Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012

Its New Year's Eve and Im sitting in front of our pink Christmas tree that I cant bring myself to take down.  I am reflecting over this past year and all of the highs and lows it has brought.  I would have expected to feel like this is the worst year of my life and in some ways it is.  Even though we lost our baby girl this year.....we also fell in love with her this year.  I spent 9 out of these past 12 months carrying the greatest light that has ever touched my life.  As devastating as her death was and still is, darkness will never overshadow the light. I am coming out of 2012 a better person because of my little Elliston Rae.  I embrace 2013 with HUGE open arms.  May this be a year of promise and more light for my family.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

When you lose a baby.....

You don’t know what to expect.

People surround you. For a couple of weeks. Making sure you are not going to kill yourself, refuse to get out of bed, or start rocking a baby doll like the crazy lady they heard about from a friend.

You get lots of sympathy cards, clearly written and designed to be sent to console a daughter losing her father. Not the other way around.

You get free baby formula in the mail. For months and months and months.

And free baby magazines. And free baby coupons.

You secretly envy every pregnant woman. But not without a tinge of guilt, because you know all too well that she might be one in four- expecting her rainbow child.

It seems like the whole world is expecting a baby.

You have baby stuff around your home. Because you never imagined you wouldn’t need it.

You feel jarred. In the grocery store. At a birthday party. At the dinner table. At Christmas. Driving.

The baby you never knew, but lost changes every part of your life. Every. single. part.


You see baby clothes and it brings tears to your eyes.

You get sick and tired of crying. You never knew it was possible to cry this much.

You find yourself angry at God. Angry at yourself. Just angry.

You swear you can feel them kick but they’re gone. They call them phantom kicks. I call them painful, all kinds of painful. But sweet too.

You know, or you have a strong feeling of knowing what your child would have looked like, and been like. You see a child in the store, or on the street. Their hair color, dimples, smile, their personality and suddenly you are reminded of your child. You miss your child even more, if that’s even possible.

Your Babies R’ Us Registry is still active. There is no delete button on their site. The babies r’ us people don’t make a dime on people like us. Why bother right? You have to call them, plead with them to remove your freaking’ registry, because there will be no baby shower. There is an awkward silence. There is sadness. There will be no baby.

You get hospital bills about 3-4 months after you buried your child. You have to pay for the baby you delivered but didn’t bring home.

You find that moment of happiness in life for the first time, but the guilt swallows it up almost immediately.

The feeling of raw pain, like your chest has literally been ripped open.

Somehow you convince yourself that you deserve happiness. Because you really do. But in the happiest, purest moment, there is still that hole that only they were meant to fill.

People compare your pain to their own pain. The loss of their grandmother, husband, their failed marriage, rebellious teenagers. Somehow this comparing leaves you stranded. If they can compare their pain of a situation to the loss of your BABY, they will likely never get it. Babies are not supposed to die. End of story.

You lost a dream. And it almost feels like you imagined their entire existence up. Their name becomes a distant memory on the lips of others.

There is awkwardness when you talk about your child in a crowd. No one knows whether to cry, walk away or pretend you never brought him or her up.

You lose friends. You find new ones.

You can’t believe that women have actually survived this and you never knew about it. Not really, anyway.

You would do anything for another minute with your child.

You cry when others bring up your child, not so much because it hurts but more so because it such a precious and rare gift.

You long for the rewind button, even after many many instances of acceptance.

You want to know what went wrong, and why

You find a new appreciation for moments in life that make you laugh… you laugh harder and love stronger.

You know that you can die bitter, or die thankful. There is no in between.

You never ever, EVER get over your child. The one you hoped for, prayed for, carried and loved for the weeks and months they were with you.

You learn to live with the pain.

You are better for having known them at all.

Written by Small Bird Studios
awkward silence

I get it.  What do you say to someone who has just lost their baby?  And not just their baby....their dreams of the future, their innocence to tragedy, and their heart. No words can ever take that away.  So I get the awkward silence.  Or the droopy eyes and pouty lips that probably intend to say Im sorry but rather just stare.  I cant say I wouldn't do the same.  But honestly, all we want to do is talk about her.  She is our daughter, not something we want to be shy of talking about. We dreamed our whole lives, and especially the last 9 months, of when our first born would enter the world. That moment you hear about when in an instant, you have never loved anything more.  Never seen anything so beautiful. You are holding in your arms a part of you. A bond that can never be broken. We had all of these things. And just because she never took a breathe on this earth, doesn't make me want to talk about her less. I don't want my perfect girl to be a taboo subject.  We still want to talk about her, especially with those closest to us.

And just to put it out there.....a 2 second text message asking "how you holding up?" Is going to get a 2 second text response. Most likely, "fine"....but if we're feeling really honest, it may say, "shitty". 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

We went out of town for a weekend, just to get away from everything for a short time.  Its interesting how differently Colby and I are dealing with this.  It was a good distraction for Colby, even though he thought of her all the time.  For me, I felt like I left my baby at home.  I could not have gotten home fast enough.  I take time everyday to sit in her room.  Elliston was cremated, and we have her ashes in a cute pink box in her room.  So I still feel like she is with me.  We haven’t touched a thing in her room….I just don’t feel like its necessary.  Its way too cute.  I have moments where I still feel like she will be here any day.  When I was pregnant I used to sit in there and think about what she would look like and picture me feeding her in the rocking chair.  So much anticipation.  Sometimes now its easy to still think those things and forget that they are never going to happen.  There are moments when I am out where I panic and think, “Oh my God, I left the baby at home!”  I feel like I go back ten steps every time I realize again and again….Elliston will never be with us.  As much as I wish this to go away, it just never will.  At first I couldn’t even imagine what a “good day” felt like.  Then I had one.  Now I am having multiple good days in a row.  I still miss her every second of every day….but I am still waking up and still breathing.  Showering every day is a different story, but I start work on Monday so I need to get out of this habit.  

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

Helpful Tools

Nothing can erase what has happened, can bring Elliston back, and take away our pain.  My body just had a baby.  Even though she was not alive in the end, she was alive for 9 months and I delivered her.  Therefore, all of the physical things after birth, still happened.  I was given some great advice, which I believe totally saved my sanity. 

First, and I will tell this to any pregnant woman who will listen, Placenta Encapsulation.  Go ahead.  Call me a hippie.  When Colby and I first met with our doula to “interview” her, we said, “We see on your website that you do stuff with placentas.  We don’t even want to talk about that.  We are NOT into that.”  She said ok, and never brought it up again….until we did.  I had heard stuff about it and continued to hear and read more and more.  When we were ready, we talked with her about it and researched some more.  Here is our doulas website where she gives some info about it. 

I came home from the hospital Saturday night and she came over Sunday morning with my pills.  I took 2 pills, 2 times a day.  I have had no other babies, so I don’t know what postpartum feels like.  I know its different for everyone and every pregnancy is different.  And I also know its potential.  I never felt my hormones were off balance at all.  I was grieving the loss of our daughter, in a very real way….but very present.  I had energy.  And as terrible a situation, and considering I did just give birth….I felt good.  I encourage you to at least look into it.  I will do this going forward with all of our children. 

Second, a doula.  The word doula is Greek for “Woman’s Servant”.  Nice, huh? 

We were intending to have a natural, drug free, delivery.  I believed that for me, having a doula was key to being able to do this.  Amanda ended up being greater than I could have ever imagined. She came to our house a few times before our due date.  I emailed her and text her all the time with questions or just updated on our appointments, ultrasound pics, etc.  Obviously, things did not go as planned…..but she was still such a comfort and help in the hospital with Elliston’s birth and quite honestly ever since.  She has become a dear friend, and will be involved in the birth of all of our children in the future.  Whether we are induced, have a c-section, or decide again for a natural delivery….she’ll be with us.  If you are in the phoenix area, her website is

Third, sage pills.  Amanda is also a herbalist.  As unfortunate as it is, just because I didn’t have a baby to nurse, didn’t stop my milk from coming in.  She brought over some sage pills along with my placenta pills.  She said sage helps dry up the milk.  I have heard stories of people leaking milk for up to 6 weeks after their stillbirth.  Seriously, its so cruel.  I started taking the sage pills immediately on Sunday.  The hospital had told me about putting cabbage on “the girls”….but that just smelled like a gross fart.  So that did not last long.  I started leaking on Tuesday, but that only lasted for about a day, and that was it.  If anyone, for any reason, decides to not breastfeed, please suggest to them sage.  It worked for me.  That was one issue that I did not want to deal with, and luckily didn’t have to that much.

Fourth, and so simple… the blinds every morning.  Thank you God we live in Arizona where it is pretty much sunny every single day!  At the advice of “New Friend Jen”, starting our first morning at home, I would get up and open all the blinds.  Even if I got back in bed, I would open them all.  The sunlight was so healing.  I should be saying “is”.  I still do this every day. 

Those are just a few of the helpful tools I have had to help me these past few weeks.  I cant imagine how different it could have been without them.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

One Month.

Today, my day was supposed to be spent trying to get a “1” sticker centered on a tiny onesie.  I should be taking literally a million pictures trying to get Elliston to look at the camera and have both bright eyes wide open, while saying her name in an ungodly high pitched voice.  Calling her every name that even remotely goes along with hers and even some that don’t.  Elliston, Ellie, Ellie Rae, Ellie Boo Boo, Ellie Bear, Rae Bear, Ellie Bean, pretty much any word with “bean” after it…. You get the point.  I had her perfect one month outfit hung up near the front of her long line of clothes in her closet.  I knew how I wanted her monthly pictures taken and what I wanted to do with the 12 pictures Id have when she turned 1 year.  But instead….today, I am sitting by myself drinking my starbucks.  I feel like I dry swallowed a huge pill and its still stuck in my throat.  This weekend I have been completely overcome with guilt.  Why didn’t I think to ask for more monitoring?  Why didn’t I go to the er when I hadn’t felt movement rather than thinking she was just big and didn’t have much room….or she was sleeping….or any of the other completely normal things that happen in the last few weeks?  I am the only person who could have said, “This doesn’t feel right, something is wrong.”  How could I have not known what was happening?  I do know that this is not my fault….but I also know that I am the only one that could have prevented this.  I did tell my doctor I felt decreased movement, and even though everything they checked came back normal…..what if I wouldn’t have been ok with that answer?  How do I come to terms with the fact that I will probably ask myself these questions for the rest of my life? 

She is so perfect.  I miss her more than I ever could have imagined.  I am filled with so much love for this little person.  It is strange to have such an intense love, while at the same time feeling such ugly, dark emotions as well. But today….when she would have been one month old….I choose to focus on the love.  That’s not to say there wont be tears.  I can barely see through them to type.  But for today, I wont blame myself.  She has made me a better person, a better wife, and a better mommy to our future children. 

I love you Ellie Rae. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

" can still fix this."

I was told (by a dear friend, so don’t verbally stone them) that I maybe should have made some sort of disclaimer before my previous post.  I do understand that not everyone wants to know the details, however Im a details person.  It makes me feel better, and I have found comfort in reading other similar stories to mine and their details.  My hope is that in the future, my story and my details will bring comfort to someone else.
DISCLAIMER ALERT!  This is not a happy post, and may contain details you might not want to know.  

We were lucky to have a hospital that told us we could pretty much stay as long as we needed.  Immediately, I thought “of course I am staying until they kick me out”.  I have heard stories of other couples being rushed out.  I cant imagine being hurried through the process.  Of course no time would ever be enough, but Im glad to have been able to leave on our terms.    You would think that giving birth to a perfect child who will never wrap her little arms around our necks would be the worst moment of a moms life.  I thought that on the night that she was born.  Until the next day, when I realized that even though the baby I was rocking wasn’t alive and breathing… some point, I was going to have to hand her over to someone and walk away. 
We were blessed with the most amazing nurse on the planet.  New Friend Jen.  She happens to do photography on the side and had her husband bring up her camera.  I remember reading a small page in one of our pregnancy books that mentioned the possibility of this outcome.  It briefly talked about taking pictures….my small brain could only think “ew”.  When Jen mentioned the pictures I was so confused because as in love as I was with my daughter, a part of me still thought it was strange.  I am so glad it was never really an option.  Now I have the most beautiful pictures of our angel that we will treasure forever.  Close ups of her chubby hands, her double chin, her tiny ears, and even one of her in the one dress I packed in her bag that was too small, but oh so cute.
Signing her birth and death certificates and writing “Mother” next to my name may have been the first time I think I could literally feel my heart break.  The day was filled with lots of emotion, which I was finally starting to feel some of.  Our close friends and family that were in town came to see and hold her.  It was sad and comforting to know that they were suffering a loss too.  They had all dreamed with us and giggled and imagined life with this precious little girl.  Of course I hate to see anyone I know and love grieving, but it was nice to know that Colby and I weren’t doing it alone.  We were able to skype with our parents who all live in different states and they were able to see Elliston as well.  Thank God for technology. 
As the day went on, Ellistons little body started changing.  Colby told me that ultimately we would leave when I was ready, but I may want to start thinking about when that time would be.  He let me know that he had been shielding me from the changes that were taking place but soon he wouldn’t be able to hide the changes.  I felt so shallow knowing I should leave so I only had beautiful images of her in my head.  I felt like such a bad mother CHOOSING to leave my daughter before they made me leave.  But it was the right choice. 
I showered and changed while Suzanne and Leila came to say goodbye to Elliston and help Colby carry our stuff to the car.  Everyone left us to have our final moments with our angel.  For the first time she fit perfectly in my arms.  I had been so swollen and hooked up to stuff and uncomfortable in the bed and emotionally absent while at the same time so overly emotional at times, that she had never fit just right in my arms.  When I held on to her for the last time, she fit effortlessly.  Colby and I laid on the hospital bed holding our family tight.  I cant put into words what those moments felt like.  Colby said he was going to pray and as much as I felt like God did not deserve to hear from us, it was all we knew to do.  He kept telling God how pissed off we are at him for allowing this to happen.  I still, 20 hours after she had been born, was thinking “God, if you could just have her start breathing, you can still fix this”.
I have no idea how long we laid and cried with her.  We eventually had to call the nurse to come get her.  Normal procedure was for us to leave her in a bassinet in the room and then leave.  But I said I couldn’t do that.  Something about me leaving her and walking away from her, I just couldn’t stand to do it.  The nurse entered the room to take her.  As she stood crying, she promised to take care of Elliston herself.  She would not pass her on to anybody else.  The next seconds turned into slow motion for me.  Worse than any moment we had endured so far, or I believe will ever endure in our lives......placing my perfect baby girl in the arms of someone who would take her away from me forever, there is no greater heartbreak.  4 weeks later, I am still frozen in despair when I think about that moment. 
We walked out of the same hospital doors that for 9 months we had imagined walking out of with our baby.  Now, empty handed.  Our family had removed the car seat to try to lesson the blow.  Love them. 
Unfortunately, driving away from the hospital is not leaving the pain, the anger, the extreme sadness.  It followed us.  It changes.  And it grows.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Lips so beautiful, made to be kissed

On Thursday morning, October 25, we went to our regularly scheduled 38 week doctors appointment.  Elliston's heart rate was 151.  My cervix was very soft but not dilated.  They did an ultrasound to check measurements and sweet girl appeared to weigh approx 6lbs 3oz, score an 8 out of 8 on whatever it is she gets a score for, and was as healthy as can be.  
Friday morning, October 26, I woke up at 230am with some cramping, nothing out of the usual.  I went back to sleep and was awoken at 430 am with much stronger "feelings" and a little blood on the toilet paper.  Nothing different from what I heard was normal.  I was 37weeks, 6 days. I noticed them coming and going.  I timed a few and they were never more than 5-6 minutes apart.  I wondered how i had heard so many stories of people getting so much accomplished in the beginning stages of their labor.  Luckily, my husband woke himself up by having some crazy dream.  I told him about my contractions and how quickly they were coming and how intense they were getting.  We got up and started getting stuff together.  I got in the bath and watched a movie from the bathtub, just trying to manage the pain (which was getting more intense a lot faster than i had expected).  We called our doula around 7am and since she lives so close she came over right away to check on me.  My original goal was to labor as much as possible at home.  I laid on my birth ball for a while, but for some reason just couldnt be ok with the situation.  I kept asking her if we should go to the hospital.  She made it clear that it was definitely my decision.  I said i could handle the labor better if I could just be sure Elliston was safe.  I had no reason to think she was anything but safe…. I just needed to be sure.  We made it to the hospital around 930am and my contractions were about 3 minutes apart.  In triage, they laid me down and started asking all the questions that are super annoying when you are having contractions 2-3 minutes apart.  And one very aggressive nurse checked me and announced that i was not dilated at all.  She put the monitor on my stomach and was having a hard time finding the heart beat.  It started to concern me, but i wouldnt let myself freak out.  They brought in a doppler and still could not find her heartbeat.  I began not being able to breathe at the thought of what was happening.  They put an oxygen maks over my face, which was making me more and more anxious.  They rolled in an ultrasound machine and did an ultrasound.  As soon as the picture was over her rib cage, where 24 hours earlier there was a strong beating heart, there was now a still, silent heart.  From our miscarriage 1 year ago, i was very familiar with staring at that heart beating at each ultrasound, and now to see nothing moving....that sight will forever be stamped in my memory.  My husband and I began to weep as the crowd of nurses left the room except one who remained with her hands lightly on my stomach while she stood praying for us.  Im sure that is somehow against some hospital policy somewhere, but I am forever grateful for that woman.  My doctor rushed over and did an ultrasound herself and gave the official word.  She slammed down the ultrasound wand and could not keep the tears from streaming down her face.  After a few minutes of tears and trying to catch my breath i was still having major contractions and we were faced with the reality of what the rest of that day held for us.  I begged to be put under and to just take care of it.  Thank God I had a doctor who didn’t let me make an emotional decision and walked me through every scenario.  After 11 hours of an epidural that sure never seemed to last very long, conversations i never imagined having, decisions I dont wish for anyone to ever have to make for their child, and having to push out my baby who will never experience any of the dreams we had for our new family.....Elliston Rae Pitts was born at 10:06pm.  As soon as she came out, I heard nothing but shock in the doctors voice as she began counting the number of times she had to remove the cord from around her neck.  Seven times.  Something she said she had never seen in her entire career and never even heard of.  Along with the 7 times around her neck was a tight knot.  Although I would give anything for none of this to ever have happened, I am glad we at least know what the problem was. 
After the cord was removed, we were handed the most beautiful baby girl.  6lbs 9oz of pure perfection.  Long toes, which did not come from me or Colby.  Long fingernails already in need of a baby mani.  Lots of dark hair. My nose.  Colbys ears.  Lips so beautiful, made to be kissed.
As my doctor and every nurse and person in the room didn’t even try to hold back their tears, I just watched every one as if I was a spectator in someone else’s tragedy.  I had no emotion other than numb.  I am currently still dealing with the guilt of my lack of emotion that night.  In a matter of seconds I witnessed Colby become the most protective, proud, loving father I had ever seen.  I saw him holding the most beautiful baby girl I had ever laid eyes on, still not believing that this is my life…..and that is my daughter. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

This involuntary journey

Why create a blog to document this tragic event in my life?  You may not be asking that, but I certainly have asked myself that.  I cant seem to stop talking about it.  I have read and heard of many people who hide from life and reality, refusing to acknowledge the event that happened.  I have made it a point to speak of what happened to us whenever it comes to mind.  Which right now is just about every minute of every day.  Morbid for some, but strangely comforting for me.  It happened.  No matter how many mornings I wake up hoping to look over at our pack and play and realize it was just another crazy pregnancy happened.  As much as nobody likes to talk about a pregnancy ending in the death of a happens.  It happened to me.

This is my journey through the pain, through the grief, through the anger.....through every high, and every low that goes along with this journey and the new person that I am.  A mother who has lost a child.