Sunday, July 31, 2011


I've gotten a lot of recommendations of what I should read over the past few months.

Some are good.

Some are absolutely hilarious.
I wouldn't want to read them with my mom and dad, but they are hilarious.

Some are not so hot.

And others, like this one, say things so well.


This woman is a photographer.  She photographs families with their babies who are near death or have already died.

I'm not sure if she works for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, a group of volunteers who take pictures for families of their babies.  (Go to to read more).

Over 3.3 million babies are stillborn every year.  Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep helps families grieve and heal.  If you want to read some stories of families who have worked with NILMDTS, go here.  Just to warn you, there are pictures of babies, at all ages, shown.

She had the opportunity to sing at a Children's Memorial Service at the hospital.  The following are her thoughts:

I felt mad at all of the families who give birth to healthy children every day and have no idea how blessed they are for that gift.  Some are- some know how truly miraculous and wonderful a healthy baby is- but some are not.  I wanted everyone to be able to experience what I experienced in that room; to know that health is never something taken for granted; that children are a gift no matter their life time, short or long. Every one of those parents would've given everything they had to have their child back for even a minute.
And I thought to myself, if anyone in the world has a reason to be angry, these people deserve to be.  Yet they are not.  They are here, hugging each other, remembering and sharing about their children who have passed.  It's not fair; it's not right; it's not anyone's fault; it's awful; it's sad; it's life and, in great juxtaposition, death. 
She is right.  It's not anyone's fault and it's awful and sad and not right.  But, it's part of life.

And, in all of the pain and sadness and loneliness, there are 3.3 million other women and families who know my sadness and loneliness.  And they have survived.  And they have found comfort in each other.

As have I.

Thank you to those of you who have courageously shared your stories.
For not keeping your stories a secret.
For knowing how miraculous a healthy child is.

(Go here to read the whole thing.)

Goodbye dineros.

And, just cause they thought things were going to well and we were, maybe, just starting to figure out life again...they decided to send another bill.

From when Maggie was alive. In February.

The bill was for a lot of money.  Lots.


I just kissed away my riding lawnmower and my dream camera lens.
And, I'm pretty sure I won't be visiting my best friend, Ann Taylor, anymore.

I no tengo the dineros for this.

Or, at least, I don't want to use my dineros for this.

These are the things that I could do with the money instead:
  • Go on a 28-day cruise to South America, through the Amazon.
  • Pay for an entire funeral.
  • Get Lasik eye surgery for both Dave and me.
  • Buy this car.
  • Buy 40 some bottles of 2002 Dom Perignon champagne.
  • Buy at least 3 Coke fountains for my home.
  • Buy a dozen heifers from Heifer International.
Any of these sound like better options.

And I can't even imagine what it would be like to deal with constant medical bills.  We have experienced  just a sampling- a little taste- of dealing with medical bills and insurance companies.  This is nothing compared to what other people deal with on a daily basis.

Anniversary Weekend

I've totally been MIA.

All of the relatives have left and it is quiet on the homefront.

Almost too quiet.

I have slowly been getting myself back in work/school mode.

Here's what's been going down.


I miss my camera.

My phone camera is not doin' it for me.


My husband is a huge Vikings fan.

He was so excited to show me what he made.

A metal helmet that I swiped from the school's attic when we were cleaning it out.

And some horns that he sawed off some poor animal.

He is a genius.

And I think he should grow his hair out so that he could look like a real viking.

Or not.  

But I'm thinking...potential etsy shop?

We could make a killing.
(So we could pay for some more bills that we just got--read on.)

Ahh----ooooooo (in true Viking form).

We celebrated our 6 year anniversary this weekend.

Pure bliss, I tell you.
Actually, pretty close. Except for when he does something that rhymes with "smutch smoven."

We headed to Kansas City for a day or two since he had the weekend off and I am going back to work for realsies tomorrow (not officially, but so that I can get some work done and meet some friends for lunch).

We did some retail therapy.

**I'd like to give a shout-out to Ann Taylor Loft Outlet.**

Granite City for dinner.

Some hotel for the night.

Then to Oceans of Fun.

Hello, water-park bliss in the middle of summer.

Hello, cool, splashy-spash slides.

Hello, over-priced pool full of pee water.

Almost lost my drawers and my contacts on this one.

This is empty compared to when we were there. 
Not surprisingly, the park was packed with a lot of people who were showing way too much skin (and other things).

And, unfortunately, the water got a lot warmer as more people came (side-eying the children who never left the pool for hours).  Dave told me just not to think about it. 
That coming from a guy who sticks his hands in cows' rears on a daily basis.)

Then we ate at Chick-Fil-A.  
We like to live it up.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Day of Rae (Guest Blogger!)

You've already met my sister.
Remember her from this post?

She's the best sister anyone could ask for.
(Even though she traumatized me as a child while riding my bike.)

She wanted to be a guest blogger on here.
And since she could probably still pin me down and threaten to spit on my face, 
I obliged.
And, because I love her.
And she's great.

I am honored for you to meet my dear sister.
I'm sure you'll love her as much as I do.

The Day of Rae

I love to plan fun days.  And planning fun days with my little sis is even more fun.  But what on earth do you do for your sister to honor the day when she was supposed to give birth?  And furthermore, I didn’t even know if she wanted to do anything on July 11.  (But either way, I was going to drive to her house and kidnap her if she ignored me.)

Here were some of my options:
1.     Sit around and do nothing.  Boring.
2.     Go shopping.  So she could be reminded that she gave birth in March and clothes feel nasty.  Blah.
3.     Go to a movie.  To sit next to each other and say nothing?  Boo.
4.     Take her to get her toes done.  B I N G O

So off we went on our Day of Rae.  To kill time before our pedicures, we browsed around a super funky store and tried on hats.  My head is the size of a planet, but Rae got the good head in the family.  Isn’t she super cute?

Then we headed over to get our toes done.  She had a lot of decisions to make.

In honor of Mags, she chose Barbie pink.  Or bubble gum pink, whichever sounds better.  I chose purple for myself.

I tried to get her to get a spray tan while we were there.  Or a Brazilian wax.  But Rae declined. I totally would have paid for it.

And while I have this blog to myself for a second, I must say that my sister is my hero.   I know she doesn’t want to be my hero, but she is. 

We all have crosses to bear, but my sister has carried hers with integrity and dignity.
And humor.
How many people can say that about their losses?

She has been poked and prodded and pricked. 
She has experienced extreme heartache and loss.
Yet through it all, she doesn’t give up.
Even if sometimes she may want to.

I wish I could make everything better for my little sister.
I wish July 11 could have been different for her.

But I’m so lucky that I spent it with her.  And her pink Maggie toes.

Here we are as kids.  I just want to squeeze her cheekers.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I have to do this.

Struggling today.  

Then I got an email from a dear friend.  It was a link to a website that gives advice to people.  A lady wrote in about how she was struggling after her daughter's stillbirth.

(If you want to read the whole thing, you can read it here.  If you don't like the f*bomb or whatever, don't read it.)

You will never stop loving your daughter. You will never forget her.  You will always know her name.  But she will always be dead.  Nobody can intervene and make that right and nobody will.  Nobody can take it back with silence or push it away with words. Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can't cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It's just there, and you have to survive it.  You have to endure it.  You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desires to heal. Therapists and friends and other people who live on Planet My Baby Died can help you along the way, but the healing- the genuine healing, the actual real deal down-on-your-knees-in-the-mud-change- is entirely and absolutely up to you.

And this is what I was kind of saying yesterday. I could wallow in this forever.  But, I can't. I won't. I have to move on and heal and find my best and happiest dreams.

And that is what I'm trying to doing.
Running in the direction of my dreams.
Even though that place has, what feels like, a gazillion roadblocks in the way.
(Appointments, surgeries, injections, procedures, pills, blood draws, labs, timing)
I have to keep truckin'.
Even though it seems completely unfair that this journey is so difficult for us.
I have to keep moving.
Even though it seems so easy for so many other people.
Because if I don't?
If I don't keep moving in the direction of my dreams?
I am giving up on my family.  And myself.

So I will keep making the phone calls to the clinic.
And the trips to the clinic.
And I will keep up with the shots and the pills.
And the stirrups multiple times a week.
And the surgeries and procedures.
And the blood draws at the lab.

It's what I have to do for my family.
And millions of other women have done it.
And have survived.
And have reached their dreams.
They may have taken a completely different path than they expected.
But they did it.

And I will, too.
I have to.

Monday, July 18, 2011


This is just a pile of random crap that you may or may not care about.

  • My camera lens broke.  Well, the automatic setting broke for some reason.  And I had to manually focus everything.  Which is okay until you are on a boat and needing that auto focus.  So, it is getting fixed.  For a month.  I looked into getting a new lens.  But, fixing the lens is way cheaper than getting a new one (at least the one that I want).  It's like the same price as a rider-mower.  Yeah, I know.  So, the only pictures you'll get from me are from my phone.  Unless someone anonymously sends this to my home before then. (Email me for my home address).
Buy this for me here.

  • Updates on how I kept myself busy on my due date are coming. Possibly written by my sweet sissy.
  • I went boating with some friends last week.  Time. Of. My. Life.  Great food and great weather with even greater company.  Thank you to my dear friends. I have not laughed that hard in a long time.  And I am officially old.  I was sore after tubing and I have bruises and scabs everywhere. Pictures may be forthcoming (of the boating, not the scabs).
  • I had another doctor's appointment today.   Not the news I wanted.  At all.  Keeping it short and sweet, I will need to have another sweet surgery (a hysteroscopy-not to be confused with a hysterectomy--) in August when Dr. Grainger gets back to the office.  Crossing my fingers I can squeeze it in before I have to report back to work. The only thing I'm looking forward to is being put under. I kind of like that. A lot.
  • As far as how I am feeling- I feel mixed-up. On one hand, I feel proud of myself and I feel good that I am trying to move on and trying to think about the future and our future family.  However, whenever I feel like that I feel guilty. That I shouldn't be moving on.  I know, however, that it is not fair to myself or to Maggie or to D or to my future family that I stay hung up on Maggie's life and death forever. I don't want to be known as the "teacher whose baby died" or "the lady who had a stillborn baby" or whatever.  I don't want Maggie's death to define my life or who I am.  And, although I feel guilty for saying these things, I know that it is best for me and my family.  I could perseverate on all of this forever.  But it is not fair to me or to my family.  We deserve more than to think about this sadness and loss all the time. I have to think about the future.  Or I will go nuts.
  • I've already put a dent in the school supply aisles.  S-l-o-w-l-y preparing myself for the start of school.  Quickly realizing that I don't have much time left.
  • My mother made these delicious-rock-your-tastebuds muffins today. She is making a new batch tomorrow since we already ate all of them today.  
Recipe can be found at this website.
  • Thank you to all of you for the sweet, wonderful, heart-warming notes and gifts on Monday.  Like I said earlier, I will write more about the beautiful flowers and amazingly delicious treats later.  Verbal diarrhea (a.k.a. this post) is a lot less cognitively challenging. 
  • And, I'm about 11 hits away from 20,000!  Holy moly! That's humbling and amazing!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This is what happens when you put your camera down for .5 seconds.

 Mason, I'm gonna take your pictures.
Giggle, giggle.
 Take a picture of me doing this!
 And this.
 Mama, this is funny!
 Please give Aunt Rae her camera back.
 Please stop taking pictures.
 They couldn't hear us over their squeals of laughter.
The funny thing is, we used to do this with real film.
And then pay to develop them.
Out of 24 pictures, we would have maybe 2 or 3 good ones.
Of course, we kept them all.
We couldn't throw any crappy pictures out.
(And they are all in boxes in my basement).

Thank goodness they can take dozens of dumb pictures.
And it won't cost us any money.

(And, by the way,
my niece asked me if I could get her a camera for her birthday.
"You know, Aunt Rae.  One of those ones where you take a picture and the picture comes out the front."
She wants a freaking Polaroid camera.)
Digital cameras are so 2005.

Monday, July 11, 2011

I'm okay.

From Postsecret.

And I'm okay, too.
Thank you to those of you who have held my hand.
And are still holding it.


Isaiah 43:2

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

We read this at Maggie's memorial service.
And I recite it often.
And I am reminded that I have never been alone in all of this.
I have felt the burning heat.
And the rushing waters.
But I have survived.


Dear Maggie,

Your mom and dad miss you and love you and will never forget you.

Love, your way cool parents who you would never have been embarrassed of. 

P.S.- Please give Owen and Isaac hugs.  Their mamas miss them tons.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Day Before

My niece and nephew are here for a few weeks.

On the way to dinner, they tried on Dave's hats.

"Aunt Rae, remember when we buried Maggie after she died?"

"Yes, Mason. I remember that."

"That was sad, Aunt Rae."
We were going to go horseback riding after dinner. 
But the 110 degree weather put a damper on that.

Instead I made a list with each of them of what we want to do together while they are visiting Kansas.

Rachel's list:
1.  Yarn 2. Sewing 3. Surprise 4. Ride horse  5 and 6 were her ideas.  
Mason's list:
1.  Go fishing  2.  Ride horse  2. Surprise
No matter how busy I try to be, I have not been able to erase the fact that July 11 is approaching.
Even when I was making these lists I couldn't stop thinking about it.
The only thing I should have to do is sit on my butt and wait to meet my daughter.

People that were due at the same time as me have now had their babies.  
And the pictures are up on facebook.
People who got pregnant after me are now farther along than I was.

I still have no idea what I'm doing tomorrow.
The only thing that I have to do is call Dr. Grainger.
But even that is a crappy reminder that my daughter is dead.
I shouldn't have to call my freaking fertility doctor.
I should be calling my parents, telling them to meet us at the hospital.

Ugh and sigh and shrug.

My complaining won't change anything.
It won't bring her back.
It won't make me feel better.

But it isn't right to feel utter sadness when you think about the birth of your child.
It isn't right that there is little evidence that Maggie even existed.
And it isn't right that people don't even bring her up.
And totally omit the fact that she was a part of my life.
It isn't right that Maggie and my story is the one that people don't like to hear about; I'm the story that should be kept from other women.

But, as the old saying goes--shit happens.
And that's what happened.
And I'm doing what I can.


The following came from  An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken.
Sometimes I can't come up with words.
Thankfully, others have.

I don't know what to say, people wrote, or Words fail.  
What amazed me about all the notes I got was how people did know what to say, how words didn't fail.  Even the words 'words fail' comforted me.  Before Pudding died, I'd thought condolence notes were simply small bits of old-fashioned etiquette, important but universally acknowledged as inadequate gestures.  Now they felt like oxygen, and only now do I fully understand why: to know that other people were sad made Pudding more real.   

 All I can say is, it's sort of kinship, as though there is a family tree of grief.  On this branch the lost children, here the beloved mentally ill siblings.  When something terrible happens, you discover all of a sudden that you have a new set of relatives...I have a heard the stories of someone who knows someone who's had a stillborn child...and it's all I can do not to book a flight immediately, to show up somewhere, just so that I can say, "It happened to me, too" because it meant so much to me to heart it.  It happened to me, too, meant: It's not your fault.  And You are not a freak of nature.  And This does not have to be a secret.

I know it's not my fault.  
But I still blame myself.
Whose fault is it then if it isn't mine?

I know I'm not a freak.
This has happened to thousands, if not millions, of other women.
But, I still feel like it.
Especially when people look at me and don't say anything.
And it's just awkward.
Or they say something really, really, really stupid.

This does not have to be a secret.
And I'm determined that this isn't a secret.
That Maggie isn't ignored.
That miscarriages and stillbirths and infant deaths are not secrets.
Because it happens way more than anyone would like to admit.
1 in every 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth.
15-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriages.
39 out of 420 of my facebook friends have dealt with miscarriages or stillbirths or infant loss.
(And those are the ones I know about.)
And for some reason we still don't talk about this.

Will maybe write tomorrow.
If I feel like it.
Just pray, okay?


I just finished reading this

There's even a website: 
I downloaded it to my Kindle and read it to Dave on the way to Minnesota.

The author started a blog to keep track of all the awesome things that most people find awesome, but maybe don't recognize. Eventually, the blog turned into several books.

Some of his awesome things are:

  • The other side of the pillow.
  • Seeing a cop on the side of the road and realizing you're going the speed limit anyway.
  • Eating the extra fries at the bottom of the bag.
  • Nailing a parallel park on the first try.
  • The first shower you take after not showering for a really long time.
I'm now going to try to keep a running tab (or something) of awesome things.  Maybe it will help me to notice good things.  And, honestly, that wouldn't be a bad thing (I could probably come up with lots more to go in "The Book of Annoying.").

So, I've added some tabs up top that are a running list of awesome and annoying things.  

Monday, July 4, 2011


We drove up to Minnesota on Friday morning.

We loaded up on the essentials and were on our way.

It felt awkward not to be drinking a soda on the way to Mini-soda.

I know, I know.  I shouldn't drink it.  But, I had to.  They were on sale at the gas station.
We drove up through Nebraska and stopped at Dave's all-time favorite.

Surprisingly, and thankfully, we left empty-handed.

Then we practically swerved to an exit when we saw heaven on the side of the road.

You guys.  I LOVE Jimmy John's.

#6.  A giant pickle.  And salt and vinegar chips.


I've never had anything but the #6 (the vegetarian).

(And there is one being built right down the road from our home!)

If you've never eaten there, you should.

Then, it happened.


Summer roadwork.

29 North out of Omaha was closed due to flooding.

We drove in circles around the city (following the detour signs) for over an hour.

We drove past the same arena and hospital at least 3 times.

It was about this time that I was getting carsick from turning around so much.

(Whoever said that you should travel with people in a new place if you really want to get to know them was totally right).

We finally figured everything out and drove over an hour out of the way to reconnect with 29 North.

Sandbags all along 29 for the flooding.
After all of that, we had to stop for the big-guns.

And then we saw the beacon of light.

Such a great thing to see.

Dave was back in the Motherland.

11 hours later, we finally arrived at Dave's parents house.

We (as in D) gave the dog a haircut and bath.

20 seconds after the bath.

Stupid dog.
 Dirty, dirty dog.

We met our newish-super-cute-nephew, Jonathan.
If you look closely, there is a mosquito between his eyes. 

We ate yummy food.

We chatted.

And tried to keep the mosquitoes away.
They were ridiculous.
I'm pretty sure we all have West Nile now.

Good-bye eyebrows and arm hair.

Then we reunion-ized. 

And I met some of Dave's family whom I didn't know well.  
And they were super fun.
And made delicious food.
I'd be 39 weeks today.  

One week away from my due date.

7 days.

I need to stay busy.

Cause the tears are coming a bit too easily lately.

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