Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010

Christmas was a whirlwind!  We spent a lot of time together and it was very peaceful!  It was very important to instill in Jeremy some family traditions.

We baked plates of cookies for the Sheriff's Department & Social Services.  We want to teach Jeremy that Christmas is about showing your appreciation for others, especially those who work hard to keep us safe.  This will hopefully be an annual bake-a-thon!

Savannah got a new festive Flowerball!

We took a carriage ride...

We saw Santa and his fabulous emeral green chair...

We set up the train set to go around the Christmas tree and put out the presents....

We went to Church on Christmas Eve...

And then we all went to bed and anxiously awaited what Santa would bring...

Later that afternoon, it started to snow....and snow....and snow more!

We were aware that someone very important to us was missing, but we tried to focus on our blessings and look forward to the year ahead.  Hope is something we can never give up on, and we have turned to our faith to get us through the difficult times while being so thankful for everything we have been blessed with.

Many blessings to you today and tomorrow and always!
~ Shannon

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards and the impact she has left behind...

I'm sure most of you heard this week that Elizabeth Edwards lost her 6 year battle with cancer.  No one can deny what an outstanding woman, leader, mom, or example she was.  Earlier this week, I made a comment about the loss and placed a small dig about her being misguided as a Democrat.  While Democrats and I do not see eye to eye on many issues, primarily abortion, I didn't really have any idea of just how amazing Elizabeth was.

For example, I had no idea that she had lost her son 14 years ago in a freak car accident or how that same year she established a foundation in his memory.  After watching all 1 hour and 23 minutes of her funeral, I learned about how she visited her son, Wade's grave, to whose side she is now buried, each and every day until the day she gave birth to her daughter.  I didn't know that she read him the bible, poetry, and other literary works at his gravesite.  I didn't know that she tended to him, brought new flowers, and while cleaning off his grave after a storm, would also clean the graves of those buried with him.  She knew their names and their stories.  I had no idea how much Elizabeth & I had in common, although I am certainly not comparable to her.

She had the ability to always be brave and look at the bright side of things.  Even in the face of death, she spent years writing letters to her children filled with advice and love for them to treasure even after she was gone.  She was smart, very smart, had a great sense of humor and the ability to laugh at herself.  She was so much more than a politician's wife.

As I grieve over the loss of an amazing woman, I have to tell you how wrong I was to initially post a dig about her being a Democrat.  Cancer has no likeness of political party, and whatever her beliefs, she was strong and convicted, the same way I am in my beliefs.  While I wish that I would have learned more about her sooner, I can follow the example that she set.  Amidst great turmoil, embarrassment, and shame, she carried herself with dignity, grace, and hope.  She never felt like a victim.

I would be lying to you if I didn't think to myself regularly, "Why me?" or "Why Savannah?"  Savannah's life was a blessing to me, each and every day of those 40 weeks and 3 days.  She has given me hope to persevere in the midst of doubt and anger.  We cannot advance in life if we aren't willing to take risks.  Savannah has inspired others with her story, her life, and the life lessons that her life has taught our family.

Just as Elizabeth Edwards has done, each week, when I visit Savannah and clean her grave site, I hope that one day, after I am gone, that Jeremy will do the same.  I pray that he will also lovingly take care of Savannah's neighbors.  A very dear and wise friend told me about how she would visit the graves of her parents, kneel down, and clean them with Pledge.  I had never thought about using Pledge before.  I purchased a can and one Sunday, after Church, I cleaned her grave.  As I stood back, I noticed how clean and shiny her headstone was.  I thought to myself, it's not fair that the others do not have nice and shiny headstones.  They are no less loved than Savannah even though they may not be visited as frequently.  I wanted to get home to Jeremy and Eric.  I started to walk back to my car and thought, I don't have enough paper towels to do it today.  I will do it next time.  As I opened up the back to put away my pledge and brush, there sat a brand new roll of paper towels.  I knew it was Savannah telling me to take care of her friends.  It took me nearly an hour to clean off the stones of nearly 40 other babies that are buried with Savannah.  But I know it's what she wanted me to do.  I never planned to share this story, but it's just one example of how she continues to speak through me.

I depend on Savannah and I look to her when I am in doubt.  I look to her for comfort when I am missing her so dearly.  I ask Jeremy questions about her because I want him to know all about his sister.  She will always be a part of our family and even though I want her here with me every second of every minute of every day, I know she is in a better place.  I know she is with God in a paradise that I can only imagine.  I know that people that I loved so dearly on this Earth are taking care of her, enjoying her, and holding her hand for me until we are reunited. 

She has taught me that I have to move on and move forward.  I know in my heart that Savannah's work on Earth was done, but I have more work to do.  I have wondered why God took Savannah and not me.  After all, I have lived a good life, had many opportunities, found true love, got married, and had a family.  I have been very blessed.  This is I'm sure what each mother dreams of for the life of their daughter.  Each of us has a mission and what we choose to do with it, make of it, or simply choose to ignore it is up to us.  I had an opportunity to use my skills and talents and passions for good and I strive each day to do that because it's what Savannah would have wanted.  No one cares about me or my accomplishments.  It is Savannah whose life and story would impact so many.  It is Savannah who has impacted this world.  I am only her Mother and her voice, but the messages I share are undoubtedly hers.

So, I apologize to Elizabeth Edwards and anyone who was offended with my words.  She was an amazing woman, and her legacy & everything that she stood for in this world will last long into the future.

Love to you & your family,

Monday, November 15, 2010

October & November Happenings...

Hi Everyone!

I know it's been awhile since I have posted on here.  I guess I just found it difficult to put into words all the different feelings that I have been having lately.  So, here's what's been going on!

We had a great Halloween in our new neighborhood.  It's known as the hottest place in town and we were ready!  With over 500 pieces of chocolate, we were prepared for the masses!  We carved the pumpkins and made Halloween cookies for the neighbors.  We love our neighbors!!  I can't say enough good things about them!  It's like having 2 sets of parents/grandparents for Jeremy!!  And the best part is that they don't call the cops on us when the dogs get out.  Although, they really don't get out anymore, but I'm sure if they did, they would let us know and return them. 

Jeremy was the Cookie Monster for Halloween.  This costume is so special to me because my Mom made it nearly 40 years ago.  All 3 of my sisters and myself have worn it as well as my neice, Madilyn.  Jeremy actually wore it last year too, but sadly, he caught the Swine Flu the day before so he was quarantined in the house.  I was worried that it might not fit, but it did and he loved it!  We had a hard time keeping the top part on, but we were able to bribe Jeremy for a few pictures.

Before we went Trick-Or-Treating, we spent the day at Busch Gardens for Hallow-Scream!  It wasn't scary during the daytime and Jeremy really enjoyed being able to ride all the rides one last time before the season closed.  He even got to meet Cookie Monster himself!

 After Halloween, we taught Jeremy about All Saints Day and how it's a very special day that we get to remember his Sissy, Savannah.  We also took the time to remember each of his great-grandparents who live in Heaven, as well as some of our fish who didn't survive the move.  I'm fairly certain he has a good understanding.

Last week, I underwent surgery to try to repair my "reproductive organs" in the hopes of having successful pregnancies in the future.  I had 6 different procedures done and according to Eric, everything went very well.  In fact, they showed him pictures and handed him a video, which in turn, made him toss his cookies.  I have no interest in seeing such things but I am interested in listening to the commentary during the surgery.  We'll see if I can build up the stomach for that! 

As I am recovering and getting back on my feet, we are preparing for Eric to have knee surgery next week.  We are hopeful that it will be successful and in a few months once he is recovered, they will operate on the other knee.  We ask for prayers for his safe surgery and speedy recovery.  This year's Thanksgiving will be courtesy of Fresh Market.  I know how much Eric enjoys all of the Thanksgiving goodies, and I'm hoping he will have his appetite back quicker than I did.

We are very excited and looking forward to celebrating our 1st Thanksgiving & Christmas in our new home!  I cannot wait to set up the Christmas Tree and train that runs around it and watch Jeremy open up his presents from Santa.  We are looking forward to starting some of our own family traditions.  One tradition that I am looking forward to (and I'm sure Eric is too) is not participating in Thanksgiving evening/Black Friday madness.  Each year I have been there with the best of them, but we are trying, as a family, to take everything in and just really enjoy each other.

Until next time,
~ Shannon

Saturday, October 16, 2010

October 15th 2010

Today we celebrated Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone on my Facebook Page because I have been talking about it for over a week now. Sometimes its frustrating because most people know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day doesn’t get a lot of attention. I would have never known about it either if we hadn’t lost Savannah, and I’m sure most of my Baby Loss Mommy friends would say the same.
We spent the day visit with Eric’s Grandmother. She is such a sweet lady who has lived a life of culture and experiences. She was the 1st woman Mayor of the town of Des Peres, a suburb outside of St. Louis. She was a proud Navy wife as well as Surgeon’s wife. She was very active in local and national politics, even later in life. She was a phenomenal artist and we are so proud to display some of her pieces in our home. Sadly, now, she lives in a nursing home and suffers from dementia.

She was excited to see us, but mostly Jeremy, whose smile can brighten any room he enters. We visited and then had a nice dinner with some other extended family. When we got back to the hotel, we lit Savannah’s candle and spent an hour reflecting, talking, and sharing stories. It is amazing to think of how many lives she has touched, how many hearts she has warmed, and how much love she has brought to our family. Today was no different because we honor her and remember her every day, but today we also remembered all of the other babies who left this Earth too soon, including Savannah’s 3 brothers and sisters. It’s hard for me to say it out loud. I have been pregnant 5 times but I have one baby. It’s easy to lose faith that we will ever have another, but we have faith in God and know that whatever he wants for us, we will take.

To anyone reading this who has lost a baby too soon, we remember your baby as well and our candle lit bright for each and every baby. We hope that this wave of light across the world brings awareness, hope, and love to each of the families left behind. We hope that today was a day of peace and that as you remember your baby, you realize that whatever the circumstances, you did the best you could with what you knew at the time. May each baby rest in eternal peace and watch over you and keep you safe.

Pig Races, Krispy Crème Hamburgers, and Danny Gokey. Oh MY!

On Thursday, we traveled to Raleigh to see Danny Gokey in concert. I was super excited to see the live performance of an artist whose music really helped me get in touch with my deep dark feelings of grief over the loss of Savannah. I thought since he only had one album that he would only be playing 4 or 5 songs. We arrived at the North Carolina State Fair and it was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I have been to a fair before but nothing like this! It was almost overwhelming. They had all of the fair favorites ~ funnel cakes, corn dogs, corn on the cob, and fresh (I think) lemonade. I was shocked at the lack of healthy choices and felt like my arteries were clogging up just by being around so much fried food. Who knew that you could fry candy bars, ho-hos, and twinkies? I think I remember hearing about it once, but I didn’t think it was actually true. Well, today as we were walking, I saw a sign for “Krispy Crème Cheeseburgers.” I thought I must be reading the sign wrong. I wasn’t. Check out what this looks like (note ~ I did NOT eat one, but I found the concept intriguing enough to take a picture).

We walked around and I noticed that every food choice was available from a different vendor about every 20 feet so if you missed one funnel cake trailer, there was another one selling the exact same thing in about a 60 second walk. I have never seen anything like this! We came across a pig race. I also have heard about these but never saw one live nor did I think they were actually done in like a side-show fashion. The pigs were cute, then the goats, and then some ducks. Now I can say that I have attended a pig race. It’s always good to be cultured, right?

Finally, it was time to get into the concert and get in line for the Meet & Greets. We found our seats and I headed off, leaving Eric and Jeremy behind. I was surprised at how many people were there, how large the stadium was, and how many people were really crazy about meeting Danny Gokey. I had no idea he was so popular. We walked back down below the stage, around and around, past his dressing room and into a large room with mirrors on one side. I was somewhere in the middle of the line. Finally, Danny came into the room and began taking pictures and signing autographs. While I was waiting, I was behind a great group of older ladies (probably around my mom’s age) and they all had matching T-shirts on that supported Danny’s Charity. The lady behind me was chatting about where I was from and when I told her Virginia, she said that the ladies in front of me were from Texas. I asked if they were in town for something else and they informed me that they only traveled to attend Danny’s concert and that they had been to the last 25 concerts he had. I was shocked! That is some dedication. I asked the ladies if I was correct in thinking Danny would only be doing 4 or 5 songs because I knew with a concert starting at 7:30pm and Jeremy’s usual bedtime being 8pm, our time before meltdown city was limited. She said that when he opened for Tim (McGraw) that he did 4 or 5 songs but since he was headlining, he did a whole 14 song set! Oops, I guess I misspoke! And who knew that the North Carolina State Fair was considered “headlining?”

It was a great concert and Eric and Jeremy lasted for 5 songs and I wanted to stay until I heard the song that meant the most to me, “I Will Not Say Goodbye.” I was worried when he started singing songs that weren’t on his CD but from his American Idol Days. Since that song is his current single, I was worried he might do that one last. Luckily, it was the next song. YAY! I was very moved that he dedicated it to anyone present who had lost someone special and to all of the military men & women serving our country. It was very sweet and I cried through much of it, but sometimes, that’s what you need to do right at that moment.

And somehow, that’s exactly what I needed. With today being October 14th and tomorrow being October 15th ~ National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day, it was so meaningful. Since I am away and won’t be doing radio interviews this year, like I did last year, I am looking forward to a peaceful day reflecting on what was and what is, not on what should have been. I will never be able to change what happened that day, even though I would give my life in a second to switch places with her. I accept Savannah for who she is, where she lives, and what she means to my family. We love her with all of our hearts and will always keep her alive within us. Her treasures are still here to share and we will keep sharing them until we are together again.

I read a quote today that said there are 2 things as parents we should bequest our children: one is roots and the other is wings. Savannah has both, so I guess as parents, we have done our job. But then again, a parent’s job is never really over, is it?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Struggles as a Parent...

Hey Everyone ~ Thanks for joining me and our family for another week!  As most weeks, it has been a challenge mixed with joy and accomplishment.  Our Foster Daughter is continuing to make great progress and is continueing to adjust and bond with us.  Jeremy is still learning to adjust but is doing better.

Today we attended a birthday party for a good family friend of ours and of Jeremy's.  It was a great party at a park in Williamsburge underneath a pavillion and it was great fun despite the rain.  Our Foster Daughter, as usual, like to explore and walk around as much as possible.  Think about it ~ if you spent nearly 3 years in a pack and play, wouldn't you want to explore as much as possible?  She played with the other children and seemed to get a little frustrated as they ran around the pavillion because her little legs just weren't quite strong enough, but she continues to make progress being in the different social settings that we have exposed her to.

One of the gifts in the "Goodie Bag" was a light up toy.  I have seen these before.  They have a handle and a ball at the top that lights up and swirls around in the ball on top.  Anyway, the kids really enjoyed them and have been chasing them around the house.  Great toy for rainy days when we can't go outside to play!

Jeremy was playing and chasing our Foster Daughter and bumped her in the forehead.  Eric and I took the toy away and Eric decided to take it a step further.  While Jeremy cried, Eric took the toy and broke it in front of Jeremy.  I did not agree with this and felt it was uncalled for and unneccessary.  Not so lovingly, I told Eric that it was wrong and something his father would have done.  Boy, were those fighting words!

Instead of being angry with me, he went to Jeremy and apologized, nearly in tears.  I know Eric doesn't want to be anything like his father, and we are committed to parenting with love and using each mistake as an opportunity for learning.  This lesson, however, was more for the grownups.  While Eric would not be happy that I am sharing this story with you, I think it provides insight into a deeper lesson that we all need to learn.  Most people take the way that they were parented and incorporate the good while leaving the bad behind.  Sometimes, we all have those moments, where we act or speak just as we swore would never do.  I'm sure my husband can provide many examples where I speak or act just like my mother, and to me, that's not always such a bad thing.  I am proud of the way I was raised and appreciate my parents so much more now that I am a parent.

It's easy to focus on the flaws of others, especially our parents.  It is entirely different to have a quality that you find so unfavorable of your parents pointed out to you as you make a mistake.  There are lots of things that Eric and I wish to do differently.  We take being parents very seriously and are very involved in our children's lives and upbringing.  There are many MANY instances of things that have happened to us that would NEVER happen to our children because of our parenting and because of who we are raising our children to be.  We are not perfect, but we certainly wish to instill the values and morals in our children that we find important to raising responsible, respectful, and productive adults.  My children are a reflection of my parenting and I take that very seriously.

This week, Savannah got new flowers.  I had the idea of a hanging basket that a friend of mine does for her brother's gravesite.  Being a Wedding Planner, I had the idea of a flower ball that a flower girl might carry but on a larger scale.  It turned out lovely and I was able to place it in the middle of Savannah's neighbors so that all of the babies can enjoy her flowers.

I will post a few pictures later ~ but props to the Floral Department at Ben Franklin in Newport News.  They do the BEST work!

I think that's all for now.  I wish you all much love and peace from our home to yours.
~ Shannon

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Where does being "right" really get us?

I have often wondered where does being in the right really get you at the end of the day?  You can have all the facts and have all of your ducks in a row, only to point out someone else's faults or shortcomings or beliefs.  Maybe you proved your point, but at what cost?  What good comes out of being right?

In life, we are taught not to be "righteous."  What does that even mean really? defines righteous as (1) morally right or justifiable of a person or conduct (2) perfectly wonderful, fine and genuine.  I could make lots of arguements about situations (I'm sure we all could) about times and situations and conflicts where we were right.  Whether it was a decision by a friend that you found to be hurtful or political views or a situation involving someone else's family, there are lots of times when we only have our eyes open to our views and nothing can stray us from that strong belief.  I have often been called strong-willed and opinionated and full of convictions.  I always thought this was a good thing and something that defines me as a person.  I have no problem telling off someone who stole my parking spot at the commissary or who cut in front of my grandmother at line at the grocery store or even the doctors at the hospital where Savannah was born.

I think we can all agree that my blame towards that doctor and the hospital is rightly so, but at the end of the day, what good comes from it?  Being right about sensing something was wrong didn't prevent Savannah's death.  I can't make her come back.  Monday quarter-backing only does so much since we can't go back and re-do anything.  The self-blame that I feel over what happened is something that I can never let go of and don't get me wrong ~ I rightfully so blame that doctor.  But what good does it do?  Does it put me ahead of anyone else?

Calling out a friend on a decision that she made that was hurtful to me, making her feel bad about herself and pointing out a mistake ~ really, what good did that do?  How many times have I said or done something stupid and been fortunate enough to have friends and family that love me and we able to give me a pass?  Why can't I do that to others?  Why is it so important to be right in an argument?  What did I really succeed in doing, other than making someone else whom I care about feel badly about their thoughts or words or actions?

In dealing with my grief, I cannot let the ignorant things that others say get to me and in the same respect, I should not feel free to tell them so.  I need to continue to practice restraint and reflection and thinking before I speak or act.  Do I really need to honk at that person who cut me off?  At the end of the day, what good came from all of that nonesense?  It certainly isn't something I want to teach my children and it doesn't reflect well upon me as a member of society.

I think this is a good lesson for everyone to learn ~ think before you act or speak and really reflect on all the times people gave you passes when you said or did something that you're not proud of and make sure to give those passes away freely to others.  Being right does not make you a better person and at the end of the day, being righteous only makes for a close-minded person.  Make sure to practice lots of unconditional love.  Now that is something I want to teach my children and a personality trait I want to be known for!  :)

Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!!
~ Shannon

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Back to School...

Well, here we are at the night before Jeremy's 1st Day at School.  Tomorrow is "Meet You Teacher" Day and we are so excited.  I have gone through all of his clothes and tried to find just the right outfit for him.  He has his new backpack packed and ready to go!  I will try to remember to add some pictures tomorrow so check back!  I got him the cutest backpack with his first name embroidered on the front.  I had to check with Eric to make sure it was OK to put his name on the label on the inside.  I was warned about kids making fun of other kids for things like this, but I'm pretty sure at 3 years old, it's still OK.  I don't know who is more excited for school tomorrow ~ Jeremy or ME!!

We had his 3 year well baby appointment and school physical on Friday.  For the first time in a VERY long time, I was able to answer YES to every question on the developmental paperwork.  If it's been awhile since you've filled one out, they ask a bunch of questions to gauge your child developmentally.  One question was "Can your child say his first and last name?"  You're choices are "Yes," "Sometimes," or "No."  Jeremy had some trouble with his speech and the last time we filled this out, he had a few different things that I had to answer no to because we had never tried them.  So this time, I was very excited to answer all yes! Actually, there was one question that I had to answer no to.  It had to do with scissors.  We haven't let Jeremy play with scissors yet.  Call me a bad Mom if you must, but we just haven't done that yet. 

Little did I know, he had managed to find some scissors and take some chunks out of his hair which was just recently cut.  I walked around the corner with the laundry and caught him with scissors and quickly took them away.  I figured he must have just picked them up because he looked OK to me and he said "I want a haircut."  He had just had his hair cut a few days earlier so I didn't think much of it.  Well, today, Eric noticed 2 different bald spots that I had apparently missed.  So, I guess we can go back and check "Yes" to the scissors question after all.  It's really not that noticeable unless you are looking for it, but very funny just the same.  I will have to take some pictures for the Baby Book.

Here is a picture of the "real" haircut.  What a ham!!  Picture to come of the "alteration."

One of the questions had a drawing of a snowman but it was missing some of the facial features, an arm, and a leg.  The question along side it said something like "Ask your child what this is.  Appropriate answers are a snowman, man, woman, person."  What did Jeremy think it was?  A Monster!  I hope the doctor got a little laugh out of that one.

Other than that, the most exciting news we have to share is that our foster daughter has become a walker!!  After spending the weekend at Water Country, we wore her little legs out.  Tuesday, while at the eye doctor getting her eyes checked and waiting during the eye dialation phase, we went out in the hallway and walked up and down.  Whenever she would get back down on her knees, I would pick her back up and off she would go.  I am sure it was just a matter of building her confidence.  Let me tell you ~ now she is a walking fool!  The eye appointment resulted in her needing to wear an eye patch rotating on both eyes.  I feel so badly for her.  We haven't started yet, but I think tomorrow will be a good day.  I was thinking about putting one on Jeremy and myself so we can all wear them together.  Now there's a photo op!

I am getting ready to send out another mass email with pictures, so if you aren't already on the list, send me an email and I will put you on the distribution list.  We are so happy to share our little Love Bug with our family and friends.

We are also planning for our trip to North Carolina in October.  It seems that all of the Charity Events, Community Activities, and Meetings all are planned over the dates we will be gone.  Doesn't it always work out that way?  Oh well.  Onward and Upward!
I hope everyone has a great week ahead!

~ Shannon

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Infant Bereavement Kits have been delivered!!

It has been a long summer and as always, my family and I have been very busy with activities.  We very much enjoy the hustle and bustle of life and are always up for a new adventure.  This summer, with Jeremy busy with camp, I decided that I needed a summer project.  There is an earlier post about the making of the infant bereavement kits.  It was a challenge to say the least, but I started the project and gave myself an end date of Labor Day.

Well, I am 3 days late on my delivery, but these kits were delivered tonight to the head of the Labor & Delivery unit at Mary Immaculate Hospital in Newport News, VA.  I had been talking to the Chaplain at the hospital and she knew these kits were in the works but I was eager to get them out of the house since there, they cannot help anyone.

The nurses were very gracious and grateful and seemed surprised that these were put together by a Mom with no agenda other than to help another family, or 30 to be precise.

The final breakdown was this:

Infant Bereavement Kit Contents:

* Handmade Baby Blanket
* Disposable Camera
* Ink Pad & Cardstock for hand & foot prints
* Forget-Me-Not seeds
* Autographed Book "Hope for Parents Who Have Lost Children"
* Brochure and Coupon for "Remember Me Bears"
* Current list of local and online resources
* Personal Letter of Support

The bags were divided and seperated based on the contents.  Of the 30 bags:

* 6 preemie (for 18-22 weekers) bags ~ 2 boys, 1 girl, 2 gender neutral, and 1 bag for twins
* 24 regular sized bags ~ 9 boys, 10 girls, and 5 gender neutral

I would like to thank everyone who supported me in this project:

* Sweet Pea Project for donating the blankets
* Geoffrey Jowett for discounting the books and autographing each one
* Gale Rendon from Remember Me Bears
* The Marshall Family
* Anyone who supported me with prayers and encouragement

My hope is that these kits will bring peace and confort in a time of great distress and pain.  This is one of the best ways I could think of to honor Savannah.  I know that she works through me each and every day to make a difference in the lives of others.  I am honored to share her treasures and although I miss her dearly, I know she is safe and warm and I will see her again someday.

What have you done today to make someone else's life brighter?  Sometimes all it takes is a smile.

“Sometimes your best success comes after your greatest disappointment.”

Blessings to you!
~ Shannon

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Growth and Grief

This week has continued to be full of blessings, joys, and challenges.

On Monday, we spent the day in Richmond. We visited with our good friends and then headed over to the Children’s Museum. It was our first visit and was so much fun! We stayed until nearly closing time. Both children were able to explore and learn in such a fun and unique environment.

On Tuesday, our foster daughter had an appointment to check her hearing. I thought this test would be a piece of cake compared to the testing she had last week. However, she wanted nothing to do with the room or the sounds. In fact, I started to think it was because of me because she tends to have a stronger bond with Eric. We were able to get her in for a few hours later with Eric to try again. Unfortunately, it was not me because she flipped out the same way for Eric. The next step is to sedate her, which does not make me happy, but it’s the only way to know what type of hearing loss she has and what we can do about it.

Wednesday, I took her to see the allergy doctor. While in the waiting room, she walked about 10 steps all by herself unassisted. When she got to the counter, she reached for the keyboard and began to push the buttons. I was elated and so proud of her. Each and every day, she is making progress and strengthening those little legs.  She did not care for the allergy doctor either, but this was not to be overshadowed by her walking!

Thursday, she had her first developmental therapy appointment. She did very well but she prefers to snuggle with me, which doesn’t bother me one bit! She plays very well with Jeremy, who is still learning to share his toys. He helps pick up her bottle when she drops it and will occasionally hand her toys. It is so heart-warming to watch them interact. I know that once she starts walking and eating, it will be hard for her not to want to be just like Jeremy and do all the things that he does. She can climb a whole flight of stairs and has learned from Jeremy how to throw toys down a flight of stairs, but it’s hard to discipline her when her face lights up and she laughs the most adorable laugh I have ever heard!

I was asked to speak at the Eastern Virginia Perinatal Council Thursday afternoon and share Savannah’s story. I was honored to do it and was hopeful that Hurricane Earl would not interfere. I was able to talk about Savannah and share her life and her treasures with a room full of people and I am sure that no one in that room will ever be the same after hearing her story. I know that Savannah changed their lives because she speaks through me. I am simply the messenger. As a gift, they gave me a beautiful butterfly wind chime which will look awesome on Savannah’s Tree ~ the Weeping Cherry Tree that we planted in her memory this past Easter, the same weekend we moved into our new house.  It's not exactly weeping with the large growths at the top, but it looks so pretty with pink flowers in the springtime.

The speech and reliving what happened brought up many feelings that I was surprised I still felt. If there was anything I could change about what happened with everything, I would have changed the things that I held back from saying at the Patient Care Conference with the doctors at Langley. If I could go back, I would look that doctor in the eye and say:

How dare you sit here, not look me in the eye, and let all of these other knucklehead doctors speak for you and ramble on about nothing that had to do with my questions. All I needed to hear you say is that you were sorry, you made a mistake in judgment, and you will never do it again. How can you tell me that you would perform an elective c-section for a woman who simply did not want to deal with incontinence issues but it would be a bad decision medically to induce me with all of my legitimate medical concerns and history at 39 weeks? Why did you make the additional risk for C-section be such a huge deal when it meant that my baby would have been born alive? I really hope that you enjoyed your time with your husband that night when I called 30 times in panic and terror when I knew that something was wrong with my baby and that stupid midwife wouldn’t call you at home. I hope she feels very powerful as the gatekeeper of the labor and delivery department instead of asking me to come in and get checked. And for you to say that you supported her decision? I really hope that that dinner at Outback or the Olive Garden that night was really worth it because it came at the price of my daughter’s life. I know you said that you did nothing wrong but I hope that when you are in the privacy of your own home, you think about Savannah and about how I will forever visit my daughter in a cemetery. I hope each time you look at your twins that you think of me, my empty arms, and my daughter in Heaven. All I ever needed to hear was that you would never make that kind of mistake again and when a mom is in panic, you take her seriously. That’s it. That’s all I got!

It has been a long time since I have been so angry, probably months! I went to sleep last night listening to my Anger & Forgiveness Meditation and it calmed me to sleep. I have had many good days lately ~ weeks of them. But for some reason as I was trying to fall asleep in bed, I began re-living those days. I thought about everything I said and how I tried to be polite and respectful to the doctors and hospital administrators. That was my one opportunity when I could have changed the lives of each of those doctors in that room and I blew it. I let them talk over me and ramble on and on about nothing, trying to confuse me. Nothing got accomplished at that meeting and I understand that they were limited legally on what they could say. I hope that somewhere, somehow, in some little tiny way, each of them will be a little bit different in how they practice medicine. I realize that is a long shot, but I can hope. I have often thought about having another Patient Care Conference, but I just don’t think it would do any good. After getting letters from my attorney, I don’t think I would ever hear any of the things from anyone at that hospital I am looking for. I just hope and pray that no one will ever have to go through what we went through, not at that hospital or any hospital.

Friday, we waited out the Hurricane, which luckily turned east shortly before coming anywhere close to landfall, so all we received was some rain and a little wind. Saturday, we visited Water Country again. We wanted to squeeze in one last visit before it closes for the summer. The kids had fun and were worn out and ready for baths and bed by the time we got home.

Today’s reading at Church provided much opportunity for reflection. The second reading, particularly, was about a man named Paul who had a slave named Onesimus. He was freed and sent back to Paul, but instead of continuing to treat him as a slave, he welcomed him back as a brother. Then, the Gospel of Luke was very influential as well. “"If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” I am not one to quote Bible verses and pretend to know what I am talking about or spread some crazy message, but the homily that followed made these readings very thought-provoking to me, which is rather unusual.  Faith is something that is private that my family and I share, but we never push it on anyone else.

We have been blessed with so much family and many dear friends in our lives. In fact, we were in shock of how many people rallied around us with love, support, and prayer after we lost our daughter, Savannah. But, we are not without our share of disappointment and drama, for lack of better terms. Family and friends are such a blessing, but unfortunately, there are times when they become the object of much pain and sorrow. This is such the case with some family of my husband’s. It got to the point where we, as a family, made the decision to love unconditionally from afar, but not speak or communicate at all with them. It became a very toxic situation and my husband and I had to make a decision to protect our children. It is sad that our children will never know that side of the family, but I trust that our daughter, Savannah, is watching over them and praying for them, as she is us. It has become evident to me that these certain family members have discovered this blog. The purpose of this blog is to help others and to deal with my own grief and pain. I have been very open in sharing my feelings and some of the happenings in our family. However, having a relationship with us and with our family is a privilege and not a right.

While none of us has hate in our heart, we do still have anger and hurt. For this reason, we only surround ourselves with good people who wish us well, not harm. We continue to raise our children and love each other and our families and friends as we have been taught to love and we try every day to work on not being judgmental. We are not perfect and have never claimed to be. But we work hard every day to do the right thing for God, for our family and friends, to lead by example to our children, and to give back to the community to which we belong. We try to be forgiving and we are, but we will never forget and therefore some people will always remain part of our past and not our future.

We look forward to the weeks ahead ~ apple picking, hayrides and pumpkin patches, cornfield mazes, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and a very special Birthday Party. We are planning some trips in the coming months. I am very excited to meet Danny Gokey. Some of you many remember him from Season 8 of American Idol, but sadly, that was around the end of my pregnancy with Savannah and I didn’t watch it at all. He lost his wife in surgery after a life-long battle with a heart condition. To honor her and fulfill his promise to her, he tried out for American Idol just weeks after her death. I found him on CMT. He has a song that really has affected me. The lyrics are on the right hand side of the blog, but the video is so powerful. It is a tear-jerker for sure, but it came on the TV randomly one day when I had CMT on for background noise. It came at a time when I really needed to cry and cry long and hard. I do not for one second believe that it was a coincidence. We have been emailing back and forth about how his music has touched my heart and my life. I encourage you to watch the video and you will see what I mean.

Danny Gokey ~ I Will Not Say Goodbye

Our foster daughter LOVES music and loves to dance!  I would love to get her into some type of music therapy one day.  For now, we just enjoy her each and every day and look forward to the day when she officially becomes part of our family, although she became family the day she came through our front door.

Until next time, may you enjoy your blessings and open your heart for whatever God has in store!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bring on the Fall!

It is the time of year that I used to hate as a child ~ going back to school.  I remember being so anxious and worried about my clothes and hair and having brand name school supplies.  At least to me at the time, that was most important.  Although, I went to private school and wore a uniform, so more important than brand name clothes was having trendy shoes.  This was a hard feat to accomplish growing up, although having 2 older sisters didn't hurt.  I got a lot of hand-me-downs or re-runs as I used to call them.  As a parent, I remember these things growing up and go to quite a bit of trouble to make sure that Jeremy has K-swiss tennis shoes and brand name clothing and backpacks.  Does this make me a snob?  I suppose, but there are worse things to be called, right?

Also, as a parent, I find this time of year very exciting.  I absolutely loved having my son home but I am eager for him to learn and become the person I know he can be and sadly, since I was not blessed with the patience or skills of being a teacher, I sent him to the professionals at school.  I am eager to see how he will continue to change and grow and prosper in school and in life.

The past few weeks have been very exciting and challenging simultaneously.  Our foster daughter is continueing to grow and excel in our home.  We have had the worst part of the evaluations done this past week and the less invasive and more standard exams are up this next week.  She has been poked and prodded and to me, almost abused all over again.  I have seen things I have never wanted to see and heard stories that no mom should ever have to hear.  But they are a thing of the past!

As a foster parent, we had to take our beautiful foster daughter to social services for visits with her parents.  First up was her mother, mom's boyfriend, and her brother, who we got to know briefly from staying with us.  I received a brief glimpse as to what this little girls life was like for the past 2.5 years and it broke my heart.  Any of you who know me and really know me, you know I am not a crier.  It takes a lot to bring on tears and usually it is done in private.  In a dark room with double pane glass I had the priviledge of watching the interactions and I have never wanted to jump through glass and rescue someone as badly as I did last week.  And what got me most upset is that these people knew they were bring watched and were on their best behavior!  The audacity of the mom's boyfriend to suggest that we start introducing her to the musical potty seat they had bought for her.  Are you kidding me?  What about the fact that this child does not eat any solid foods, walk, or talk, or has some obvious medical concerns?  Potty training is the furthest thing from my mind!!  They really didn't even seem to care that she was even in the room.

After that visit was complete, there was another visit with her dad.  This broke my heart because her dad, as disabled as he was, got right down on the floor at eye level and interacted the entire visit.  He brought her a book as a gift and provided the social worker with a whole photo album of pictures including her birth pictures in the hospital.  He was so proud of his daughter and to my shock, when he said "No, No," she stopped what she was doing and responded to him.  He whipped out his cell phone camera and began taking pictures.  You could just tell that he genuinely cared about her.  Even when she grabbed his cane, and in play, smacked him really hard across the head with the cane, he didn't react or yell at her.  To me, that is a real dad!  I am not sure how much I am allowed to say, so I will stop here.

We also had her tested developmentally and all of her scores were between a 4 month and 11 month old.  We had her tested for genetic abnormalities because she has some interesting features and did not resemble mom at all.  I was relieved to see that she does resemble dad quite a bit.  So we are very hopeful that everything will come back negative, but it is always good to be able to rule things out when assessing this type of situation.

Last weekend, we attended 2 birthday parties!  The first was a pool party and I was nervous about how our foster daughter would do in the water.  She was hesistant at first, but soon warmed right up.  I knew it would be good exercise for her little legs and it was a small enough pool so that in a netted inflatable, she would be safe and always within arms length, but still able to float freely and explore a little bit.  I had purchased 2 bathing suits, but not knowing very much about little girls sizing, I trusted the tag on the hanger and didn't question it.  That morning, I pulled out my 2 adorable swimsuits to discover that one was a 9 month size and the other was an 18 month size.  Thank goodness I have a good friend with 3 daughters who was able to lend me an extra swimsuit for the day!

I continue to receive compliments from friends, family, and strangers alike about how much she looks like Jeremy.  I am learning to smile and enjoy it.  We have fallen in love with her and are eager to fill her emotional voids from the last several years.  AND, after throwing Jeremy a great 3rd Birthday Party, I get to throw her HER own Birthday Party!  Since she has never had solid foods, she has likely never had cake!  I cannot wait to see how she does.

Many people have asked about pictures.  We are not allowed to share any pictures on Facebook but I am not sure about blogs.  I would assume it is the same.  We have an email list going around, so let me know if you would like to have your name added to it.  For some reason, hotmail addresses all seem to get returned to me.

On another note, I received the most thoughtful and heartwarming gift from my good friend, Laura.  We were best friends in high school at Regina Dominican in Wilmette, IL.  Throughout the last 15+ years we have moved several times and gone through many life changes, but somehow always managed to stay in touch.  In fact, we were able to keep our high school pact of being each other's maid of honor in our weddings.  And we got married 6 months apart!  I love her dearly and consider her family.

Laura has been working on her artwork.  I knew that this was a passion, but similar to my dreams of dance, becoming a wife and mom takes a priority and any individual interests seem to fall to the back burner until retirement age.  Not Laura!  She has developed her skills and talents and has sold some of her pieces at local art shows.  I was honored that she chose to make a masterpiece for me in honor of Savannah.  It is a ballerina tutu with ballet shoes and ribbons.  The shoes are in the shape of a heart and the ribbons have Savannah's name on it.  It is so special and meaningful to us because it reminds us of our Ballerina, dancing among the Angels in Heaven.  To us, it is not just a painting.  It is a constant reminder similiar to a cross in Church or a picture in your wallet.  It is amazing and we placed it somewhere where it would always been seen.

We finished the week by taking a family trip to Water Country, the local waterpark.  Since it closes for the season on Labor Day, I knew our time was limited if we were going to try it out.  I was nervous that it might be overstimulation for her and chaotic since there are always so many other kids.  AND, being that it was the end of August, it was very difficult to find any type of swimsuit at all, much less one in her size.  I was able to find one at Target on clearance for $4.98.  I know some of you who know me really well and probably even some of you who don't, but this really was the ONLY swimsuit I could find anywhere and it just happened to be ballerina.  I swear this was not planned.  Besides, summer is almost over and then I can start fresh in the spring.  Stop rolling your eyes!!  I wish I could share a picture or several or a handful of the over 300 I have taken over the last 18 days, but until I ask about what the rules are, we don't want to do anything to jeapordize her privacy.  It took me no time to find her mom's FB page or mug shot online, so I'm sure if she tried hard enough, she could find my blog.  Our priority needs to be protecting her privacy, which is why I have not mentioned her name.

So enjoy these last few days of summer!  I know we will but we are looking forward to the school year ahead ~ the holidays, the birthdays, and showering our foster daughter with everything her life has lacked - mostly love and attention.  The improvements are coming fast and I think it is only a short time before she will be walking unassisted.  I am very hopeful and so are the doctors that her legs and feet will straighten out on their own and she won't need leg braces.  Her teeth are nothing that a good cleaning and later down the road braces cannot fix.  I just cannot wait to see the progress and growth of this young lady in the weeks and months ahead.  I am confident that she will overcome each and every hurdle and grow up to lead a normal, happy, and healthy life.  And if people want to think that she and Jeremy are twins ~ I'll take it!  You won't believe the Halloween costumes that have already been purchased and the coordinating outfits for Christmas Cards!!

Thank you for bringing our family into your lives and hearts.  Each new day brings about new challenges and opportunities but many joys and much happiness as well.  We are so blessed to have each other and as much as our foster daughter is blessed to have us, we are so blessed to have her in our lives.

Stay tuned!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A surprise call from the "red phone..."

I am so excited to announce that we have our 1st experience as Foster Parents!  This week, after a very long day, we recieved "the call" from the "red phone."  We were asked if we would take a little girl with special needs overnight.  We accepted and offered to keep her as long as they needed.  They told us that it was possible that parental rights would be terminated in this situation and without letting them finish their sentence, we said we would love to consider adoption.  How exciting!  So, another call came in asking if we would consider taking her older brother on a short term basis.  We accepted again.  Well, 2 days later, the older boy went to a new home, but we have the little girl.  She is absolutely precious.  She has many special needs and has lived a life of terrible neglect.  She is 2.5 years old, but can't walk or talk and has never been offered solid foods.  She has some vision and hearing issues, and deformities in her legs and feet, but a smile that will light up a room.  She has made some incredible progress in the days she has been with us and we look forward to seeing more and more in the days and weeks ahead.  I cannot wait until I can share her beautiful face with everyone!

In the meantime, I have had a few struggles.  She needed a new crib and I was tempted to use Savannah's crib bedding.  I had picked out ballerina stuff for Savannah.  It was my dream that she would love ballet as much as I did.  I began to cry while out running errands shopping for a crib and new car seat.  I felt like I was being a bad mom to Savannah if I used her things.  But I also thought that Savannah would want me to use her things.  For some reason, I just didn't feel right about it.  I ended up deciding to get her new stuff in a buttefly theme.  To me, butterflies symbolize new life and a new beginning and that is exactly what we hope for this little girl. 

My biggest fear is that as she grows up and learns more and more about Savannah, that she will feel like a replacement child.  In the many books and articles that I have read, I get it.  I understand that children who follow stillbirths always feel like a replacement and are treated differently.  Think about it ~ it is pretty hard to compete with a child who lives in Heaven and never had a chance to do anything wrong.  I sincerley hope that this little girl never feels that way towards us and I hope that Savannah never feels as though we are replacing her.  Even though I have an adorable girl to dress cute and put bows in her hair, she's not Savannah and she never will be.  They are 2 completely different people with different talents and intersts and passions.  I want this little girl to be herself and do whatever she wants to do (although I would like her to at least try some ballet lessons).  It's a hard thing to swallow and I feel like it's something I will struggle with until the day I die.  I just want what is best for both of my little girls and I want to be the best Mommy I can be.

Treasures to Share...

Every once in awhile, somone says something that really affects me and I hurry to scribble it down in my notebook for further reflection.  Last week, while at Church, Father Mike said "adverse circumstances do not block someone whose treasures to share are not here on Earth."  This, as most things in Church, make me think of my daughter.  Savannah had many treasures to share.  In fact, I am sure that she had a life of treasures to share.  She had unlimited potential and love and blessings to share upon everyone she came in contact with...if she only had a chance.  But I soon realized that just because she's not here does not mean that her life did not have meaning or her treasures don't matter.  Every day she impacts our lives.  Every day, we try to be better people and better parents to her because of her.  Just because she is not here on Earth does not mean that she is not sharing her treasures.  I had to stop and think of each and every way we are different people because of Savannah.  I am a better mother, wife, sister, and daughter.  I am a better friend and better member of society.  I became involved in many different activities and volunteer opportunites.  We look forward to going to Church if for no other reason than to be with Savannah and be just a little bit closer to her.  Savannah is sharing her treasures through her life and her story and through her family.  Anyone who has read Savannah's story has allowed her into their hearts.  She is sharing her gifts and talents and blessings, just not in a tangible way.  She is a treasure to us because of who she is, not who she was.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Vacation Bible School

This summer, I signed Jeremy up for a few different camps that I thought would be of interest to him.  A lot of people have questioned why I do this, so let me begin my explaining my thought process.  I am not a teacher.  Many times, I have questioned why I was so interested in business if I was going to have children.  If I had known, maybe I would have chosen a different career path.  I didn't, so this is where we are today.  Because Jeremy is an only child AND because I am not a teacher, there are limits to what I can give him as a child.  For example, I want him to be very social and have lots of interests.  Since we don't have any other children right now, these activites keep him going.  He did very well in his 2 year preschool and overcame his speech delays after only 5 months in school.  He is very interested in gymnastics so we did 2 weeks of gymnastics camp.  Anyway, we heard about Vacation Bible School at Church a few weeks ago and inquired about the age range.  They told us preschool so we signed him up.  He is one of the younger ones, but since he did go to school, he knows how to listen to other adults, wait his turn, keep his hands to himself, and follow instructions.

Monday, my husband and I took Jeremy for the 1st day.  There was so much singing and dancing!  It looks like so much fun.  When I picked him up, the teacher said he did very well, didn't have any potty accidents, and was such a pleasure.  I was impressed.  The second day went well too.  I would arrive about 15 minutes early each day to watch the group prayer, singing, and dancing.  I wished there was a Vacation Bible Camp around when I was a kid!

Wednesday, I dropped of Jeremy and talked to the Director.  I asked her if I could help for next year.  Her response was, "Yes, but I could really use your help today and for the rest of this week."  I told her I had a dentist appointment but I would come back.  When I returned, I went to the office and asked her what I could do to help.  She asked my name and I told her.  Now, many people in our parrish know of me and my husband because of Savannah, but they may not be able to associate our names with our faces.  Again, she said, "I've heard that name before."  I responded, "Yes, Savannah was my daughter."  That's all that needed to be said for her to get it.  She quickly put me to work!

I was put as the adult leader wtih the 3rd graders.  They had two teen helpers but no adult leader.  The kids were so well behaved and I was so impressed by how well run the program was.  Each morning for the gathering activities, we practiced our dancing and singing to that music that I thought was so cool the 1st day.  By the end of the week, the music wasn't so cool anymore.  In fact, I found myself practicing the movements in my sleep.

Yes, that is Jeremy holding up the "R" for the special word of the day!  And yes, I am one of those annoying moms who snaps pictures of everything my child does.

It was a great experience for me.  There were lots of other things I could have been doing while Jeremy was at camp, but I feel good about knowing that I was right where God wanted me to be.  The simple messages that were taught:  Trust God, Love Never Fails, Care for Others, and Share your Faith ~ these apply not only this week but each and every day.  Throughout the past 15 months, I haven't always trusted God.  In fact, I have questioned him and repeatedly.  Why was Savannah taken from us?  Why can't I get pregnant again?  What did I do wrong in my life to deserve this?  Why do other people have beautiful children only to hurt and abuse them?  Why did you let Savannah die?  Some of this is part of the normal grieving process.  I understand that I will not know the answers to any of these questions.

I also know that I have many blessings, and the most important one is love.  I have a husband who loves me and accepts me.  He doesn't care whether I am a size 4 or size 14 (I have been both and all sizes in between in the last 5 months).  He doesn't care if my makeup is on or my hair is fixed perfect.  He loves me for who I am ~ unconditionally.  I have been blessed with Jeremy, the light of my life.  That little boy makes me smile each and every day.  The only type of love he knows is unconditional, whether it's for our kitten, Oreo, or the homeless man that hangs out at Farm Fresh.  The teaching is something I need to remember ~ Love Never Fails.  Savannah loves our family and we love her.  Our love for her and each other and our love for God will never fail.

So, the moral of this story is that teachings are not just for the kids.  Even an old person like me (and I feel very old because I've been hanging out with 3rd graders and 2 teenagers) can learn something from Vacation Bible School.  And yes, I will be sporting my dance moves tonight at the Closing Ceremony.  And I might even let Jeremy keep the CD of that annoying music.

"Hope is a renewable option: If you run out of it at the end of the day, you get to start over in the morning."

Until next time, remember to count your blessings.


Jeremy's 3rd Birthday Party

Sunday, we had the priviledge and blessing of celebrating our son, Jeremy's, 3rd Birthday.  We had a HUGE party planned for him.  We began our Sunday as we do each Sunday.  We attended 8:30AM Mass at our parish, St. Joan of Arc.  The readings were very impactful this week and both my husband and I chatted about them on our way to visit Savannah.  We stopped and had breakfast since this was such a special day and then headed over to the cemetary.  Jeremy insisted on getting out of the car.  Usually, we are a little hesistant to let him out because like any 3 year old, he likes to run off and play with some of the pinwheels and other items left on other headstones. 

It's funny because I remember the day we picked out Savannah's plot.  I told myself I would never be one of those people who decorated their child's headstone or had a bunch of "stuff" on it.  Yet, 15 months later, I am that parent.  It's very important to me for some reason to make sure Savannah always has the biggest prettiest flowers.  I'm not sure why because she is no less important or loved than any other baby in that Children's Garden.  I guess it's because I can't dress her in pretty clothes or put bows on her hair (if you haven't guessed by now, I have a wierd obession with little girls having bows in their hair).  All I can do is make sure that her headstone is clean of dirt and debris, her flowers look fabulous, and pick all of the weeds.  Anyway, back to Sunday.

Jeremy walked up to Savannah's headstone and knelt down and kissed her picture.  He has done this a few times before but today, it really warmed my heart.  He told Sissy about his party and asked her to watch over him today.  When asked where Sissy lives, he replies "in Heaven's House."  I'll take that.  He blew a kiss up to the sky and my eyes filled up with tears.  This time, it was not because I was sad about missing Savannah, but how proud I was of Jeremy for including his sister in his joys and celebrations.

We came home and the party preparations began.  Food was prepared, balloons were blown up, a bounce house was set up, and the floor was swept again.  I have learned that cleaning before a party is pretty useless.  You'll find out why soon.

The party began and it looked like the weather was going to hold up.  It began sprinking just a little but the kids didn't seem to mind.  We were able to serve food and moved the cake outside.  Just as people finished the cake and ice cream, it began to pour!  Everyone hurried inside which worked out well for the opening of presents ritual.  I'm sure you can imagine what happened to the floor as 45 soaking wet people came inside.

The party was a great success and everyone enjoyed themselves.  The following day, the dogs got ahold of the leftover cake, so it's safe to say that they enjoyed themselves too.  It was so much fun and we are so blessed to have so many friends who came to share the day with us.  The most important person Jeremy shared his day was with his sister.  Even though she's not here physically, he thought to include her.  As a Mom, I have never been more proud of my son....or my daughter!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Turning a corner

It has been awhile and I am trying to catch up with everything that has happened.  Things seem to be turning a corner.  I still have my sad moments but they are not taking over my life.  I have started doing some guided meditations for infertility and they seem to be helping, if nothing else, me to relax.  I also went and got one titled "Anger and Forgiveness."  It is helping me let go of some of the anger and resentment that has been taking over my heart for the last year.  We'll see if it really works with time, but I am hopeful.

So, there are some very exciting things that have been happening:

We finished our training to become Foster Care/Adoptive Parents through social services.  We are very excited about the addition of one or more children in our home.  Our goal for each child is to have them leave our home a little bit better than when they arrived, whether it's learning to say please and thank you or being able to make eye contact.  We are so excited to begin this journey!

My trip to DC yeiled some interesting turns of events.  Congressman Rob Wittman's office contacted me about what happened at Langley.  The result was filing a Congressional Inquiry to the Department of the Air Force in DC against Langley.  I don't know what will come of it, but I can only hope some policy changes.  I also made the difficult decision to file a complaint against the doctor's medical license in Virginia.  It took me a long time to come to that decision, but I felt it was the best thing.  She needs to know that her actions were wrong and had deadly consequences.  I know she will have to deal with God in the end, but her attitude and statements in the Patient Care Conference have really upset me and lead me to believe that she hasn't learned any lessons from Savannah or what happened.

I have been working on a summer project!  I am making Bereavment Baskets for Mary Immaculate Hospital, the local Catholic Hospital in Newport News, VA.  These baskets are specifically for those who come to the hospital for a seemingly routine purpose, but receive the same earth shattering news that I received ~ that they will be coming home without their baby.  I have received some donations, but I have a long way to go.  If you know of anyone or any business that would like to donate, please email me.  I would like to have these done by the end of August.

Here is a copy of the ad I made:

I am putting together baskets for Mary Immaculate Hospital to support parents of stillborn or neonatal death. When moms go in to be checked for insignificant things and realize that their baby has passed or has a condition uncompatible with life, their world changes forever. When this happened to me, I received a box with items that had nothing to do with my daughter. There was a pouch for a clipping of her hair that was never used, a resouce list that was not up to date, and nothing special that spoke to me or was meaningful.


Therefore, my goal is to supply MIH with 30 baskets specifically for parents facing an unexpected loss. These baskets will include:

* disposable camera

* handmade baby blanket for parents to keep (donated)

* special onesie

* candle & candle holder

* Forget-Me-Not Seeds

* Teddy Bear

* picture frame

* personalized card

* clay hand & footprint kit

* Remember Me Bear Certificate (donated)

* Certificate of Life

* current list of local and national resources

* autographed book "Hope for Parents Who Have Lost Children" (donated)


If there is anything that you or your company can donate to support this project, it would be greatly appreciated. Each and every day all across the world, parents leave the hospital with empty arms. Please support me in this project to bring a little bit of comfort to those in a time of great sorrow.
Also, I got my Junior League Placement for next year. I am so excited to be on the committee for the Girls of Excellence Program! Here is a little bit about the program:

Through our continued partnership with South Morrison Elementary School, the JLHR hosts events during the school year for 5th grade girls, who are enrolled in the Girls of Excellence program. The events focus on life skills, citizenship, and features the AJLI Kids in the Kitchen program. New this year, a separate women's health educational component for mothers and guardians of Girls of Excellence participants will take place, to allow trained community professionals to provide education around women's health and screenings. The most exciting event of the school year is the cotillion, held at the end of the school year.

So, I think that covers everything that I have been up to so far this summer. We are settling into the new house and getting ready for Jeremy's 3rd Birthday Party next weekend! It should be a great day and we are super excited! I hope that this blog finds you in good health and good spirits.

Until next time,