Monday, March 31, 2014

Day #22 - Words

Words are deep, but no words are as deeps as the pain we feel after the loss of a child. I've written a lot myself in the past few weeks so I'm going to let these pictures do the talking.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Day #21 - Honor

There are several ways that I am honoring Ana. Most recently I've started Ana's Angels. This is a project where a group of people go out into their communities in the months of April and October to do random acts of kindness in Ana's name. While doing so they are given cards to give out to spread the word of kindness and break the silence surrounding stillbirth.

Last year I participated in the March for Babies through the March of Dimes. However, this year I have registered for doula training through the stillbirthday website.

To sponsor me, please click here and fill out the form to sponsor a student and put my full name Melissa Hamilton. My intro is here:

My name is Melissa H and I am a mother of a beautiful angel born too soon. My only child, Anabelle Luz Molina was born on her father’s birthday (10-21-2012) at 16 weeks after I went into pre-term labor. While I thought I was cramping I was actually having contractions. This was missed for 3 days by two different doctors (an OB and ER doc). They sent me home from the ER with my contractions without running any tests. By The morning of the 4th day it was too late. I went to the ER but had to deliver my child with only a nurse because I wasn’t far enough along to go to L&D. After she was born I was told by the nurse that my daughter was a boy. I didn’t know until two days later that she was the daughter I had always wanted. These doctors think I lost her due to an infection. The backbone of this… I was never told about what to expect while pregnant or any possible risks during pregnancy. I didn’t know what a contraction felt like… or what losing a mucus plug was. Or anything about giving birth. I want to provide the knowledge, love, encouragement, and empathy for birth and bereavement in my community which I did not receive. Please help me in doing so by sponsoring my Stillbirthday Doula and Bereavement training. {since 03.08.14}

This is how I will honor my daughter. By giving back to the community near and far. In addition to my stillbirth experience I feel this training will help me better support the community around me.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Day # 20 - Hope

Having dealt with infertility for many years and then all of the sudden falling pregnant with Ana, I’d be lying if I said I felt hopeful about having other children. This loss has put such a toll on me emotionally that some days I feel like there’s no hope for getting pregnant again. I keep saying I’ll lose the weight and I’ll get back in shape to have another baby but it’s a lot harder than I ever imagined.

For those that join this group in the future, my hope is for you to know YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! I will do whatever it takes for you to know that you are not alone and that you will make it through this alive. I know in the days after I lost Ana I had no idea how I could keep living without her. I have, one day at a time. Some days I didn't want to get out of bed, some days I barely slept. The days ran together. I couldn't tell the difference between life and what felt like I was dying too. But I made it. I'm a survivor. My hope for others is to survive as well.

Please know that if you never feel like you're alone or that you don't have anyone who knows what you're feeling... please know it's normal to grieve your child. It's normal to feel the pain and the deep sadness and anger. But then there also comes a time for healing. I think after a year and a half of grieving, I am finally healing. Don't be afraid to reach out... you can always reach out to me!

And remember, we are surrounded by our angels! <3

Photo credit: The Great Cosmic Shift Blog

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Day # 19 - Support

Don't get me wrong... my family does the best they can to support me. But sometimes... they just don't get it. They don't get why I'm angry, while simple words about children hurt, or more importantly, the negative comments.

However, the majority of my support has been through the online community. I've reached out to two baby loss communities - one on Facebook called Stillborn and Sleeping Babies Support Group and I also reached out on the Baby Center website for their group forum for 2nd/3rd Trimester Pregnancy Loss. Both of these groups have been a tremendous help to me... but these are not the only groups. There are just too many for me to list right now.

Without the support of these groups, there's a chance I would not be here right now. Depression takes you to deep, dark places. Without talking to others who have been through - and survived - what I've been through gives me comfort knowing I am not alone and that others understand my sadness.

I want to thank each and every one of you. 
Especially my readers. 
You have been my support since I started this journey almost 1.5 years ago. 

March of Dimes - Living a New Normal

Monday, March 24, 2014

Day #18 - Release

What do I want to let go of on this journey of grief? 

Deep pain and sadness. I want to release the pain, the fear, the guilt, the anger that has surrounded me for the past year and a half. I want to be able to say (and feel) like I did everything in my power that I could to save my darling angel. I would have traded places with her if I could have. No child deserves to lose their life before having the chance to live it.

I don't want to hurt every single day thinking about her. I want to be grateful that she lived a life without pain and suffering. I want to be scared of the possibility of a future pregnancy loss. I don't want to feel the guilt that I didn't do enough or I should have fought harder or did something different. I don't want the anger I've been holding in and letting out continue to affect me on a day to day basis.

I know my love for her will never go away. I know that the pain of losing her will never go away. But this deep range of emotions and confusion and grief, I want it to turn into something positive. Something that reminds me of her. Something that will forever display be the joy she brings me.

And... I want to be able to talk about her without breaking down into tears. I want to be strong enough to talk to her, to talk about her, to talk freely and be able to raise awareness while doing so. I want her to be proud of me.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Day # 17 - Time

One day shy of 1 year and 5 months...
Almost 73 weeks...
516 days...
12,384 hours...
44,582,400 seconds...

The more and more I look at this... the more it hurts. When I put time into perspective... it seems like just yesterday. To someone else it probably seems like ages. I can't tell you if time has gone fast or has gone slow. It's all a blur.

My daughter and every child deserves a chance at life. It's not fair that my child was lost. It's still bitter. But I also have to look at it like my child never got to see the cruel reality of this world. She was never hurt, picked on, had a scraped knee, or broke a bone. She is pain free with all of our angels and in a place where there is no greater love. 

Tomorrow is March 21st. That will be 1 year and 5 months. 
Each and every day my heart aches to know who my daughter would be today. 
Time doesn't take that ache away. Her memory is always there.
I will always wonder who she would be today.

Kenny Chesney - Who You'd Be Today

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Day # 16 - Seasons

I'm fortunate enough to live in Wisconsin where I am able to experience all four seasons. I love the changing of the seasons... especially winter to spring and summer to fall.

Fall has always been my favorite season. Not too hot, not too cold. It’s just the right time to cuddle up with a blanket in front of a fire. But now the changing of the seasons reminds me of how delicate life is and that nothing –NOTHING – is promised. I no longer think of Halloween when I think of October. I think of October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. (PAIL).

I expected her due date to be late March/early April. So not only do I struggle with October but I struggle with April. You'd think that spring makes people happy (which, don't get me wrong I do enjoy spring) but it comes with a slight bitter feeling that I'm not planning birthday parties for my daughter. By the time I end my Capture Your Grief healing experience I will be just days shy of her expected due date. She was born October 21, 2012. Due April 7, 2013. This year I would be planning her first birthday right now....

Little One Botique Hat

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Day #15 - Wave of Light

I originally participated in the actual wave of light on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day on October 15, 2013. I want to say a special thank you to Crystal Vodoopija for lighting a candle with me J

I am also going to do it again tonight. I'm asking each and every one of you who read this today:

At 7pm would you please light a candle in memory of Ana and other children gone too soon? This would mean so much to me!

I do not have a picture to post until then. Stay tuned and thank you all for supporting me!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Day #14 - Family

I will start out by saying this: I have a large, loving, supportive family that has done the best to cope with my loss (and theirs). I know it's hard for them to speak Ana's name because they have never lost a child and don't know how to support me. I've had some rough times with them... probably each and every one of them... but they really REALLY try to be there for me. I'm grateful for a family like I have.
Only a portion of my loving, supportive family.
Ana's father has two brothers and his parents are both alive. Besides his two brothers, he also has a large extended family. When I lost Ana I didn't know how they would take it since they didn't even know I was pregnant yet. Both of his parents attended the funeral which made me very grateful for their support. However, they have not spoken of Ana since... until this last weekend. I was caught off guard when his mom brought up Ana. It made me smile :)

Ana has a half brother named Julian. He will be turning 4 at the end of this month. He is the closest thing to Ana that I have. While he's not biologically my son, I love him like he is my child. He knows about Ana and has visited her at the grave, but he doesn't quite understand what happened because of his age. I don't want to burden him with something so hard. He just knows his sister is not here and we will see her again some day.

Through all of this, I've found out that blood does not make a family. I've grown a very large, supportive family throughout my loss that I would never have met with different circumstances. My family has grown to be worldwide. Some share the same heartache I do. Some have been there to support me in my darkest of days knowing that I am not alone and that they would call, Facebook, text, Skype, etc at the drop of a hat if I needed them. I am so thankful that Ana has led me to these wonderful people. There are too many to name, but reading this, you know who you are. Our angels will forever dance together in the sky :)
Found on pinterest.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Day # 13 - Book

Written by Robert Munsch.
Illustrated by Sheila McGraw.
Published by Firefly Books, 1995.

From Robert Munsch's official website:

"Love You Forever started as a song.

“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”

I made that up after my wife and I had two babies born dead. The song was my song to my dead babies. For a long time I had it in my head and I couldn't even sing it because every time I tried to sing it I cried. It was very strange having a song in my head that I couldn't sing.

For a long time it was just a song but one day, while telling stories at a big theatre at the University of Guelph, it occurred to me that I might be able to make a story around the song.

Out popped Love You Forever, pretty much the way it is in the book."

Thank you Robert - for writing such a powerful and loving book. I had this book as a child but never understood the depth of the story until I lost Ana. Your book has overwhelmingly helped me heal. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Day #12 - Article

I really can’t pick just ONE article/blog/writer. But I will list the some of the most inspiring work I've come across.

Photo Courtesy of Amanda Eaton Photography
Alyvia Elliot – “Kisses for Claudie”


Sean Hanish – “Return to Zero”


Still Standing Magazine -


CarlyMarie - "Project Heal"

Friday, March 14, 2014

Day #11 - Emotional Triggers

What isn't an emotional trigger?

  •        Walking through a store and seeing a child around the age Ana should be.

  •         The clothing store from which I was never able to buy clothes for her.

  •          My friend’s pregnancy announcements.

  •         The number 21

  •         Places: Driving by the hospital that I gave birth in.

  •         Holidays… especially Christmas. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Day #10 - Belief

Photo courtesy of google image search

Years ago I was active in a church group. However, after some family problems were talked about at church I slowly stopped going then stopped attending church all together. I have the belief that… there is a higher power. I’m not sure who, or what it might be – if there’s really a GOD I don’t know. I’ve struggled with this even more since I lost Ana.

I am by no means religious… but I feel as though MY God and I talk and he knows me and knows my situation. I won’t lie, sometimes I’m mad or angry because IF there’s a God, why would he have taken all of these precious, INNOCENT children from these families that hope so hard for a child? It’s unthinkable. But then there are women that I have met through my grief journey that have just the strongest of faith and in a way I feel like I’m jealous. I feel like they have been able to find comfort and peace… but I cannot. I just don’t know what to believe anymore.

So what I do believe in is angels. And I hope that my Ana is dancing with the angels and the other angel babies. This song makes me wonder what it's like in Heaven... if there is one, is it perfect? Is it free? What do they do?

Dani and Lizzy - Dancing in the Sky

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Day #9 - Music

Music, oh music... where would I be without you. Especially during my loss. When I felt I couldn't get my words out, how I couldn't "feel" because I was numb... music helped me soften the blow. I didn't have anything to look forward to.

Courtesy: Google image search

My daughter was gone. FOREVER. Forever is a very hard, permanent, reality to deal with... shortly after I lost Ana Carrie Underwood’s “See You Again” hit the radio. Similar to Carrie's song, before I knew it, I lost Ana. But this song helps me hold on to the hope that I will one day get to see her again. Until then, I know she will always be here with me.

"Said goodbye, turned around
And you were gone, gone, gone
Faded into the setting sun,
Slipped away
But I won’t cry
Cause I know I’ll never be lonely
For you are the stars to me,
You are the light I follow....
I will see you again, whoa
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
'Til I see you again"

While Let Her Go by Passenger was written in a different context parts of it make me think of her... Feeling alone and empty because I don't have my daughter here... because we tried for years to have a child only to have her taken from us so quickly. I see her in my dreams, I see her when I see other children... and I loved her so much... I had to let her go.

“Staring at the ceiling in the dark, 
same old empty feeling in your heart, 
Cause love comes slow and it goes so fast. 
Well you see her when you fall asleep; 
never to touch and never to keep 
cause you loved her too much 
and you dived too deep.”

I also created a YouTube playlist of songs that remind me of Ana. You can view this list here:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Day #8 - Color

When I think of a color that represents Ana, I think white. White because she's forever an angel... and white because of her innocence. White because I want to think of her dancing in the clouds, maybe bouncing from one to another with her angel friends.

Had she been born alive, I like to think she would have liked pink, purple, and green just like her mother. If I had gotten to dress her, I'm sure her first outfit would have been pink or purple. Or maybe had a zebra print. Oh how I will always wish I had that time with her. To show her the colors of the world and how much there is to see and do.

Ana, I hope the colors from Heaven are brighter than here on Earth. I hope you get to see all the magical colors of the world!

I feel you when the wind blows,
I see you when the sun sets.
Forever my angel.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Day #7 - You Now

As I’m writing this I have passed the one year mark in my grief. I wouldn't say it’s easier, because it’s not. I keep myself busy to keep myself from hurting. But each day that goes by I think of her and I think that she wouldn't want me to be upset and crying every day. 

So I have been trying to take that negative energy and use it for something good, something positive. Each day hurts knowing I’m not pregnant with my rainbow, and that I might never get the chance. But I am STILL a mother. I am a mother to an angel. Here are some of the things I've done:

     1. I've participated in the March of Dime's March for Babies walk in memory of my daughter. I have signed up to do this again in 2014.
Left to Right: Best friend Kim, Sister Jenna, Myself, Best friend Jessica. Back: Cousin Andrea at the March for Babies 2013.

     2. I helped campaign for a movie called Return To Zero becoming a local leader in the state of Wisconsin to help raise awareness. 
Picture I made to campaign for Return to Zero the movie.
The shirt I received for my contribution to the Return to Zero campaign.
     3. I am an admin for the Stillborn and Sleeping Babies Support Group. Though this community I reach out to others who have gone through similar circumstances with hope, love, and understanding. I provide messages of understanding and hope to hundreds of members a month.
Photo Courtesy of Mirren Lucas, Stillborn and Sleeping Support Group
     4. I created Ana's Angels which I intend on doing 30 Random Acts of Kindness in the months of April and October. I am asking the Facebook community to join in with me. If you're interested, please join this event: Ana's Angels - Random Acts of Kindness

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Day #6 - Ritual

Honestly, I do not have a ritual for her. I never was very religious. I don't have a specific set of things or order of things that I do for her. However, the first couple of months after I lost Ana I was really lost… I visited her every month on the 21st to leave her a single rose. This was my way to let Ana know how much I loved her and that she was not forgotten. 

Now that I have passed the one year mark (damn, it burns to type that)… I have decided on a balloon release each year on October 21st. This is something that I will do "religiously" as I want to make sure that she knows I'm thinking of her.

Day #5 - Memory

To keep her memory is why I had started this blog... and I'm sure glad I did. This was the best way for me to write about my memories of her.

The first memory I have is how sore my breasts felt. It didn't matter if I was wearing a bra or not, they hurt. When I moved, when I showered, it didn't matter. They hurt. Then I started feel nauseated. I wasn't getting sick, but it felt like I could be sick. It wasn't until about 6 weeks into my pregnancy that I thought I should take a pregnancy test. From past experience, I would take a test, it would be negative, then shortly after I would get my period. Because of this, I went to the dollar store and picked up a few. 

I took the first one: positive. It couldn't be. I took the second one. Positive. No, this isn't right. I've never seen two lines... it must be broken. Then I went to the drug store and bought two of a different kind and went to my best friends house. Surely the ones I got from the dollar store were wrong.

Well... turns out that I was, in fact, pregnant.

Another memory I have of Ana is the craving I had for fish. I never used to like fish. Once I got pregnant I started craving it and had to have it at least once or twice a week. While I don't eat fish as often as I did while pregnant, once in awhile I like to go out and have fish and every time it reminds me of her. :)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Day #4 - Legacy

A month after I lost Ana I joined a group on Facebook called Stillborn and Sleeping Babies Support Group. Shortly after I joined I was promoted to site administrator. I have, in turn, reached out to hundreds of people who have been affected by pregnancy and/or infant loss (PAIL). 

I’m an advocate for PAIL awareness and speak out for those who can’t. I reach out to mother’s who have experienced a loss like mine and try to provide advice and resources for a grieving heart. I would have never thought about the PAIL community had it not been for Ana. I started a grief blog and I have had many, many people thank me for being so open and honest about my feelings during such a raw time. If I have helped ONE mother through their grief, her legacy will live on.

In addition, I have started what I call Ana's Angels. This is a group of individuals that will help me in keeping Ana's legacy alive by giving to others through Random Acts of Kindness in Ana's name. I've made small business cards to distribute to friends and family to attach to whatever they give/share/help/donate in Ana's name to bring about talk about PAIL awareness.

In the month's of April and October I have challenged my grief by working with Ana's Angels. April because that's the month she was due and October because it's the month I lost her, but it's also PAIL awareness month. I hope you, my readers, will take part in this with me. I will post each of my Random Acts of Kindness on my blog for you to read. Please share your Random Acts of Kindness in memory of Ana here.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Day #3 - Myths

Myths vs Reality via Shutterstock
There are far too many myths about grief to even touch on them. But some of the most important to me are the following:

Myth: Time heals all wounds. It's been 6 months, a year, 5 years, etc. Don't you think you should be over it?

Reality: No, it doesn't heal it. It doesn't go away. The pain might become easier to bear, but it never, EVER goes away. Nothing will ever take the place of my first daughter, even if I have another child down the road. Five years down the road I will still wonder what type of 5 year old I should have in my house. How she should be starting kindergarten, how she should be making friends. I will never get to experience that with her. Time will not heal my wound. I will learn to live with my wounds.

Myth: The best thing we can do is not bring your daughter up.

Reality: This in fact is the complete opposite!! I want you to mention my daughter. I want you to talk about my projects, speak her name, remember her at family gatherings. We tend to remember those who have lived outside the womb when talking about family that has passed. Often forgotten are the ones we lose before we even get to meet them. Please, next time you're around, mention Ana's name.

Myth: It was God's plan.

Reality: I've struggled with faith for awhile now. But every time I hear someone say my loss was "God's will" or "God's way" or "God's way of telling you something" REALLY angers me. I really had to do some digging and research here on what is actually said. Honestly, I don't have time to read the whole Bible before writing this, but I came across a website that mentioned the following (below) and I think this is a great way to look about supporting someone in grief. 

"The Bible makes this important distinction: life provides minimal support but God provides maximum love and comfort. Calling a tragic loss the "will of God" can have a devastating impact on the faith of others.

When statements of faith are to be made, they should focus upon God's love and support through grief. Rather than telling people, "It was the will of God," a better response is to gently suggest, "God is with you in your pain," "God will help you day to day," or "God will guide you through this difficult time." Rather than talking about God "taking" a loved one, it is more theologically accurate to place the focus upon God "receiving and welcoming" a loved one." (
Myth: You're still young, you still have time to have a child.
Reality: According to the Mayo Clinic, the quality of eggs after 30 can go down and you might ovulate less frequently, even if you're still having regular periods. I turn 30 this year. I've already had so much trouble trying to conceive that I am very worried about being able to become pregnant again. 
Courtesy: Southern California Center for Reproductive Medicine

Everyone has a different reality. Please try to keep that in mind when speaking about grief.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Day #2 - Identity

There's so much to say about her identity. In her brief 16 weeks inside of me she created so much warmth and happiness. She made me smile when I was sick. I was just starting to feel the flutters of her kicks.

When she was born still in the emergency room, the nurse told me I had a baby boy. It wasn't until two days later when I received the autopsy results that they told me my baby boy was actually the baby girl I had always wanted. 

In the first two days of my grief there was a lot to think about, name, funeral arrangements, obituary, etc. Since I was told she was a he, I had already named her Gabriel Victor… but then had to change all of the funeral arrangements and her name to fit who she really was. 

So what did I do? I named her Anabelle Luz and gave her her father’s last name. So I named her Anabelle: Ann for my middle name, and belle because she’s such a beautiful part of me. Luz means light in Spanish, and she truly is the light of my life. I will never forget the day she was born… very early on Sunday October 21, 2012… on her father’s birthday. She will always be a very special part of us.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Day #1 - Sunrise

I can honestly say that during the last year I have not spent many mornings awake early enough to capture a glimpse of the sun rising. This past year I have found myself buried in the comfort of my bed during the early morning hours. While I was never an early riser, I certainly couldn't think of a reason to get out of bed. 

Leading up to my loss, I had started looking forward to early mornings with my daughter. After I lost her, I really found no reason to be awake. I was drowning in my grief. However, I do remember not being able to sleep the first few nights and watching the sun rise tore my heart apart. The sunrise symbolizes a fresh start, a new day. But, you see, I dreaded each new morning because it was a new day without my daughter. A day I would never be able to get back. 

To this day, I still wake up each morning with a heavy heart… But now I’m up before the sunrise for a job that I think Ana has led me to. Therefore, this morning I decided to finally snap a picture of the sunrise.

While I was taking the picture I thought... what better of a place to watch the sun rise and set than in Heaven? I hope my daughter gets to see EVERY sunrise and EVERY sunset.

Ana's Angels - Random Acts of Kindness

Ana's due date was April 7, 2013. Today is March 4th, 2014. If Ana had been born closer to her due date and had lived, I would be planning my daughter's first birthday party. Normally, friends and family would come and give gifts. Since Ana is not here on Earth, I wanted a way to celebrate the life that she did have and the amazing life she's given me.

I am asking all of my friends and family to participate in 30 random acts of kindness from April 1, 2014 to April 30, 2014. I want to do this to give back to others like Ana has given so much to me. I'm starting this campaign on April 1st and doing AT LEAST one random act of kindness a day until April 30th. By no means do you have to stop! Each act of kindness makes this world a better place!

Please check back here for a post from each day in April in memory of Ana!

You can also join me on the Ana's Angels' Facebook page: 
Ana's Angels - Random Acts of Kindness event page: