Ember Laura-Ellen Waving

Ember Laura-Ellen Waving
Waving to mommy and daddy at 13 weeks

Sunday, May 6, 2012

International Bereaved Mothers' Day

You don't say "happy bereaved mothers' day!". There's no hallmark card for it. And you'll be able to hear my gasp of shock around the world if anyone of my extended family or "IRL" non-angel moms say anything about it without prompting.

"Today is International Bereaved Mothers Day! This day was created by us in 2010 and it now falls on the first Sunday of every May.
This special day was created to honour and celebrate mothers who carry some if not all of their children in their hearts rather than their arms.  In our modern day society, mothers who are grieving the death of their babies and children are usually forgotten. The traditional Mothers Day has proven to be an emotionally difficult day for so many mothers around the world.
On this day each year we come together to celebrate our connection, our babies and children and our hope for the future. We look at their ultrasound photos, polish their urns, lay flowers at their graves, visit special places and light candles in their memory." 
-directly from the CarlyMarie ProjectHeal 

Many grieving mothers don't even know this day exists. Not to mention most NON-angel mothers. It's a day for us because of how hard the "normal" Mothers' Day is for us. But what good does it do for the hurting mamas who don't know about it? None. For it to be a comfort, it needs to be known. It's just another way we need to break the idea that stillbirth and infant loss are taboo. Miscarriage is being talked about more but stillbirth and infant loss are still lagging behind in the awareness-arena. Why is that? Whatever the reason, we need to be talking about miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss more. Despite blogging about Ember and life after her death, some of my friends still didn't realize they could ask about her. Just recently a local friend told me she'd wanted to ask about my Em before but thought that mamas wouldn't want to speak of stillbirth. That's not her fault she didn't know that talking about Ember is like spring water in the desert- precious and rare.

Today for me is also personally hard. Today it's been 22months since Ember died. 22months later and you know what? The pain is still scalding sometimes. It's not as frequent that it feels like I can't breath from missing her but when it hits, it's just as powerful.

What will you do today? If you are a grieving mama, will you light candles? Bring flowers to a grave? How about talk about your lost love and help break the taboo? Feel free to just share this post with friends&relatives if you can't find the words yourself.

If you know a grieving mama, whether her loss was yesterday or two decades ago, whether her baby was 12weeks along or 22 years old, tell her you're thinking of her and her lost child. A hug, flowers or just a simple message saying you remember and care- those are all ways to offer comfort.

Myself, I wish I was doing a balloon release or had flowers to put by Ember's ashes in her urn. But today kind of snuck up on me and I just don't know how to do anything I wish I could w/o the support of those around me.

                      The first time I've shared my Ember's face publicly. I hope you can understand how huge this is for me and be respectfully and kind.



Wednesday, February 15, 2012

3rd Valentine's Day

   Sweet Little Valentine,

  Today was your third Valentine's Day, and the second since you died. Two years ago today your daddy and I  got married in the botanical gardens. You where there with us already, we didn't yet know you where Ember but you where there. I called you our sweet little Valentine. I dreamed of the next year, when I could dress you up and give you cuddles and just couldn't wait. Instead, what was supposed to be your first Valentine's Day earthside, we where just missing you.

And that's where we still are- just missing you. Every. breathe. I. take, I am missing you. Every step I take, I am missing you. You baby girl are never apart from me.

Today I held a newborn girl. The first newborn I've held besides your baby brother since you. The first female baby I've held since you. I swore I never would again, but she was crying and everyone's hands where full..... she had dark-hair and nuzzled in when I picked her up. Your brother was less than thrilled. It was one of the most bittersweet physical moments in a long time. The sweetness of that beautiful baby girl who needed comfort while her mom couldn't hold her. The bitterness of having never seen your blue eyes, felt you cuddle back when I held you, never hearing your kitten-ish new baby cry....

I was lucky that just before this I had a chance to connect with an angel/rainbow mommy friend just before this. I'm venturing out into the IRL mommy circles more. And with mommies comes babies, toddlers, big kids.... and around half are girls. Newborn girls like you, toddler girls as you should be, big girls like you'll never be. I do my best to not compare your brother to other children, to let him be his own self only. But you, I compare you to every female child I see. Would you have looked like that? Would you done that by that age? Would you like wearing that? Would you talk like that? Constantly, questions like this hum under the surface..... It's so ingrained in me now that I don't realize I'm doing it or pay much attention to it. I'll never have the answers and I know that. Your story ended but ours keeps on going. You'll always be part of us though.

Happy Valentine's Day Ember, oh how I wish I could see your face today and every day.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It's Been So Long

Hey Sweet Baby Girl,

It's been so long since I've written to you. I'm so sorry for that. It's not that you aren't in my thoughts. Never has a day passed without me thinking of you, never will one. I tell your baby brother about you often. He likes to look at your pictures and cuddle your MollyBear. Your second Christmas seemed even harder than the first. You got two pink cloth flowers from your daddy and me. Nana got you an angel bear. You got ornaments for us, Nana and friends too. I wish you'd gotten lots of toys and new clothes and lots of big wrapped presents to tear open. We bought most of your brother's presents online to avoid bringing him out.... and I had to look for presents we could have given to you. You'd be almost nineteen months old. Wow. We took your Molly Bear with us to see Santa. We told Santa about you and he held your bear with your brother. He plays with your toys, snuggles in your blankets. I hope you don't mind sharing. If you where here, he'd get your hand-me-downs. These are the only things ya'll can share. He wears some of your clothes too... but he's a big boy now and he's quickly out-growing most of what we bought for you. Most of your clothes where 9months or smaller... We thought we'd buy more as you grew.... We made butterfly ornaments for you, and your daddy made you an ornament himself too.

Some people worry that he's having to grow up in your shadow. Nothing could be less true. Losing you and missing you just make him shine even more. I know exactly how precious he is.... because I know how precious you where and how that wasn't enough to save you. Watching him grow is making me imagine your babyhood again. Once again, though you'd be fourteen months older than him, I'm imaging what you would have been like as a newborn, as a four month old, as a five month old... Wondering when you would have rolled over, when you're first tooth would have came. When you would have sat up, if you would have liked the swing. Which toy would have been your favorite, would you have had colic? An ear infection? Would be so chubby like he is? Would your eyes have stayed blue too? Would you have been a mama's girl? Would you have started chattering so early? What would you have thought of baths? Where would you have wanted to sleep? Would you like car rides?

Oh baby girl, everything he does gives me more unanswerable questions about you. I hug him tighter for it. He's not just my rainbow- he's your rainbow too. One child can't fill your arms when there's supposed to be two.

Friday, November 11, 2011

From Friends With Love

Pictures made for her, often on special days. Balloons and lanterns released. This is just a small selection of some the love that's been shown to my girl. These are all from women I've never met, not even once. Most of whom I've never heard their voice. They've been more like family to me in sixteen months than alot of my own blood relatives. When NO relative mentions Ember on her birthday, or for months at a time, or EVER, they do all the time. No special day is she ever over-looked by them. Will Ember be included in the holidays this winter by anyone who's DNA she shared besides me? I don't know. I hope so. I want to decorate in pink and green, to buy a few ornaments for her, donate memory boxes, send out cards and some other ideas.... I hope my family will join me in this. But even if they don't, I know the friends Ember brought me will be thinking of her along with me.

Online friends can be the most amazing community. If I ever get to do a roadtrip, I'm going to be stopping for coffee in so many towns ;). I'm so grateful for my angel-mommy friends, and for the time we live that let's connect with people all over.

Angel Ornament Swaps

         Last year, Ember's first Christmas, I heard about an ornament swap for angel moms, but not in time to join in. And apparently I missed the Mother's Day one too. Which is sad because my first Mother's day without Ember was horrible, and ignored. But a friend on Facebook shared the page for this year's swap and with a week left to sign up too!


I REALLY encourage all angel moms, dads, grandparents and more to go check it out. It's handmade ornaments made with love for your angel by another angel mom (or dad, etc). It's international, so no matter where you are you can join. But you must sign up by Nov. 18th.

Well, it inspired me to organize similar swaps in two private angel mommy groups as well. After the loss of a child, moms often feel more alone than they ever imaged they could. It goes on forever it seems, we're cut apart from "normal" society. Community and other "baby loss mamas" become so important. In the sixteen months since Em died, angel mom friends (almost exclusively met on Facebook) have been my lifeline. They understand how I want to include Em in everything, because they want the same things.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Memory Boxes for Babies Born Still?

 I've been in a weird period of grieving, especially since the arrival of Ember's rainbow little brother two months ago. It feels like Ember is RIGHT THERE, just out of reach, just out of sight whereas before she always seemed way too far away to even imagine being able to hold her again. And I see her when her brother sleeps. God, does he look like her then. Does he look like her when he's awake? I wonder this often, is that how she looked when she smiled? But I don't know. At birth, he was two pounds heavier than her though not even an inch longer. He had two more weeks to grow though. He had longer hair than her, and not quite as dark. The cheeks, the nose, the wrinkly forehead.... the whole face really is so very alike. I think his ears are different, but hers where folded at birth, I never saw them as they would have been. His eyes are still blue, but not bright like their daddy's, a grey-blue instead that's lovely and I hope will stay. One of my deepest pains is never having seen my daughter's eyes. Would Ember's eyes like her brothers? Would she have laughed like him? Every milestone with him, I carry her along. Now she lives on, not just in my heart but in her brother.

  We've moved back to my hometown. My rainbow was born at the hospital I was born at, the third generation of my family to be born there. I've been longing to make and donate memory boxes since not long after Ember died, because hers was and is so important to me. I could NOT imagine going back to the hospital where Ember was born though even to give something for comforting others. I was forced to go back to Ember's birthplace twice after her death- once to receive her autopsy results and the second time for a high-level ultrasound of her brother's heart and another genetics appointment. I choose a different care-giver and hospital for him, but when some complications came up, they wanted "the best around" to check it out. It was agonizing and though they where very nice the last time, I am so relieved to know I never have to go back again. But now, I could give them to Caden's hospital instead. I really, really want to do this but just aren't quite sure how. I want this to be Ember's Christmas present, so I need to figure it quickly.

I know the hospital I wish to give them too (Woman's in Baton Rouge), and I'm going to email them to see what comfort programs they have already. And I know some of things I specifically want to include, like Earth Mama Angel Baby's "no more milk tea", candle and seeds of hope.... We'll do at least one ourselves... but I wonder if other people would want to help? If Ember hadn't died, this would her second Christmas and she would have gotten presents from family. This is a way to celebrate for her now.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ember Laura-Ellen's First Birthday

Happy Birthday Ember

A whole year has passed since you where born. It was a sunny hot summer day just like yesterday and it'd been exactly twenty-four hours since the full-term doctor appointment where your heartbeat couldn't be found. 

How did we spend it without you? Trying to keep busy and thinking constantly of how it should have, could have been like. We thought of "celebrating", of balloon releases or baking a cake for you. Thought of lots of ideas, but had no heart for them. They all paled in comparison to how it would have been with you. Maybe next year, a celebration in memory of you instead of with you will seem less bitter. Or the year after, or the year after that. We have so many years without you, a lifetime of it. So we remember you, and think of how it could have been with you. 

 You where born tangled in your short cord. One leg, one arm and your tiny neck all looped up in it. You where delivered to my stomach, but until they cut the cord I couldn't draw you closer in my arms. Seeing that thick, rope-like slick cord around your neck and still body was when the world finally ended. They unlooped it before setting you down on me, I think they tried to do it without me seeing but I was sitting up enough to. All my desperate hopes that they where somehow wrong crashed down as I pulled you close to me. 

Still born, born still.
Still beautiful. 

Your birth and holding you after is the highest high I could even imagine. Your beautiful, tiny face was memorizing and I never wanted to look away. Whenever I tell your story, I know that without seeing you, no one can really understand my words. The pictures of you, even when I looked at you side-by-side with them, do you no justice. The harsh, bright lights almost erased your features. Looking at them is almost a mockery of what it was like to look at you but they are all I have left. A cold marble urn, these pictures, a couple blurred prints from your so tiny hands and long little feet, a few snips of your hair that was too short for a lock to be taken. All that remains of a life so brief. 

You could be here today, a year and a day old awaiting your first birthday party this weekend. Dark curls, chubby pink cheeks toddling around mischievously. Climbing into my lap around my big belly for cuddles, racing down the hallway to find something to get into, giggling and grinning when your daddy got home... Throwing a big-girl toddler fit, your stubbornness honestly inherited. Crying crocodile tears for your whims. No longer a little baby but a small toddler with ideas of your own. I wonder what your laugh would have sounded like, how tall you'd be by now. I guess I'll never stop wondering. Your first birthday will be followed by so many more that we pass without you. You'll never laugh or open presents, never celebrate the days just for you but they'll always be your days. My eternal baby, my forever newborn, you'll never grow any older than just-born but your birthdays will always belong to you and I'll carry you with me through them. I'll never really let you go, baby girl, you are mine forever. 

Happy Birthday Ember Laura-Ellen. Don't let the tears fool you, you still bring me joy just from loving you. Don't think your new brother will ever eclipse you, my beautiful firstborn. You're the child who made me a mommy, you're the child that became my heart and still is.