Monday, October 26, 2009

New Job, Clean Slate

Tonight was my 2nd day at my new job. I haven't worked in over 4 years...well, worked a paying job anyway. It's very strange getting to know my coworkers. We talk about kids, where we're from, likes and dislikes, etc....all the normal things people talk about with acquaintances. Except that I have a secret. In a way it's nice not being known as the girl whose baby died. It's nice being a normal girl with a husband and a 2-year old...a seemingly happy normal person who isn't grieving. Of course that's not who I am, but it's relaxing to pretend.

Eventually, my secret will probably come out. I'm not sure how. But things like this always do come out unless you flat-out lie. Questions like--did you have a natural birth? (yes women do talk about this) My answer, "With my first son, I had pain meds and was induced, but with my 2nd son it was natural." Wait...2nd son? oops...there goes my secret. I just hope that when it does, my coworkers aren't super weird around me.

Friday, October 23, 2009

To Write Their Names in the Sand

I've been so excited to share this photograph! When Jonas passed away in March, I stumbled upon this organization called "To Write Their Names in the Sand". The woman who started this also lost her baby. She and her family live in Australia near a beautiful beach with beautiful sunsets. She invites everyone who has lost a child to submit their name along with a memorial, and she writes the name in the sand and photographs it. The website always takes my breath peaceful and so wonderful for grieving parents.

Here is the direct link to his memorial on her website:

It has been difficult for me to get Jonas' name submitted, because they can be overwhelmed by the amount of names submitted. It took me 6 months to get his name submitted! But the wait was totally worth it.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Bit Tainted

It's true that I am a changed person. The day I held my lifeless baby in my arms was the day when I became somewhat of a different person. It's only natural. It's not possible for someone to be unchanged after experiencing a stillbirth. How can they? When you're pregnant, your baby is a part of you. Not only the flesh and blood, but the heart and soul too. The beauty of birth is bringing that life into the world. When your baby dies, it's like that part of your heart and soul dies as well. I believe God is the only one who can fully regenerate that portion of your heart, if you let Him. I like to think that I've let Him, because I feel like I'm doing very well most of the time. There are certain parts of me that are hardened, though. It's in the questions I ask.

"Why do women who put their baby at risk by drinking and smoking go on to have a perfectly healthy, living baby? Why did this happen to me, when I was so careful?" Not that I think ANYONE deserves pain like this. I don't.

"Why did he have to die in my womb a week before his due date? Would it have been any easier if I had miscarried in the beginning?" Losing a life is losing a life, no matter how small. I just think I had longer to become attached.

"Was there a reason he died so late in the pregnancy?" I had to bury my son and I'm only 26. Funerals suck. I planned my son's funeral the entire week after giving birth. If you've given birth, you know what postpartum healing is like. Yet I am glad that I have his grave to visit whenever I go to Sidney. It's healing for me.

"Why couldn't my body have realized my baby had passed?" Instead, I had to wait a week to find out, while enduring braxton hicks contractions. Instead, after I gave birth, my milk came in which is very painful. I had to get on a 10-hour flight with a sick 2-year old and ice packs stuffed in my bra to help with the pain of drying the milk. SUCKED. It was such a sad feeling...milk for a baby who wasn't there.

"Why do I still have a postpartum body?" With Josiah, I had a great advantage because I breastfed him, which burns tons of calories and helps your body get back to normal quicker. After I had Jonas, the weight seemed stuck. I did lose 13 lbs. which have managed to stay off, but it really sucks having 20 lbs. of baby weight and no baby to show for it. Not only the weight, but the stretch marks as well, which will eventually fade with time.

"Why don't women know more about the possibility of stillbirth?" I didn't think this could ever happen to me. I'm a very healthy young woman. They say if the pregnancy lasts past 24 weeks, then if the baby is premature it is possible for it to live because of medical technology. I thought I was long past the safe point. I didn't realize that my baby COULD pass away...for no reason at medical explanation. Doctors don't tell pregnant women these things because they don't want to scare them. I wish I would have known. Because then I wouldn't be tortured by thoughts like, "If only I had done kick counts, then maybe I would have noticed decreased movement, gone to the doctor right away, and Jonas would be here today."

Such dark thoughts these are. That last thought is the darkest of all my thoughts. That maybe I could have saved him. I did notice decreased movement, actually. I researched it online and found several stillbirth websites and then an article that said, "decreased movement in the last few weeks is normal" and it was that line that put me at ease and made me think I was just paranoid. Nope, it was my mother's instincts kicking in. Women need to know that there is no such thing as being too paranoid at the end. And yes apparently kick counts are super important. *sigh*

I feel more anger these days. I don't have patience for selfish people. I hold grudges. It's hard to be happy for people. Perhaps I have become a bit selfish myself. I am unable to comfort anyone else who gets too emotional about what happened to Jonas, because it is hard enough to allow myself to heal. But I do appreciate those who are willing to talk about Jonas to me, because I refuse to "sweep it under the rug" and pretend like I don't have two sons. I don't usually cry when I talk about what happened anymore, so maybe that means that I am coming along well. :)

Thanks for letting me share the hardened parts of myself.

Monday, October 19, 2009

More Memorials

I try to keep Jonas' memory alive in any way I can, so I wanted to share a few examples of some things I've done. These are mostly things that other grieving women have offered to do for anyone. I always jump at the chance to share Jonas' name in these ways.

Here is his rock in a woman's rock garden for babies and children:Here is a picture of the rock garden all lit up, along with a balloon release with all the babies' names written on them:
The next memorial is a lantern release that a woman offered to do. She wrote all the babies' names on the lanterns--112 names in all! You can see Jonas' name here:And last, Jonas' name was included in a list of angels in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, which was October 15th. She also lit a candle for him. His name is in the first column towards the middle, written in dark ink.
One of these days, I'd love to do something similar for anyone who has had a miscarriage, stillbirth, or who has lost a child in any way. I'm thinking that I'll do something for Jonas' first birthday in March. I'm not sure why, but these little things really do help me heal. :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009


The wonderful members of my family on the Johnson side all gave money towards a plaque in Jonas' memory at the Angel of Hope memorial in Sidney. I visited Sidney last weekend where I was able to see it for the first time. I think it's amazing! It's nestled in with many other babies/children/loved ones' plaques. The little garden itself is very peaceful. I think it's a great place to go remember Jonas if it's too difficult for some to visit his grave.

So, thank you to all of my family who helped purchase this plaque!