Friday, February 23, 2007

Your tiny footprints



Dear Kate and Riley,

When we were at the hospital, they told us they were making ceramic footprints of your tiny little feet that we could have. We were told they'd be sent to my doctor's office but that it would take a few weeks. I had thought about them often but hadn't heard from the doctor's office and I wondered if we'd ever get them. Then this week the office called and told me they had the footprints for us. I was excited and nervous to pick them up. They are not what I expected but are so precious and such a physical reminder of how tiny you were but how real you were at the same time. I only wish the hospital had saved the mold so we could have made more. I would have loved to have some to give to your grandparents and your aunts and uncles. But, we only got two and I will guard them with everything I have! I am already so scared of breaking them or of the puppy getting them! I think I'm going to put them in a shadow box that we can put on the wall. That way I can always think of my angel babies and everyone can know how real and tiny you were.
I love you, my precious baby girls.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Poem

Dear Kate and Riley,
I have read a lot of poetry written by other angel moms. Some of it is touching but a lot of it is cheesy. The problem is, I love all of it. I, however, cannot express myself through poetry so I have to steal it from others. Here is a poem I like.

God's Tiniest Angels

There was a meeting up in Heaven and the angels gathered round.
God spoke, "They will soon be coming. Let the trumpets sound.
Make way for my tiniest angels," God said, for they are almost here.
Watch over them; I must go now, and help dry their mothers' tears."

And so God went to His special place to hear the mothers pray,
Tears fell from His eyes as He listened to what they had to say.
The prayers were very different yet seemed to blend into one:
"You have my tiny angel, God, but my crying has just begun."

"I'm human and I'm weak, God, and I don't know what to do,
I need your love and strength, and your help to get me through.
Please allow me one more thing before I say 'Amen' and go,
I need to speak to my babies now, so my love they will always know.

God gathered the tiniest angels in His arms so they could hear
Their earthly mothers speaking from their hearts, and through their tears.
From God's eyes as well as the angels' tears began to leak,
And the trumpets sounded in Heaven, as the mothers began to speak.

"I can't hold you, I can't see you, or count fingers and count toes,
Nor wrap you in a blanket, and kiss your little nose.
I'll never feel your heartbeat as you lie against my chest,
But to question would be wrong, for God always does know best."

"I'll never hear 'I love you,' or 'mommy read to me.'
It hurts so much to want you, knowing you weren't meant to be.
Although you were taken from me you will always feel my love.
I know God will allow that in His kingdom up above."

"Don't be afraid my little ones, for you are in a special place.
And don't worry about me; God will dry the tears upon my face.
He needed more tiny angels but we are never far apart.
You're not in my arms, my little ones, but you're forever in my heart."

Then God spoke to the tiny angels and dried each little tear.
"Your mother isn't with us now, but soon she will be here.
And when you reunite with her for all of Heaven to see,
She will hold you close and love you throughout eternity."

By Millie Hutton, copyright 2003


Friday, February 16, 2007

Happy Birthday Dad!

Dear Kate and Riley,
Today is daddy's birthday! He is 28 years old. I thought that today I would tell you some of the things I love about your dad.

He is smart, not just book smart but money smart and common sense smart. Sometimes he has to keep me in line. He always remembers things. If it weren't for dad, none of our bills would get paid on time.

He is a hard worker, he always does well at work and he is willing to work so hard to do a good job. I love his work ethic.

He is honest. I don't think your dad has ever lied to me.

He is brave and strong. It was hard for dad to hold my hand and be beside me when you were born. He was so brave and strong. He is brave now and always reminds me that we will be with you again some day. He is strong when I need to cry.

He is handsome! He has the prettiest blue eyes and cutest dimples I've ever seen. I wonder if you would have had dimples like your dad.

He is just a good guy. Everyone who knows him would say that your dad is a good guy. He is always doing something to help someone else out.

He is a great cook!

He is a wonderful husband. He never worries about things for himself, he worries about our future and does everything he can to make sure that we will live a good life. He encourages me to be a better person, to do my church duties and to be kind to everyone.

You have the best dad ever. I know you love him and I hope that in your own way you are wishing him a happy birthday today.


Monday, February 12, 2007

Things you heard and places you went...

Dear Kate and Riley,
Last week I went back to work. It was scary at first but once I got there I remembered that teaching is something I love to do and that there are few places I feel more comfortable than at Pacifica High School in my own classroom.
When I went back to school it made me think of you a lot since the last time I had been there I was pregnant with you. Driving to work made me remember when I would drive to work when you were still inside me and I would sing really loud to the radio hoping that when you came out you would like country music too. My guess is that country music is definitely one of the kinds of music they play in heaven! Thinking of all of that made me want to make a list of things I think you liked, things you heard and "did" while you were alive.
The first thing is that I think you must have gotten a pretty good education, at least in 9th grade English, while you were alive. While you were inside of me you got to hear many short stories and you heard the novel Lord of the Flies four times! (because I read it with four different classes). I wonder if hearing that novel traumatized you in some way. You also learned about a bunch of different literary terms and other things that I'm sure made you really smart, especially since you had a really good teacher to listen to. I was reading that a baby can recognize their mother's voice by the 6th month and I'm sure you recognized mine because you got to hear me talking all day long. I'm glad I had a job like that because I think it means you will know my voice when we meet again some day.
Besides listening to novels, there were two songs that stick out to me that I think you liked. One was a Carrie Underwood song called "Right Now" I used to sing it in the car EVERY day on the way to work and you would both kick. I sometimes wondered if it was a very good song to be singing to you, but I think you liked it. The other song is the Dixie Chicks, "Not Ready to Make Nice" one time I was singing that song so loud, I thought I should ask the doctor if I could hurt your ears. I bet my singing hurt your ears even when it WASN'T loud!
As far as going places, you didn't get to go very many places because I was so sick with you. But you did get to go to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and to Utah twice. We also spent a LOT of time at the beach over the summer. I bet you liked it when I sat in the warm sun and I remember that you did NOT like it when I got in the cold water.

Here is a picture of me, Dad and Bella the dog when I was pregnant with you. Even though these pictures make me sad, I'm glad we took them.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Dear Abby...

Dear Kate and Riley,
Today a woman on SG posted a letter written to Dear Abby about the fact the she and her co-workers are APPALLED at the picture another co-worker keeps at her desk of her stillborn baby. Unfortunately Abby made a big mistake and said that the picture was inappropriate. I wrote Abby a letter telling her how wrong she was, then I read the letters that some of my friends on SG had written and they put mine to shame. So today I want to share them with you:

This one is from Sara, her baby is Miles

I am writing in response to "Appalled" and your reply to her. As the mother of a stillborn son, I would like to share with you some of the things that have made me "uncomfortable" since his birth and death: 1.Hearing, just a few weeks after my son's death, a coworker's long and very detailed story of her daughter's happy birth experience. 2. Hearing and seeing the two newborns in our building 3. Hearing several times, and just the other day, a discussion about an upcoming birth and the things they need to buy the baby, while I cringe, and think to myself, "not all babies come home, even when all appears to be well with mom and child". These are just some of the "uncomfortable" things mothers of stillborn children have to put up with. I think Appalled can live with it. I understand her discomfort, she doesn't know this pain (lucky her) however, she doesn't have to look at the picture and I think she should try to show some sensitivity to her coworker's situation.

Perhaps her coworker has the photo on display in hopes that SOMEONE, anyone, will acknowledge her loss and her baby. It hurt (and still hurts) that no one asked what my son looked like or weighed, that I never get to tell people about his soft black hair, like his father's in color, but mine in texture, or how he got saddled with my chin and his father's nose. Maybe if someone did reach out to her coworker in this way, it would also improve her coworker's behaviour?

Appalled is wrong and you are wrong, Abby. Stillbirth happens to 26,000 women in the U.S. every year. We are mothers like any other and deserve to be proud of our photos like any other parent. I highly advise both of you to go to the website and see their gallery of photos of stillborn babies and then you will see how beautiful all our babies really are. And I finish with this, on Appalled's rationale, should parents of children who are "different" or "disfigured in some way also not display their pictures?

Sign me,
a loving and proud photo displaying mom

This one is from Vicki, her baby is Andrew

In reference to your "advice" about the picture of a stillborn baby at work, God gave us a wonderful thing... It's called eye lids, if we don't wish to see something we can close our eyes or even avert our gaze.
Life had been hard enough for "Madge" without her feeling ostracised by her workmates, or problems raised with her boss. I have experienced a stillbirth, and know from experience that validating my lost son is an incredibly important part of grieving.
Judging by the tone of the rest of the letter you received, these workmates have a problem with "Madge" herself, not what she keeps on her desk. Perhaps you should have addressed this problem as well.
If you had a child with a disfigurement, would you keep their photo in a drawer?!? Or would you proudly display your loved child for all the world to see?
Please feel free to email me, or one of the others I'm sure will respond to your advice. Or have a look at one of the leading sites for people who have experienced the loss of a child, and see how deep peoples emotions for their lost child are.

Girls, I want you to know I am proud of you and I love you. I would never let someone make me feel ashamed of you and I hope that Dear Abby learns her lesson. Maybe some of our friends want to write to her too. They can write her here.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

Tears in Heaven...

Dear Kate and Riley,
When I was a kid my dad had an Eric Clapton tape of his "unplugged" show on VH1. I remember that there was only one song on that tape that I thought was worth listening to. It was called "Tears in Heaven" I remember hearing that Eric Clapton wrote the song after his little boy died. I thought the song was sad then but I had no idea how much meaning it would end up having in my life. I love this song because I wonder the same things as Eric Clapton, I wonder if you know who I am, if you will recognize me. I know that when I get to heaven, there will be no more tears.

Tears In Heaven

by Eric Clapton and Will Jennings

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?

I must be strong
And carry on,
'Cause I know I don't belong
Here in heaven.

Would you hold my hand
If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand
If I saw you in heaven?

I'll find my way
Through night and day,
'Cause I know I just can't stay
Here in heaven.

Time can bring you down,
Time can bend your knees.
Time can break your heart,
Have you begging please, begging please.

Beyond the door,
There's peace I'm sure,
And I know there'll be no more
Tears in heaven.

Would you know my name
If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same
If I saw you in heaven?

I must be strong
And carry on,
'Cause I know I don't belong
Here in heaven.

love, Mom