any stretch.

But, through it all, is this nagging feeling that our family isn't done.  Maybe, because of all we've lost, that feeling will never go away.  When Lucas died, we had 8 more freezer babies waiting for us.  And we'd never lost a pregnancy early, so I just assumed we'd still be facing the decision of when we'd have to stop because we didn't have a vehicle large enough for the family.  God had different plans.  And oh, that is so incredibly painful.  And I hate it.  And I kinda think his plans suck.  Surely mine were better.  And yet, I have to rest in the truth that His plans are good, even when it feels so so bad.  So bad.

So, where does that leave me?  And how can you support me?  Pray.  Pray that God would open a door, that we would know where to go from here.  With my last surgery cancelled, my odds of conceiving are hovering right around 0%.  And, my odds of loss if we were to defy that first statistic are right there around 75%.  So, it's pretty bleak.  Basically, I cannot carry another child.  The decision to be done has been taken away and put firmly in the hands of an uncaring doctor and crappy insurance plans.  We know God is bigger than all that.  But we also know all too well that God doesn't always work the way we want him to.  That wanting it isn't enough.  So, pray that God would work a miracle.  Or that he would take away the desire for me to carry my own child.  Or that he would bring a surrogate into our lives and work out those details.  Or that he would bring a birth mama into our lives.  Most days, I am too weak to pray for these specifics.  Because, as the months go by and they don't happen, it only seems to deepen the wound.  And that is where my village comes in.  That is where and how you can help us as we continue to walk through the grief and guilt that comes after losing so many little ones.  And the ongoing pain and sting of infertility.

Sunday, August 5, 2018


I've heard a lot about grief over the past 6 years.  I've walked through it every day.  Some days I can live in the moment and enjoy my children and genuinely smile.  Some days, I do a pretty good job of faking it.  But there are other times when it is still crushing, when it's overwhelming, when I don't know where to turn.

It's been nearly 2 months since I last sat for a few minutes to process through and blog, since Lucas' first birthday.  In that time, we had a wonderful family vacation and the twins 5th birthday.  F.I.V.E.  It's kinda a big deal.  And yet, I let the moment pass.  The pictures are still on my camera, unedited.  The sappy blog post is buried somewhere in my mind, but I haven't found the strength to write it yet.  Every moment in my life is tainted with the despair of missing my children.  It's not fair.

Much of this blog has also been about my faith.  About learning to trust God in the journey into motherhood, then the loss, then the horrors of my pregnancy, and then rejoicing.  But the ugly truth of it all is that now, well, now I am too broken to believe anything I have written before.  The walls are too high, the grief too intense.  I don't doubt God's existence.  I know He is there, that He created me, that He sent Jesus.  I believe in heaven, I trust that my children are there.  But I don't really know what I feel about God's character anymore.  I don't trust that He has planned good for me.  It sometimes seems like He is kicking me while I am down.  I'm not sure how to reconcile with that- the truth of my life,  what we have endured,  the pain and heartache that goes with losing so many children - with the God of love I hear so much about.

And here's the other things I've learned.  Grief is lonely.  You walk this road alone.  I carry the burden, the guilt, all on me.  I can't look at another pregnant woman without catching my breath, even complete strangers.  Walking past someone with a baby does the same, and I find myself trying to find a way to hide.  It's not that I'm angry with them, most of the time I don't even know these women, it's just that I'm so sad for me.  But I'm past the point where it's okay to be sad, past the point where people understand that it's still hard, and so I just have to stand there, expressionless, pretending all is okay.  But it's not okay.  And I'm not sure it ever will be again.

Image result for weight of grief sculpture