Tuesday, August 19, 2014

New Website!

Hello friends!
I am now blogging over at MightyMorphinMama.com, it is a work in progress, but please come and join me!
Lotsa love,
Kristen, the Mighty Morphin' Mama

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day

Hope your Mother's Day was lovely. I had a pretty blessed day. I woke up with only one wee babe in my bed and listened to the hurried preparations downstairs. Cards were being crafted, pancakes flipped, milk was being steamed. While my 13 year old slept, the Boy (16) was busy cooking my breakfast while my husband coordinated and made my yummy latte. I am so thankful that my husband was home this year, and that he took it upon himself to make my day special. I love Mother's day morning, there is nothing like that joyful expectation as I await the appearance of all those smiling faces and giddy gift giving.

But not all Mother's Days are joyful, and if yours was not, please know that I empathize with you and I am so sorry. Some years, we are sad because our own Mothers are sick or have passed away. Some of us do not have mothers worthy of celebration. (I am so thankful that I do, my Mother is amazing!) And sometimes, we are aching to be mothers, but our arms are empty.

I will never forget the first Mother's Day after we had our sweet, stillborn baby, Kalila. She was born on April 26, so only a few weeks before Mother's day. As Mother's day approached, I only wanted one thing - my Mother. So I went home to my Mom and was able to just let all my pain hang out with her. She was my rock, she just wept with me. It was a bit hard to be around my sisters who were also pregnant, but mostly because I really didn't want them to feel badly. I wanted their happiness with all my heart, but I wanted mine back too.

That was the hardest Mother's day I have ever had, even though I had two amazing living children, I so wanted my missing daughter, to hold her in my arms. The only way I survived that time was to picture myself in God's arms, big enough for all my sorrow, pain and anger, and to picture Him rocking me as I rocked my baby girl. He was my Mother and my Father through all that time and is still today.

I hope you had an amazing Mother's day, filled with the people you love. Know that you are not alone.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April 26, 2002

7 years. Seven years have passed since I gave birth to my oldest daughter. As most of you know, she died in my womb and then we birthed her and held her still body. It was heart-wrenching, but beautiful. The peace that I experienced as I held her little body in my arms was incredible. We miss her, but the ache, the pain is gone. We know that one day we will hold her in our arms again and she will be whole. She will be full of life again, and that is the day that we live for.
Last night, I read through my journal that I wrote at that time. It is full of pain, and tears filled my eyes more than once. But it is also filled with hope and it is filled with the evidence of God working in our lives. God promised to carry us and he did. He held us and comforted us and I am so thankful for every step of our journey. I am thankful for the pain that opened our hearts wider to God and to his creation. To beautiful, hurting people all around us.
I think I will share some of those entries with you in the weeks to come. I will also finish the birth story I started to write a couple years ago. Oops!

Kalila Dorothy, April 26, 2002
Her name means Precious - Gift of God. Kalila is an Arabic term of endearment and Dorothy is my middle name and the first name of both of my Grandmothers, I always planned on giving it to my first born daughter, so I did.

My journal post from the day Kalila was born.

To my precious one,
I have loved you since before I knew you existed. You have been growing inside of me for almost five months. I have thought of you each day with love, hope and excitement as well as with fear and anxiety over the future. When I first felt your stirrings inside of me, it was Easter weekend and we were at Nana's. I felt utter joy - you were real! All the following week (your 18th), when I would sit still in the evenings with your aunties (with your cousins in their tummies), I would feel your movements.
I am so thankful for that time.
At night, your Daddy would talk to you and hug you - we were anxiously awaiting the time when you could hear our voices and we were trying to choose your special lullaby.
On the Monday after you turned 18 weeks old, we went to have an ultrasound done. I was so excited! We all were, we would finally get to see you. When the sonographer was done, she went and got Daddy and your brothers. We saw your beautiful, perfect form, lovely legs and toes, arms and hand. You waved to us, we were so thrilled that you were saying hi to us, but I guess it was good bye. (The boys always talk of her waving good bye. to this day.) That is how the boys remember you. I am so thankful that we had that opportunity to see you and that you knew us already. You heard your brothers playing, and all of our family times and knew our love.
I love you.
We watched you gulping and I imagined you nursing at my breast and greedily gulping. When I saw your heart beating, I was ecstatic, 154 beats per minute. I had been longing to hear that sound, but the sound was off, so we never did hear your heart beat.

Later, after she was born:

I felt such peace as I watched you laying in the bassinet, curled up as if asleep. Holding you in my hand, I just love you. I can't imagine having to wait my entire life to hold you whole and full of life. I long to hold you at my breast and watch you eat, stroke your cheek and whisper sweetness in your ear. I love you so much.
Kalila Dorothy, you are the baby girl I have dreamed of since I was a little girl. Your brothers wished and prayed for a little sister.

Thinking of you my precious daughter and of all the other mommy's who are missing their babies.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Another year gone by.

Kalila's seventh birthday tomorrow. Going to make some plans with the kids, I wonder what we should do to commemorate it. I am thinking a nature walk after church and lunch, and then a butterfly cake as usual. I feel much more at peace than I did last year at this time. I guess holding Ez safely in my arms makes it a bit easier to be philosophical. Pregnancy and I make terrible bedfellows emotionally. Having a baby die in your womb will do that to a gal, I guess.
Thinking about C today and her baby boy as always, but also her father who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Praying for her, their dear family and for her Dad.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Walk to Remember

We were late and I wanted to be irritated. I considered not going at all, why bother when we were already going to miss the beginning. A woman approached us as we arrived on the grounds and directed us to join the procession as they were just starting out.

And so we walked. And I cried.

The surge of emotion took me by surprise. As soon as we joined the end of the long line of baby lost families, my knees went weak and sobs wracked my body. I have no idea who the tears were for. For my lost baby? For myself and my family? Or for the many, many families plodding in front of me. So many bereaved mothers and fathers. So many brothers and sisters without their siblings to run with and play with. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends all loving and supporting their loved ones, all missing their sweet babies who should have been cuddled in their arms.

I usually feel survivor’s guilt when I interact with other baby lost parents. I have been greatly blessed in the progeny arena. I have 5 living children, including a newborn baby. I understand how difficult it can be to suffer the sight of other’s pregnant bellies and babes in arms, when your arms are empty. My arms are full now, full of babies to love. But they know the gut-wrenching ache of longing. My arms know what it is to hold a ghost baby. And I feel guilt now that my arms are full while other’s are empty. I try to be sensitive to the feelings of those who may feel dismay at my current joy. But this day was filled with families. Families with full arms, but who knew the pain of empty ones. Unfortunately, not all the families are so blessed, there were many with no children to hold, those with multiple losses as well.

The whole event was just lovely and surprisingly cathartic. We hadn’t participated in any group rituals of remembrance before. We didn’t have a funeral for Kalila, we went to the funeral home on our own to say good bye. We didn’t go to group therapy or to the tree plantings. We mourned in seclusion. We observe the anniversaries quietly at home.

Being a part of a group of people like us, all celebrating the too-short lives of our babies-lost, was incredible.

I love the almost solemn walking. Being at the very end of the line, I was able to observe the other families and their interactions. There were happy, playing children. There were smiling, chatting adults. There were mourning mothers who were deep in their own thoughts as they walked beside hundreds of others. There were lost fathers, who didn’t know what to do with themselves, how to manage their grief. There were volunteers, smiling gently in support and care. We meandered along the pathway through the legislature grounds. Our walk ended as we walked past our babies’ names written in chalk along the pathway. Kalila’s was the very last name.

There was a brief service afterward. Kate from sweet/salty and Glow in the Woods spoke a brief message that touched every heart, and a tear to more than a few eyes. She was incredible, and so generous in sharing her heart with all of us, and leaving her babies across the country in order to do so.

The event ended with our babies names being read aloud as we released balloons, tagged with the names and our wishes for our babies. At first I felt that this would be an artifice riddled exercise. But hearing Kalila’s name read aloud, in front of hundreds of people, made her feel so real to me again. Releasing her balloon allowed my broken heart to soar to her. My Monkey kept asking me if the balloons were going to God, and I felt like I should explain the impossibility of that. I was then reminded that there is no impossible with God.

We also released a balloon with the names of some of our friend’s lost babies, and thought of them throughout the day, as we do often.

As the crowds scattered, we lingered with a family we are acquainted with from church. Their sweet little girl died at 21 weeks, just a few brief weeks ago. I have wanted to connect with her for a while. We briefly chat after Sunday services, but never really get a chance for realness. Yesterday was the perfect opportunity. They are in the trenches of their grief, and I hope that I was able to offer her a glimpse of hope of the future. That someday it won’t hurt quite the same.

I am very thankful that my husband was there and was able to speak a bit with her’s. In some ways, baby loss grief is more difficult for the men. They are not given the same permission to grieve as mothers. They didn’t get to carry their baby within them and know them like mothers do, but they are still mourning. Men feel the need to be strong for their wives and suppress their own hurts. Their peers expect them to ‘just get over it already.’ I think baby lost men need to be there for each other, to guide each other and to support one another in their way of grieving.

It was an incredibly uplifting day for us and I am so thankful to all of those who made it possible. Thank you to Lincoln's Mommy and Daddy.

Kalila's balloon and the one for our friends' babies.

My family, bringing up the rear of the procession.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Walk to Remember

This weekend our city is holding it's very first Walk to Remember. It is a special day to remember and celebrate the lives of babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth and soon after birth. October is Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness month and therefore many of the Walks are held in October.
The website gives a bit of history:

The first Walk to Remember was held in September 1986 in Chicago, Illinois, at the Fifth National Perinatal Bereavement Conference. Now, in the United States, tens of thousands participate in the walk, which is held various weekends throughout September and October.

Many chose October for their Walk because it is the month of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, a time of national observance proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. The proclamation states: "National observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems."

This movement is new in Canada, and Edmonton's Walk to Remember was spearheaded by a lovely woman who lost her baby, Lincoln, last October 10th. All the money raised from the walk will go to a local baby loss support group called Angel Whispers. (Angel Whispers site) Donations can be made online through Canada Helps.

Donations of keepsake teddy bears will also be collected at the walk, so that parents who have lost their babies can be given a teddy bear to hold on to as they grieve. I know that this was important for me. When we lost Kalila, my cousin gave me a sweet little pink teddy bear. I slept with that teddy and Kalila's blanket in my arms for month and months. When our Girly was born, 3 years later, she adopted Kalila's teddy over all her many toys as her comfort object. This has provided countless opportunities to talk about Kalila and remember her with her siblings.

I think that the Walk to Remember is a wonderful opportunity to not only celebrate our babies' lives, but to raise awareness about Infant and Pregnancy Loss. Alberta has the highest infant mortality rate in Canada, so we need to do all we can to inform ourselves and others. It is also a terrific way for friends and families of those who have lost their babies to show their love and support.

So if you are out here in Alberta, come on out to the legislature grounds this weekend and help support families who's precious children have died to soon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


This song really touches me every time I hear it. I can't even sing along because by the time I get to the line, "...How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life and you survive," I start to ball.
God never promised us a life without sorrow or pain. He didn't tell us that if we followed him that we would be immune from the horrors of this world, like losing a child. He did promise to hold us up, to carry us when we needed to be carried, to comfort our souls, to give us the strength to keep on going on, when we just can't do it anymore.
Thank you God for holding me in your arms.

by Natalie Grant

Two months is too little.
They let him go.
They had no sudden healing.
To think that providence would
Take a child from his mother while she prays
Is appalling.

Who told us we’d be rescued?
What has changed and why should we be saved from nightmares?
We’re asking why this happens
To us who have died to live?
It’s unfair.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we’d be held.

This hand is bitterness.
We want to taste it, let the hatred numb our sorrow.
The wise hands open slowly to Lily's of the Valley and tomorrow.

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we’d be held.

If hope is born of suffering.
If this is only the beginning.
Can we not wait for one hour watching for our Savior?

This is what it means to be held.
How it feels when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive.
This is what it is to be loved.
And to know that the promise was
When everything fell we’d be held.