In the Clouds

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In the clouds I dream
of you
The happiest place
for one who

Is warmed by
the light of your beautiful soul
Eternal love
our hearts aglow

From the earth
so far away
The wind brings you near
as trees sway

I breathe in deep
and remember you
From a small bump
and a lifetime too

In a matter of weeks
I saw it all
From first steps
to big and tall

The sun peeks ‘round
your home up high
I feel you there
one with the sky

I lie here watching
looking up
Being brave,
tearing up

But I will wait
And love you so
Until it’s time
for me to go

Away with you
and then you’ll know
Your mother’s love
Was infinite, so…

In the clouds you
are with me
The happiest place
I can think to be

 

Photo and poetry by CJE

Something Different

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Since April, I have spent the remainder of the year recovering from another pregnancy loss, exploring the reason for my losses with multiple doctors, and trying to get back to a place where I can do this again.  Being on an extended break from embryo transfers brings back openings to my life where I can do some of the things I have had to put on hold, over and over again.  But the many months I’ve had to wait terrifies me too.  If I wait too long, I worry, that maybe I’ll give up completely.

Here I am, still waiting.  So, what do I write about now?  I’m thinking something different.

In my extended break from the vicious cycle of infertility, pregnancy and loss, I had the opportunity to participate in something amazing.  If you’ve been following my blog, you may have noticed I enjoy photography as a hobby.  Photography brings me a lot of joy and it’s a skill always in development.  This month, I attended Firefly Institute, a photography camp for women.   This was an experience of a lifetime.  Surrounded by fifty women, all with a love of photography, and the ability to see beauty in the little things.  Instant friendships formed and inspiring images were created.  I felt loved and appreciated just by being present and being me.  We each got to take five classes and I gravitated towards classes on composition, iphone photography, social media and writing and photography.

Here’s my something different for my blog today.  In the writing and photography class, one of the prompts was to pick a photograph from childhood and write to my younger self.

I didn’t want to write about giving advice or how to prepare for what is to come.  I wanted to write about our lives in parallel, grateful and fortunate and loved and a knowing from an early age that “I’ve got this.”  I was inspired by this set of images feeding animals with my sister, parents and grandparents.

To My Younger Self…

You’ve got it girl—
happiness
love
family
the best family
sports
art
friends
cute pony tails
a sister
who envies your pink room
She loves you but will always hold that against you (‘cause her room was yellow)
And she thinks you are perfect
But we know we aren’t
You’ve got your shit together
Just don’t say shit to Grandma
Oh, you are only two and it’s too late
Maybe you should apologize
But not for your beautiful life

Here are a few images from my stay at Firefly Institute (located at Westerbeke Ranch, Sonoma, CA)

 

Photos by CJE

Out of the Darkness, the Light of an Angel

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There have now been many times in my life that I reflect on as my darkest hour.  Not just one.  Many.  Many, many hours of darkness.  Every pregnancy loss, every failed embryo transfer, the death of a loved one.  My third pregnancy loss left me feeling empty and hopeless like I was living in a blank space for a while.  Yet somehow as I crawl or walk or fall down or stumble through the periods of grief, trauma and pain that turn life colorless and dark, there is someone there reaching out a hand and bringing the light back.  I’ve worked very hard since my third pregnancy loss to make my world colorful and bright again.  But it wouldn’t be the same beautiful place without the gifts of light coming to me from my friends, my family and my husband.  This experience with infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss has created new relationships.  Bonds created easily through similar experiences of loss and struggles to make a baby.  The online support group I joined (that I now consider a miraculous discovery) has brought some amazing women into my life.  One of whom reached out to me after my last miscarriage and sent me an open invitation to her home…whenever I was ready…whenever I needed to get away…whenever I just needed some girl time and a break from my life.  It took me about 4 months to take her up on that offer.

A couple weeks ago I flew to LA and there she was – my new friend, my sister in this journey, an open heart and an open hand.  A woman full of words of hope and support and encouragement.  A woman full of hugs that would carry me through another embryo transfer cycle and another set of holidays without a baby in my arms.  A woman who knew my pain and shared in it so deeply, her eyes would tear up when she talked to me about what I had been through.  A woman full of so much generosity and sincerity, she warmed my heart and re-filled my soul with her kindness and optimism.

There she was – The light in the darkness – An angel reaching out to me and her name is Carolina.

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moon-angel

I captured this photo at the beginning of this year.  Thinking I was just trying to capture the moon, I somehow ended up with the image of an Angel.  The moon is her heart.  I can see her wings.  The light of our babies’ souls being held in her hands, preparing them to be angels too.

Everyone wants to be the sun to lighten up someone’s life,

but why not be the moon,

to brighten in the darkest hour.

Are you brave enough to look in my window?

paris love windowWhile reading other blogs about pregnancy loss, I’m reminded that this type of tragedy often leaves us feeling isolated in our grief.   It is not a grief that is easily understood unless you’ve experienced it yourself. And I know that I could have never imagined that a journey like this would take me to such dark places. And I know I was not able to say the helpful words or offer the support needed to anyone else in this situation until I lived through my own terrible miscarriages. While in this space of grief, I go through the day facing people at work and in my life like it is just another day. And I smile and look normal. But on the inside, it just hurts so badly and only certain people know it’s there. And keeping it there for so very long is just plain exhausting. This has a lot to do with why I started writing. This blog is my grief that just sits and waits on the inside. The grief that nobody sees as they just walk on by. My words are the window that I’m opening for you to see my story. Are you brave enough to look inside?

While time heals grief and loss, there is something so different about losing a baby, no matter how early in pregnancy. There are just too many things to grieve. It is not just the beating heart inside of me that I fell in love with that is no longer there. It is every thought that entered my mind while pregnant that showed me a picture of that baby growing up. That showed me the sound of what it would be like to say their name or hear them giggle. A million beautiful, exciting, hopeful thoughts enter my heart and my mind and I think that maybe this time, I will be lucky. That this time I can experience the joy of pregnancy, instead of the fear of it being taken away. The grief is so raw and confusing when these lovely thoughts are so abruptly and shockingly halted and stripped away so violently and unfairly. And then there is another reason to grieve…that thought that never goes away…What if this is one step closer to me never having a baby? That is the fear that is sitting with me now.

Sometimes I can tuck the grief safely away and enjoy the present and everything else that my life is about. I will certainly not give up on happiness. Having a baby is not all life has to offer. But sometimes it is all consuming and overwhelming and while in this space, I just need to feel it. I need to let it be what it has to be until I can find my own way out of that darkness.

I have to give the sun a chance to shine through my window until the smile you see on my face is a real smile and what you see on the inside shines back again.

Photo by CJE – Paris

Sympathy

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Sometimes we try to trick our mind and our heart into feeling better by thinking these words…”it could be so much worse.” Sometimes other people may think they are helping us feel better by saying those same words. Somehow trying to put our pain and our sorrow into perspective.  I find myself jumping between my own memories of loss in my life and thinking about the life-altering challenges other people I care about have had to face. And yes, it can be worse. But then I stop and remind myself that the loss of my pregnancies and the sorrow I am experiencing right now is my tragedy and it is my sadness all on it’s own without having to make a comparison to anything else. I know from experience that making these comparisons will sting deep in my soul. It gets in the way of healing and can make us question our own process of getting through it. It can question the validity of feelings that are supposed to be raw and clutching and that must be experienced as they happen without the pressure or distraction of diminishing them. If we can feel it all and not hide from it, or lessen it, we will be able to replace the invasive thorns of grief with a soft, peaceful, protective aura; bringing the calm of acceptance and the ability to live with hope and happiness again. But we don’t have to get there on our own. Sympathy and comfort from our loved ones is a blessing. Pure compassionate sympathy showing simply, that I am here with you in your grief and that I am here with you as your heart breaks and I am here with you until you see light again is the most healing gift. Expressing no time limit on someone’s pain, no comparison to another’s suffering and no limit on the love that is shared in these difficult moments helps to pave the path to recovery. I am very fortunate to have people in my life who can give this to me and I was reminded of that fortune by the card pictured here that I received a couple of days ago. Thank you for your love. You are giving me the gift of healing.

Photo by CJE

Dog by my side

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When I’m this sad, it actually hurts to smile.  It’s like I feel guilty to even break through the grief because it feels like what I lost deserves so much from me.  And in this case, two new lives that have stopped so abruptly.  I don’t know if it’s that nobody can force a smile out of me when I feel like this, or if my mind is too stubborn to let it happen because it just doesn’t feel right.  But somehow my dog can break through the sadness and make me forget about it all for a minute and just be there in the moment with her innocent goofiness and sweetness.  I can’t help but smile and giggle a bit.  Somehow I think she can feel that I’m sad.  She follows me around and snuggles with me and makes silly noises to get me to play with her.  We rescued her and she returns the favor every day.  Rescue a dog and a dog will most certainly rescue you right back.

Photo by CJE

When tragedy strikes

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When tragedy strikes it changes you. Sometimes we come out of it a better person with the ability to move on in life with a fresh perspective, facing our future with more strength and less fear. Sometimes it drains us so completely we wonder if the light that once shined so brightly from our soul will ever come back. And it’s all relative. As we go through life, one painful event may fade into the fuzzy background of our past showing a stark contrast to what we now feel is the true tragedy facing us at this moment in time.

Photo by CJE – somewhere in the mediterranean