Monday, November 28, 2011

The Pain of Losing a Child

Knowing Luke is ours for the eternities brings so much comfort to me. I love knowing he will always be a part of our family. I love knowing that one day I will get to raise him. Without these truths I think I would be lost.

Even with this knowledge which brings joy and peace I still experience pain.

Tears watered my checks as I sat in church yesterday. Seeing the cute smiling baby in the pew in front of me and being surrounded with loving families, I couldn't help missing my son. I couldn't help wishing I was living out my dream to mother my own children. I couldn't help feeling the pain of having to wait to be with my son. I couldn't help feeling the pain of having to wait at least another 9 months to hold a baby of my own in my arms.

There is so much hope and joy for our future, but it doesn't remove the pain I experience.

Elder Hales shares the following quote about the pains that we experience:

"Elder Orson F. Whitney wrote: 'No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God, ...and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we came here to acquire" (quoted in Improvement Era, Mar. 1966, 211)." (Robert D. Hales, Healing Soul and Body, Oct. 1998)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Gratitude - sometimes it takes a little reminder

About a month after Luke's birth I was visiting with a friend who was pregnant the same time I was. She has three boys and decided not to find out the gender of her fourth baby. She told me that one of her fears about her pregnancy might have been that it was going to be another boy.

After she found out what had happened to Luke she said that she realized she just wanted a healthy baby and it would be okay if it was a boy.

We sat together with our arms around each other and tears in our eyes as I kind of laughed and said "I'm glad I was able to help you appreciate your son!"

Another friend of mine who gave birth the same week that I did wrote an email to me. At the end of the email she said, "I have not cherished my little one as much as I should at times, and hearing your story and reading your pain changed me."

I know that others have been reminded to be thankful for the children that they do have. Even if it includes ornery children, sleepless nights, and endless diaper changing.

I would never request this experience in order to help others be grateful for what they've been given, but I am grateful that something good has come from our experience.

Thanks, Luke, for giving others a reminder of the importance of family. We love you! Love, your mommy. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Our Trip to Dallas

It seems like I've had so many adventures lately that I can hardly keep up with them! Our latest get-away was to Dallas. Trevor got a job offer with a company whose headquarters are in Dallas. They flew everyone out for a little "Office Visit" no matter what office location you plan to work at. There were about 20 students from BYU that went. Even though most of these guys are married, somehow, they missed the memo that you could bring your spouse! So besides me there was only one other spouse that went along.

A few highlights included:
  • Delicious meals (all provided by the company!)
  • An adventure to a nearby park to find a geo-cache 
  • Getting to know the other students in Trevor's program
  • A service activity at a therapeutic horse ranch
  • The old man putting me in charge of driving the tractor just because I know how to drive a manual
  • Trevor getting to drive the tractor because I couldn't figure out all the levers on it
  • An hour long massage for the spouses while our husbands did a "team building activity" (amazing, right?!)

Tryin' to drive the tractor
Check out our "big winnings" from the carnival and card games at the party on the last night. I couldn't believe Trevor almost left them in our room! Good thing I went back inside to confirm we had all our belongings!

I wasn't so great at taking pictures. Probably because everyone else there wasn't quite the tourist that I was, since they were there for business. I got out the camera as we were getting on the bus to leave and told Trevor: "Since we haven't taken any pics all weekend lets make up for it by taking tons of them today!" He didn't go for my idea.

Fortunately, I "needed to use the restroom" before we left so I ran inside and snapped a bunch of pictures of the hotel practically as the bus was pulling away! I loved so much about the design of the hotel I just couldn't resist!

Love the color and design of the different patterns!
It had such a glamorous yet fun feel.
Love the mirror!
They had already started resetting this room when I returned to take pics. The pic doesn't even capture the beauty of the drapery and crystal light fixtures. 
One of many different chandeliers found throughout the hotel. I loved all the light fixtures.
A whole hallway of chandeliers. I loved the glam!
Some students, usually from other schools, would ask what I was studying or what I do. I spared them the long story of why I'm not in school or working right now. I like to talk about Luke, but sometimes it just doesn't seem like the right time. I did get to tell the other spouse that was there about him. I liked that. 

It was a fun trip yet I'm glad to be home exercising again and not eating so much food!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Luke, Thanksgiving is a holiday that is focused on expressing gratitude. We decided to host a family dinner at our house for this celebration. It always feels a little void not having you at family functions like we hoped to, yet we are grateful for you. We are grateful you are our son. We are grateful we get to see you again one day. We are grateful for our Savior Jesus Christ through whom it is all made possible. Happy Thanksgiving my little one. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Fall Break"

Many of you may know that BYU does not have a Fall Break for their students. That doesn't really matter though, because it didn't stop us from taking one! In September we were able to go to Seattle to spend time with Trevor's family.

Out to lunch:
Trevor and Rachel (our niece) in the parking lot

To the fair aka "Do the Puyallup":
On the Marry-Go-Round
Ready to Ride

Laura and Rachel watchin' us soar

Upset because mom didn't come on the ride with us
Rachel finally calmed down and enjoyed the ride 
Out for a hike:
Grandpa and Rachel
Most of the Fitzgerald fam 
Taken Captive 
Barb, Rachel, Laura, & me
Watched the BYU v Utah game with friends:

It was a fun trip and I am so blessed to have such great in-laws! As you can see, we did lots of fun things and had a great time. I'll have to admit though, it was a little hard to be there. It was hard to be visiting "grandma and grandpa" but have no grandchild. Being there empty handed made me wish even more that I had my little Luke. I think that's normal though. I think there will just be certain times in life that I'll want Luke to be a part of our experience, and having a good time with family is definitely one of those times ...but it just isn't meant to be.

Thanks Barb and Jim for a great trip! I always love coming to visit. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Luke's Nursery

I can usually go into the nursery with no problem. I have an incredibly comfortable lazy-boy rocking chair I got for my birthday back in July. It's great to read in, nap in, or just sit and think in. When I'm in there I usually curl up with the quilt that I made for Luke. I love the nursery. It was a labor of love for my little baby --everything from the painted walls, painted crib, refinished changing table, custom window valance, sewn bed skirt, and mommy-made wall art--was all part of the environment I created in anticipation of spending long hours and endless nights in there with my son.

Some people offered to help take down the nursery right after Luke was born. I wasn't ready for that. I'm still not. I even stained and painted a shelf and some frames (that I hadn't gotten to before Luke's birth) and hung them up. I guess that's kinda strange. There was no sense in finishing the nursery since it won't be used as one anytime soon. But I did it. Maybe I just want to finish it to see what it could have been. And instead of filling it with a baby I'll just fill it with my dreams of a life to come. It makes me sad to brush my finger across the top of the changing table I painted just in time for Luke's arrival to just discover that it's collecting dust. How empty it seems. When walking by the nursery, I turn the light on, gaze in, and turn it off again with a sigh. Only to turn the light back on, gaze on again, almost smiling at the thought of my son that I love so much. Just to turn the light off and walk away.

Last night I was just tidying things up in our house. Gathering a pile of sympathy cards I took them into the nursery. I thought I could store them in the basket on the changing table that was still holding the baby powder, baby lotion, and other little baby essentials. I started to put the unneeded baby items on the top shelf in the closet. I held the unopened diaper wipes to my face and just smelled the sweet, clean, baby smell.

I just lost it. I couldn't keep the tears from coming.

Was putting those items away confirming what I already know? That my baby isn't coming. He's not going to need these items. Not now. Not ever.

So in their place I put a lovely pile of cards. The room is empty, but at least I have that tangible confirmation of all the love and prayers that have been offered in our behalf. So for now I guess it's just a nursery filled with love.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Beautiful, Bright, Millennial Day

Yesterday we sung The Day Dawn is Breaking as the closing hymn in Relief Society. Tears fell down my cheeks as I  sung the words:

          Then happy reunion and sweetest communion
          We'll have with our friends in the beautiful day.

          Beautiful day of peace and rest,
          Bright be thy dawn from east to west.
          Hail to thine earliest welcome ray,
          Beautiful, bright, millennial day.

What a beautiful day and happy reunion it will be when I finally meet my son. 

Luke, I think about you every day. And I look forward to that glorious day that we will be reunited. I love you my precious son. Love, your mommy. 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Great Week With Friends

I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends! And this week I was able to spend time with so many of them. Earlier in the week I went to book club with my "Provo" friends. I love that they let me still come to book club, even if I haven't read the book! Honestly, I just haven't felt up to reading the past month. It's always so great to spend time with these ladies. That night I was feeling a little in the slumps so I probably wasn't the most amazing guest to have. That's life these days, I guess. I am so grateful for their love, concern, and kindness.

This weekend was another fun filled event with woman that I love so much! I got to be a tag-along on a "Quilting Retreat"  with my best friend, Suzanne, and her family ... even though I wasn't going to be making a quilt. (Are you noticing a pattern? Book club; don't read. Quilt retreat; no quilting.) I guess it's the company I'm after!

Suzanne and me, sewin' away!
These woman are seriously like my second family. Suzanne and I have been best friends since we were two and three-years-old. I just love being with her and her family! It's always a guaranteed good time filled with Coke, conversation. and often crafts.  

(As a totally random side note: Suzanne and I used to secretly take Coke cans out of her refrigerator and take them back to my house where we would hide in my loft in my bedroom, shake the cans, punch 'em with a push pin, and let the Coke shoot like a fountain into our mouths. I'm not really a soda drinker, but it's no wonder I prefer the taste of canned coke. It's nostalgic.)

While Suzanne's mom, sister, aunt, and sister's mother-in-law quilted we worked on our own projects. Suzanne made a beautiful log cabin style table runner and I made napkins.

Log Cabin Table Runner
By the looks of it you'd think Suzanne's was the hard project! Ha! Don't let looks deceive you! She finished way before me and lovingly stayed up well past midnight with me so I could finish hemming my napkins. I know it seems simple, but 28 14.75"x14.75" napkins sewn twice = 3,304 inches of sewing! That's 91.7 yards! That's nearly the length of a football field!!

It's probably no surprise that I felt like this:

when the remainder of the adults were turning in for bed and I'd spent the last hour dealing with a sewing machine that wasn't sewing right for me (turned out to be a user error!) and I still had lots of sewing ahead of me!

Don't worry I finally finished! (Notice how NO ONE else is in the room by this time!)

I also made a great banner for Thanksgiving. I love the fabric and am quite pleased with how it turned out!

What a fun filled weekend it's been!

Thanks for such a great time! 

It's Not Fair

Tonight as I thought about my baby I felt like things just aren't fair.

I went through nine months of pregnancy and labor and delivery and I still don't know how to hold a newborn. I don't know how to not be awkward with a new baby. I don't know how to hold them, swaddle them, or rock them to sleep. I don't know how to breastfeed. I don't know how to do such simple things that become so second nature to moms.

I'm a mom, but I don't have those skills.

It doesn't feel fair.

Tears filled my eyes as I dwelt on these thoughts.

It's not fair. It's not fair that my only memories with my baby are the 15 hours after delivery, many of which I was sleeping and recovering. It's not fair that I don't get to hold him. It's not fair that I don't get to be with him.


"The Atonement will not only help us overcome our transgressions and mistakes, but in His time, it will resolve all inequities of life--those things that are unfair which are the consequences of circumstance ... and not our own decisions." (Richard G. Scott, Jesus Christ, Our Redeemer, 1997

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Beautiful Gift

After Luke was born I wore this necklace around me neck for quite some time. Trevor had made it for me and given it to me on a very special day in my life, while we were dating. It is such a special piece of jewelry to me. I love that he made it and I love that it's a heart and a symbol of his love for me. 

It's hard to pin-point with words, exactly, why I wore it once I came home from the hospital. I know those days after giving birth to Luke, I felt loved by my husband more than I ever had. I know that part of my heart was broken and missing. Perhaps it was just something tangible to symbolize the things I was feeling. Maybe something physical to be with me when my baby, who I love so deeply, was not. 

A couple weeks after Luke's birth, I received this beautiful gift from my brother, Kevin, and his wife, Magen. They had it made especially for me by Madison Craft Studio. The green stone is to represent peridot, the birthstone for August. I love it. I don't wear it every day, but it is often found around my neck.

Thank you for the beautiful gift and memento to honor and remember my precious baby. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Joys of Life

I can't decide if my favorite part about my day, yesterday, was:

running around the cul-de-sac with the all the neighbor boys with nerf guns and hearing them scream, "Here comes Shelley with the nunchucks!"

or my friend's cute kids acting out the silly monkeys as I read them Caps for Sale.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Most Days

Most days are good days. Most days I don't want to just hide under the covers and sleep the day away.

But Monday I did. I didn't want to get up. I hadn't really wanted to get up Sunday either, but I did so that I could go to church. Monday I got up to go work out with my neighbors (we joined a gym together last week), but once I came home I just got back in bed. I woke up, read my scriptures, and feel back asleep. It was one of those "all I did was the dishes and a load or two of laundry" days. I felt pretty mopey most of the day. I even started crying while doing the dishes. Just a little cry though. I didn't have enough thoughts in my head for it to be a real good cry.

It wasn't until Trevor came home, we had dinner, and I just crawled up on his lap with my arms around his neck that I had a really good cry.

I cried because I missed my baby. I cried because I just wanted to hold him again. I cried because I wanted to look at him. I wished I'd spent more time looking at him --his stomach, his back, his little bum. I never looked at those parts of him, because the photographer dressed him for me while I was recovering from labor and he stayed wrapped in a little blanket. I just want to hold him and see him. Tears fell on Trevor's sweater and he just held me. It feels like it will be forever until I get to hold my sweet baby again.

Luckily, a good cry and a little ice cream usually helps that depressed feeling dissipate.

Thanks Trev, I love you so much and am so grateful for your love, patience, and tenderness.  

Monday, November 7, 2011


Just over a month ago I began to be filled with doubt.

These thoughts filled my mind: Could I have kept my baby boy? What if I had scheduled a c-section before his due date? What if I had asked for a healing blessing? If Christ could raise Lazarus from the dead could His power have also brought life back to my son?

I couldn't stop dwelling on these and other similar thoughts. I couldn't help thinking that I could have done something differently in order to have been able to keep my son. These thoughts consumed me. They immobilized me. All I could do is lay in bed and think these same thoughts over and over. What could I have done differently?

A scripture that had been shared in church the previous week came to my mind.

"Did I not speak peace to your mind concerning the matter? What greater witness can you have than from God?"

These words found in Doctrine and Covenants 6:23 were a vivid reminder that I did feel peace. I felt peace on our way to the hospital after we found out Luke was no longer living. I felt peace every day of my pregnancy as I prayed to God to know if I should do anything different concerning my prenatal care and choice to deliver naturally. I felt peace knowing that this is God's will for my son. I felt peace knowing Luke only needed to come to earth to receive a body and had no need to withstand the trials of mortality.

I think it's normal for anyone wishing their circumstances were different to ask "what if....?" But that's a road to unhappiness and doubt. It's a road that, if traveled, needs to be abandoned.


"I have come to understand how useless it is to dwell on the whys, what ifs, and if onlys for which there likely will be given no answers in mortality. To receive the Lord's comfort, we must exercise faith. The questions Why me? Why our family? Why now? are usually unanswerable questions. These questions detract from our spirituality and can destroy our faith. We need to spend our time and energy building our faith by turning to the Lord and asking for strength to overcome the pains and trials of this world and to endure to the end for greater understanding." (Robert D. Hales, Healing Soul and Body, October 1998)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

3 Months

Luke, I can't believe it's already been three months since I got to hold you in my arms! I miss you. I miss you terribly. 

Today I was determined to get up in church during testimony meeting and talk about you. I was able to tell people that you have taught me of the reality of our bodies needing spirits, of the plan of salvation, and of the necessity of Christ's atonement in order to return to be with God. I don't usually get too emotional when I talk about you, but I was afraid I was going to start crying. I didn't.  

I love you so much and am so grateful for you, because of the many things that you have been able to teach me as well as other people too. It's incredible to think that you never lived on this earth, besides your 9 months inside of me, but you've made a difference in so many lives. It reminds me of those famous painters that no one thought twice about ...until they were gone. I've thought about you plenty while you were here and since you've been gone, but I think so many others have thought about you since you've been gone. Your life was so short, but because of it, you've been able to give so much to those of us that love you. 

Time is a funny thing. It seems like it has flown by, yet at the same time I think, Only three months have past? How much longer must I wait until I meet you? One thing is for sure, I still can't wait to meet you!

I love you, my sweet little Luke.

Love, your mommy. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A New Friend

Let me introduce you to Katie. Katie has a contagious smile and beautiful red hair. She is always employed by a job that allows her to help others in some way. She is courageous and faithful and loving. She is an excellent conversationalist and makes you feel important and loved. I love her and I admire her.

I actually just met Katie today. Katie and I share an experience that has changed our lives forever. That is because in addition to all of those other qualities, Katie is the mother of a beautiful and perfect son, Porter, who is in heaven.

After my initial blog post, I got connected with Katie online through a mutual friend. And after blog stalking her for the past couple months, I decided I wanted to meet her in person. Luckily she complied. We went to lunch today at Cafe Rio.

Who would have thought that three months after I felt my baby kicking me and moving around more than ever, I'd be back to that same restaurant to meet with a mother who has also buried her baby? Not me. That's for sure.

Nevertheless, I am thankful for this opportunity to meet and get to know such an amazing woman!  

Katie, thank you for your example of hope and trust in the Lord's plan and timing. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Life Is Hard

In the past couple weeks I have had some very dear friends struggle with miscarriage, pregnancy complications, and adoption issues. Why can't this baby business be a sure thing?! It breaks my heart to watch these wonderful women deal with these trials. 

After I got off of the phone with one of them, I said out loud, "Life is hard." And I thought in my head I can handle hard things, but why do they have to experience them too?

I wish I could take these trials away from my friends. I love them so much and hope and even pray that the Lord will grant them the desires of their hearts. 

An anonymous comment on my blog was from a mother who was directed to my blog after losing her baby. I cried. I love and admire the women who have gone through what I have gone through and turn to them for hope and inspiration. I knew that there were women before me that have experienced the loss of their sweet angel babies, but I hadn't thought about the women that will come after me. It breaks my heart to know that other's are yet to experience this pain. I wish I could stop it. I wish I could prevent it. I wish no one else had to go through this. 

Unfortunately, my wish will not be granted. 

I read some surprising statistics I found over at I Am The Face

  • 25-50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage (
  • Stillbirths (the death of a baby after 20 weeks gestation) occur in one in every 160 pregnancies–about 60 stillborn babies every single day (March of Dimes).
  • Each year, in the US alone, about 20,000 babies die in their first month of life, many after being born prematurely (March of Dimes).
  • SIDS is the leading cause of death among infants ages 1 month to 1 year.
  • Every single day in the US 2,000 women lose a baby to pregnancy/infant loss. That's 700,000 a year, a quarter of every female in this country.

  • Aren't those numbers astounding? It has been incredible to me how many stories of loss I've heard now that I too am part of this group. Not many have been 41 weeks along, like I was, but no matter when the loss occurs, I believe, it is heartbreaking. 

    "No matter the burdens we face in life ... we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father, who sent us to earth as part of His eternal plan for our growth and progress. Our unique individual experiences can help us prepare to return to Him. The adversity and afflictions that are ours, however difficult to bear, last from heaven's perspective, for 'but a small moment; and then, if [we] endure it well, God shall exalt [us] on high.' We must do everything we can to bear our burdens 'well' for however long our 'small  moment' carrying them lasts." (L. Whitney Clayton, That Your Burdens May Be Light)

    I know that my prayers can't and won't stop infant and pregnancy loss, however; I just realized that perhaps I should pray that these women may be able to bear their burdens and endure them well. And if we can endure, what a glorious promise! To be exalted on high.