Thursday, November 20, 2014

What Would Have Been

Meredith,

Today I miss you more than words could ever convey. I should have been meeting you face to face today, if I hadn't already. So many people were waiting for you! 

Your Dad and I went out of town this week as a distraction all the while knowing my thoughts would turn to you. They always do. There isn't a day that does by that I don't think of you. My baby girl you were and are my answer to so many prayers. I know you are in the arms of Jesus and that is my comfort.

Love,
Your Mom

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Moving Forward

Over the past few weeks a lot has happened.
Jason & his Mom Kaye
At the beginning of October Jason's mom went into the ER for what we thought was appendicitis. After exams and test it was determined that it may be a cyst. Her doctor's appointment that Monday revealed that she had Stage 1 Ovarian Cancer. The next day she had a full hysterectomy. Next month she will start 6 rounds of Chemo. We appreciate all your prayers and ask that you continue to pray as she heals.

During this time I was able to make my first Teeny Tears donation to Mobile Infirmary. I had been putting off going because I wasn't sure how I would respond. I admit the only difficult part was passing by the discharge hall way. I don't know about other hospitals, but MI has a hall that goes to an exit away from the main entrance for those leaving the hospital. Passing by that hall, not even really remembering it until this moment, I had a flood of memories. Memories of how it felt to leave with a memory box instead of my child. The nurse asking me what color car my husband was in and I couldn't remember so I described both. Feeling ridiculous being in a wheel chair when I felt like I could walk just fine. Getting in the car and not knowing what to do or say, because this was NOT how I saw my pregnancy ending. I pushed past it and walked to the elevators. Spoke with the nurses, who seemed excited to get in new items for their bereavement closet, and left.

The relaunching of our BonfireFunds Shirt was not a success. However, I feel as we try to raise Adoption Awareness as well as funds for our adoption there is some trail and error in how it is done. And we are so thankful to everyone that has donated and supported us so far in this journey.

Some exciting news is that our Formal Adoption Application was accepted!!!!!!!! We are now working on paperwork and other steps leading up to getting a date for our home study. There is a lot more work ahead and we are so incredibly excited!!!!


He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Capture Your Grief Week 2 - 4


Capture Your Grief
Weeks 2 - 4





Day 12











Day 28
Day 31

Teeny Tears Donation

I finally made my first donation of Teeny Tears diapers to Mobile Infirmary.



I have also started on diapers for Springhill and Providence.




Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Shirt Fundraiser Re-Launched

We have relaunched our t-shirt fundraiser. If you were unable to purchase a shirt last time this is your second chance! We must sell 25 shirts by 11/21/14 for shirts to be produced. Visit www.bonfirefunds.com/bringinghomebabymontz today to purchase your shirt.


Application Submitted

Quickly snapped this photo
as we submitted the application
We have officially submitted our formal application for adoption through Bethany Christian Services.

The process started a while back and we had put it on hold during my pregnancy and the time following Meredith's loss.

We decided Monday night to update and finish the formal application. Of course this is one of many steps to come and we are excited to see what the future holds.

Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. We love you all so much and are happy that each of you are involved in this process!

If you would like to support us financially in our journey to adopt you can make donations by clicking here.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Capture Your Grief Week 1

Day 1 - Sunrise

Day 2 - Heart
www.ahearttohold.org

Day 3 - Before

Day 4 - Now

Day 5  - Journal

Day 6 - Books

Day 7 - Sacred Place
The Word of God is my sacred place.

Timing

Timing is something I've been thinking about often lately. See, I had plan for my life.

In many ways my life has been as I hopped. I met an amazing man of God that loves and adores me that I married as soon as possible. We have a home and a pup named Pepper (who may or may not know he's a dog).


Yet in other ways it has not. School didn't exactly go as planned and it took me longer than expected to get my college degree. Also I had an age that I wanted to be done having children. My magic numbers were first baby before 30 (which yes I technically did) and last baby by 32.

Looking back on things I realize parts of my plan was a little detailed instead of a general plan.

I have been coming to grips with the fact the my plan and timeline is not the same as God's. I know His is better. I guess I just thought my plan was so good that it was His plan too. And yes I'm fully aware that obviously I was wrong in my thinking, as most of us that have these type of life plans have to learn this over time and often the hard way.

I have no idea what the future holds. I don't know what next year, next month, next week, or even what tomorrow holds. And I'm ok with that.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Heart

"He heals the brokenhearted, He bandages their wounds."
Psalm 147:3


Day 2 of Capture Your Grief was "heart". Which I have been thinking a lot about lately. I didn't think about it much at the time, when we lost Meredith. However, I can say without a doubt, looking back on it, that I know exactly what it feels like for my heart to not just break, but shatter. And for a split second, I remember thinking: "this is how I'm going to go; with a broken heart".

Capture Your Grief
Day 2 - Heart
I'm still here and my heart still breaks over the loss of our only child, our only daughter. See, we didn't know if we were having a boy or a girl yet. In a way this made it a tiny bit easier. The not knowing. I think that is because we hadn't had a chance to fixate in our minds some of the things we would have if we had known. Like if we have a girl she'll be in ballet or if we have a boy he'll play soccer. Instead that part was still a mystery. However, when the nurse said "you have a girl" I'm pretty sure that's the moment my heart shattered. I don't know if it was because we thought we were having a boy or if it was because all the things I would never get to experience with my baby girl went through my mind all at once.

Even though my heart is still broken, I know God is mending it. I can feel it and see it each day. I see it in the way I respond to different situations, activities I'm more apt to do, and so on. I know things will never be same again, but I'm becoming more and more ok with that. 

I came across this poem on a Facebook page called Forever My Sweet Pea and it has stuck with me. What so many don't understand is that we, like so many others, didn't just lose a pregnancy or a baby, we lost all the what could have beens, should have beens, and future dreams we had for our child and ourselves. And even if we had had other children or go on to have other children there is always someone missing.

Someone Is Missing
Someone is missing from our dinner table, from our bedroom and our home.
Someone is missing from holiday celebrations,family vacations and everywhere in between.

Someone is missing from our lives, Our littlest one is gone.
He will not have birthday parties, graduations, or celbrations.
We will miss him throughout eternity and our family will never be complete.
Someone is missing, yet we go on.
Our lives are touched by him.
Changed forever by his brief existence.
His memory we keep alive.
He lives only in our hearts and minds, We were blessed by his short life.
Our love for him forever strong.
Even though...someone will always be...MISSING.

~D. Lutz

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October


October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. And on October 15 around the globe homes will light candles for the children that had short, but impactful lives. You don't have to have any special kind of candle or anything to participate, although many do purchase new candles for that night.

There is also a photo challenge called Capture Your Grief that many have found to be a source of healing. Anyone that's is grieving the loss of a child can participate and can jump in on any day. I'm doing mine through my Instagram @heatherdani85 (which also shares to my Facebook & Twitter profiles).


Day 1 - Sunrise - it was cloudy this morning but it was calm and felt wonderful outside!



Sunday, September 28, 2014

PCOS Awareness

September is a month set aside for awareness of many women's health issues. I, along with many others feel that some of these issues that can be just as deadly, hereditary, and common as others have been overlooked. I am often shocked as the number of women I meet that haven't been to the OBGYN in years and those that have symptoms of something wrong, but ignore them either out of fear or assuming what's going on is normal for them. Going to your doctor regularly is the only true way to know if you have any of these health issues. Early detection is key!


Click on one below to learn the symptoms:

PCOS (Risk: 1 in 10)
Ovarian Cancer (Risk: 1 in 72)
Cervical Cancer (Risk: estimated that over 12,000 women will be diagnosed this year)
Vaginal Cancer (Risk: 1 in 1,100)
Vulvar Cancer (Risk: 1 in 333)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Update on Christian


Last night I posted about a little boy named Christian and his battle with cancer. Last night that battle was lost, but he is now in the arms of Jesus. I am heartbroken for his mother, as a parent should NEVER have to bury their child. I pray that they will focus on Jesus and know that He ultimately has a plan that maybe we don't understand but is perfect and wonderful. I pray they focus on knowing they will see Christian again and that he has been made whole and is no longer in pain. Above all I pray this family will grow closer together and that healing & salvation will come to them.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Christian's Special Spots

In the age of social media our world has changed.

On one hand we have become more socially awkward and have lost much of the art of communication.

However, on the other hand we have created a world that when someone, anyone, is going through a difficult journey (or have great things happen too) their loved ones and complete strangers alike can show their support. And people no longer feel as alone during rough seasons of their lives.

Often times we follow others online that have experienced the same situations as us or that support a cause that is dear to our own hearts. I know that I for instance follow blogs of other couples that have gone through infertility, loss, and/or are seeking to adopt. I also tend to follow families with children that have Nevus (click here for more info) after watching my sister go through it with her daughter,  Haleigh.

Right now there is a little 1 year old boy name Christian - click here that has touched my heart. He was born with the same type of birthmark as Haleigh. His sadly turned into cancer (melanoma). I don't know him or his family personally, but it breaks my heart to see what they are going through. He currently has an infection on top of everything else. His mom has posted that he is fighting, but he is getting tired, and that they are putting him in God's hands now.

Tomorrow (9/27/2014) at 10am (9am Central Time) the chapel at the hospital he's in is holding a prayer service. And although none of us are local to them I believe it's important that even those not there would stand with this family and pray at 10am (9am Central Time) tomorrow morning.

I also challenge you, if you are able, to help support this family financially as medical bills and other expenses will continue to be apart of their lives regardless of what the coming days may hold. They are also raising awareness with "I Hate Cancer" bracelets. You can visit their GoFundMe account be clicking HERE and order bracelets by clicking HERE.

Again, above all else pray for this precious baby and his family.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Meredith's Marker

Meredith's marker was installed. And on one hand I was really excited because I could finally put a flower arrangement out for her. Yet, This isn't something I should be looking forward to! Then there is the thought that is it. This is the last new thing to do for her. There is nothing else new. There will be flower arrangements as holidays and seasons change, but that isn't how I imagined celebrating my child's life. But I know God has chosen me for this life for a reason and one day I'll know why.





Who Am I Now?

Most questions I am asked I can answer with ease. Yet there are a couple that I'm not really sure how to answer because the answers vary or I honestly don't know.

The question is asked in different ways but it's pretty much the same: "What have you been up to?", "What do you do now?" "What are your plans?". And I know that this question is asked because it's easier to ask than "How are you?", because typically the answers are easier to hear.

This particular question is the easier of the two tough questions I get asked because often there is some kind of an answer I can give depending on who is asking. Yet there are times that I hate this question because truthfully the answer could be that for the past two days I woke up, breathed, cried, reminded myself to eat, and went to bed that night. The thing is, that's perfectly ok for me to do that some days, but I hate telling people the real answer when it is the case.

Losing Meredith completely changed my life.

I went from anticipating stages of pregnancy to uncertainty, fear of it happening again, and avoidance of situations that remind me of what I've lost. I know that I will never experience trying to get pregnant and pregnancy without some form of anxiety. It took us almost 6 years to conceive Meredith and I have this nagging thought in the back of my mind that it could take that long again. And although there is a plan in place for the next pregnancy to prevent extreme early delivery there is no guarantee that it won't happen again.

I went from working 40 hrs a week to being a house wife for the time being. Sometimes, I actually hate meeting new people because the first question I'm usually asked is "Where do you work?" or "What do you do?". Well, in that context, I currently do nothing and trying to explain that to someone who has no idea what happened to Jason and I over the Summer is extremely difficult. I either end up sounding vague or the explanation creates an uncomfortable first meeting.

I'm a mom with no children at home to fill my day. 

It's more than likely just me, but I feel like they must be asking themselves what could I possibly be doing all day, but they don't ask because no one wants to hear me respond with "surviving and missing my daughter!"

When it comes to me getting a job there is a question that I really don't want to answer on an application and absolutely dread being asked in an interview!

Who are you?

This question actually leaves me speechless.

The reason? I've always answered that question with my job, my plans, my goals...

But right now I honestly have no answer, especially for those that don't know my story.

I guess my best answer right now is a woman trying to find her new normal. Obviously there are things that haven't changed: I'm new creation in Christ, a friend, a sister, a daughter, and a wife (although, I often times feel like I'm failing miserably at each of these at different times). 

I don't feel this way everyday or all day on the days that these thoughts come up. However these thoughts are there and I know there are others that struggle with this too. The struggle of dealing with being something for so long that when you aren't that anymore you have to reevaluate the world around you. Or the struggle of preparing for something that doesn't come to reality, again you have to step back a readjust to the new reality that is around you. And that is what everyday is for me right now: an adjustment.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Unspoken Thoughts

It's been a while since I've posted anything and its mainly been because there are things I have been working through that I wasn't sure how to put into words out loud or on here. I should preface that I am still working through some of this so I may ramble a bit through this post. Also I am fully aware some of this is irrational thinking on my part and completely normal for someone going through grief. I have to say that being a woman that went to college and studies psychology, sociology, and the like I have had a difficult time wrapping my mind around parts of my grief. I have this head knowledge of what is completely natural to be going through and at the same time this knowledge of how some of the things I'm feeling are irrational and unrealistic expectations. I almost have to remind myself that it's ok to not be ok.

So here are some of the things I've been thinking and feeling...

That I need to appear fine...

How could I possibly be "just fine" right? I do have days that I feel great and up to shopping, hanging out, baking, and so on. Other days I do not. Yet on the days that I do not feel this way if I have to go out and run errands I have a need/want to appear ok. This doesn't mean I put on my Sunday best, but it does mean I may pay more attention to my hair for a run to Walgreen's than I use to. It's a concern (that shouldn't be there) that someone will associate my appearance to how broken I am that day. As if my hair, makeup, and clothes could truly cover what's going on if I were to get into a conversation with someone.

In our society perfection has become (and has been for a while) an enemy to who we are meant to be.

And back to the work broken I just used. I'm sure there are people that would say "oh honey you aren't broken...". But lets face it I am and I don't see that as a bad thing. When Meredith passed away my heart broke... I broke. See, I 100% believe God allows us to break so that He can rebuild us into something better. He is mending all these broken pieces back together to create a masterpiece.

"The Lord is near the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Psalm 34:18

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3

"...by His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5

Communication has become difficult...

I have noticed since Meredith's passing I'm not as social as I was. Now I still go out and see friends and have people around, but I feel this need to space it out. I've never been a friend of large crowds or tight spaces to begin with, but I've noticed it bothers me more than it use to. There's a feeling of wanting to retreat that almost takes over. On Sundays I find myself in the sound booth or balcony even when it's not "my Sunday" to volunteer. I like being at home way more than I use to. Grocery shopping is scheduled for days and times I'm more certain that less people will be there (which really I did before, but I guess I'm even more aware of it).

Talking to people in general has become more difficult. When I'm asked how I'm doing in passing I have settled for "I'm doing okay" when it's not a good day. I have done this because apparently that response has been a signal to more than one person that I'm not my usual self. This started with running into my Uncle Jay (he's not really my uncle, but honorary I guess) and when he hugged me and asked how I was doing I could tell he had no idea what had happened, probably never knew I was pregnant in the first place. When I used the word okay, I can't remember how he responded exactly, but he basically looked at me and wanted to know what was wrong. And even though others have been less direct, I can tell they know that's my bad day response.

Also talking on the phone has become a chore. I want people to check in, but then when they do I contemplate if I want to answer the phone. I don't know what to say and I really really hate crying around anyone except me, myself, and I. Healthy, right!?!?! (insert sarcasm here).

A part of me wants to talk about Meredith all the time, but on my terms. I don't like getting upset in front of other people (regardless of who they are). I don't see it as a sign of weakness to cry in front of people, I just tend not to. It may be because before Meredith I usually only cried when I was angry, not sad, so crying when I'm sad is almost new for me, I'm still processing this concept myself.

I feel like I failed...

This is the part that has been the hardest to express and to comprehend. I logically know there was nothing I could have done to change the events that took place. Yet a small part of me feels like a failure. As women our bodies are designed to bring new life into the world and yet my body can't seem to get the hang of that concept. This isn't something I necessarily fixate on, but it is a thought that runs through my mind on tough days or when social media reminds me that other people are having healthy pregnancies, great deliveries, and healthy babies. Yet, I'm also sure this will be something I take the longest to moves past.

My prayer life has changed...

I feel like my prayers have became more earnest during my pregnancy and just after Meredith's passing. After her passing there was a lot of crying while I prayed.

Then my prayers almost felt routine. Let me explain, I noticed I was praying for what should be prayed for and what needed to be prayed for and when I should pray. And it was becoming less frequent throughout the day. I prayed for others, but I avoided praying for my own needs and situation. It hurt to bring those things up, even in prayer. It didn't take long for me to realize what I was doing. Like in everything else I was avoiding what was really going on.

I had expected my grief to go a different way. I had thought the first couple of weeks I would be immovable and depressed and then gradually get better. Instead I wanted nothing more than to move around and be active and had harder days later on.

Sometimes I feel like when I pray it's the only time I can express how I really feel because God doesn't respond with clich├ęs and He already knows what's going on. Through my prayers He is healing me.

My prayer life has once again become filled with energy and pouring out to God. I don't always have the words and my prayers seem silent, but that's ok because I know that it's not silent to God.

"And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will." Romans 8:26-27

I'm not really looking for responses or comments on any of this even though I know they will come. I mainly wrote this out because I know there are other women that feel this way too or have thoughts they have a hard time expressing. I'm not sure if any of them will ever read this but if they do hopefully they will know they aren't alone.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A Heart To Hold


A few days ago I received a gift in the mail.

A heart.

A heart weighing the amount Meredith weighed at birth. 

These are made by an organization called A Heart To Hold (click here). They are made so that the mom and dad can have something to hold about the size of their baby, as a mother's body and hormones are expecting to hold a child in the weeks after delivery. My sister had received two when her twin girls were delivered and passed away. I have no idea who requested this beautiful gift to be sent to me, but it means so much. 

I have received other gifts as well that are dear to my heart as well.

A stuffed animal from Robby's Rabbits (click here), angel, cross, and mother figurines, a Christmas ornament with her name made from scrabble tiles (so cute), a beautiful painting of an angel, two bracelets, one with Meredith's monogram engraved on it. So many also cooked (and continue to on some days) and helped clean my home.There were those that also gave to help with the expenses of Meredith's memorial service, as insurance is not available in these circumstances.

I list these items and actions to let people know how we have been blessed, thought of, loved, and remembered. We are so incredibly thankful for the support system that surrounds us.

I also mention these things so that when this happens to another loved one of yours you will have an idea of what you can do to bless them. And it is likely that it will happen to someone else you and I know. 1 in 4 experience pregnancy and infant loss. I have had more people than I expected to tell us about their early miscarriages and late term baby losses. I hated that these people we love experienced this pain, but I am thankful and blessed by their openness and willingness to share.

Many grieve in silence because they feel like they should "be strong" or "move on" and many of these women have been told this in one way or another (disclaimer: I have not had things like this said to me). What people need to remember is that these couples didn't just lose a pregnancy, their child died. And in that the future they dreamed of and planned has changed forever. Even if they have other children before or after the loss, nothing is ever the same. We, like many of these couples are trying to find a new normal. 
The thing is we want our child(ren) to be remembered. We don't want it to be swept under the rug or ignored.

I am heartbroken for the women that have felt as though their loss was not taken seriously or that people have forgotten the child they love so dearly. In truth it probably is taken very seriously and is not forgotten, but those around them do not know what to say or do, especially as time goes on.

There is an article I found through Pinterest about helping your friend(s) survive the first year of pregnancy or infant loss (click here). Depending on your friend or loved one some of the suggestions may or may not fit, however I believe it's a great starting point.