Saturday, January 31, 2015

Three years ago

Three years ago, our first baby boy was born.  He passed away three days later.  

Three years ago, if you would have told me I would have a healthy 2 year old boy AND be 30 weeks pregnant with a healthy baby girl..... I would have said, "No Way! " I would have said, "I won't be ready for that!" or, "Well, that would be a miracle!" Here I am.

Take it one step further, now tell me, "And you will be working in a hospital to support parents who are going through the same type of loss."

With each year that passes and we don't have our son Drake, I feel that our story grows bigger and grows stronger.  

Many of you know I was hired by our local hospital a few months ago to provide some extra coverage in their social work/counseling department. Well, I just officially accepted a part-time position to continue my work there. The timing of this blows me away. Why?  Well, it happened a few days before what would have been Drake's 3rd Birthday. I was hired to cover Pediatrics, the NICU, and Mother infant. Here is a part of my job description, word for word:

Provide medical crisis counseling and emotional support to patients, families and staff around psychosocial stressors, adjustment to illness, end-of-life, grief, and bereavement issues. 

I feel God's hand guiding me and using me for His work. I have never felt this with such clarity. Of course he wants me to do this, I have the professional skills, training and I have lived it.

Another area I have been reflecting on is how lucky I am to be alive and healthy. Now that I have had years and distance to separate myself from the immediate experience  of losing Drake, I can reflect on things with even more clarity. One of the things that has hit me recently is how sick I actually I was. I was hospitalized for three weeks for severe preecclampsia. That is serious business! If I had not lived in an area with established high risk medical care, I may have died. Many women around the world still die from preeclampsia. Jon could have lost his wife and his baby. One example, we recently heard a speaker who represents a fabulous program, Covenant Kids Congo. He shared that in the DR Congo, many women and their babies die on a daily basis from Complications of childbirth.

Drake passed away from a heart condition, cardiomyopathy. There are many children and families who are impacted by this condition. If our story moves you, please consider donating to or

WE are doing very well and we are forever grateful. 
P.S. I have not left my other job. I am still working for Angels Foster Care too!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Updates & Jaxon's First Birthday

So it goes without saying our lives have been a little hectic! We are all doing well, just balancing a lot of various needs and tasks. Both of us have been busy with work, we've had family in town, we've celebrated lots of special people and things lately, and we have an active little toddler on our hands! Jaxon's 1st Birthday was a blast! It was very special to celebrate with so many family and friends. We enjoyed having the space to host it at our house. Here are some pics to enjoy!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Honest Reflections on Drake's 2nd Birthday

Today would have been our first son, Drake's, 2nd Birthday. I have reserved the day for remembering him and attempting to process and grieve. Honestly, it is so much harder than I thought it would be. This year, I feel so torn. I want to honor and remember Drake and cherish him as our first born. It is hard to do that when I am literally distracted by Jaxon. Whether it is making sure he doesn't pull the dogs ears or feeling overwhelmed with joy at what a blessing he is, it feels like he is taking away from my journey with Drake. I guess I don't feel ready to let go of Drake, but part of me feels like I need to. All at the same time I intellectually know I will never let go of Drake, he will always be my first baby. I think I just hate that it still makes me so sad, such a harsh reality when it hits. The very positive part is that I don't feel sad every day anymore, most days I feel happy and grateful. So on the days when I do feel sad, it almost hits me harder. A reminder that there is still grief and still this huge hole in my life. That will always be there until I get to hold Drake again. Oh, the conflicting emotions of grief.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

We're going to be in a book!

One of our Pastors (and friends) recently completed writing a book! It is not her first book, but we think it will be the most special :) It is called, "Finding your Faith in the Dark" and it is being published by Zondervan. Due to come out summer of 2014. We are so proud of her, and so honored to be a part of her book! She has been such a support to us along our journey, and reminded us of the importance of telling your story. Even when you don't feel like telling it, sometimes it needs to be told. You can follow her blog at or follow her on Twitter at @lauriepshort. It's the least we can do to support her and spread the word! Of course, you will be hearing more about it from us when it actually comes out. On that note, of "sharing your story".....I've recently been struggling with how to honor Drake's memory and how much to share about our continued walk with grief. These are two separate tasks. The first is deeply personal, how do we choose to keep Drake's memory alive and honored within our family and within our hearts? We are finding ways, it will be an ongoing process and evolve over the years. A few things I know for sure: We will always have a photo of Drake in our home. We will always acknowledge his birthday and day of death in some manner. We will also tell all of our children his story openly, honestly, and early on in an age appropriate fashion. It will never be a secret or a surprise. I also never want to stop sharing, or stop being open to walking with others who are going through grief. Sharing is integral part of healing, and it is also a way to give back. Like I said, that is one of the lesson's I have learned through our loss. Whenever I share in writing, it is never for the purpose of drawing attention. In fact, those of you who know me well, know I am insecure about drawing attention to myself and strongly dislike public attention. I share for two reasons. Reason number one, because it therapeutic for me to release it in this way. Grief is an ongoing process, and our grief is not over. It is less painful and comes in shorter spurts as time passes, but it is not over. Reason number two, the more important reason, is because it may contribute to greater good and benefit others. Walking through grief alone is NOT a good idea. I know this professionally, and I know this personally. One of the best coping mechanisms for grief is to walk with others. Some people do this on the internet, so I want to be a resource for anyone out there who may connect to our journey. So, my sharing about Drake and our story is not over. You can expect to continue to hear about it, like it or not.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Snapshots & Memories

From the past 5 Months.........

Dedication Sunday May 12, 2013

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Going back to work

So Jaxon is now 4 months! Wow, time flies. You do find yourself saying that cheesy line A LOT as a parent, don't you? 

I went back to work when Jax was 12 weeks. The intention was that I would start off part time to ease back into it for the first 2 weeks and then return full time. Once I returned full time, I was anticipating being able to have a more flexible schedule and work from home, therefore not needing 40 hours a week of child care. However, things change..... It actually wasn't me that changed my mind initially. When I returned my employer let me know that this was no longer going to workout as we had thought it would be for. Initially, I was super bummer. Frustrated and totally unsure about what to do. The decision had a lot of implications... finances, life satisfaction, insurance, child care... etc. The option was to either continue my 40 hour a week position, which often can turn into long days, unpredictable crisis to deal with, and a fair amount of stress.... OR cut back to a maximum of 25 hours a week, which would be more flexible hours and more focused on the duties I actually enjoy. Now this may seem like an easy decision to you. A "no brainer" many Moms would say. For me it was not. I had really been planning to continue working full time. 1) Because that is just always what I thought I would do. My career is important to me and I genuinely enjoy working. I realized it was more of my identity than I thought it was. 2) I thought I was going to have an ideal scenario that would allow me to have some time with Jax during this crucial phase and not have to arrange for 40 hours a week of childcare. A win/win situation. 3) I am substantial financial contributor to our family. 

Long story short. I have decided to take the part time route. It means cutting back on our spending and continuing to live in our little itty bitty house, but we think we can manage without having to eat rice and beans for dinner every night. (Not that there is anything wrong with eating rice and beans for dinner every night, there is NOT. It would just be a different lifestyle for us). So, now I have come around, and realized I have to be grateful that it is even an option to work part time. Also, it is probably good I was forced to make a decision, because I think I will be happier and have less "Mommy guilt" issues. I do enjoy being able to have more time with Jaxon and I know I won't get this time back. 

I just want to be clear, I know there is no "best" when it comes to whether Moms work or stay at home. It is such a hard decision for some, and each scenario is so different. I do know a lot about early childhood development... and I will say that what is "best" is to make sure your kids are being taken care of in a loving and nurturing environment with a caregiver who is invested in their well being. These years are so vital to children's development. It is an honor, and a brand new identity, for me to have the chance to invest in Jaxon and put my career driven mindset in the backseat. So I am now a part-time stay at home Mom. I think it's going to be a great fit for me :)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Behind on Blogging

Blogs that have been written in my head, but not yet made it to print:

1) Jaxon's Newborn days and the NEW dance of Joy & Grief

2) C-Section Recovery --- The Forgotten Labor Experience/Major Surgery

3) Adjusting to BRINGING HOME a Newborn

4) Jaxon's Cuteness

5) Body Image Woes

6) Going back to work

7) Fun visitors

8) Unexpected Grief creeping back up

9) Beyond the Newborn Phase

10) Jaxon's cuteness & how much we love him

Also, I never did post the photos from his Newborn Photo Shoot. There were SO many amazing photos! Here are several:

This little peanut is growing fast! More updated photos to come soon!