Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Day 7 - Memory

Day 7 - Memory

I was pregnant for 16 weeks. During this time I have many memories of her, but I think the best memory I have was bringing her father this ultrasound. He couldn't make it to the appointment, and I think he might have still been a little in shock that I was finally pregnant after all those years of trying.

I remember him sitting on the front steps to his porch when I brought him the envelope and let him open it. He pulled out the pictures and he smiled such a smile that I still remember it to this day. I wish I captured that on video.

Here's one of the pictures. One of the only pictures I have of her. My sweet Ana.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Day 5 - Empathy

Empathy Vs Sympathy

When you understand and feel another person's feelings for yourself, you have empathy. It’s often spoken of as a character attribute that people have to varying degrees. If hearing a tragic news story makes you feel almost as if the story concerns you personally, you likely have the ability to empathize. You have to be able to put yourself in their place and FEEL their emotions.

When you sympathize with someone, you have compassion for that person, but you don’t necessarily feel her feelings. If your feelings toward someone who is experiencing hardship are limited to sympathy, then you might have a sense of regret for that person’s difficulty but are not feeling her feelings as if they’re your own. Meanwhile, sympathy has broader applications that don’t necessarily have to do with one person’s feelings for another. You can sympathize with a cause, for instance -- breast cancer, or with a point of view that resonates with you.

I'm going to be blunt here... but it's close to impossible for someone to empathize with a bereaved mother unless they too have lost a child. You might be able to give sympathy or support, but to really be able to understand or know what a mother who has lost a child feels, you have to have been put, tragically, in her shoes.

I want you to know I don't want you to empathize. I want you to sympathize. I know that it's hard to imagine (and I would have never imagined) this happening to me. But what I want you to do is to support me and speak her name. I want you to "like" posts in her memory. I want you to never, EVER, have to feel the pain I feel every day.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Day 1 - Sunrise

October marks another year without Ana. This is my third year celebrating a death instead of a birthday. With empty arms I still grieve. Nothing will ever compare to the loss of her early that bitter cold morning. I wish for nothing more than to hold her again.

I woke up this morning knowing the cold was upon us again. I lost her in the early hours of the morning and I will never forget coming home that Sunday morning and watching the sun rise.



In that time it seemed like the world just stood still. I sat in the chair and rocked back and forth. I was hot, then I was cold. I was living a nightmare. Everything was lost in that morning that I dreamed of for her.

I lost so much that morning... a part of me that I will never get back.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Facebook's "On This Day"

I haven't posted anything in quite some time. I log in and check my blog often, but seem to have had some writers block lately.

The dreaded month is coming up....

Facebook keeps reminding me of it. It reminded me of the joy I had when finding out I was pregnant, it reminded me of how many tests I took when I found out I was pregnant... I took so many leading up to getting pregnant and they were always negative. So when I took the first one and it said positive, I was sure that it was wrong. I took pregnancy tests every time my cycle was late due and it was always negative. This time I had to retest, again and again. I took 4. They all were positive.

Facebook reminds me of the scares I had with the bleeding. How I called my doctor at every sign that wasn't normal. It reminds me of the sickness. How I miss the morning sickness, the sensitive nose, the feeling of something growing inside of me.

Facebook reminded me of my first ultrasound. The first time I went for an ultrasound and how the lady wouldn't tell me anything about my baby. I laid there on the cold table through the whole ultrasound while she was taking pictures in silence. Scared. Hoping she would reassure me that everything was alright. I had to wait until the doctor came in to tell me that everything was all right.

Facebook is going to remind me of everything. Some may say it's a bad thing. Some may not want to remember those things. But, for me... it's all I have. I am still childless with empty arms. All I have and know of my daughter only lives on through my memories... and the posts I have made on Facebook and this blog.

So, to me... while it's sad and breaks my heart every day that I don't have her here... I am glad that I do have Facebook to remind me of those days that I DID have with her. Those exciting times of doctor visits, ultrasounds, morning sickness, and gaining weight for a good reason. I will treasure these memories forever.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Ana's Due Date

I never thought certain dates could create such an emotional mess out of me. I'm approaching what would have been her due date again and I feel terrible inside. I feel my anxiety rising and my muscles getting tighter by the day.

April 7th... the day that represents so much of what "should have been". April 7th is the day I would have been due with Ana. I just can't get my feelings out right now... oh anxiety.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Capture Your Grief Day 10 - Support

Day 10

My support... I can't even begin to name the women that I have become so close with after losing Ana. 99.9% of my support comes from women (and a few men) who have also lost a child like I did. The baby loss community grieves quietly but we are noticing that we do have a voice. It might quiver and pause, but we do have a voice and a story to tell and I am forever grateful to the women who have shared their angel's story with me.

My support is you. Each and every one that is reading this. My support is those who understand what it feels like to walk into a store and see a child that would be (should be) your angel's age or a cute outfit just knowing you never got to dress your child. My support is those who understand what it feels like to cry yourself to sleep at night with empty arms wishing with everything that you could go back in time and change everything. My support is those who understand that I cannot be 100% in the month of October, especially the week surrounding October 21. My support is those who understand why I talk about my child and put her name out there like she is still alive.

Thank you for your support. Thank you for letting me say her name out loud and letting her live through me.

Photo Courtesy here.

Capture Your Grief Day 9 - In Memory

Day 9

What have I done in memory of Ana? I've created a Facebook group to help support those that have experienced pregnancy, stillbirth or infant loss. Last year this group was not around, as I was spending most of my time as an admin in another group. I decided that it would be beneficial to start another (smaller) group. At this moment the group has 269 members. I feel especially close with each of them as they share about their loss and life after loss.

Sleeping Babies Support Group

I also created a safe-haven for those trying to conceive again after a loss. Once you've lost a child - whether it be in utero or after birth, your life is forever scared that another loss could happen just like the first one. While many go on to conceive after their loss and have happy, healthy rainbows... not all of us are so lucky. I struggle with secondary infertility and I'm glad I have a wonderful group of women banning together after loss in hope of a rainbow after their storm.

TTC Our Rainbows

Besides Facebook, every chance I get to do something with art, crafts, painting, etc, I always try to incorporate her name or date somehow.

I carry her memory with me everywhere. There isn't a day or even an hour that goes by that I don't think about her in some way.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Capture Your Grief Day 8 - Resources

Day 8

When I first lost Ana I couldn't find enough resources. I felt alone. Very alone. I didn't know who to reach out to so I started searching online. I started with the baby loss forums on BabyCenter. Then I started searching for groups on Facebook. I found some great groups with keywords like miscarriage, stillbirth, stillborn, mom of an angel, etc. I'm a part of many groups, too many to list here on my blog.

However, soon after finding these groups I knew I wanted to help. I started reaching out to people in the groups offering support and resources. Some of the best people in the world I've met through my loss. I'd like to take a moment to share a few resources near and dear to my heart.

Jalen's Gift Foundation - Gaby and her wonderful team at Jalen's gift are dedicated to assisting families grieving from the devastating effects of infant loss. JGF wants to ease the process of loss by providing financial assistance, emotional support, informational resources on pregnancy and infant loss, and provide a memorial keepsake to the suffering families.

Stillbirthday - The mission of the Stillbirthday global network is to validate a pregnancy loss as the birth, and death, that it is, and to fill the chasm between the moment darkness falls and when resources are discovered. Their website has a ton of resources for before birth, during birth and after birth.

Carly Marie's Project Heal - Offers a variety of amazing projects to help families heal after the death of their baby. Her projects include grief reflections, affirmations, healing conversations, artwork, and this project "Capture Your Grief".

Return To Zero - The community involved in Return To Zero helped me with my grief. Having a meaning, a project to watch from the start up gave me a hope that we can spread the word about pregnancy and infant loss. Return to Zero was the first film to center solely around stillbirth. The stillbirth and PAIL community came together and the movie debuted on Lifetime!

As always, I'd love to hear from you. I'm always looking for new resources to add to my list.
What are some resources that helped you in your grief?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Capture Your Grief Day 7 - Sacred Place

Day 7

While I know my daughter is with my anywhere I go, I feel especially connected to her at her grave. She was buried next to my grandfather the same year he passed away. Today I went to visit her and I brought her some balloons.

Within the first two minutes of me arriving one of her balloons popped. I giggled to myself thinking that if she were here, she'd probably be popping balloons too. 

On the way out of the cemetery I snapped this picture. I feel like it shows the beauty the cemetery holds. Some people find them creepy, I find them quiet and peaceful. I love visiting my angel every chance I get.

When I pulled out of the cemetery drive there was a loud "snap" I pulled over because it smelled like fireworks. Turns out there was an "adult snapper" firework and it just HAPPENED to go off when I left. Whether it be coincidence or a sign from my angel, I'll take it.

Do you get signs from your angel?

Capture Your Grief Day 6 - Books

Day 6

I don't think they need an introduction...

I had a copy of this book when I was younger. I never knew why he wrote this book until I lost Ana. When I lost Ana I was doing some searching to find things to help comfort the loss that I'm feeling. I found out that this book was created after the loss of his stillborn son. I send copies to moms who need it the most and I also donate copies to the labor ward at the hospital.

Three Minus One is the book that goes along with Return to Zero (the movie that is based on a family's struggle through stillbirth). The book  Three Minus One has stories of parents who have gone through stillbirth and it's a great resource of art, poetry and short stories about our angels.

Empty Arms was just recently sent to me by a friend in the baby loss community. This book is a great tool for those who are currently experiencing a loss and making decisions on what to do next (funeral arrangements, pictures, time spent with baby, etc) but also a great took to support you years after your loss.

I'm thankful for the resources that are becoming available to talk about miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Capture Your Grief Day 5 - Journal

Day 5

Writing has always been my release. When I was young I wrote often. Poems, short stories, letters, ideas I had, things I liked... I would write them all in a big binder. I still have a lot of these writings somewhere. But as you know the world has turned virtual and I have kept a grief journal on here (the internet) since I lost Ana. I started it shortly after I lost her and I've been writing in it for almost two years now. It documents my pain, my struggles and the growth in my grief the rawest of hours. There are parts of my journal I cannot re-read without tears or anger, but I am so thankful I started it.

Capture Your Grief Day 4 - Now

Day 4

Who am I now? I'm a childless mother. I have empty arms, no baby to kiss, no child to snuggle. I miss everything about Ana. From my boobs hurting to my morning sickness to my pants growing to the point I wore sweatpants. I'm 50 pounds heavier and my cycles have stopped again (for the most part).

I miss the old me, the one that would work heard to lose weight and be on track to becoming something better. I miss her, who instantly started making me a better person and mommy. I miss her so much some days it still hurts like yesterday.

This picture, no matter how hard I tried to smile, still captures the pain and emptiness in my eyes. (And the fluffiness from the weight gain)

Gone are the days of innocence. Gone are the days of thinking every pregnancy ends with a baby. Truth is 1 and 4 pregnancies does NOT end with a baby coming home. When I see pregnancy announcements I say a prayer for each one - hoping that it would NEVER end up like mine. Unfortunately, this happens too often and too many parents are sent home without their precious baby.

I am working towards information and support. Right now I think the best way would be to continue in the schooling to become a Doula. It would mean the world to me to be able to help support women through a healthy pregnancy but also to help those who might not be able to bring their baby home with them.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Capture Your Grief Day 3 - Before


Who were you before your loss? I was in my final semester in college. I was working towards a career in Human Resources. I was losing weight with the intention of hopefully becoming pregnant one day (soon).
Taken shortly before I conceived Ana. Confident, happy with my weight goals.

I would have never thought that once I became pregnant that I wouldn't be able to take my baby home. I had heard of a friend shortly before my loss who lost her daughter. Not once during my pregnancy did I think it could happen to me.

I was confident. I knew what I wanted. I knew how to get it. I worked hard for it. I studied, took 21+ credits a semester. I was active and healthy (should I say healthier).

Not everything was perfect, but once I found out I was pregnant ...

it was truly perfect.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Capture Your Grief Day 2 - Heart

Day 2

Today was hard. I'm not artistic in any way. I started with her name. Then I couldn't fit it in a heart. Then I drew a heart but had no idea what to put in it. Then her father and I sat down at the table and took some time to draw out something that means something to us. This is the first time we have EVER sat down together to do something for our angel. It made me really proud. These are the results:



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Capture Your Grief Day 1 - Sunrise

Today is a cold and rainy day in Wisconsin. I woke up early to make sure I was ready for work in time to take these pictures. The sunrise was said to rise at 6:51am so I left my house early to find a place to take my picture despite the rain and clouds.

I decided on going to the water just west of my house. The rain had stopped but it is still cloudy and I don't see the sun showing any time soon. So here are my pictures from today.

Sunrise in Wisconsin 
October 1, 2014

This accurately shows the drastic change we are starting to experience with the change of summer into fall. There are more cold, wet, rainy days to come. The leaves are changing, but you can't tell by this picture. I have a love and hate relationship with the fall and especially the month of October since losing Ana. I'm hoping that the next picture I took shows a glimpse of how beautiful and colorful it will be.

Yes, I lost my daughter in the fall. In October. I know she wouldn't want me upset. I'm still participating in Ana's Angels Random Acts of Kindness and I'm doing my first one tonight. 

Stay tuned!

Here's to a bright fall for all of us!

For more information on Capture Your Grief please visit CarlyMarie's page at