Thursday, July 30, 2009

Spirit Baby

A friend shared this story with me a few months back, and as we now prepare to start trying again sometime soon I can only hope that some of these words ring true.

Spirit Baby

Colin, my twelve-year-old son, discovered me late one rainy afternoon sitting at the kitchen table, a damp Kleenex crumpled in my left hand, wiping my eyes as I tried to compose myself for his sake. It was the third week of January, two months after I’d miscarried a pregnancy, but I still found it impossible to get through a day without at least one meltdown into misery. Stunned w hen the test came back positive, Rog and I had stared at each other with doubt and ambivalence. At forty-one, my professional life consumed me. I’d just achieved what some had predicted was an impossibility: I’d been granted delivery privileges at Alta Bates, and as a consequence, my midwifery practice burgeoned. Some months I delivered twelve babies, and no one ever knew if or when I’d be home. Rog, too, felt stretched to his limits, keeping his business afloat while picking up the slack for my frequent unscheduled absences. Colin and Jill approached their challenging adolescent years. How could we fit an infant into our lives? But when I lost the pregnancy and all hope for resolution dissolved with my tears, I fell in love with the baby that was not to be.Colin asked, "Are you crying about the baby?" and when I nodded tearfully, he said, "Well, you just have to have another one, Mom, because it’s a Spirit Baby, and you should be its mother." I must have looked puzzled because he said, "Don’t you know about Spirit Babies? How could I know about them if you don’t? I mean, you’re my mom!" But he could see my perplexity.So my first child, this not-yet-teenaged boy, pulled a wooden chair to my side and draped his thin arm across my shoulders, saying, "Well, Mom, here’s how it is. See, I was one myself, so that must be how I know. Anyway, every woman has a circle of babies that goes around and around above her head, and those are all the possible babies she could have in her whole life. Every month, one of those babies is first in line. If she gets pregnant, then that’s the baby that’s born. If she doesn’t get pregnant, the baby goes back into the circle and keeps going around with all the others. If she gets pregnant but something bad happens before the baby’s born…now listen, Mom, because here’s the really cool part. It goes back into the circle, but it becomes a Spirit Baby, and all the other babies give it cuts. Each month, it’s always first in line. Isn’t that great?"So you just have to get pregnant again, and you’ll have the same Spirit Baby. If you don’t, though, then the baby circle will just beam that little Spirit Baby over to some other woman’s circle, and it’ll be first in line for her. It keeps being first in line somewhere until it finally gets born. "But it’d be a shame for you not to have it yourself, because I know how much you want it. So you just have to try again. Mom, remember that baby you lost before I was born?" I nodded wordlessly. "Well, that was me. Really. I’ve always known I was a Spirit Baby. I mean, I know what I’m talking about here, Mom."In spite of Colin’s certainty that our household, so often bordering on chaos, lacked only an infant to make things perfect, Rog and I demurred. But Colin didn’t give up and even enlisted his sister’s support. Driving with them in the car one evening, I looked at my son in the passenger seat beside me. He stared out the side window and tried to hide his tears, but I saw the flush on his face, the shaking of his shoulders, and the surreptitious swipe of hand across cheek.Six months had passed since my miscarriage, and I had just finished yet another discussion in which I’d told my pleading son that having a third baby at my age was out of the question. I reached over the space between us and squeezed his fingers. "Colin, I don’t understand this passion you have for a baby. Why do you want one so much?"He tore his gaze from the distant hills and looked at me with swimming eyes and trembling lips. In a choking voice, he put all of his twelve-year-old passion into his reply."Oh, Mom! Oh. Just for the joy of it!" Jill stretched forward from the back seat and placed a hand on each of our shoulders. "Yeah, Mom, just for the joy of it."It was my turn to look out the side window and struggle with misty vision. So, at a time when most women eye the empty nest at the end of their branch on the family tree with something approaching relief, I gave consideration to laying just one more egg. Several months of discussions peppered with doubt and disbelief followed. Although Rog and I made the final decision, there’s no denying that a big part of our decision to have a third child began with the insistence of our adolescent children that we "needed a baby in the house." Rog and I took a deep breath, looked at each other across the blond heads of those two wishful children, swallowed – and made a giant leap of faith. I conceived my Spirit Baby a week later. Just for the joy of it.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Family Portrait

Last night the boys were sitting at the table coloring. Bryan and I were laying on the couch watching TV. When they were done Bryan asked to see what they drew and our oldest son brought us this...

If you look closely at the very end where Kobe is standing you can see another little pink figure to represent Bryanna. I can't even begin to explain to you how much this touched me. When I begin to wonder if I'm the only person in the world who still thinks about her my son surprises me and lets me know she is still on his mind as well. I love that he thought enough to add his baby sister into our family picture, and it lets me know just how special she is to him as well. Even now as I type this I'm so touched that I'm on the verge of tears. This picture is currently on my fridge as you can tell by my butterfly magnet, that's the butterfly we see by the way that we call our sign from her, but soon it will take its place on my night stand in a frame. This is a picture that I will forever cherish. You see it's the only family picture that we will ever have that will have her in it. Breaks my heart, but I'm so honored to have this picture to look at now.

On another note, our beautiful butterfly came around again yesterday. I didn't get to see her, but as we were leaving the house she flew by the car and Bryan pointed her out. Guess our little girl wanted to say Hello to daddy yesterday. I'm so very happy for him..while he didn't get a chance to feel her move, it makes me happy knowing she came around for daddy to see. I've noticed lately that he has pointed out Butterflies as well. It makes me happy to know that he thinks of her as well when he sees them. On a funny note..I was at the grocery store yesterday and as I was getting ready to walk out I just happened to look in the floral section and there was a yellow and black butterfly balloon! Guess I did get a little glimpse of her after all.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I'm always with you

Why did you have to go away and leave your mommy so sad and blue?
I'm right here mommy with you always, I thought you already knew.
How come I can't see you or hold you close to me?
You do see me mommy, you just have to open your eyes and there I'll be.
I'm the sunrise in the morning and the sunset @ night.
I'm that star you see in the sky shinning o' so bright.
I'm that flower in your yard that bloomed the other day.
I'm the beautiful butterfly you stopped and watch play.
I'm that soft whisper you hear when no one's around.
I'm the warmth that heals your heart just when you begin to frown.
I'm the colorful rainbow you sometimes see right after a storm.
I'm always near you mommy, I just take many different forms.
I'm in each smile you make and kiss you give away.
I'm apart of you mommy, in every thought and word you say.
I see the tears you cry for me and hear you pray.
I wipe them away with my kisses and help you make it through the day.
We will forever be together this I know for sure.
God sent me to be with you in all that you will endure.
Mommy I wish you could see my magical set of wings.
Exquisite soft white feathers made from all of God's loving things.
I wrap them around you brining comfort and healing.
As i engulf you let go all the pain your heart is feeling.
We meet in your dreams holding hand in hand.
We walk down beaches dragging our feet in the sand.
You also have some friends up here that love you so.
They watch over you where ever you may go.
So when your feeling sad and blue and think I'm not right here.
Just look around at all the beautiful things and know I am near.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Today I got to thinking about Bryanna's name. Like every other parent when we found out we were pregnant we started playing around with different baby names. We of course had more girl names then boy names. And Bryanna was a name I've always liked.

When Bryan and I first got together I was working at a child development center and there was a little girl name "Bryanna" I loved how it was spelled and knew that one day I would name my little girl that. When Bryan and I got married and I got pregnant we still played around with the name Bryanna, but started coming up with different names as well.

Four days before we had Bryanna we had our big ultrasound and found out that I was in fact pregnant with a little girl. Bryanna came to mind again but still we thought we had time to come up with different names. However, as fate would have it...we didn't have much time at all. All the days I was in the hospital I still wondered what we would name her, and finally on Tuesday I just knew what her name was going to be. Bryan had left for a little while and when he returned to my hospital room I told him I wanted to name her Bryanna and he said ok.

Part of my reason for wanting to name her Bryanna was because he, not only I wanted a baby girl so badly and I wanted to name her in some way after her daddy...another reason we chose to spell it with a "y" instead of "i". However it wasn't until just recently that a friend asked if we combined both of our names to come up with her name. I didn't get what she was saying until she pointed out Bryan "Bryan" and Gina "na" how amazing is it that our little angel's name turned out to be a perfect combination between our two names! It truly was fate and God working with us yet again.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A sweet gift

Recently I ran across a website, and as soon as I saw it I just knew I had to contact them about doing one for Bryanna. On Thursday night the email address went up and I quickly sent in her name and what we wanted the post to say! I love how it came out! I can't wait to print it out so we can frame it and hang it in our house!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

21 weeks and 1 day

It's been 21 weeks and 1 day since our dear sweet Bryanna was born and passed away. 21 weeks since I last saw her little face and held her in my arms...21 weeks since all my hopes and dreams for her went away. She has officially been an angel longer then she was growing in my belly.

I think back to where I was a week after her death and now where am I a week after her due date. A week after her death I was completely heartbroken. I didn't know how I would go about the seconds, minutes, hours, and day much less how I could get through the rest of my life. I couldn't go out anywhere without seeing a baby or a pregnant woman without breaking down. I was still waking up every morning and breaking down. The days shortly following her death I couldn't even bare to leave my room and had to be coaxed out by Bryan. He had to bring me food down stairs to make sure I ate and get me out of the house at least an hour a day to make sure I didn't sink into an even deeper depression. I didn't know how I would go on. Laughing seemed so out of place. Immediately after we began to laugh or smile we would stop and wonder was it ok to do so? The pain we felt was so intense and some days I just wanted to sleep because at least when I was asleep I didn't have to think about it. There were moments in my day that I would fall to my knees and just ask why us? I honestly think I cried more then smiled during this time.

Now, a week after her due date I feel more hopeful/peaceful. I see little signs from her, and I'm at a better understanding with what happened. I know God has a plan for us. I know one day we will get our Earth baby. Now I can actually look into the future and toy around with the idea of TTC again. Am I fully there yet? No, but I'm a lot closer then I thought I would be at this point. It still scares me like you wouldn't believe and while I know I'm two times more likely to get the infection again I know its a 5% chance that I can get it and a 95% chance that I wont. I know that God and Bryanna will get me through and I have to believe that this time I will be in that 95%. It's a little easier to try and be more optimistic now...not 100% yet, but I have learned not to totally let my anxiety take control of my life.

There are times in my life now that I sit here and wonder did we really just go through this? Did we really just face the biggest heartache that no one should ever have to feel? Yes, we did...but we are becoming stronger. We still struggle..but it's not daily anymore. I no longer wonder if my marriage will survive this. We will survive this because we are stronger...Bryanna made us stronger. Bryanna made us feel a love for each other and bond for each other that we might have not known without her. I'm a firm believer she was brought into our life to strengthen our marriage and to show us when it's time we will have our earth baby.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sweet Butterfly

As this weekend was quickly approaching we knew we needed to make plans to get out of town. We wanted to do something as a family...just get away for a little while. We ended up going camping with some really good friends of ours. Friends so close that we have basically given up referring to them as friends and just refer to them as family. The camping trip while extremely hot turned out to be so peaceful and relaxing. Over the course of the weekend I spent much time sitting in a chair and listening closely to the river...taking in all the beauty of everything God had created.

We arrived to the camp grounds on Friday and while we were setting up camp I was almost hit in the head by a beautiful yellow butterfly. Thinking nothing of it I just brushed it off as just something you would find in nature. Well, throughout the remainder of the day this beautiful butterfly kept flying around us. She would fly near us and then fly away but always coming back around to see us. Finally I realized it was a sign from Bryanna. Bryanna had followed us on our camping trip and was enjoying the beauty with us. She was letting us know she was ok. I was so very excited to have my little angel around.

That night as I was saying my nightly prayers I prayed to God and thanked him for giving us a sign from our little angel..little did I know she would continue to be around us for the remainder of the weekend.

Yesterday morning we went out of ice cream and again our little angel flew by. While we were eating lunch back at our camp grounds my friend told me that she was flying around my head the entire time. Later on that afternoon as we were getting ready for dinner she was flying around again. It amazed me everytime I saw her. I tried to take a picture but our little angel was much to fast. It was as if she just wanted us to know she was around but it wasn't time for a picture.

It took me a little while to realize that it was the exact same color as the butterfly at our wedding...makes me wonder if our little angel was with us from the very beginning...then it made me realize that we have been blessed by this butterfly not once but twice. Maybe its a sign I need to start collecting butterfly's! Keep a look out dear friends!

At my first empty cradle meeting we received a book mark with this poem...coincidence?? Maybe not...maybe its simply another sign from God and Bryanna...

A Butterfly
A Butterfly lights
beside us
Like a sunbeam,
And for a brief moment
Its glory and beauty
Belong to our world.
But then it flies
on again
And though we wish
it could have stayed
We feel lucky to
have seen it.
Author Unknown

A special gift

On June 29th I received a very sweet gift from a group of ladies that I'm a military wives support group with. It meant the world to me that they would think of me on a day that I held very close to my heart. I knew many people new of the date but didn't expect such a thoughtful gift. The girls on this site have become very special friends and reached out to me in ways I never expected after the loss of Bryanna. They offered prayers and words of support on my darkest days.

When I received the box in the mail and opened it it was a small yellow heart shaped box with inspirational quotes inside and a very sweet card.

the card read:

Gina-There are never the right words to say to make your pain and loss go away. I know that today must be extremely hard since your angel was due. She was taken much too soon. I even question the Lord's actions, How can such a blessed event like a birth of a child be marked by the Lord taking that child? Your loving arms is where she should be. Hopefully on your due date, today, that you feel your little one's presence. May all your hopes, love, and dreams for Bryanna feel your heart with some comfort. Know there are many woman that are thinking and praying for you. We hurt and cry for your loss as well. Hopefully this little box will help you on days like today. May the little tokens of quotes and sayings bring a smile to your face and comfort your heart.


Your SG Sisters

Of course this little letter brought tears to my eyes. It truly touched my heart that someone could write these words to me. Something that they thought was probably so simple and wouldn't get their emotions across touched me in so many ways. The little box its self was filled with sweet little quotes, sayings, and scriptures that made me smile and brought tears to my eyes but made me feel so loved as well.

Some of the sayings in the box included:

*Bryanna we remember you

*Her time on Earth was too short, but her memory lives on.

*The hole in your heart may not heal, but we will help fill it.

*A family is a circle of love, not broken by loss, but made stronger by memories.

*Sometimes we face set backs before we can walk forward.

There are so many more like this and they all remind me that not only am I hurting for the loss of Bryanna but so are my friends and family.

Thank you so much for thinking of me and my family during our difficult day.

Balloons for Bryanna

On Tuesday June 30th we decided to pick up some balloons for Bryanna. We took them down to the trails down by our house and released them for her. We figured if she was going to celebrate the day with God we were going to send some balloons her way for the party and to let her know we were thinking of her.
Bryan and the boys getting ready to release the balloons

There they go!

Up up and Away!

A little higher up

After we released the balloons they all drifted farther away from us. They seemed to favor a little patch of clouds that I like to believe is where she was looking down on us from.

Releasing the balloons was very therapeutic for me, and after we released them I had a calm come over me. Almost as if for once I was at peace with what was going on. It was a very hard day though because it was as if it sunk in for good that she was truly gone but I know she is in a better place. I do miss my little angel though.