On my 25th birthday in June 2010 we found out we were pregnant with our first. We prepared everything for the arrival of our son Alexander Michael. On February 8, 2011 our hearts were broken when a week and a day before Alexander was due we were told that he had no heartbeat. Alexander was silently born on February 10, 2011 he weighed 6 lbs 10 oz, was 20 inches long, had sandy brown hair and really big feet. We love him and miss him dearly. This is my place for reflection on my life since his birth. We are currently expecting a rainbow baby named Oliver, a little brother due Sept 21, 2012. I love both my boys, the one who paints the clouds and my rainbow growing in my womb, tremendously and I thank God for blessing me with both of them everyday.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Daydreams of Another Life

I'm sitting and cuddling with this wonderful almost 6 week old little boy this morning, sipping some tea, just basking in the moment, and my mind begins to wander. I think of another little boy who would be such a big 20 month old. I imagine him climbing into bed with us in the morning, maybe dragging a book and a toy in with him. Asking me to read "The Lorax" for the hundredth time (because any boy of mine will love the Lorax). After "The Lorax" its time to feed the baby so this other little boy occupies himself by playing with his favorite monster puppet. Then we all get up. I put the kettle on for tea or maybe some hot chocolate. I make eggs in a nest for this other little boy and I to eat. I have to wipe the eggs and ketchup off this other little boy's face. I take my tea to the couch and cuddle the baby as I am right now, while the other little boy plays with his blocks on the floor quickly looses interest coming over to kiss his baby brother on the cheek before getting out his action figures. My baby boy begins to wiggle and fuss and I have to end my day dream to feed the ravenous beast who forgot he just ate an hour ago.
morning snuggles

A few days ago my husband and I took our baby boy for a walk. He was carried in our wrap by his daddy. It was beginning to feel like fall, a gentle breeze in the air, clouds streaked across the sky, a perfect family moment. It was wonderful and my mind wandered just a bit. Another little boy is carried on his daddy's back while I carry the baby. This other little boy reaches up to touch the leaves and asks his daddy to stop so he can look at a caterpillar crawling across the sidewalk. The other little boy decides he wants to walk on his own, but proceeds to stop every ten feet to examine a rock or a leaf. He stops again to stick his hand in the puddle that was made by the man watering his lawn for too long. My day dream ends and I sigh. I smile at my husband and reach to smooth the hair of the little boy we do have with us.
These day dreams of another life that include this other little boy will always be there, on the fringes of these blissful moments, a quiet sadness not dampening the joy but magnifying it somehow.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Finding My Rainbow

Oliver didn't wait for the scheduled induction on Friday the 14th. By then he was already 4 days old. No, Oliver decided to do things his own way and arrived all by himself very quickly early in the morning on Tues, Sept 11th. My labor was hard and fast (2 hours from the time my water broke at home). Oliver Xander was 7 lb 10 oz (exactly one pound bigger then his big brother) and 19.5 inches long.
Oliver, just an hour after birth

Oliver is supper snugly

After the initial excitement after his birth. Oliver was sleeping soundly and the nurses told me to get some sleep. All I could do was stare at him and hold him.

the only way I can get a photo of both my boys is to use Xander-bear (our bear we had made with Alexander's ashes).

That was a week ago, and honestly I am still in utter disbelief that I have a baby here on earth, that Oliver arrived safe and is actually here, that he is mine. I'm completely in Love with my new little one and thank God every day that he has blessed me with two beautiful boys, Alexander in heaven and Oliver on earth.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

(im)Patiently Waiting for My Rainbow

So I haven't posted much lately. I'm bad about keeping up with anything like this for very long. I've tried to keep journals and sketchbooks and diaries. They always start off regular and then taper off until I give up. But my creative process is like that too. I get really involved in say painting and then get bored and move on to another medium. I eventually will go back to painting but in the meantime I've worked with jewelry, book making, altered books, a sculpture project etc. So I'm hoping in the next two weeks I'll write all the posts that I meant to write in July and Aug. But for now I'll update you about my Rainbow pregnancy with Oliver.
37 weeks with Oliver

I'm currently 37 weeks pregnant. Oliver is due to arrive via induction on Sept 14th, in just 13 days, and frankly I'm getting impatient to meet the little guy. I feel like not only have I been waiting the 9 months I've been pregnant but also the 10 months we waited between Alexander's stillbirth and conceiving Oliver and the 9 months I was pregnant with Alexander. That's over 2 years of waiting. And while I haven't really been waiting two years for Oliver I have been waiting two years to hold my baby in my arms, feed him, and take him home. I know there are parents who wait much longer then that because of infertility, multiple losses, etc, so I really am thankful to have to only wait two years. And I have less then 2 weeks to wait now. I'm supper excited to meet my little boy. I think I'll have a hard time putting him down or letting other people hold him for a long time.

That being said I also have fear that I won't ever get to meet Oliver, he'll join his brother in heaven, and once again I'll have to face the miracle of childbirth without the miracle screaming at the end. I'm so glad that I'm at the dr's office 2+ times a week as I think If I didn't get hooked up to that monitor and just get to sit and listen to Oliver's heartbeat every couple days I would have a lot more anxiety. And really Oliver is moving a lot more then Alexander at this point in his pregnancy. Alexander's movements had slowed way down at this point.I wish I had been monitored like I am now with him because maybe they would have known he was struggling and I'd have a little 18 month old running around.

Honestly, I am pretty confident that I'll get to take my baby home this time but that fear keeps creeping in. I try and give it to God every time but more often then not I find myself not trusting God to handle it but pleading with God to keep my baby safe and healthy on earth. I try to make sure I always offer a prayer of thanksgiving for both of my little boys. I Thank God everyday for taking care of Alexander in heaven and blessing me with Oliver in my womb. I really am thankful for both of my children.

So for now I  try to focus on being thankful and not on fear as I wait to meet my second little miracle.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Pet Peeves of a Rainbow Pregnancy

A rainbow pregnancy (a pregnancy after loss) is emotionally tough. Its full of worry and anxiety. And while most pregnant women are worried about how to set up the nursery and which stroller to register for, women who are pregnant after a loss are worried about whether they will actually get to take this baby home from the hospital. A lot of pregnant women's worst case scenario for delivery is that their birth plan isn't followed or they end up having a c-section delivery or their baby ends up in the NICU for a few days with jaundice, (these were the worst possible things that could happen in my mind when I was pregnant with Alexander). I know the worst possible scenario is that you leave the hospital with a memory box and an empty car seat. So while I have a preference how my delivery goes my only real concern this time is that my baby comes home safely.
This image is not my property or work.

With all this there are some very unhelpful things that people tend to say to women going through a rainbow pregnancy. And these aren't just things that are pet peeves of mine. I've been talking to a few fellow baby loss moms who are going through a rainbow pregnancy as well. These are a few things that really bother a lot of us.

Pet peeve #1: Don't treat us like this is our first pregnancy and please don't give us pregnancy advice unless we ask for it. This is not our first pregnancy, we've done this before. By treating us like this is our first pregnancy you are forgetting our child in heaven. One of my biggest fears is that people will forget Alexander. We still count our children in heaven as our kids please do the same. Just because our baby died does not mean we did something wrong that time and we need advice to make it not happen again. Actually many of us did everything right and our baby died anyway. I don't need you to tell me what I should expect in my third trimester. One my body handles pregnancy differently then yours. Two I actually went full term with my first pregnancy so I know what to expect already. We don't need to be told to take it easy or to not stress out. We are already doing everything we need to do to the best of our ability. We go to extra Dr appointments, we are extra careful with our activities and food, we freak out about any pregnancy symptom that might be an indication that something is going wrong, we try to stay positive and stress free as possible (because everyone says stress is bad for the baby), and we try to trust God that he will handle everything.

Pet Peeve #2: If we express worry and concern about the outcome don't respond that everything will turn out just fine or that everything is going well this time so it should turn out just fine. Unless God has given you a divine revelation that I will get to take Oliver home from the hospital, please don't tell me everything will be fine, because you actually don't know that. My personal experience tells me that everything going well does not mean you get to bring a baby home.  Everything was going well, fantastic actually, when I was pregnant with Alexander until he no longer had a heartbeat at a routine prenatal appointment. I know saying things like this are meant to reassure me, but what you are actually telling me is that my worry and concerns are invalid. Instead recognize our concern, let us know you are praying for us, or just give us a hug. (If you are not actually praying for me please don't tell me that you are.) When I know you are praying for me it helps me out emotionally so much.

Pet Peeve #3: Don't refer to us as almost a mom/dad. Or tell us about someone else delivery of a healthy baby by saying "so-and-so is officially a mom/dad." When you say something like this to me you are telling me that you don't think I am a mom. If I am not a mom, then I don't have any kids. Which isn't true. Just because my first born died and my second child has yet to be born does not mean I don't have any kids. When people wished me a happy fist Mother's day this year they basically told me that Alexander doesn't count. And worse when someone wished me a happy almost mother's day they not implied that Alexander doesn't count because he died but that Oliver doesn't count until he is born. In my mind I officially became a mom when I found out I was pregnant. As soon as I knew I was pregnant I started thinking about my child's well being above my own and if that isn't being a mom then I don't know what is. I am proudly a mother of two. If you say something like this I will correct you and depending on my mood (I have been very moody this pregnancy) I won't always do it nicely.

Pet Peeve #4: Expressing your preference or even worse your disappointment over the gender of our baby. While we may or may not have had a preference ourselves our biggest concern for our baby is that they are healthy. And since we don't control the gender of our baby we don't need to know that you think we should of had a boy/girl instead. We love our baby completely no matter if they are a boy or girl and we would appreciate it if you rejoiced with us about the little miracle that is growing in our belly instead of telling us you would of preferred it was a girl/boy. I do admit that I thought that Oliver was a girl (along with almost everyone I talked to) as soon as we found out he was a boy we knew he was completely an individual who wasn't going to care what everyone else thought he was. We love him to pieces for the little person he is and will be.

#5: This isn't really a pet peeve but do realize that even "normal" pregnancy questions (like how are you feeling, are you having a baby shower, or how is the nursery set up going) are loaded with extra emotions for us.Baby showers are tough for most women who have lost a baby (either because they never had one or it reminds them they never got to use the gifts from the last one). We have all this stuff that was his that he never got to use. When we found out Alexander had died I had had two baby showers and we had everything prepared for him. Setting up the nursery for another baby is an emotional experience because as you do it you wonder if you will actually get to use it this time. So if you get awkward answers after you ask a pregnancy related question just be aware that every thing we do for our new baby while we are pregnant is bring back a memory of the baby we lost. It makes everything very complicated.

Monday, July 9, 2012

A Deeper Love and Understanding

Most of the time Alexander's life and death seems like a dream or a story I read so many times that I have every detail memorized. It seems like that year in my life really never actually happened. But I have proof that it did. That He did exist. I know that this is my second pregnancy because I've been through all this pregnancy stuff before. But if this is my second pregnancy where is that little boy that I was supposed to get at the end of all that work of the first one? Aren't you supposed to go through all the work of pregnancy, nursery preparation, and labor only to realize that now the real work begins?

And if Alexander's life feels like a dream then what am I living now? I've officially been in in my third trimester for a week or so now and I'm falling more and more in love with the little life we've named Oliver everyday. It is so neat seeing his little personality emerge and develop by feeling his movements. Every time I feel him move I feel relief that I know he is still alive and I love him for it. Its a deeper love and appreciation of the life growing inside of me then the first time around. I don't have the carefree, giddy, anticipatory love and joy that most pregnant women feel as the plan and prepare for the new life that they will soon deliver. No, I have the deeper love and cautious joy, that is chopped full of worry and anxiety, as only a mother who truly knows how fragile life really is can have.

I've been talking to some fellow BLM's (baby loss moms) about this very thing. We have a longing for that innocent joy of pregnant friend who have never known a loss, but at the same time are so thankful for the lessons in love that our babies in heaven have taught us. It made me think back to the early days after loosing Alexander. (Now the tears come and he doesn't seem like a wonderful horrible dream for a moment.) People would ask me if there was anything they could do. (Please don't ever ask this question of a newly bereaved parent because the only thing going through their mind is "can you bring my baby back?" but that is a topic for another day.) If these friends had children of their own often my only response to this question would be to ask them to love and especially hug their children for me. That's all I wanted in those days to be able to physically love my baby. And If I could make Alexander's memory mean anything it would be to teach parents to have a deeper love and appreciation for their kids. I know that is one of the things Alexander has taught me. This deeper love is one of the things I have that makes Alexander seem real.

Then there is the tangible "proof" I have of Alexander's life on earth: all those baby items that were bought for him but he never used. His little brother, Oliver will use most of them because Oliver would be using Alexander's hand-me-downs anyway. I've been going through all of Alexander's things lately to get ready for Oliver's arrival in a few months. It hasn't been as hard as I thought it would, maybe because I've gone through them a few times knowing they would one day be for a different baby. As I'm going through all these baby clothes I'm reminded of the few outfits we picked out special for Alexander (in addition to all the outfits that were bought for him as gifts, and given to us as hand-me-downs).
This is the very first outfit we bought for Alexander before we knew that he was in fact a he. Because well any child of ours will love robots as much as we do. It will be so special to dress Oliver in this outfit.
And there are the few outfits we have bought just for Oliver because he needs things that are just his and were never his big brothers.(I've actually had so much fun knitting little hats, and booties, and a sweater for Oliver this summer, but I think that is a post for another day.)
We saw this outfit/sleeper when we were pregnant with Alexander but decided it was too expensive. About a month after Alexander died we went back and bought it (on clearance) as a promise to ourselves that one day we will have a baby that will actually need to wear it. I guess this was the first thing we bought for Oliver. 

I pray everyday that we get to take Oliver home and actually are able to use all this baby stuff this time around. I try to wait patiently, hope for the best, and cherish the life growing inside of me while Oliver is here. And that's really all I can do. I have  to trust that God will handle the rest.

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Special Appriciation

I am truly enjoy this pregnancy. Yes there are fears and physical discomforts but being pregnant after a loss really makes you appreciate every tiny little movement and pregnancy symptom. It makes all those expectations of what your child will be like go away, because all you care about now is getting to take your baby home from the hospital at the end of your pregnancy.

I love this little boy so much, my tinny womb resident. I had fear that finding out my rainbow was a boy would mean that I wouldn't love him as much as Alexander. But I love Oliver just as much. I love every little kick and wiggle. I love how he squirms happily when he hears loud explosions when I'm watching movies. (He is such a boy already.) I love how he kicks to music with a good beat. I may have a tiny musician on my hands. I love how he doesn't like to show his face on the ultrasound. Oliver has his own distinct personality already.
Almost to the third trimester. I'm starting to get a wee bit impatient to meet this little guy.

I still miss Alexander. He should be a 16 month old toddler running around and getting into everything. I'm sad that Oliver won't have his big brother to play with growing up. Having Oliver in my womb does take some of the edge off the pain of not having Alexander in my arms.I have hope for this new little life. I know Oliver will accomplish big things. I have no idea what those things may be, but I'm looking forward to finding out.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Contingency Plans

 I think about things differently during this pregnancy with Oliver after having Alexander stillborn. Its too be expected. I know about everything that can go wrong. While I try not to dwell on it, there they are sitting in the back of my mind, all those what ifs. With Alexander's the worst that could happen in my mind was having to have a c-section, or possibly having him in the NICU with jaundice for a day r two. Yes it was in the very back of my mind that we may not get to take Alexander home, but I didn't know what that really meant.

With Oliver I know what it means to not to get to take your baby home. And as morbid as it sounds I'm planning for it. Don't get me wrong I'm also planning to take Oliver home. I have two simultaneous plans going on in my mind. Plan A, the ideal plan of delivering a healthy baby boy, holding him in my arms and crying giant tears of joy because he is alive in my arms, of getting him home and not being able to believe it because I actually got to take him home. And then there is plan B, the contingency plan of delivering another baby boy, still and silent, because he joined his brother in heaven. I know what to do differently with another stillbirth. With Alexander I didn't know what to do, to take pictures, to hold him longer, to wrap him up in his blanket. I try to focus on plan A, taking a healthy Oliver home, but plan B is there and I can't seem to get rid of it.

I hate that I have plan B in my head at all but it makes me think of and rejoice for the little things, things I didn't even think about before. I rejoice every time I feel Oliver squirm, kick, and flip because I know it means he's in there alive and safe. I rejoice that I don't feel him move quite as much as I felt Alexander because maybe his cord won't get abnormally long for him to get tangled in. I rejoiced when Oliver hit the 20 week mark because if he dies now he'll be considered a stillbirth and not a miscarriage, which means be issued a death certificate. He'll be in CA state record as having existed. It doesn't seem like something I should be thinking about but it is. And this week I anticipate Friday because it will make Oliver 24 week gestation which means if he is born prematurely they will actually try and save him instead of telling me there is nothing they can do. These little things give me hope.

Anyone who has gone through a rainbow pregnancy can tell you that Hope is the most important thing. I praise God everyday for giving me two beautiful boys. One in heaven and one in my womb. I ask God every day to keep Oliver safe in my womb so I might meet his little self in Sept and to take all my fear and worry away.
23 week baby belly

I wait patiently (and not so patiently sometimes) and prepare to meet my silly little boy. I cherish every moment I have to spend with him. I love every wiggle and hiccup. I keep track of his growth and development on my phone app. Oliver should be about a foot long and 1.25 lbs right now. His senses have developed to the point that he can hear whats going on around him. This morning he was dancing to the music at church. He also likes to dance to Celtic music (but who doesn't). I love my ever growing belly and even every stretch mark. I love this little dude with all my heart, more than I thought I could after his big brother went to heaven. But each new child only makes your heart grow. No wonder God has so much love to give. So while worry and fear crop up more with this pregnancy my plan is to love both of my sons and trust God no matter what happens. That way contingency plans aren't needed.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day

Tomorrow is the second Mother's Day that I've been a Mother. It's so bitter sweet mourning that I'll never get to celebrate a mother's day with Alexander in my arms and rejoicing that I have Oliver growing in my belly. Yes, we found out that Alexander will have a little brother about two weeks ago. We are naming him Oliver Xander and I love him and his little wiggles in my belly so incredibly much already.
Oliver's "photo shoot" a couple weeks ago.

Mother's day makes me think now about all the moms who don't get to celebrate with their children and all the women who desperately want to become mother's but struggle with infertility or trying to adopt. God did an amazing thing when he created women because he also created mothers, those special people in our life who know just the right thing to say or do to take care of us just how we need it. Those women who make us chicken soup when we are sick or take us shopping to cheer us up or pray for us on a regular basis. So tomorrow please honor all the women in your life who mother, whether they have children to hold or not.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mother's Day Tutorial: Personalized Family Jewelry

Photo pendants, I used scanned ultrasound photos and bird's nest pendants

 This is actually two different tutorials that would make great Mother's Day gifts to yourself or another very special mother in your life.

 Photo Pendants


photo trays (I found them in the bead section of my local craft store for about $5 each)
tiny images that fit in photo trays
modge podge 

Measure your photo trays so you know what size of image you need. The trays I bought were 1 inch square, 1 1/4 inch x 3/4 inch rectangle and 1/2 inch square.

You will probably want to re-size and crop the image you are using. I scanned in images of ultrasound photo's of Alexander and my current womb resident, cropped them, re-sized them, and added their names. cut the image to fit the photo tray. You may consider photos of your children or graphics that were made for your children if you don't have ultrasound photos. Any image will work.

You are going to want to carefully trim the image so it fits perfectly inside the photo trays. It may take a bit.

Using a small brush, paint a thin layer of modge podge inside the photo tray and press down your image onto it.

Then use your brush to completely fill in the photo tray with modge podge. This will cover the image but don't worry Modge Podge dries clear. This will seal the photo and protect it.

Allow the photo pendant to dry someplace where it won't get bumped for about 24 hours.

Attach your pendant to a chain or bracelet, add beads and you are done.
My photo charms added to my charm bracelet, one for each baby.

Links to other tutorials for photo Jewelry:
photo bracelet
glass tile photo pendents
scrabble tile pendants
silhouette charms
another glass tile pendant

Bird's Nest Pendant
you can use the wire for this project as neatly or sloppy as you like for this project. I personally like sloppy nests as they look more natural.

small gauge wire (I used 24 gauge)
beads (as many as you want eggs)
a bird charm or bead
jewelry pliers (as long as you have something to cut the wire with these are optional, but useful)

cut a length of wire about 20 inches long (just eyeball it, it doesn't really matter too much).

String the beads onto the wire. I was making this one for my mom so I used 4 beads, one for each of my 3 brothers and myself, in the colors of our birthstones.

Slide the beads into the middle of the wire and bend the wire so the beads form a little loop. you should have 2 wires coming from the beads that are about the same length now.

Wrap one wire around the beads in a circle several times and secure it by twisting the end tightly around this wire circle.
Make a large loop with the second wire and secure it by tightly wrapping it around the wire circle. This is the loop at the top so you can put your finished nest on a necklace. Start wrapping the wire back and forth across the back looping it tightly around the wire circle to secure it at each side.
After you have used about 1/2 of your wire attach your bird by threading the wire through it and securing it to the side of the nest.

Continue filling out the back of your nest by wrapping the wire back and forth across the back and looping it around the sides.

If you run out if wire but would like a fuller nest attach another wire by twisting it tightly around the side of your nest and continue filling out the back of your nest.

Finish your nest by securing all sharp wire ends by tightly twisting them inside your nest.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tutorial: Memory Box

This is another tutorial for Grief Journeys. Lending my arts and crafts expertise to these wonderful heartbroken mommas is just one way I heal and remember my little boy all at the same time. This post is on how to make a memory box and ideas on what to put inside.

Tutorial final product:

Before getting into the tutorial let me share Alexander's memory box with you.

When we were told Alexander would be stillborn, we were numb, but we also didn't know what to expect by way of what to do in the hospital or how we would be handled. Thankfully the labor and delivery staff were wonderful. They cared for Alexander's body by washing it gently and clothing it. They took his measurements.They had a little memory box (pictured above) for us to take home. They prepared everything. One nurse with the help of my mom even took extra time to make sure we had good hand and foot prints.

Since then I have added to and subtracted items from Alexander's memory box. This memory box has frames in the top in which I placed a card with his birth stats and a copy of the drawing I made of him. This is what is currently in his memory box: The original photos the nurses took; his ultrasound pictures, a note from our Dr and a note from one of the nurses, his hand-prints (the best hand prints and foot prints are framed and up in our house); a copy of his birth announcement; my hospital bracelet along with the one he would have worn; the crib card, a sleeper outfit that coordinated with the sleeper we dressed him in;  a certificate of life a dear lady made me; a small bottle with a tiny bit of his hair; the heart pillow he held in a few of his photos; and a tiny new testament that was given to us by his god-parents

If you were not fortunate enough to be given a memory box by the hospital or Dr's office don't let it stop you from making one for your baby. You can find a nice box and put one together yourself or you can follow my tutorial below to make a box where the inside and outside of the box is a tribute to your baby.It doesn't have to be expensive. I found boxes from $3 to $25 available at my craft store, you could also use a sturdy shoebox and just paint over the outside.

Here is what you'll need:
boxes ranging from $3 to $25 made out of paper mache, wood, or just photo storage boxes, some already decorated for you
  • a box (I found boxes of all shapes, sizes and materials at my local craft store)
  • photos, quotes, ribbon, stickers, stamps, scrap-booking paper or anything else that you relate to your baby
  • A glue and protective coating like Modge-podge 
  • paint or permanent markers
  • fabric

Step 1: gather your items together and decide what you really want to put on your box

I chose a plain whit photo storage box (it cost $4), I also ended up getting way more stickers, stamps, and paper out then I actually used

Step 2: Arrange your items to get an idea of what it will look like in the end. This is also where you can paint your box if you want it a different color

Step 3: Glue your items down

Step 4: add quotes with paint or a marker

Step 5: seal and protect you box by coating it in Modeg-podge or another sealant and allow to dry. Think about lining the box in fabric to make the inside softer for baby's memories

Step 6: fill your box with your baby's memories, I filled this one with all the cards and notes from our first year without him. Along with some pregnancy cards and photos that didn't fit in his baby book. And as a final touch  I placed a card with the words "Year 1" in the little label holder that is a part of photo boxes.

I recently found the idea for a "Day you were born box" on pinterest that uses boxes with-in boxes. Its a really cool way to get your children and relatives involved in making your baby's box.

I'd love to know what you all put in your memory boxes for your baby. And to see how you decorate your boxes. I hope this was helpful for you. ~Megan

Saturday, April 14, 2012

A Mix of Emotions

I haven't posted for a while. I've had ideas to write about for lent, Easter, my rainbow pregnancy, missing my boy, raising money for March for Dimes, etc, but I haven't been able to sit down and write them. I could use the excuse I haven't had the time with a house guest and all but that really isn't it. I'm all over the place lately.
our Easter baskets, including a Easter bunny for Alexander and Olive

I think an instance from last week sums it up the best. My husband had made a joke and then looked at me and said "I don't know if you are going to laugh or cry." I replied that I didn't know either but I would like some chocolate milk.

That has been my life lately. I want to cry, laugh, dance, curl up in a ball, be creative, sit on the couch and do nothing, go for a walk, praise God, go shopping, and stay in bed all day, all at the same time. The only consistent thing is that chocolate milk always sounds good. I can blame the pregnancy hormones, but its more then that. Life is uncertain. I still grieve for the little boy I don't get to raise and yet at Good Friday services last week I was actually able to honestly thank God that my son is in heaven. And yet its really hard sometimes to cling to hope that this little son or daughter growing inside of me is an earthly child and not just a heavenly one.

When I talk to people about my pregnancy, everyone is so happy and excited for us, and I am too. But a small voice in the back of my mind is saying don't rejoice until I have a screaming baby in my arms. Its like something in me is just waiting for this joy to be taken away too. It hasn't kept me from loving this little olive (the size of a onion now) completely. I don't know how I could handle loosing another baby or for that matter how I could handle actually getting to take a baby home. All I can do is hope and trust in God's plan.
The whole family on Easter: Daddy, Mommy, Alexander (represented by the daffodil), and olive (still baking in my belly)

Now to update you all on the beautiful cause of all these emotions:
belly photo with the latest ultrasound photo

I'm currently 17 weeks pregnant. I've been feeling little flutters and bumps for a couple weeks now but not consistently yet. Sometimes its hard to tell if its baby flutters or gas flutters. I'm really looking forward to when olive is a bit bigger and kicks and moves a bit harder and consistently. We just saw little olive again on Tuesday. He/she is doing beautifully and physically so am I. I don't normally keep track of my weight but during pregnancy its fun. Since my appointment at 9 weeks (I don't know my pre-pregnancy weight) I've gained all of 4.6 oz which is just under how much olive should weigh about now. He/she should also be about 5 inches long. In just two weeks we will be having the big ultrasound. Hopefully after that we don't have to call olive, olive anymore, but can give her/him a proper name.

So while I wait two more weeks to see my beautiful baby on the ultrasound screen again I'll be clinging to the Hope, Joy, and Love I have because of Christ.

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12

Monday, March 19, 2012

A small Peach

I haven't been on here much but wanted to update you all on our newest edition to the family.

Olive is growing quite well. At 13 weeks he/she is about the size of a small peach. I'm told that the baby is starting to make facial expressions this week.  We had another appointment a week ago and here are some pictures of our olive. These are a bit blurrier than before, but I love them anyway.

Here is a photo by photo comparison of my belly with Alexander and my belly a week ago. I think they are about the same, don't you?

As for me my pants are getting a bit too snug to be comfortable. But they have this awesome invention called a belly-band that helps hold up your pants while they are unbuttoned so I don't have to be in maternity clothes yet. (I think I might keep it around for thanksgiving.) I haven't really had nausea with this pregnancy just lots of interesting intestinal issues. They seem to have begun to subside which means that my first trimester symptoms are slowly going away or that I've been eating foods my body likes better. I think I may be beginning to feel the smallest of flutters but it could also be gas. I am so looking forward to feeling this little one kicking me.

I'm so happy to be pregnant again and I wish so much I had my one year old toddling about and getting into things he isn't supposed. Trying to figure out how I can deal with two just about 18/19 months apart would be so much better than praying that I get to keep this one. But I am and this baby are completely in God's hands, and I trust that my heavenly father will use us for his glory and his plan. Whatever that may be.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tutorial: Memorial Accordion Book

Welcome all you visitors from over at Grief Journeys. This post is for you and all other baby loss When you loose a baby you still have this overwhelming urge as a mother to parent your child. A child in heaven doesn't really need parenting but the parenting need is still there. Creating memorial objects for your baby is a meaningful way to fill the need to parent and a creative way to work through the emotions that come with grief. From time to time I will create tutorials for projects I have made for Alexander, because I know many people need ideas and instructions for creative projects. Feel free to adapt or change the following project however you choose to fit your needs. And if you happen to be lucky enough to not be a baby loss parent this project is still great to create a lasting memory object for an event. This is also a project that can easily be done to include children of all ages.

This particular project is to create a memorial accordion book with pockets for note or cards to your baby. The example I made is for Alexander's first birthday that just passed. We asked friends and family to write brief notes to Alexander or to us explaining what his short life on earth has taught them. I wanted to create something to hold all these letters and so I turned to my ever expanding knowledge as a book-maker and this is what I came up with:

Materials you will need are (most materials will need to be cut to the proper sizes): 
  • Paper Glue (My favorite is PVA)
  • a brush to apply the glue
  • ribbon
  • decorative paper, stickers, etc to decorate the cover 
  • Scrap paper, an old magazine, or junk mail
For the cover:
  • two 8 1/2" x 5 1/2" pieces of sturdy cardboard or mat-board (not corrugated, cutting up the backing of a sketchbook works really well)
  • two 8 1/2" x 11"pieces of decorative paper (This is your main cover paper, I used scrap-booking paper)
For the Pages:
  • two 20" x 12 1/2" pieces of heavy drawing paper for the pages (I used brown craft paper, but white paper works just as well)
  • one 1 1/2"x 12 1/2" piece of heavy drawing paper (I used a scrap from what I had leftover after cutting the other paper) 
Gluing Tip: Whenever you are gluing place a piece of scrap paper under your work. I like to use an old magazine. This way it protects the table or floor you are working on. Anytime the scrap paper gets a lot of glue on it, fold it in half and throw it away. That way you won't get extra glue on your project.

Step 1: Making the Cover
 Brush glue over one entire side of the sturdy cardboard

Place the cardboard glue side down in the middle of the wrong side of the decorative paper
Press it down so the paper is nice and smooth
 Fold the corners of the paper toward the  center and trim them off
 Use those corners and glue them to the corners of the board, this will make the next step look even neater
 Fold and glue the remaining tabs down, making sure they are nice and smooth. This is what your finished cover board should look like:
Repeat with the other piece of cardboard and decorative paper, so you have two cover boards

Step 2: Folding the pages
Fold 4 inches of the heavy drawing paper up (This will make your pockets)
 Fold your paper in half and then fold the ends back towards the center crease
This should give you an accordion like the picture below
 Repeat with the second piece of heavy drawing paper

Step 3: Connecting the Pages
fold 4 inches of the 1 1/2" piece of paper up
then fold it in half
 Unfold it and apply glue to just the 4 inch section, carefully place this connector paper on the 4 inch flap of fist one set of pages and then the other.
Flip the whole set of pages and connector over
apply glue to the rest of the connector and fold it over the pages
 The connector should fold where the pages meet, so you get a long accordion (pictured bellow)
Feel free to make and connect more sets of pages if you need a bigger book.
Step 4: Attaching the Cover
Fold up the accordion pages so the pockets are on the inside
Place a piece of scrap paper between one end and the rest of the pages
Paint glue on the entire back of the end
 Carefully center the glued page over one of your cover boards and smooth it out (This will cover the cardboard that still shows)
 Repeat the process on the other end of the pages with the other cover board
 At this point you have a blank accordion book with pockets, feel free to decorate it as you choose. I used this idea from pintereast to make the paper daffodil.

 I glued ribbons to the back cover board, so I am able to tie my book closed. After you are done decorating your book fill the pockets with notes and cards to your baby. You could have your smaller children draw pictures to be placed in the pockets. I had to place some of the larger cards on the ends so they could stick out, because they wouldn't quite fit in the pockets.

 Feel free to decorate the inside of your book, including the back of the pages. I plan to glue photos from Alexander's birthday party and write out the Random Acts of Kindness that were preformed in his memory on the back of this one.

Feel free to leave questions in the comments section. Let me know if you decide to make your own accordion book. I'd love to see your finished pieces.