Monday, April 30, 2012

Amazing Grace

There are some things that just take a while to digest. If I tried to write about them while still in the middle of them, it wouldn't be adequate. Friday and Saturday were such BIG days. They were days that rendered me speechless. Days in such stark contrast to one another.

First, Regina. Sew Sister. Our brains are so alike its almost scary. But, it is beautiful.

Friday was five years to the day that she learned she would live the rest of her life without Ryan. This beautiful ministry of Holy Sews was literally born with the death of her son.


That sweet boy and Aidan gave two women the strength to go in and love a sweet baby girl. We held onto one another. We held onto our mission. And then we held onto Hope.

I could not have done it with anyone else. We have the same grieving hearts. Our hearts allowed us to be awe of her sweetness. Our hearts made us have the determination to do it perfectly. Our hearts allowed us to love that little girl and give her momma things to hold onto.

In the hour we spent with Hope, I did things I never got to do with Aidan.

I washed her feet. I bathed that sweet child. One of the biggest regrets I have from my time with Aidan is that I didn't know to ask if I could do it. I just let them take him and clean him up. I missed my one chance. Even now, days later. When I think about that sweet simple moment, the tears fall.
My heart breaks.
His purpose grows.

When your baby dies, everything changes. EVERYTHING.

I have been to many funerals. Too many really. I could not have walked into that room and found the strength to do what we did before Aidan. I wouldn't have known what it would mean to her momma. I wouldn't have found a sense of healing.

The fear of death just goes away when your child dies. Once you have held their sweet lifeless body and just loved to the very core of your being, it just changes everything. We found Hope wrapped in a blanket. We left her dressed as  a child should be. Wrapped in love in the forms of blankets, bonnets and two stuffed lambs to snuggle with. We got her momma memories that will have to last a lifetime.

There are so many more things that I feel like I need to say about the moments we spent with Hope. Some are just to personal. Some are just between the three of us. All are just to big for words right now.

A party for all of the babies. All of the full term babies. All of the Cody's, who fought and won. All of the Aidan's, who won the ultimate battle and are in heaven. It was this beautiful, special, ultimate, gut wrenching day.

March for Babies.

And march we did. It was one giant party. With a very special memorial garden set to honor our sweet babies.

The sea of blue was intoxicating. And made every bit of the stress worth it. Aidan's tree was amazing. There were so many special items hung from his tree.
So many people shared their love.

Aidan's team was family, friends, coworkers. All spectrums of my life were represented.
To see all of them come together for one reason. Simply breath taking.


We carried his picture. We wore his feet prints. We shared his story.

Laughter. Hugs. Smiles. Tears. Love.

Absolutely amazing.

It was just a proud momma moment. I was so proud to be his momma. I was so honored to stand on stage and just say I am Aidan's momma and we are here for him. I was recoginized as a mom.

It was such a gift. I didn't feel on the outside. I didn't feel like I was looking in on this world I just barely entered into. I was smack in the middle of it. And it was WONDERFUL.

I will never be able to express my emotions truly. I just know that I cannot wait for the next time I get to have that feeling again. Meanwhile, I am looking at pictures, relishing in what I have been given. Loving my son and all of the blessings he is bringing to us.

Aidan is my amazing grace.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

We must be the body

It's crowded in worship today
As she slips in trying to fade into the faces
The girl's teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know

But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way

A traveler is far away from home
He sheds his coat and quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgemental glances
Tells him that his chances are better out on the road

Jesus payed much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ

Jesus is the way

Those lyrics have never meant more than they do tonight. I knew I would be in an emotional upheaval with March for Babies this weekend. I want it to be perfect. I want the garden to have an impact.

I had no idea how much of an impact this week would have with me. Last night Court and I ran around Hobby Lobby like crazy people trying to find the perfect things to go in "Hope's Chest." Books, journals, stepping stone with her name on it.

Tonight we added monogrammed blankets and lambs. And then I did the biggest thing I've done since I gave birth. I handed that box to Hope's Momma. I hugged her. I sat with her. I cried with her. I was able to sit with her and show her that she can survive. I was able to give her ways to remember Hope. And I honestly think it was more healing for me.

I was finally able to do something and make a difference. All because of Aidan. All because I have sat in her exact place. Her pain was so raw. It instantly took me back, but I am so much stronger now. I didn't shy away from the grief. I embraced it and extended my hand to her.

I honestly felt like I was doing God's work.

It's amazing. It was nothing. It was simple.

To that momma though, it was everything. I know. I've been there.

All of the grace. All of the peace. All of the comfort that others gave and give to me, I was able to pass on. I was able to turn it around and give it to another mom in need.

Tomorrow will bring such a deeply personal moment. I will go far beyond anything I could have ever imagined. Just so I can ensure that Hope's momma has as much as she needs to survive the death of her child. Tomorrow, I will rely solely on my faith and on my belief that I will see Aidan again.

March for Babies and the Garden have taken a new meaning to me in the past two days. I am so inspired. I am a mom on a mission.

Stand back and watch. Or, step up and let's fly.

Because, On Aidan's Wings...Hope Flies.

I had no idea that one day that statement would carry even more weight. It's the most important thing right now.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


There is so much going on. So many things out of my control. So many things that I have to get done. So many feelings exposed I am just raw. Stressed. Itchy. Burning.

My body does this thing. When I get stressed or anxious, I break out in hives. Just a spot or two. At this moment, I am slathered in so many over the counter medicines. I have progressed past hives, we are in full blown shingles. I had the chicken pox when I was like five. If they itched half as bad as I do now, I'm amazed I only ended up with one scar. I am in misery and can't be seen at the clinic until Thursday!

All the itching aside, I am having one of those days.

One where I miss him with every breath.
My heart hurts.
My brain can't process it.

The why's and what ifs have invaded. Why me? Why him? Why that weekend?
What if we had known? What if I had been a better advocate? What if that helicopter had come?

Dangerous questions. Painful thoughts. Ideas that distract me from God's grace.

I know it is ok for me to question. If I didn't question I would probably doubt my faith more. I wouldn't feel it down to the core of my being.

I can question while resting at his feet. I can cry while bowing at the cross. I can crumple because his arms will pick me up.

Cause me to hear Your loving-kindness in the morning, for on You do I lean and in You do I trust. Cause me to know the way wherein I should walk, for I lift up my inner self to You. Psalm 143: 8

This path is not one I would have ever chosen. I am doing everything I can to make it count though. Last Sunday Ben talked about how God doesn't necessarily chose those who are best for the job. He chooses those who will do the best job. I'm not this perfect person. Maybe, I'm the only person who could be Aidan's mom and do it in his glory,though. It is through my imperfection that I can share God's perfection.

I say Aidan's name everyday. In doing this, I also talk about God everyday.
I lean on God every moment, My faith just might strengthen someone else's.
I miss Aidan with every fiber of my being. By being open and honest we may just save another baby.

This Saturday is a BIG day. March for Babies. Aidan's name on shirts. Aidan's story on a mission sign. Families united by trees and their children they represent.

I want it to be perfect. I want it to have an effect. I need it to be something that opens eyes and changes the stigma.

There are not very many days that I get, where I get to be proud of Aidan. This is one of them. This is my version of a birthday party or his baptism. This is a moment I get to share with others and smile because he matters. Thank you to all who are going to literally walk it step by step with me.

It's not just a 5k or a walk. It is a party for all the babies. Especially my baby.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Still Standing

I've been talking about this huge thing that is coming. I have been dreaming about what it can do. I have been praying that it will be a tool (God's tool) to help us, help each other.

These next few weeks are just the beginning. An opportunity for you to get to know each of us that are monthly contributors. We are joining forces and raising our voices. We want you to join us. We want to further this community. Not just for those that have lost, but for everyone who is touched by the real reason we are here. The love for our children.

 We are all drawn here because of the grief. Because we are the parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, friends, etc. Because we or someone around us is walking this journey.

I have been traveling this path since September. I can't believe we are already half way through April and at the same time it has been the hardest and longest period of my life. Yet, these months have been defining. They have been educating. They have been blessed.

Because I am Aidan's mom.

Still Standing is a collective sigh in a world that takes our breath away. It is a safe place to come and find someone who gets it. It is a place where we don't expect you to just get over it. We understand that there is no getting over it. Just through it. Because it is a journey that will not ever end.

That is what my piece of Still Standing is. The Journey.

I will lead the blog link up each month. I will share where I am in this journey and invite all of you to share yours. We will encourage, learn and listen. Because while it is the same journey we are all at different spots. Some are further ahead and can give us advice. Others are just beginning and we are the light within the darkness. We are the proof that you can survive.

Our first link up will be May 8th. We will be looking at Mother's Day. We will help one another approach it with as much grace and peace as we can find. We will share our stories. 

My journey. Your journey. Our journey together.

If there is one thing that I have clung to and it has gotten me through some of the roughest moments. I am not alone. No matter how deafening the silence. No matter how empty my arms. I have found solace in knowing I am NEVER alone. We are doing this together.

I sincerely hope that you will take each of these next days and get to know my fellow writers. Get to know their journeys. Sign up for our newsletter. Join our facebook page.

Prepare yourself for May 5th. We will go live on a very special day. Sweet Jenna's birthday. Her momma is the genius behind this. I am just blessed to be alongside.  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Not enough time in the day

I am forcing myself to sit still long enough to write. I have officially overextended myself. There have been so many moments over the last week, that I have known were blog worthy. Then, by the time I can actually sit down and write it out, I'm asleep.

Easter was this deeply personal, emotional and soothing holiday.

The Good Friday service was heart wrenching. Hearing the last words Jesus spoke from the cross made such an impact. It brought me into the darkness of that moment. It made the darkness of my own grief feel more ok for the moment.

Easter morning.
The light within the darkness.
God's promise.
He is risen.

It was all of this and more. I got up while it was still dark. I sat underneath the pavilion at church with the fire burning and watched the sun risen on this blessed day. I celebrated in the fact. One day because he arose from that tomb, I will be with Aidan again. NOTHING lifts my heart quite like that these days.

I've witnessed several sun rises since we buried Aidan. But, none have compared to that glorious day until this past Sunday. The light peaked through the clouds. The birds chirped. The world woke up.

I felt at peace. I don't get true peace very often. That was my Easter gift.

We put some eggs out for Aidan. I don't remember when I first learned the meaning behind the Easter egg, but this year was the first I felt it.

As I hung those empty eggs at Aidan's spot, I marveled at that empty tomb. I smiled because one day I would witness the true marvel of God's promise. One day...

This past Tuesday, I crossed another first off of the list. I shared Aidan's story with strangers in an attempt to make a difference. I was invited to come and share Aidan with some board members for March of Dimes. Because this is my safe place, it has become a sort of scrapbook as well. It feels only right to share those words as well.

It was this time a year ago, three words forever changed our world. "You are pregnant."

We were officially on the journey known as parenthood.

Labor Day weekend of 2011, was supposed to the remarkable. My best friend was getting married; it was our last trip before Aidan would be here. We had seen our high risk specialist just a few weeks before and had seen our baby boy dancing and playing. Our dreams were becoming a reality; we were having a baby boy. On Tuesday, before we headed out of town, we saw our regular OB. With a quick check and the all clear, we were on our way with Aidan safe in my womb.

Saturday was a busy day with joy and wedding festivities. Exhausted, we went back to the hotel.

It was early the next morning, when I realized something was wrong. We went to the hospital just for peace of mind. I just simply thought that I had overdone it. Possibly dehydrated. I was prepared to be told to rest. I was not prepared to be told that I was dilated six centimeters. There was no labor. There were no contractions. There was no infection. Just an incompetent cervix. One small piece of my body was failing.

Attempts were made for a med-flight attempt to UAMS. They were our only hope. All I had to do was hold on for 24 hours. So, I was inverted. I lay very still, listening to his strong heartbeat, I held onto the only thing I had, my love for Aidan. The hours passed, hope started to grow. We thought we just might make it. Ten hours into the day, the contractions started, and then 2 hours later, my water broke. At 5:38 pm Aidan was born breech, horizontal and still. The labor was just too hard for my perfect little boy. Weighing 14.6 ounces and measuring 10 5/8 inches he was perfect, just too fragile.

We don't know why or for what reason yet, but God needed our angel with him. And so our family has grown. We are now three, but we miss him. He is not lost. We know where he is. Our tears are for all of the hopes and dreams we will never get to live out here. Our tears are because we have been thrown into a new normal. We live each day without our child in our arms. And suddenly, this journey was something else entirely. Still parenthood, but without a child to show for it.

We brought Aidan home. Just days earlier, I had no idea the drive home would be with Aidan in my arms. We had him baptized and started planning his services. How do you honor a life that never took a breath? The day we buried him was the day I realized my purpose. Since I would never hear his cry, hear him call for Momma or say I love you, I must be his voice. I am his mom, I share his story. Our story.

As Aidan's mom I made a decision when I realized we would be parted. I made the decision that he will never be forgotten. He will never be the tragedy that struck our family. He will forever be our little boy. Our first born. His legacy will leave its own mark. His footprints no matter how tiny, are perfect and they will leave a lasting mark. On our hearts, on the hearts of so many, on the world.

I have heard many people pose the question, What is the purpose? Is there a reason? While Aidan may have never done the typical things a newborn does he did do the biggest of them. They placed him in my arms and he changed me. He made me want to be better. He made a part of my heart that I never even knew existed come alive. He made me crave heaven in a real, tangible way. He made a mother. In doing this he fulfilled his first purpose. I believe that the rest of Aidan's purpose lies within me. It took him to change me. It will take the two of us to change others. Our story will not be a silent one. Our story will be told. It will be told of love, compassion and grace. It may have started on May 26, 2011 but I refuse to let it end on September 4, 2011. That was only just the beginning. Keeping our story alive continues through "On Aidan's Wings" and his wristbands. We intend to change the lives of future families. Hopefully, we will change what might have been heartache to a happy healthy baby for someone else. That's what the wristbands stand for. As a reminder of the angel he is and the babies of the future. It is up to us as his parents, to share our son, spread awareness and move mountains. Each and every time we are given the opportunity to share his pictures, say his name or comfort another family we are taking strides. All for the love of Aidan.

In the months since Aidan's birth and subsequent death, I have made progress to do these things. There is an amazing network of grieving moms out there. They are just simply pushed aside because those they grieve are tiny. I have sought refuge and strength in these various places.

Holy Sewsis where I can honor Aidan's life by respecting his death. I can help other families in the same situation find some peace and beauty with their child.

Next month, an online magazine will debut. I am blessed enough to be a part of it. Still Standing is a group of women from all over the world who have their grief in common. We are at different stages in this journey. We all want to make a difference. We all have found healing through sharing.

And then there is March of Dimes. Through MOD, I find my hope for tomorrow. It is because of MOD and all that you do, that I am able to dream of a day with a child in my arms. Aidan can never be replaced. My heart is forever scarred, but it can and will love another child.

March of Dimes enables simple things that can be done to ensure that people like me don't end up without a baby or have to endure months of NICU and the subsequent costs. I fully believe that with public awareness the mystery of Incompetent Cervix could be unraveled. An educated woman can be her babies biggest advocate. With a public awareness campaign about IC, both lives and money could be saved.

Nothing can ever lessen the pain of losing our precious Aidan. Saving other babies from the same fate would mean that his life means something. And that means everything. Simply because I am his mother, and I believe that On Aidan's Wings...Hope Flies.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

4 times 7

The 4th day of the month always lands with a punch. Some are harder than others. This one took my breath away.

I can't tell you what it is. Seven months? Holy week? Knowing that a family awoke to the first morning of the rest of their lives without Stella Rose?

It's all of these emotions rolled up and shaking my world. Jarring me like the bumble ball of years ago. We have a home video of Brooke as a toddler with one. That's what today has felt like.

It took me awhile to figure out why. I knew it was the 4th. I thought of Aidan and how precious the hours in this day are. I worked. I laughed with Ev. I talked with many.

And then tonight, I watched the end of one of the shows I spent the last nine years with. And they tied it up nicely with a bow. But it was the voice overs that did me in. What would you say if you knew this was the last time you would talk to a friend?

And it took me back. Past all of the pictures, past all of the cuddles, past all of the tears. I was back to the hours that it was just Aidan and I. All of the things I said. All of the things I wish I had said. All of the things I have said since.

I have had seven months of time to think about what I would have said. When all I really want is just more time. Isn't that all that any of us really want? Losing someone we love sharpens the aspect of time. Once we have run out it is too late.

So, in honor of Aidan. Because of how little time any of us are given, I am challenging myself to take more time. To make more memories, tell more people just how much I value them, treasure each moment as the blessing it is.

I have to. I crammed a lifetime into hours. I made sure I had memories to hold onto that were peaceful. I made sure that when the darkness comes, I have something of light to counteract it with. I have the time I spent with Aidan.

Seven months ago today, at this moment. He was in my arms. He was also in the arms of Jesus. There is my peace.

Design by Small Bird Studios | All Rights Reserved