Saturday, December 13, 2014

Running Away

In support group, someone made a comment about how it doesn't matter where you go or what you do, nothing changes the fact that your child is gone and you miss them and it hurts. It doesn't matter if you stay home for the holidays or visit family or go somewhere new and exotic. They are all relatively crappy because your baby isn't there with you.

I've started running again and I have thought about this as I have run. Running is therapeutic for me. It helps me feel more like me, and I know myself and I know my body when I run. It is something I have some control over and it feels so good right now to have control over something. I know for some women after losing a baby, it is hard to see their body change back to its normal size, and that was so true for me at first, but I love being able to feel physically strong again and stand in amazement every day at what my body is capable of. There is something about seeing my body look normal and strong while my spirit feels broken that I enjoy. 

Alas, I digress. I am so happy to be running again. It is so good for me. But I know that however far I can run, I can never run away from this. There is no hiding or escaping. And sometimes I just wish I could go back to the innocence I enjoyed before Sloane. But because I can't, I will keep running and try to find myself and peace in that.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


There is so much good that has come out of our experience with Sloane. As Josh has told me, sometimes a tree must fall so that the others can have more light. We have definitely had an increase in light since our Sloane died. People have been so wonderful to us, and I want to record some of the things that have been the most helpful. While I recognize every person's experience and feelings and reactions and personalities are different, at least I can offer one insider's perspective on what has helped. Maybe this can help me help someone else in the future, or help someone else help someone else.
  • Be there. The first 2 weeks, we did not want anyone to be there emotionally. I wanted to cry in my bed every day and have Josh hold me because he was the only person who could possibly understand what I was feeling. But now, it has been helpful to have people just be there and be willing to talk to about Sloane, but also be able to talk about normal, every day life things, too. We are still people. 
  • Ask questions. Sometimes it is hard to know how to bring up Sloane, but just like any proud mama or papa, I want to share my story and my love. If something is too private or personal, I will let you know, so don't worry about bringing something up that is uncomfortable. No one wants to feel sad and isolated, so it helps to talk, and when others aren't afraid to ask questions, it has helped me to talk. 
  • Be practical. The first few days after I got home from the hospital, I had friends bring pads, kleenex, stool softener, and cabbage. These were life savers, and things I probably would have dealt with not having, but helped the physical aspect be so much more manageable. People also brought us meals-comfort food took on a whole new meaning. When you are physically taken care of by others, it makes it easier to take care of yourself emotionally. 
  • Be proactive-find a need and fill it. I am guilty of asking what I can do, and offering my assistance if needed, but I am not good at being proactively helpful. I think this is a talent that some come by naturally and others have to develop over time. When you are trying to get by day to day emotionally, it is hard to think of how someone else can help you, so it was so helpful when someone would just do something. 
  • Reach out. We have been so touched by the people who have thought to send a card, text message, email, or Facebook message. It is such a small thing, but it means so much to know others are thinking of you, even if we are not very close of friends. 
  • Remembrances. Because remembering Sloane and making her a part of our life is so important to us, we wanted to surround ourselves with physical reminders of her. The donations people gave helped us do this, and I had sweet friends get me necklaces to help me remember her.

As people have helped, they have often downplayed their service to us, saying it's nothing compared to what we have lost and gone through...but to us, these seemingly small acts of service have been our everything. When our everything was taken, these "small" acts became all we had, and I will be ever grateful for all of those who watched over us, loved us, and cared for us during the worst time. 

There are still days, hours, and minutes that everything seems wrong and nothing seems right.. times that missing Sloane is all-consuming. But it is good to think of blessings received, even if it not the blessing we would have chosen or that we want. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Shortly after Sloane died, I wanted to go to the temple right away. This was not usual for me. I have always enjoyed the temple, thought it is beautiful, felt good when I am there, and believed in the ordinances that take place there, but I have never really been one of those people that could spend hours upon hours there. There was a large part of me that went because I knew it was the right thing and I knew I should, but not always because I wanted to, even if I was always glad I did afterwards.

But I knew that the temple would be a place that I could feel Sloane with me. This was more than a belief, or a nice idea. I knew it.

I waited a little time before going to the temple to make sure I was healed physically enough to be able to be comfortable while there. We went on Friday en route to Josh's marathon.

While I expected to feel immediate peace and joy, instead I felt sad, but sad in a good way, if you can relate to that. I was so sad not because I didn't feel her presence, but because I did...she was there, but this made me miss her more. This sadness was short-lived, however, and I could spend the majority of the time thinking of her peacefully and in gratitude that we can be together again. It made me so thankful that Josh and I were married in the temple...something that I always wanted, but never fully comprehended the importance of until losing Sloane.
I know she is ok and that she is doing good and important things helping others. She is ok, and so I will keep trying to be ok without her here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I had my 6 week follow-up doctor's visit today.

There has been much anticipation surrounding this event for me ever since I called and made the appointment. I have been anxiously looking forward to it, knowing that I would be able to ask questions about Sloane and about my body. I had also been nervous about it, imagining it would be difficult to go back to the place where I had been so many times while pregnant with Sloane and see the people that helped me with her. The office also happens to be in the same parking lot as the hospital, so I knew that would be difficult.

Just as everything else has been, it was a mix of emotions going back, but these emotions were stronger than I anticipated. You see, I have been doing ok lately, and while I am having a hard time with the fact that I am doing ok, the truth is that I have been doing ok. So I thought that while it would be hard to go to this visit, it would be ok.

It was not really ok. I was quiet on the car ride there, I teared up walking inside and avoided eye contact with everyone, hoping to not see any pregnant women. I felt out of place in this place, because I was not pregnant and I did not have my baby. I felt like I didn't belong, because the only reason I ever went there before was when I was pregnant. I continued to tear up as I checked in to the office, and I started crying when they called my name to go back to the exam room. I started crying more as they got my weight and checked my blood pressure.

As much as you mentally prepare and visualize something difficult coming ahead of you, I don't think you can ever fully anticipate the range and depth of emotion that you will feel until you are in that moment. It was hard.

When my midwife came in, who continues to be one of my favorite people, we hugged and cried a little bit, but then it got better. We talked about Sloane and how her cord was long, and most likely, it got loosely knotted up when she was smaller, tightening once contractions started. We also talked about how if she had been alive during labor, she would have been able to help more with her positioning in the birth canal and probably wouldn't have come out chin first, which I like to think would've prevented some of her bruising and scratching.

I am recovering "beautifully" from the delivery, which is just another testament to me of how amazing bodies are. I have been in awe of myself (and pregnancy and birth in general) to a new level since having Sloane, and I continue to be amazed at what this body is capable of.

We also talked about the future and what that looks like for my little family. Josh and I have decided to try again right away for another baby. We have gone back and forth about this, and I have read countless other experiences and stories to try and wrap my head around what the best decision is. The truth is, there is no "best." Like everything else, there is no solution, no answer, no right or wrong in this situation. Which helps, but it also makes it harder because then we have to make our decisions and deal with the consequences. That's life, it turns out. So we have decided that it seems best for us that we try to have another baby.

Part of this decision is because we have loved the practice we have been at so much and would love to have another baby with them as our medical team. They know us and our story and that alone will make a world of difference. We know and trust them because they were there in our hour of need. Our midwife supports our decision to try again, and I know she will do whatever she can to help make it a good experience for us. I know it will be hard and there will be times I am nervous and anxious and unsure, but I know I will have the support to get through it. I will be able to have more ultrasounds this time and I will be able to get induced at 39-40 weeks. These 2 things already give me some peace. I think they will also let me come in to check the heartbeat whenever I want, which I imagine will be quite frequently :) I also imagine that I will become very familiar with using the nurse's line!

In this hard time, I am again grateful for the support of those around me. Today, I am especially grateful for a supporting midwife and practice.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


While 26 is not typically a milestone birthday, this year seemed big because of the unexpected change of not having Sloane here with us to celebrate. I had not really spent a lot of time thinking about my birthday (preoccupied with other thoughts...), but luckily, I have some great people who helped me avoid a potentially hard day by making this probably the best birthday yet. Pretty crazy.

The celebrations started Friday night when Josh took me to see Newsies in Philadelphia. It was awesome-high energy, active, and so fun!

On Monday, we went to Baltimore to see Josh's mom who is singing in an international chorus competition there this week. We spent the day together which was a nice treat. 

My actual birthday was relatively low-key, with the exception of getting a different car...that took up a lot of the day and ended up being a surprisingly fun process. The best parts of the day though, were getting surprised by friends "scattering sunshine" into my life. 

2 lbs of Sour Patch Kids (favorite fave candy ever), lined leggings, a sunshiney yellow hat, a picture of sun shining through the Sacred Grove, and lots of pictures of sun! 



The sweet YW in my ward also came over and put sunshines all over my front door and left sunshine cupcakes. 


Not pictured: my mom sent a little package with everything yellow in Wal-Mart that would fit into a small box...yellow washcloth and hand towel, yellow loofa, Juicy Fruit, Carmex, yellow sticky notes, peanut M&M' get the picture. 

Life is hard, but it is so much better with great friends who look out for you. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

4 Weeks

4 weeks...the length of time since going into labor. I wish I was counting each day of how old Sloane was, rather than how long since she has been gone.

Wednesdays have been the hardest because I tend to think of what was going on that Wednesday before we had her. It's hard to think of how excited we felt, and how naive that seems now. We had no idea that she was already gone, and we had no idea the heartbreak and sorrow that was awaiting us.

So much has happened and changed in these last 4 weeks. I knew having a baby would change me, physically and emotionally. I am still grateful for these changes, even though they aren't what I anticipated.

I am sitting in the nursery, the nursery we thought would be for Sloane, but now we only hope it will be for another baby one day. Sometimes it is hard to sit in here, but I am finding that it is the hard things that help the most. It is hard to sit here and think of how I was going to rock her, or look over at her cradle and see her sleeping. It is hard to imagine her in my arms. It is hard to think of the excitement we felt while spending hours pouring over Pinterest planning every last detail of what was going to be her room. It is hard to see friends with their babies and hear their happy, healthy birth stories. 

But even if these things are hard, there is comfort in them. So I sit in the room that would've been hers. I think of her and what we hoped for her and what we would be doing if she were here with us now. I think of the excitement and joy we felt being pregnant with her, and I imagine her kicks and movement. And I love my friends and their babies and their happy birth stories. And I cry. Crying is hard, because I am so tired of crying and I am exhausted. These things are all hard, but I do them because they help me remember, and I always want to remember, even if it is hard and sad and exhausting. I can do the hard things, and I can be sad. 

Monday, October 20, 2014

Rainy Girl

I have always been a fan of Something Corporate and Jack's Mannequin, so when Andrew McMahon released a new album last week, we jumped on it the first day out. I love the whole album, but the song Rainy Girl stood out to me and made me think of baby Sloane. While many things make me think of her, this is great because I can listen to it over and over again and it makes me happy/sad (because I can't just be one emotion at one time anymore). 

Rainy Girl
I can't wait to meet you
And I cant wait to hear your name and sing it to
the skies above

Rainy girl
Wash away my memory
Swimming through infinity for you will be
My love

Sometimes when I'm falling in my dreams
I can feel you falling next to me
I guess we're going everywhere together

Rainy Girl

The sun is coming up for me
Black bird on a wire sings a song so blue

Sometimes when I'm falling in my dreams
I can feel you falling next to me
I guess we're going everywhere together
Rainy Girl

Home at last
Following a cloud

Sometimes when I'm falling in my dreams
I can feel you falling next to me
I guess we're going everywhere together
Guess we're going everywhere together
Guess we're going everywhere together
Rainy Girl
I can't wait to meet you

Listen to Rainy Girl and enjoy :)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The new me

My life from the outside looks the same as it did 1 year ago. And I love that life, I am so happy with that life. I love my husband, I love my dog, I love my job. I am so blessed with wonderful friends and family. There are so many things I love about life, and I am happy with who the me was a year ago.

But on the inside, I am not the same me as I was a year ago. This is normal- we are all always changing and growing. But the past 3 weeks have changed me so drastically and completely on the inside, while everything still looks relatively the same on the outside.

It feels deceiving, when I look objectively at my life and see these similarities to my old self. It feels deceiving when I momentarily feel the same as I used to feel. Because I know I am not the same, so how can it look or feel the same?

Because these differences are not observable, and that is what makes this so hard. To someone who passes me on the street, Josh and I are just another young married couple with a dog...But they don't know that we are so much more than that now! While I know I am different and we are different, I don't even have a concrete understanding of what all of these differences are, or who the new me is. I was expecting to change this year, but this is not the difference I was expecting or prepared for. I was so ready to be different and feel different and take on new responsibilities and challenges, but not like this. Never like this.

I have to figure out how to be the old me, how to enjoy the things I enjoy, how to be confident in myself again, and how to laugh and be silly again, while still incorporating this new element of my daughter being gone.

When most babies are born, I think a woman gives a piece of herself to her new child. But I feel like I was ripped open and a piece of me was taken out and not given back to me. So of course I don't know who I am anymore, because I don't feel whole, part of me is missing. And I have to figure out how to fill that hole and make a new me, even though nothing will fill it the way Sloane would have.

Josh helps me with this. He knows the old me and the new me, and he is helping me to merge the two by listening and talking and processing all of this. He reminds me of who I am because part of who I am is also with him.

We got to spend the last few days at a cabin in West Virginia. It was absolutely beautiful, healing, and restorative to be in nature and be surrounded by God's creations. It gave us time to think and talk and start the process of figuring out our lives again.

After being gone, I thought it would be difficult to come back home and be surrounded by reminders of Sloane and her absence, but the opposite was true. There was so much peace and love waiting for us when we came back to our home. Having Sloane helped make our house a home, and I felt that so much after being away for a few days. I love to be reminded of her and think of her.

While decorating the nursery, we put a picture up of Jesus holding a baby on the wall to remind Sloane as she was growing up that He is always watching out for her. After she died and we came home and went into her room for the first time, my eyes went to that picture. It immediately held so much more meaning than I had ever anticipated. The name of the print is "In His Constant Care" by Simon Dewey. We ordered a larger one and have it on the mantle now. I love to look at it, think of her, and know that she is being taken care of better than Josh and I could have ever taken care of her here on Earth.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Sloane's Journey

Even though Josh and I don't get to spend time with Sloane anymore now, we like to look back at the pregnancy and think of the joy and excitement we shared with her during those 41 weeks. The pictures below show her journey with us. Looking back at these pictures is a mixture of emotions--initially, it is difficult to see so much excitement and anticipation on my face, not knowing the sadness and loss that is waiting for me ahead. But then I feel such happiness that I was able to share so much time with her and do so many things with her. If I am blessed with pregnancy again in the future, I will not take one second for granted and will more fully enjoy the beauty of a life being created within me.

Here are the pregnancy announcements:
Positive pregnancy test!
Official pregnancy announcement
Here are the baby bump updates:
10 weeks
17 weeks
18 weeks hiking in Moab
23 weeks at grad school graduation
27 weeks
28 weeks on the 4th of July in Wilmington
31 weeks at Rebecca's wedding in Alexandria, VA
33 weeks on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. 
34 weeks hiking at Kilgore Falls, MD
35 weeks at White Clay Creek, DE

36 weeks at Josh's bike race

37 weeks camping at the Pine Barrens in NJ

38 weeks at home

39 weeks at home

 41 weeks at home

So grateful for the joy and happiness Sloane brought us while she was here!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sloane's Story

Although it is hard to share, I want to share. The time since Sloane was born has been a crazy mix of emotions-joy over our baby girl and despair over losing her at the same time. Everything is a crazy mix of emotions these days, and sharing her story is no different. Part of me wants everyone to know everything about our beautiful daughter, but part of me wants to keep her story just with Josh and me.

After I passed 40 weeks in my pregnancy, I was kind of a wreck. Even though I had never really counted on her being on time, or at least I told myself and others that I wasn't counting on her being on time, I think deep down I was hoping she would be. Every day after 40 weeks felt like an eternity. I was due Monday, September 22, and we had an appointment that day, as well as an appointment that Friday, September 26. Everything looked great at both appointments. The plan was to have another appointment the following Friday, October 3, and then I would have to be induced October 8 if she hadn't made her appearance yet. I wasn't really worried about her health at this point, I was worried about having to be induced because I wanted to have a natural birth so badly.

I started having some contractions on Monday, September 29. I wasn't sure if they were contractions or not because they were so sporadic and strange. It felt like she could have been just pushing and stretching out, but looking back on it, they were contractions. They increased a little on Tuesday, and then became more regular on Wednesday. I had planned on starting my maternity leave on Thursday, giving myself a day to relax and then having an appointment on Friday and thinking I could be induced on Monday, if necessary. So when I started having contractions on Wednesday, Josh and I laughed because it was like she waited until 1) it was October, and 2) I had finally mentally let go of work responsibilities.

When I got home from work Wednesday, Josh and I were both so excited and relieved that we would finally be meeting our little girl soon! We went out to eat at Texas Roadhouse, and Josh timed the contractions while we ate, about every 7-8 minutes apart. We went home and watched some TV. I listened to my HypnoBabies tracks and tried to relax and get comfortable. At about 11:30pm, Josh called the on-call doctor to see when we should come in because my contractions were about 5 minutes apart. He said to come in when they were 3 minutes apart and were taking my breath away each time. The rest of the night was pretty restless...I remember laying on the couch and Josh rushing around trying to make sure everything was ready.

At around 5:30am, we left for the hospital. We parked, grabbed our bags, and went into the maternity ward. We had to wait about 10 minutes before a nurse coming to get us. She brought us back to a room and pulled out the doppler to check the heartbeat. She had a really hard time finding it, but I did not think twice about this because it usually took our midwife a little while to find it because Sloane moved around so much. The nurse told us that she couldn't find the heartbeat, but that she would get the doctor to check for it. Again, I still wasn't very worried. The doctor came in and couldn't find it either. I remember her looking at me and saying, "I'm so sorry, Sarah." I still didn't believe it though, I was sure that Sloane was just being sneaky and these two were just not finding it right away. Josh must have understood the severity of the situation, though, because he immediately gave me a blessing. The only thing I remember from the blessing was that I would be healed, whether that be physically, spiritually, or emotionally.

We went into another room to have an ultrasound. I closed my eyes because I knew if there were good news, people would tell me, but I could not bear to look at the sadness in people's faces if there were bad news. No one said anything, except repeating that there was no heartbeat. Still in shock, I headed back to the first room, but on the way down the hallway, it hit me that we had lost our baby girl, and I started sobbing.

A lot of the time after this is a blur. We made our way into a permanent room upstairs in the high risk unit. The midwife that was working that day, Sharon, talked us through what the day would look like. Although I had planned on having a natural birth, I knew there was no way I could do that anymore. I got an epidural pretty quickly, and that improved the physical aspect of everything a lot. I was able to rest some the rest of that day. They started pitocin around noon to speed things up. It was a pretty awful day. Josh was by my side the whole time, and I think we were both in a state of shock and despair the whole day.

They started to ease off the epidural around 7pm, and I started to push about 8:30pm. It was pretty awful. I was doing ok at first, but then it just seemed to last so long, and I was so tired, and it hurt so bad. I thought I was going to explode and I wanted to give up but I knew the only way for it to stop was for me to keep going. I had Josh on my left hand, the nurse on my right hand, and the doctor below. Finally, at 10:09pm on October 2, 2014, our dear Sloane was born. Physically, I felt instant relief and gratitude that that part was over.

They cleaned Sloane off a little bit and Josh brought her into me. She was absolutely beautiful and perfect. She weighed 7 lbs. 14 oz. and was 20 inches long. After she was born, the doctor showed us her umbilical cord--it had been wrapped around her neck twice, had a "true knot," and was clotted. The true knot is most likely what caused her death. Sloane's head had been tilted up during the delivery, so she was bruised and scratched pretty badly, but that didn't matter to me when seeing her. I finally got to hold the perfect little baby that I had carried for so long and wondered about every day and night. I anticipated this time to be very difficult, but it was so precious and sacred. We knew she was there with us, even though she was not with her body anymore.

Josh and I got to spend that night and the following morning with her. One of our friends came that night and made molds of her hands. We held her, talked to her, told her how much we loved her and were going to miss her, and enjoyed every second of our short time there. In the morning, a professional photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep came and took pictures of her and us. Again, this was a very special time-the lighting was beautiful and it felt like we had a small slice of heaven in our room that morning.

We decided we were ok to leave around 2pm. We had reached the point where we were at peace with the fact that she was no longer with her body.

Driving away from the hospital was awful. We had the carseat in the back of the car, but no baby in it. I had no baby in my arms as I was wheeled out of the hospital. And we were going home to a nursery that would never have Sloane in it. I don't know how we made it home safely, because I'm pretty sure we both cried the whole way home.

Again, the next few days are a blur. We met with a funeral director and a cemetery manager. We had friends pick out a white dress for her to be buried in. My mom picked out flowers for the casket. People started bringing us food. So many things that had to be done that were not easy--I felt like I was just going through the motions.

We had her service on Tuesday, October 7 at All Saints Cemetery in Wilmington, DE. It was simple, small, and beautiful with just a few close friends and family. Josh and I both said a few words, along with our bishop. We sang a couple of hymns and buried our little girl.

Now we are just surviving. I don't really know where to go from here, or how to keep going. I know we will, and I know we will be ok. I know I will never be the same-she changed me and who I am forever. I am so grateful for her...grateful to be her mom, grateful that she made Josh a dad, and grateful that she will be spared from the difficulties of this world. But I am also sad that she is not in my arms now, sad that we do not get to know her personality now, sad that we will not have her in this life, and sad for all of the time I will miss her. So for now, this is my new life, a constantly changing state of emotions.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Baby Showers!

We were lucky enough to have 2 baby showers for the little lady coming into our lives soon. The first was in Ohio with Josh's family and friends there. It was pretty low key-we had lunch, had random prize drawings every 20 minutes, played a question game (people had to guess my answers to questions about the pregnancy and baby), and opened presents. We are so grateful to everyone who came and supported us!
My wonderful MiL spent HOURS prepping the weeks and days before. These are her famous cookies!
I don't know how to smile normally most of the time...
The room setup!
Some of the homemade goodies.

Josh's aunt, cousin, and 2nd cousins. 
Josh's cousins and 2nd cousins
Aunts, cousins, and 2nd cousins.
Awesome friends who drove quite the distance to be there for us!!
Aunt and wonderful notes taker. 
Sister and nieces.
All of the family at the event
2 of my favorite roommates at BYU--love and miss them!
Our second shower was in Delaware with our friends out here. We also wanted this to be very casual, and more of a party celebrating the baby than a typical "shower." The events included eating and socializing, and ended with opening presents, because I was told that people like to see small toys and articles of clothing being opened. 
My wonderful supervisor and co-worker from last year, who offered to throw Josh and I such a cute shower!
Everyone was invited to bring a book for the baby, so she has a well-stocked library already. 

Frank was happy to be invited, especially because he got to become "friends" with 3 beautiful cats! 
"S'more thanks" for each of the guests.

Both showers were so much fun and we are so thankful for the love and support shown to us and our incoming little girl! She is lucky to already have so many people in her life who care for and love her.