Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day 2020

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is the day we honor all the babies gone too soon. This year I am honoring my angel babies Mackenzie and Chase as well as my brother Matthew.

The International Wave of Light is something I participated in last year. On this day, those that wish to participate are to light a candle in their own time zone at 7pm and let it burn for an hour. Doing this in your own time zone allows there to be a wave of light across the global for 24 hours.

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Rememberance Day and I am lighting candles in honor of my babies as well as all the babies gone too soon.

September

Can I be frank? September is not a very good month for me. It used to be. I used to get so excited about back to school picturess, sale items on school supplies, fresh starts and the transition from summer to fall. However, since 2019… I have viewed the month of September much differently.

September 16th, a date that will forever stick out in my mind. This was supposed to be the end of my pregnancy, my baby’s due date. But as we all know, my pregnancy ended a lot sooner than expected. As much as I would like to push past my grief, I can’t. I can’t help but wonder if my baby had lived to be happy and healthy. I can’t help but wonder if September 16th could have been my baby’s birthday. My heart aches at the person she could have been.

Not only does September 16th stick out in my head, but also the 27th and 28th. On September 9th 2019, I found out I was pregnant again with my second baby, of whom I thought was my rainbow baby. Turns out God had other plans. And through hours of pain, anxiety and grief I lost my second baby between the 27th and 28th of September.

So you see, September is really not a good month for me. I’m the kind of person that is very good at remembering specific dates. It’s a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I wish I could forget. Or even be so busy with life that it doesn’t really faze me. But that’s not who I am. I remember. Call it what ever you want, but if you ask me, this is what grief looks like.

So I apologize if I’ve been a little MIA lately. I’m grieving. Grieving doesn’t ever really stop, but just gets intense from time to time… and that’s where I am right now. So for now, I guess I am going to enjoy September the best way I can, and grieve the only way I know how… with gentleness and through writing.

Now Available!!! Mackenzie Goes to Heaven

Mackenzie Goes to Heaven is a children’s book, created for families who have gone through a pregnancy loss. It is designed to teach siblings and other children about the concept of miscarriage and how it affects a family, in a child friendly way.

Not only is this story about a mother who suffers a pregnancy loss, but the characters in the book are also named after my angel babies Mackenzie and Chase, as well as my brother Matthew who passed away as an infant.

Mackenzie Goes to Heaven is available for $7.70 + Shipping HERE. Digital and Paperback copies are available.

Now Available: Mackenzie Goes to Heaven Children’s Book

Mackenzie Goes to Heaven is a children’s book, created for families who have gone through a pregnancy loss. It is designed to teach siblings and other children about the concept of miscarriage and how it affects a family in a child friendly way.

Not only is this story about a mother who suffers a pregnancy loss, but the characters in the book are also named after my angel babies Mackenzie and Chase, as well as my brother Matthew who passed away as an infant.

Mackenzie Goes to Heaven is available for $7.70 + Shipping HERE. Digital and Paperback copies are available.

Today Has Been a Rough Day… But It’s Okay.

Today has been a really rough day, and to be honest, I can’t even explain what made it so tough. You know how they say jealousy is a big ugly monster? Well, I would say grief can be a big ugly monster too. Grief seems to creep in when you least expect it and can linger and stay as long as it wants to. It can and is many times quite awful. Some days I can manage my grief of my past losses and muster up the strength and self talk just enough to feel better. But then there are other days, that the grief is so great… I can’t even get out of bed.

Today was one of those days. Today I had so much on my to do list. I was supposed to catch up on laundry, meal prep for the week, wash dishes, etc. and did I do those things? Absolutely not. I laid around, felt like crying, binged watched 7th Heaven, and cuddled my cat.


After realizing that the day had gone by, I started putting myself down, and feeling guilty because I hardly got anything done. But you know what? It doesn’t matter! My to do list that I didn’t get done was simply expectations I put on myself this weekend, and due to grief and exhaustion I just didn’t get to it, and that’s okay.

I guess my point in saying all of this is, it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay that this weekend I didn’t do much but rest because in the end that’s exactly what I needed. The dishes, the laundry, it will all get done. So instead of putting myself down, I’m going to try to just live in the moment. I’m going to try to appreciate having time on the weekends to rest. I’m going to enjoy being a fur mama, until someday I can be mama to a baby of my own. And though my heart often aches and wishes for what is just not meant to be right now, I am going to just appreciate and be thankful for what I have instead of dwelling on what I don’t and what I simply can’t do right now.

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!… Now Available: Mackenzie Goes to Heaven Children’s Book

It’s finally here! I have officially written, illustrated and published my very first children’s book! To say I’m excited is certainly an understatement!

Mackenzie Goes to Heaven is a children’s book, created for families who have gone through a pregnancy loss. It is designed to teach siblings and other children about the concept of miscarriage and how it affects a family in a child friendly way.

Not only is this story about a mother who suffers a pregnancy loss, but the characters in the book are also named after my angel babies Mackenzie and Chase, as well as my brother Matthew who passed away as an infant.

Mackenzie Goes to Heaven is available for $7.70 + Shipping HERE. Digital and Paperback copies are available.

When the Going Gets Tough… How I Handle Pregnancy Announcements

Pregnancy announcements… something that is supposed to be happy can hurt so badly.

I know I am not alone when I say that pregnancy announcements are hard to handle, especially if you have suffered a loss or you struggle to get pregnant. In many ways you want to be happy for the people who have announced they are expecting…. but at the same time you also want to scream “It’s not fair! Why can’t that be me?!”

For me personally, there are a lot of factors that go into how I feel when I see a pregnancy announcement. If I see an announcement from someone who I know has struggled with fertility or suffered a loss, I am immediately happy for them because I know what they’ve gone through. However, if I see someone having their 5th kid with no problems, I’m not as ecstatic as I could be. Is that right? No, probably not… but it’s how I feel.

It also depends on when they announce. Holidays, my previous due dates and loss dates are very hard for me. Therefore, if someone announces around that time, I am not usually in a good headspace to congratulate them.

I really don’t have any sort of magic trick to make pregnancy announcements not hurt because after suffering a loss or infertility, they almost all hurt in some way. I guess my advice would be to ride the wave. Feel what you need to feel. I certainly wouldn’t lash out at the people who are announcing because they really didn’t do anything wrong. But I would say it is healthy to get your thoughts out in a journal or to a close friend.

Pregnancy announcements are not easy. But it’s just one of those things we can’t control. So I encourage you to ride the wave of grief and get through it somehow.

Missing You A lot These Days…

May 13th, 2020. Three days after Mother’s Day. This day had never been so important to me, until I found I was pregnant for a second time. Looking at that second line on a pregnancy test on a late September evening, I thought “This is it. This is my rainbow baby. Thank you Jesus” My joy only lasted for about 20 days, until I started spotting and realized I would lose this baby.

I was pregnant for 7 weeks with a baby my husband and I named Chase. We named him Chase because we were Chasing our Rainbow. Unfortunately that wasn’t”t God’s plan. Chase was only physically with me for a short time, but will be in our hearts forever.

I miss you Chase. I miss you so much. You were in my life for a short time, and as hard as it was to let you go, I thank God for you. Losing you was devastating, but knowing there were other angels in Heaven waiting to take care of you, brought me comfort.

Happy due date Chase. Sorry it has taken me so long to acknowledge this, but I just couldn’t write out my thoughts and feelings until I was ready. I love Baby Chase. 💕

It’s Okay To Not Be Okay

It’s okay to not be okay… and today I am not okay. A year ago today I was happy. I went to a doctor appointment that I thought would leave me joyous and thankful. Instead it left me with every emotion imaginable, and this is when my grief first began. I was 11 weeks pregnant. I was supposed have an ultrasound and hear my baby’s heartbeat for the very first time. Instead I heard the words “I’m so sorry, we can’t find a heartbeat.” Instead of feeling joyous, I left feeling empty and broken.

My life changed that day. I became an angel mommy. I had to learn how to let go of a child that I fell in love with but didn’t get to meet. I learned who my true friends and family were. I learned how incredibly common pregnancy loss is, even though no one talks about it. I learned that there are good people in the healthcare system who go above and beyond for their patients. I also learned how the healthcare system let’s so many women like me down. I learned how to grieve, how to live, and how to be happy again. It wasn’t easy, and trust me… I’m still working on it.

Grief is a burden that we all have to deal with in this life. There is no telling how or when you’ll go through it. But we grieve because we love. It hurts because we don’t want to say goodbye. It’s confusing because we don’t know how to handle it until it happens. But more often than not grief brings people together. Whether it’s losing a parent, losing a sibling, losing a friend, losing a child, losing a neighbor, a coworker or even someone well known… it hurts, and it unifies us.

So today I am not okay. I am giving myself permission to grieve my baby. I’m not going to feel guilty for not being my best today. I’m going breathe, rest and remember what I had before I had to say goodbye, and that’s okay.

I love you Mackenzie! Daddy and I miss you so much. 💕

New Possibilities

No, this is not a pregnancy announcement or a trying to conceive announcement. This isn’t an announcement at all, but rather a vision for new opportunities. I love having friends and family who know me. I love having these people in my life who take the time to listen and care for my needs and desires as a person and as a woman.

Recently, one of my best friends gave me a gift. At first when I received the gift, I didn’t know how to feel or what to think. My friend Reaghan gave me a planner, but not just any planner. She gave me a Mommy To Be planner. This planner is specifically for expectant moms who want to organize and prepare for their baby’s arrival.

Now, I didn’t ask for this gift, and frankly I was a little shocked to have received it. After my first miscarriage, I knew I would eventually want to try and have another baby. But after experiencing a second miscarriage, I’m not really sure how I feel. I’ve had two pregnancies that ended with surgery, and trauma. I don’t know if I can bare another loss. I don’t know if my heart can take it. It scares me.

However, even though I’m not sure if I could handle another pregnancy, I am sure of something. I want to be mom. I believe I will be a mom somehow and in someway. Whether it’s through foster care, adoption, pregnancy, surrogacy, or ministry… I believe it’s what God has called me to do.

I think that’s why Reaghan gave me this gift. Not because she thinks I’m trying to get pregnant, and not because she didn’t know what to get me, but because she knows me. She knows I want to be a mom and she knew just what to give me in this time in my life, when I simply don’t know what the next step is. She is a true friend. ❤️

Let’s Change the Way We Treat Women Who Have Suffered a Miscarriage.

This past semester, I took a public speaking class. I had quite a bit of apprehension before taking this class as I really don’t like speaking in public. In fact, I have registered for this class a handful of times before, but have always dropped it before the beginning of the semester. What can I say… I really didn’t want to take this class. However, since I am close to the end of my college career, I figured I better get it done, since it is a required course.

In this class, I had the opportunity to give a persuasive speech on a topic I am very passionate about. I took about a week to contemplate and brainstorm on my topic, until I was ready to present the speech topic to my professor. The topic I decided was miscarriage, but not just miscarriage. I wanted to give a persuasive speech and argue that their be a change in the way women are treated after suffering a miscarriage, in society and in the healthcare system.

I organized my speech into 3 main points:

1. Language, and what to say and not to say to a woman after suffering a miscarriage.

2. Policy changes that I would like to implement in the healthcare system.

3. Advocacy for women of loss.

The day of my speech I was very anxious. I was scared I would break down while speaking because this topic was too close to home. I was afraid I would trip over my words, forget something or go over my time limit. Ultimately, I was scared I wouldn’t be able to do it. Regardless, when it was my turn to get up and present my speech, I took a deep breath, prayed that God would help me through, and began.


“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses his or her partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child… there isn’t a word to describe them.” – President Ronald Regan


The above quote by Ronald Reagan was my attention getter for my speech. I went on to argue my main points and why I feel there needs to be a change. I ended my speech by saying: It is likely you will know someone in your life who has suffered a miscarriage, and coming from someone who has suffered two miscarriages, my hope is that you take something from this speech and change the way we look at miscarriage.

At the end of my speech, my classmates applauded and asked me various questions about miscarriages, pregnancy and resources. When class was over and I was walking out, a girl in my class came up to me. She told me she loved my speech, and really appreciated the things I had to say about miscarriage and some good things to tell women who have suffered a loss. She even disclosed to me that she too had suffered a miscarriage, and it was the worst most terrifying experience of her life. As she confided in me, in the middle of the hallway, I so badly wanted to give her a hug, as I too knew her pain. But when I looked in her face, I could tell she was fighting back tears, and it took a lot for her to come and talk to me. So, instead I said “thank you for sharing that with me.” She smiled while still holding back tears and went the other direction.

In that moment, I knew I was meant to give that speech, and I again understood that I am meant to share my story and advocate for miscarriage/pregnancy loss. Even though it’s hard, and even though I didn’t really think this was my purpose, I now know I have to do it. Even if as an advocate, author or speaker I only impact one person… I know I will have made a difference.

My Worst Fear… Again

The following post is my story of how I experienced my second miscarriage. In this post I show vulnerability in retelling my second loss. I also share details in my miscarriage, so I do want to offer a TRIGGER WARNING before anyone begins reading my post. Please feel free to stop reading, and take care of you if my words, and my story are challenging to read.

At 12am on Sunday September 29th, I was startled awake. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. I had just gotten home from the ER a few hours prior. I was advised by my doctors and nurses to get some rest. I had only been asleep for a few hours when I woke up at midnight. I was confused. My heart was racing. I was sweating and I felt really uncomfortable. It’s just anxiety. Calm down. Relax. Baby is okay. I tried talking myself down from my minor panic attack.


I nudged Charles awake. He held my hand and we both fell back asleep.


I woke up again around 2:15am. I woke up sweaty and gross and had to go to the bathroom. I was scared to see I was still spotting and it was getting worse. I was now seeing bright red blood instead of light pink. In wasn’t a lot of blood, but it was getting darker. I prayed, prayed, prayed then fell back asleep.

I woke up at 4am in pain. Cramps radiated from my groin throughout my back. I couldn’t get comfortable. I held my belly, then curled up in a ball. It wasn’t taking the pain away. I got out of bed and tried stretching my legs and my back. I was so confused. What was going on? Why was I in so much pain? After a few minutes of stretching the pain died down. I laid back down. Fifteen minutes later it happen again. Sheering pain was radiating through my core. I tried stretching, pacing and slowly breathing, at that moment it dawned on me. Oh my gosh… I know what this is. Cramps that are painful that radiate throughout my back. Uncomfortable positions. Pain every few minutes. This pain wasn’t just cramps, these were labor pains. I was in labor and I was going to lose this baby.

When this realization hit me, I wanted to throw up. Part of it was the pain, and part of it was my mind and emotions trying to catch up with what my body already knew. I had cramps every fifteen minutes, then every ten minutes, then every five. I paced through my apartment, tried laying in bed and tried sitting on the toilet. Nothing helped with the pain. Around 5:15am, I found myself laying on my bathroom floor sobbing.


I felt scared and alone. I considered waking up Charles, but I didn’t. I didn’t want him to be scared.


At 5:36am I cried out to God. I pleaded with God to help me. I knew my baby was already gone, and my body had a job to do. I knew this was completely out of my control. I knew the end was coming, but I couldn’t bare to think about it. I asked God that if this was it, if I was truly going to lose my baby, then could He just please make it quick. Ten minutes later at 5:46am, I felt my baby leave my body. I felt blood pour out of me and I felt my heart shatter yet again as I said I’m so sorry to my baby, and left the bathroom.

I went into my room and woke up Charles. I sobbed and told him what happen. He was confused and saddened. He held me and we cried together. That was it, it was done. My second pregnancy and my Rainbow Baby Chase were gone.


The next morning we woke up and tried to wrap our minds around what had happen. I took it easy that day, since my body was truly drained. I reached out to family and friends and let them know what had happen. They sent their love and condolences. I couldn’t believe it. We lost another baby. Why? That afternoon, Alli and Andrea sent us some flowers that read: In Loving Memory of Baby Chase. Reading this made me cry, and after that I didn’t cry for awhile. I didn’t feel like I should.

A Scare at 7 Weeks and 3 Days

Saturday September 28th, was supposed to be a very relaxing day. I didn’t have any plans that day except for studying and relaxing at home. I spent the morning in my pjs, drinking decaf coffee and catching up on some reading. Charles headed to our university’s football game and hung out with friends. I felt completely fine, except some cramping around my pelvis and cervix. However, I was convinced that this cramping was completely normal in early pregnancy.

Around 1:30pm I made myself some cheesy potatoes for lunch. I then went to the bathroom for probably the tenth time that day. When I went to the bathroom, I felt completely normal and pregnant. When I went to wipe though, I froze. Blood. There was blood. I was bleeding. I was spotting. Oh no! I instantly started to panic. It wasn’t a lot of blood, and if I were to describe it…. it was like the color of pink lemonade. Regardless, it was enough blood to scare me.


Why was I bleeding? This can’t be happening! Not again! I can’t handle this! I can’t handle another loss! I frantically started praying. God please, please keep baby Chase safe! I don’t want to lose him!


I immediately called Charles. Once I started crying, I couldn’t stop. I told Charles what was going on and he immediately headed home. While I waited for Charles I called my friend Andrea. She prayed over Chase and I. I also called the midwife on call. I explained to her how I was feeling, and what I was seeing. The midwife explained that unfortunately it did sound like another miscarriage, but I could always go the hospital to get checked out if I wanted to. When Charles got home he hugged me, and reassured me things were going to be okay. Then we headed to the hospital.

Going to the ER on a Saturday afternoon, I knew there would be a wait. However, I didn’t anticipate a full hour wait. When we were finally called back, I was able to relax and rest in bed. My cramps were still mild and the bleeding hadn’t gotten any worse. I was thankful for that. I explained to every nurse and doctor I saw my symptoms and medical history. I had a variety of tests done including CBC blood work, urine test, pelvic exam and three ultrasounds.

One nurse that particularly stood out to me was Doug. He was the best male nurse I have ever had. He went above and beyond to take care of me, my baby and my husband. He was funny and very willing to answer my questions. He also disclosed to us that his wife has had three miscarriages, and currently has two sons at home, and an infant in the NICU of the hospital. One thing Doug said that truly stood out to me, was this: At this point we don’t know if you are going to have a miscarriage or have a healthy pregnancy. But just try to take care of yourself and rest. Know that you have done nothing wrong. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be at this time….


Don’t be scared, because your body knows what to do, and it is going to do what needs to be done. So, take care of yourself and be there for one another because this affects both of you.


Based on all my tests, everything was completely normal. My blood work showed that my HCG was in the 2000s which was higher than I ever had with my first pregnancy. My hemoglobin, and thyroid levels also looked great. My urine was fine and no UTI. My pelvic exam was normal besides some uterine bleeding. Lastly, my ultrasounds all came back fine. The reason I had three ultrasounds is because the doctors had a hard time finding the fetus. The ER doctor first used an ultrasound machine beside, which apparently has a difficult time picking up a fetus smaller than 12 weeks. I was then sent to an ultrasound room where I had another test done over my belly. The tech also had a hard time finding the fetus, so I had to have an inner-vaginal ultrasound. During this test, the tech and Charles were able to see the baby. Baby was only measuring at 5 weeks and 2 days… which was strange since I was supposed to be two weeks further in my pregnancy. However, the doctors said it was a possibility I had ovulated late. Besides that, baby was still attached to the uterus and everything seemed normal.

That night around 6:30pm we were sent home. I called and texted family and friends to let them know what was going on. When we got home, I forced myself to rest and take it easy. Shortly after arriving home, I had to go to the bathroom again. Though I was hoping the bleeding had stopped, I was still anxious by what I saw. I was still bleeding and it was getting brighter and thicker. Even though I was cleared to go home, I still feared I was going to lose this baby. Charles took the evening to hold me, and reassure me that it was going to be okay. That night when I went to sleep I had peace and faith I was going to wake up in the morning, with no bleeding and feeling so much better. I was convinced my baby and I would be fine, until I woke up at 12am the next morning……

A Weekend Away to Honor My Due Date

On Friday September 13th, my best friends Alli, Andrea and I all took a trip to their family’s cabin. This was a well needed trip as not only did we all need a vacation and time to catch up with one another, but I also wanted to take time away to grieve and honor my due date. My due date with Mackenzie was technically on September 16th, but since that day landed on a Monday, we decided to take a weekend trip instead.

The night before leaving for our trip, I decided to share with Andrea and Alli that I was pregnant again. I sent them both a picture of my felt letter board declaring that I was 5 weeks. They both were very excited for us and even suspected I might be pregnant again.

On Friday evening around 5pm, we left for our trip. We were headed up north. We spent the car ride talking and catching up. On the way to the cabin we stopped to get gas, get some groceries, and even got some Subway. When we arrived at the cabin, we got everything situated including turning on the water, and bringing in our luggage. We spent the evening playing board games, and telling stories. It was the perfect way to start our weekend away.

The next morning we woke up to a site so incredibly tranquil. In the living room of the cabin, there is a beautiful front window that faces miles of woods and meadow. This scene is especially beautiful in the mornings as the sun is rising, and the sun shines through the leaves of the trees. That morning we were able to see this beautiful scene, along with deer frolicking through the woods, and the sound of birds singing their morning song. It was breath taking.

That morning I also told my parents about my pregnancy. I texted my Dad and Grandma a picture of my felt board, and I told my mom over the phone. My mom cried but seemed okay. My dad seemed okay but was cautious as well. Later, the three of us headed to Traverse City Michigan. This city was just over an hour away from our cabin. In Traverse City, we walked around enjoying some window shopping. We also took a stroll down to the lake shore and enjoyed beautiful Lake Michigan. Andrea and I relaxed and sat in the sand. Alli took a stroll down the shore.

As I sat on the shore, I took a few moments to soak it all in. As I heard the waves crash on to the shore, I went deep into thought. I was supposed to be having Mackenzie right now. I was supposed to be in labor and giving birth. I was supposed to be preparing to hold my baby. These were things I thought were supposed to be different. I reflected back to this last year, when 2019 began. I got pregnant. I was so scared, but so incredibly excited. I enjoyed my pregnancy, fell in love with my baby, and prepared to announce with my family. My heart shattered when we were given the news our baby no longer had a heart beat. I went through grief, surgery, thyroid problems, weight and postpartum struggles, depression and anxiety. I also started a blog, shared my story in Toi Magazine, got a job as an assistant editor, developed relationships and friendships with other wonderful women, and even started my own business. Lastly, I came to a place where I conquered my worst fear. Losing Mackenzie was the hardest event in my life I have ever experienced, but through it, as my momma would say, I have become resilient.


I am stronger and more resilient because of Mackenzie and because of what God has allowed me to go through. Due to this, I am filled with gratitude.


I continued thinking about how far I’ve come and where I am now. I am pregnant again, I thought. I had come full circle. I thanked God for this beautiful baby. I even thanked Mackenzie for sending us little Chase right when we needed him most. I held a tiny bit of guilt and feared I was replacing Mackenzie with this baby, but I knew I wasn’t. When I last visited Mackenzie’s garden, I asked her to send us another baby. I knew then that God would send us another baby in His timing.

When we returned from Traverse City, we all took a nap back at the cabin. After our nap we made dinner together. Homemade pizza and salad is what was on the menu. It was delicious and fun to cook together. For the rest of the trip, we continued bonding, telling stories and catching up on each other’s lives. Since Andrea and I were both pregnant, the conversation was often surrounded around pregnancy and comparing each of our pregnancies. I am really thankful to have been able to go on this trip with my girls, as well as go to the lakeshore to reflect and honor my due date.

Putting Away My Maternity Clothes

In my attempt to clean and reorganize my apartment this summer, I also took the time to put away my maternity clothes. I had considered this moment back when I was pregnant. I thought about packing away these clothes after losing some weight and nursing my newborn baby. As you all know, things did not go as planned, and my maternity clothes had to be packed away quite sooner than anticipated. It hurt my tender heart to put these clothes away… but it needed to be done. God willing the next time I get these clothes out, I will be pregnant and carrying my beautiful rainbow baby, but until then I just need to keep my head up and keep moving forward. ❤️