We Moved; Or Did we Run?

This blog post was first published at Still Standing Magazine.


A few months after our one-week-old son’s funeral, we moved.

But as the years passed and the boxes remained unpacked I began to wonder, did we move? Or did we run?

I was six months pregnant when I had to have an emergency C-section in an effort to save my son’s life. The two weeks leading up to that decision happened rather quickly.

During a routine doctor’s appointment, it was discovered that my son was experiencing intrauterine growth restriction. I went from a happy first-time mother with a growing baby bump, to a mother running from doctor to doctor trying to save her baby’s life.

Related: Neonatal Death; A Silence.

After an alarming visit, my primary obstetrician referred me to a high-risk perinatal specialist. Before I could even learn his name, that doctor was sending me off to another specialist. I remember there being a sense of urgency. It wasn’t the usual, “call the office and schedule your appointment in two weeks.” It was more like, “go to your car and before you pull out the parking lot, the nurse will call you with driving directions.”

It was urgent.

Within days, I was calling my manager to let her know that I would be home on bedrest. I was advised not to use my computer, so this would not be a working bed rest. But still hopeful, I told her that maybe I only needed a moment and soon I’d be ready to return to work. A few days later I called to let her know that my bed rest was moving from home to the hospital. And maybe I wouldn’t be back to work after all.

My new doctor had decided to have me admitted to the hospital for 24-hr monitoring. My life was quickly changing. It was indeed urgent.

Back at home, we were remodeling in preparation for our new baby. We were redoing the floors throughout our home to make them perfect for a crawling little one. We were rearranging spare bedrooms so that one could become a fully functional nursery. And I was so excited about our brand new kitchen. We had installed a beautiful granite breakfast bar that would be perfect for a high chair.

I was working closely with our building contractor. I wanted everything in tip top shape when we brought our new baby home. It was disappointing to have to call him on the way to the hospital and cancel an upcoming appointment. Things were changing quickly and I wouldn’t be at home to make our next design decision. I told him to surprise me and finish the design himself because this was more urgent.

That was one of the last phone calls that I remember making before my life would change forever.

I checked into the hospital nervously, but still as a doting mother preparing to welcome a beautiful baby boy into the world. And a little over a week later, I was being wheeled back to the car as a mother with crushed dreams and empty arms.

I was riding home alone. And I was never given a chance to take my son home with me. I was alone.

It WAS urgent.

After that emergency C-section, our son lived for seven days. During his stay in the NICU, I told him all about the new home that we were preparing for him. We had a picture of ourselves posted on his incubator. But I couldn’t wait to fill our home with new pictures, pictures that included him. However, it didn’t happen that way. Our only family photo was laced with tears capturing the last second of our baby’s life.

Related: I’ll Always Wonder: Could He Have Been Saved?

The memory of that photo is ingrained in my heart. I never have to view it again. I see it in my scars every day.

After a few months of staring at the empty walls in our home, we decided to move. The walls that were designed to be a backdrop for new family photos had become the reflection of our broken hearts.

We scaled back and finished the remodel, put our house on the market, and we moved. We moved away from our home.

It was our baby’s home.

We were loading boxes onto the moving truck before the sale was even final. Our house was no longer a home. And we had to go. Our move had become urgent.

It was late one summer evening when my husband and I picked up and moved from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Atlanta, GA. Our entire lives had changed. And we packed it up and placed it in a bunch of boxes.

When we moved into our new home it took us a few months to unpack.

As we got settled into new jobs, things continued to move quickly. We started going to new places. And we began to meet new people.

But one day while unpacking, I came across the order form for our son’s headstone. Suddenly things began to slow down. And our home no longer felt new.

As I sat on the floor covered in puddles of tears, I began to wonder… Did we move?

Or did we run?


Photo by maique madeira on Unsplash

How Many Kids Do You Have?

This blog post was first published at Still Standing Magazine.

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How many kids do you have?” It’s such a common and generally harmless question. But to the mother who has experienced pregnancy or infant loss, the answer may not be as easy to get out. What’s the answer? I mean if you’ve lost, what do you say?

I’m not sure if its related to all of the Back To School activities or maybe it’s a seasonal thought associated with summer and family vacations, but I often find myself being asked this question during this time of year. And I usually take a long pause, followed by a few deep breaths. Then I quickly think to myself, what do I say?

Related: After Miscarriage: “How Many Children Do You Have?”

I start to wonder if the person asking is only interested in the number of living children. But then if I exclude the others, I’m acting as if they never existed. And then there are the pregnancies that I lost. At what point do they count? Can they be counted? Or does the person not really care. Actually, does this person even care how many children I really have or is this just small talk? And when I answer, what will be the follow-up question.

I continue to wonder, what do I say?

I never want to be hyper-sensitive to simple questions, but it’s rare that I do not get knots in my stomach when people ask me, “How many kids do you have?”

I remember being pregnant for the second time and getting asked repeatedly, “Is this your first child?” Because I had carried my first baby for six months, I felt like I had legitimate experience with pregnancy. So it was hard to disregard that experience and simply say, “Yes. This is my first child.”

But how could I say no without sharing the outcome of that first pregnancy?

Related: The Question: Is This Your First Baby?

And again I had to wonder, does the person asking even care about those details? Or is this more of a rhetorical question?

So, what do I say? What’s the answer?

Some days my answer is 1. Other days it’s 2. Sometimes I share the details of the first baby that I lost. Other times I don’t even bother. But why must I experience this dilemma over and over again? Why are you even asking such a question? Do you really want to know?  Maybe you should ask the follow-up question first so that I’ll know how to answer. Or maybe you shouldn’t ask the question at all.

I know. It’s such a simple question.

But the answer for me?! Not so much.

So let me ask YOU, How many kids do you have?


Photo by Kristina Tripkovic on Unsplash

Tips For Overcoming Triggers And The Summertime Blues

This blog post was first published at Still Standing Magazine.


Summertime! Long days and warmer weather make this time of year exciting for most of us. We get to enjoy increased outdoor activities, beautiful summer nights and fun-filled family vacations. But for others, it really isn’t all that great. It’s one long rollercoaster ride of triggers and you’re actually peeking from under the seat waiting for it to be over.

If you’re experiencing grief during this season, here are a few tips on overcoming triggers and the summertime blues.

With a little work, you can enjoy the ride again!

1. Honor your humanity.

Be honest with yourself about why you are avoiding particular activities, people, or places.

For years I would make every effort to avoid the baby department at Target. It was a trigger for me. While pregnant, I often visited and visualized what life would be like as a new mommy. I remember all the cute summer outfits in the store. I would see the beach toys and imagine what vacationing would be like for our little family. It was a part of the dream that I had for my baby. And when he died, so did that dream.

One day while shopping for a friend, I had to admit why I was avoiding the baby section. I decided to honor my pain. No more running and avoiding. The tears fell as strolled down the aisles, but I embraced each drop.

Honor your grief — the feelings of hurt, disappointment, anger, shame, guilt, frustration, and sadness. Honor it. Whatever you may be feeling in the moment, be honest with yourself and embrace it. Embracing it will propel you forward.

Related: 40 Special Ways To Honor Your Child

2. Say something.

Share your pain with someone. You are not alone. It may feel like no one understands, but you are not alone.


While lying at the pool during our most recent family vacation, a complete stranger walked up to me with tears in her eyes. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the area was full of kids having lots of family fun. This woman paused in front of my chair and whispered, “I’m sorry, but I’m just so sad.” I jumped up and asked her what was wrong. She shared with me that her husband had died 16 months earlier and being on vacation without him had become unbearable. It was her trigger.

She didn’t want the kids to see her cry so she walked over in my direction. I shared some encouraging words with her and gave her a big hug. In our embrace, she laid into my shoulder and wept. If only for a moment, she was not alone in her pain.

We were total strangers, and I will admit that it caught me off guard. But at that moment she needed to share her pain with someone and a not-so-strange stranger was available.

Related: Supporting You in Grief Saved Me Too

Our experience with grief allowed us to have something in common.

I don’t know the pain of losing a husband, but I was available for her. My husband was actually standing a few feet away, but I was still able to empathize with and support her. We bonded. She was not alone.

Don’t be afraid to share your pain with others.

Your support can come from unexpected places. Family, friends, medical professionals or total strangers — find someone and say something.

Allow the universe to respond to your needs. You are not alone.

3. Create new memories.

It’s impossible to erase the trauma that comes after infant loss. However, creating new memories can help frame it with healing.

July is traditionally one of my least favorite times of the year. It harbors the most painful memories of my son’s birth and death. July is a trigger. Every year I’ve anticipated it “getting better” but time has not healed that wound. This year we chose the love of family and the joys of a family vacation. We’ve discovered that it’s not time that heals old wounds, its love.

Shower your life with love.

You may decide to memorialize your loss in an intimate and personal way. Create a keepsake, volunteer with a local charity, or host a commemorative event. Plant a tree, release butterflies, or have an annual party. Whatever you decide, become intentional about creating new memories during this season.

Create new memories anchored in love.

4. Always remember.

Facing your pain can be scary. Not only is it scary to go to the depth of your agony. But many fear that healing will cause them to forget that the pain ever existed, that they’ll forget that their baby existed.

Related: Keeping their spirit and memory alive

Truth is, you’ll always remember. The trigger may begin to retreat. And the pain may dwindle. But the scars will make sure that you never forget.

So go ahead and face your fears. It’s safe to pull the trigger on your healing.

May your summertime blues be highlighted with beautiful sun rays!

Photo by Park Troopers on Unsplash