Thursday, July 9, 2015

Ellie's 2!

Happy Second Birthday Ellie!!
I know you are having a great birthday in Heaven. We will be celebrating you all day. I posted your first birthday invitation for people to send us photos of balloons again this year.
Here is last years birthday post, 1st birthday.

We got the first pictures a couple days ago from our good friends. The kids were staying with their grandma at the time.

A friend from Rockford.
Jason's Aunt and Uncle.

A foreign exchange student from high school.

One of my coworkers.
A family friend.

My brother.

A former coworker.
Illinois cousin.
Jason's brother.

From a sweet family that I worked with when I was getting my master's degree. 

From a former coworker.

IL friend.

My grandparents in MN.

Family friends shared a video with us where their son is playing with bubbles in honor of Ellie. They didn't have a balloon. 

I will keep posting as more come. 

Jason and I had a picnic with Ellie for lunch and brought balloons out to her. 
The birthday banner that we didn't put up until 9:30 pm...oops!
Our balloons outside our house. Two of them had already popped by the time I got a picture. 
Here is our balloon launch at 6:53 pm, the time Ellie was born.

After dark we lit two sky lanterns or wish lanterns. Last year a relative of my mom's had sent us one after Ellie was born and we chose to save it for her first birthday. This year we decided we would do two of them. Hopefully we can continue to do the number of her age.

Here is the first lantern. Ignore all the random conversations going on.
Here is the second lantern. 

Ellie girl, we hope you had a great birthday! Lot's of people were sharing their love for you today. I had many birthday wishes for you today and yesterday.
Mom and Dad love you and miss you!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

January 7th

Two years ago my entire world changed. Two years ago Jason and I went to our 12 week ultra sound to check up on our first little babe. We left that appointment with the word "anencephaly" and a decision to either terminate or carry our baby to term even though she had an "incompatible with life" diagnosis. We spent the following week in complete...there is no word. We were shocked, sad, angry, confused, with a never ending gut wrenching pain. We are Christians and the choice should have been instantaneous. But it wasn't. We had more whispered hushed conversations than we have ever had in the following week. We talked about termination and carrying. Either way was impossible. I have always been prolife. I wrote papers on it high school. This baby was wanted. How could we terminate this baby? She had a strong heart beat at the ultra sound. How could I carry this baby knowing she was going to die either while in my tummy or shortly after birth?? I am a very sensitive/emotional person. Surely carrying a baby who was going to die would send me in to a deep depression. I swerve to avoid hitting squirrels, I can't watch animals get hurt on TV. How could I walk around with a pregnant belly and feel my baby kick and move knowing what I knew? 

Our ultrasound was on a Monday and we made our decision to carry our baby on Thursday. I was overcome with a wave of relief when I spoke my choice out loud. I was terrified but my body immediately relaxed and my stomache didn't have a gut wrenching pain anymore. We had made the right choice for us. The following six months were a roller coaster of emotions. But we got through it with the help of our family, friends, and counseling. Jason and I had a strong partnership throughout the whole pregnancy. 

Talking about our baby helped a lot. I needed people to recognize we were going to have a child and that we were going to be parents. But I dreaded the pity looks and the cocked heads when people would mention our baby. Still to this day I appreciate matter of fact conversations about Ellie. I don't want or need pity or treating our baby like she is this cloud of sadness. I need people to recognize that I am a mother to a daughter. Talk to me about my daughter like you talk to others about their children, no puppy eyes, no cocked heads, ask about holiday traditions, ask about birthday plans. I was once referred to has a "young, cute girl, with no children" and that is why I was treated a certain way in a specific situation...this person knew about Ellie, I was speechless and was probably the closest I have come to slapping someone. "No children" rang in my ears. I have a daughter, she is in Heaven but I have children/a child. Treating me like I don't have children is my biggest pet peeve. 

Two years later I can talk about Ellie and smile. I have no idea how we made it through her birth and funeral without digging ourselves into a dark hole. But we did. And we are stronger because of Ellie. We have photos of her in almost every room of the house. We still have Mercy the matching teddy bear  to the one Ellie was buried with on our bed. It makes me feel like a part of Ellie is here with us. 
2013 was filled with trauma, 2014 frustration, I look forward to what 2015 brings. 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

incompatible with life..

If there are others reading my blog who have received the awful "incompatible with life" diagnosis here are two websites that I have found comfort in, especially during my 9 months of pregnancy. There are others out there, some are towards those who choose to terminate and some for those who choose to continue with the pregnancy.  You can also find private groups on Facebook; there you can have more conversations with mothers/fathers going through the same thing as you.

Still Standing Magazine

All That Love Can Do

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Happy Birthday Ellie!

Happy birthday sweet girl!! We love and miss you, Ellie. 

We mailed out this invitation to family and friends along with a balloon in the hopes to have many photos from people who love Ellie and are celebrating her birthday by sending us a photo of the balloon. 
At Ellie's funeral we had lime green balloons for everyone who attended to say a prayer or tell Ellie something and then release the balloon. So we thought we would extend the idea to her birthday.

We received the first balloon all the way from Denmark! My dear cousin has spent much of her summer abroad, jealous.

From my cousin's parents and brother, all the way from Oxford (this is a place my mom and I have been, together).

My parents neighbors in MN.
IL church friends.

From a friend that I have known since pretty much birth.

From my grandparents.

From my brother.

Isn't he sweet : )

From one of my best friends and my Godson.

From cousins in MN.

IL aunt and uncle.

IL cousins

IL cousin

My best friend in IL

My grandma's sister
 Jason's parents

IL church friends

Jason's brother and our sister in-law (& of course our Niece)

IL church friend

A friend from my Master's cohort

My parents

Couldn't forget Bailey, my parent's dog

From Bethel University (my mom works there and I attended)

IL church friends

IL cousin

Friend from work
IL friend
OK, cool story. A friend from my cohort (above a few photos) told her sister in FL about Jason and I; her sister and her Tampa Generals cardio-vascular transplant OR team took a photo for us!

A friend from work

My parent's neighbors (promoting my parent's Little Free Library)

Family friend from PA

One of my best friends in MN

A friend from work

One of my best friends and Godson in MN

My cousins vacationing in SC, look at the water!

I chose to use all 3, M and T. 
Friend from work.

IL church family

A friend from work
Friends from church in MN and my former boss in college.

A friend from work sent flowers for Ellie.

Family friends in MN 

Our good friends, Jason's Goddaughter, her brother and friend. 

Good family friend in WA.

My mom's friend (who sent us the lantern below)

Sorry, we couldn't get it rotate correctly.
From Jason's brother in South Korea.

Another cool story! An exchange student (from Germany) from my high school found my blog and sent me photos after reading Ellie's story. We have not talked in 10 years!

Good family friends in IL

MN family

My aunt in MN
My aunt and family in MN/TX

From my cousin in MN
My aunt and uncle in MN

I will keep posting throughout the day as I get more photos.

Here is Ellie's graveside from today. 

And here is our mailbox at home.

Jason and I sat at Ellie's grave for about an hour tonight and at 6:53pm exactly we took a video of our balloon did not end how we would have liked. 

Jason and I received a Japanese Sky Lantern from my mom's friend last summer and we knew we wanted to save it for a special time. As Ellie's first birthday grew near we knew it was the perfect opportunity to release the lantern. Please ignore all the banter in the background : )

Here's one more version (where I quickly grab my phone to record it myself). 

Happy birthday, baby girl! It was one for the books. 
We love you,
Mom & Dad