Monday, December 24, 2012

It still remains the same...

Claire's new holiday ornaments!

I do random searches throughout the year to find a peanut shaped ornament for Claire for our Christmas tree. I heart tradition and love that she gets to be a part of the holiday season!

I usually find them on Etsy at some point and as soon as I find one that I like, I order it as I know that if I don't do it right away I may miss out. You never know if it is going to be a one of a kind treasure, or if the shop will close it's virtual doors before next Christmas. 

This year I was delighted to not only find a new one, but also discover another that I had put away last year, for this year! (What a mouthful... did you follow that?!) 

Here they are in all of their cuteness!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

November lovin'...

Thanks to Maria, Kara, Cally, Caitlin, Melanie, Karin, Dallas, Michelle, Monica, Maureen, Kathy, Wendy, Andrew, Amber, Jennifer and Brandy!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Remembrance Day...

Photo credit: Ann Smart

Last Thursday my boys' school held their Remembrance Day assembly. I have always wondered what the young ones really understand and get out of the experience. This year William (grade 2) must have learned a lot as his little mind was spinning when he returned home...

Jut before dinner the conversation began this way:

"Mommy, at school today our teacher told us to think about someone who died. I thought about Claire. I miss her. I wish she was here."

And then at lights out time it became a much more intense conversation. A flood of questions that I could not answer however they came so quickly out of his little mind and mouth I hardly had time to respond anyway. He had put a lot of thought into this day.

"Mommy, if Claire was here would Lucy be here?"

"I'm not sure, William."

"Oh, 'cause if she was here and Lucy was here that would be crazy! I would have 2 baby sisters?! Imagine if they were both named Claire because you like that name? We would call Claire and both would come and then we would have to say no not you Claire, you Claire! But mommy, if Claire was here and we didn't have Lucy, umm, hm, I would miss her. Mommy if people die can we make them come back to life? Because if we did I would want Claire to come back. And then I would have 2 baby sisters. And mommy how do people die?"

"People die for all sorts of reasons but in the end their heart breaks and doesn't pump any more blood."

'So you burn them to ashes? Or bury them in a graveyard? Why isn't Claire in a graveyard? Daddy said she is ashes 'cause she got burned. Maybe she is in a graveyard at the hospital?"

"No baby, she's not."

"Well, I wish she was because you know those flowers we got at school? I would bring it to her graveyard and put it in her grass. Because that is what you do with them. Is the graveyard by that big place where people go sliding? Can we go there? Can I see it?"

"That's really nice baby and yes, I will take you there to see it one day."

 "Okay, mommy, goodnight."

10 minutes after he was tucked into bed he came out of his room:

"Daddy? Can people have a graveyard in their yard?"

It just kept spinning...


Oh. my. heart.

It's taken a week to write this post because I am still so sad about this conversation. It stirred up a lot in me. I too have been spinning.

I wish we had a resting place for her.

We were given the choice to send her wee body out for an autopsy but if we did we would not be able to have her returned to us. We wanted to know what happened so we sent her away.

The results gave us no answers... so it almost feels as though we sent her away for nothing and we got nothing in return.

And what gets me is that I know of others who had their babe sent away and sent back... why not our baby? I hate to think of what became of her little self. It eats away at me more and more, especially now that our children are starting to question.

What answers do we have to give them?

We don't know?

We don't know.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October lovin'...

Lovin' brought to us this month by: Antoinette, Bethany, Cally, Carrie, Janell, Jennifer, Kylie, Lisa & Colin, Mandi, Mary, Matthew, Michelle A-R, Michelle W, Molly, Rachel, Shawna, Tracey, Vanessa, Virginia, and Wendy!

Thanks everyone!!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day 31- Sunset(ish)...


Good night Sweet Baby Girl. Mommy loves you.
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada
 9:14 pm (a little late due to Halloween festivities)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Day 29- Music

(I cannot credit the photo as I cannot find the original source!)

These 4 songs make me happysad...

All I Want For Christmas - any version by any artist
 Tattoo - Jordin Sparks
If We Ever Meet Again- Timbaland ft. Katy Perry
Wintersong- Sarah McLachlan

To view videos of each song, read the lyrics that mean the most to me, 
and learn how each one touches me, click on the post links below:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Day 28- Memory

The first words I uttered when I saw her...
 "She has the most perfect little hands."

Those handprints,
(her left hand in particular as I held it the entire time she was with me)
 left forever marks on my heart.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day 27- Artwork

Lovingly made by my children for the little sister they never got to meet,
  yet whom they love beyond measure...

Friday, October 26, 2012

Day 26 -Their Age

Claire was born at 17 weeks gestation.
Picture and information below courtesy of Baby Zone
Around this time your baby's ears pop from his head and Baby-to-be can now sense sounds. 
After all, he has plenty to listen to in utero! He's accustomed to the strong beating of your heart, blood rushing through your veins, and your stomach grumbling. 
He can also discern sounds outside the uterus, like your voice and music. 
Although, according to the Mayo Clinic, whether he can distinguish the sound of your voice
versus other sounds is not yet clear.

On average, most moms are feeling fetal movement by week 17. 
Kick, little one, kick!

This week your little one weighs in at around 5 ounces 
and stretches to just over 5 inches (crown to rump). 
He is about the size of a red onion.


Had she been born on her due date, today she would be:
2 years, 7 months and 16 days old...

Full on Terrible Twos heading towards the Trying Threes.
I would welcome these stages with open arms.
If only...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day 25- Baby Shower/Blessing

Our tradition is to host the baby shower once the babe has arrived so s/he 
can be seen and touched and ooh and ahh'd over. 
Since she never came home, she never got showered.

Another memory stolen from us.
Another of the many photos we were never able to take.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 24- Siblings

Claire's siblings from tallest to smallest:
Molly, William, Matthew, and our Rainbow Lucy.
 A huge shout out to my friend and super talented photographer, 
Caitlin Cleveland, 
for being able to catch them...
all in one picture, 
all standing still,
all facing forward,
all smiling,
and all at the same time! 
No easy task!

To check out Caitlin's fabulous work follow the links below:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 23- Their Name/Their Photo

We do not publicly share Claire's photos so I have chosen my favorite photo of her name. 
Besides my photos of her, this is my most treasured
 as it was taken on her estimated due date, in her hometown 
and made with love by my hands.

To read/see a slideshow about that due date click here.
To read about the project that I began click here.
And sadly, to read about why the project came to an end read here.
(I just realized this post would have worked for Day 19 as well!)

To see more photos of Claire's name written
by wonderful BLMs from around the world
check out her name gallery here.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 22- Place of Care/Birth

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Day 21- Altar/Shrine/Sacred Space

Everything that is her is here.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Day 20- Charity/Organization

For any woman, any loss, anywhere.
Find their webpage here.
 With the encouragement and help of FOLFOH, I, along with another local babyloss mom,
have been able to reach out to other mothers seeking support 
by starting our own Face2Face Friendship Group. 
You can find more info in the header above or you can find us on Facebook here.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day 19- Project

I have not yet been able to put full focus, expense, effort, and energy into starting the project
I would like to begin however it is my hope to start collecting bears and along with the help
of my mother, who so kindly volunteered her sewing skills, to accompany these bears with
small blankets to donate to our local hospital so that families who have suffered a loss will
be able to leave the hospital with something in their arms to bring them a little comfort
 in their darkest days and have a treasured item to keep for a lifetime.
 One day, project Claire's Bears will become a reality.

To view a project I used to do but unfortunately had to give up, for my safety,
check out Day 23.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 18- Your Family Portrait

Claire is always with us in spirit and in ink! ;)

Thank you to my beautiful in every way, very patient, BFF extraordinaire, Caitlin the uber talented photographer, for the fabulous family photos! How you were able to find a few gems among the nose picks, tears, boogers, eye rolls, hair adjustments, etc. is beyond me and I am beyond thankful!

To check out more of her fantastic work follow the links below:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 17- Anniversary/Birthday/Due Dates

Most are spent outside enjoying time together.

Original EDD - March 10, 2010 - read/view slideshow here.
First Birthday - October 1, 2010 - read/view slideshow here.
EDD #2 - March 10, 2011 - read here.
Second Birthday - October 1, 2011 - read/view pictures here.
EDD #3 - March 10, 2012 - read here.
Third Birthday - October 1, 2012 - read/view pictures here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 16- Release

My blog = My release

In the early days this was my safe space, my only place, to get my feelings out as I felt SO alone. Reading back, I can feel the sadness, anger, frustration, guilt, jealousy, confusion and anxiety in my words. My posts were super raw, extremely honest and quite frequent.

Writing on my blog has been my therapy.
It has been my way of spewing my devastation as well as conveying my joys.

Reading others' blogs has also been a huge part of my release.
It has always been my way of validating that I was on the 'right' track.

That being said, my blog has evolved as my grief has. I still enjoy writing here as well as keeping up with my friends' writings however it less frequent. I don't have the same need for it although it is a comfort to know that it is all still here when I really do need it. If I didn't feel as though it were serving a purpose anymore to myself and to others, I might just shut it down. I'm not ready for that yet though as I still have 'those' days and 'those' moments when my anxiety still gets the best of me, especially when nearing special dates and holidays, and I am relieved that I have somewhere to vent.

I miss Claire every single day but I don't write that every day. My words have become somewhat redundant and therefore less frequent because honestly, how many times can I say I miss her, her hands, her little self? How many ways can I say that I wish she were still here and wonder who would she be, what would she look like, what she would enjoy in life?

But it comes down to this:
This is her space.
This is my way of keeping her spirit alive.
It brings me comfort.
I still need it so it will stay.

It is still my biggest release.

CBC Radio - Giving our stories a voice...

for approaching myself and Jennifer with the opportunity to 
give our stories and our cause a voice. 
I'll let the interview 'speak' for itself.
You can find it here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 15- Wave of Light

A small gesture with a huge impact.
This journey has been the most difficult of my life but with family and friends who continue to show me and my family the love and support that they do it makes it all just a little easier. It's been 3 years of ups and downs and inside outs. I have cried and smiled and laughed and gotten angry and smiled some more to get where I am. Each day brings a little more healing. I love my Claire with all of my heart and I love that I can share her little life with so many, so openly, and have so much love returned. I do what I can to help others as it is what she would want me to do and it is what I feel I am supposed to do... and I enjoy doing it.

She taught me to love myself and others on a level I didn't know I was able to.

I like to think of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day as not only a day of remembrance but a day of celebration. Today we babyloss moms celebrate the fact that we are all mommies to wonderful little babies that have taught us more than anyone ever will about love and acceptance, compassion and strength. I smile because I have made so many wonderful friends in the last 3 years. To see the flood of love that passed from one babyloss mother to another everywhere I looked on FB this evening made my heart swell with pride over all that we have done and will continue to do to honor our children. I smiled through my tears as I received messages of encouragement and support from non loss family and friends as well. Thank you for allowing me to speak about Claire so freely and for helping me break down barriers.

Our babies are helping us help others and that is to be celebrated!

Sweet dreams Claire.
Mommy loves you.
x ♥ o

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Day 14- Community

After losing Claire I dove into the internet. I was on a search for information, connections, something or anything to hold onto or to guide me or to fill my need to know... 
but need to know what exactly, I wasn't sure.

What next? 
Is this normal?
How long will it last? 
Is there anyone out there like me?...
Feeling this way? 
Reacting this way?
Does anyone really understand?

Faster than I could imagine I came upon a whole community of women and families who were blogging about their loss(es). I came upon websites dedicated solely to pregnancy and infant loss grief and healing. I found chat groups on Facebook. I found somewhere where I belonged.

A Babyloss Community
Full of Babyloss Mothers

Did you even know there was such thing??
Neither did I... until I had to know.
There is a whole club out there...
 A club that none of us wants to belong to but are SO grateful to be a part of. 
(Doesn't make much sense now, does it?!)

The women and organizations above pulled me through. 
Lifted me up. 
Cried with me. 
Laughed with me. 
Got angry with me.
Who continue to be confused and heartbroken with me...

They get me. 
We understand one another.

I have met many women in the past 3 years who were complete strangers following a similar path whom I now consider good friends. We chat on a daily basis about all things. It's not always sad... we don't dwell we just move forward in the best way we know how and we do it together.  

The most amazing thing about the Babyloss Community is that they accept everyone and every loss. No loss is considered more or less than another. We wholeheartedly agree with Dr. Seuss:

"A person's a person, no matter how small."

This past May, a local BLM friend of mine and I decided it was time to start up our own local community. We started a Face2Face Yellowknife Friendship Group (affiliated with Faces Of Loss, Faces of Hope) and have begun to build that community by reaching out to those who have lost here in our city. Involvement and attendance has been rising and as sad as it is to know that this 'service' is needed and growing, it feels great knowing that we are filling a void and bringing comfort to others.

Belonging is important.
Knowing you are not alone is really important.
Being a part of an accepting and compassionate community is SO important.
I am thankful for this community.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 13- Signs

I never believed in signs....
  One cold January day in 2010, 4 months after Claire had died, 
I happened to look over at the fire in the pellet stove 
and noticed something in the bottom right corner...
See it? 
A perfect heart.
Instantly I thought of Claire. 
I wondered if this was my baby's way of sending me some love?
The glass on the pellet stove got increasingly more dirty over the next 2 months 
but the heart never changed shape.

After seeing this heart, other hearts just seemed to pop up out of nowhere! 
Totally random winks from my girl. 
Wee signs of love letting me know that she was thinking of me?
I like to think so.

Approximately 120 hearts have been found since January 2010
 by my immediate family alone...

And it is with much love and appreciation that I share the following collage of hearts that have been sent to us from family and friends from all around the world. 

It touches me like nothing else does to know that all of these wonderful people have taken the time to pull out their camera and snap a picture because a random heart has appeared in front of them and they thought of my sweet baby girl, of me, and of my family.

My heart swells with happiness to know that Claire's little life
 has touched so many.

I now make a heart collage every month...
If you would like to view them, they began on October 1st, 2011
and have been posted on the first of every month since.
They are titled "(Month) lovin'..."

Face2Face honors PAIL Awareness Day...

Despite the giggles that ensued due to high winds and balloon snags, today's Face2Face Yellowknife balloon release in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day was beautiful. As devastating as it is that we all had to meet under these circumstances, it really was so touching and wonderful to share the love of our babies with one another. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Day 12- Scents

I bought these 2 candles to light on October 15th, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, 
14 days after Claire had been born. 

The pink one is for our Little Love that we lost in Sept of 2004 as well as for Claire. 
The green one is for all babies gone too soon.

We light these 2 candles for one hour every year as we participate in the 
Wave of Light for October 15th (see below). 

The scent brings me back...  a combination of sweet, spicy and outdoorsy.

I would love to light the candles more often but I don't want them to burn out completely as unfortunately I no longer remember who makes them.
It makes me sad to think that one day they too will be gone forever...
In the meantime I will enjoy every minute of the 60 a year that they are lit
knowing that at that rate they should last quite a few years!

Who will you be lighting your candle for?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day 11- Supportive Friends/Family

No photograph could ever show the amount of love and support I felt and continue to feel from my family and friends, old and new, since Claire's passing.

From messages to meals, flowers to phone calls, hugs to keepsakes, the outpouring of generosity has been absolutely staggering.

In addition, there are no words large enough, long enough or complex enough to ever properly convey my gratitude.

Thank you will never seem enough...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 10- Symbol

While in utero our Claire was affectionately known as Li'l Peanut.
(To read about our name decision once she had been born click here.)

While preparing for her first birthday I went on a Google search 
for a cute picture of a peanut to incorporate into a post/FB profile picture 
and this one popped up to my great surprise and pleasure! 
Photo source

We run with the peanut theme for her birthday every year
by making peanut butter frosting for her cupcakes/cake.
This peanut photo above has also become her symbol on our Christmas cards each year. 
 It never changes. 
 Just as our love for her never changes.


In addition to using the photo each year, I purchase a new peanut ornament
for our Christmas tree for her as well.

To see her ornament for 2009 click here and 2010 click here.

2011's ornament?
It turned out to be a big bust!! Haha!
 I placed the order for a cute (what I thought to be a small) peanut only to have it arrive
looking like a giant frosted turd!
I was disappointed but what could I do but laugh?!
The whole family had a great time giggling as I placed the ornament...
on the back of the tree for no one but us to see!

“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
as long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.”  

~Robert Munsch

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 9- Special Place

Our special place is Prelude Lake Territorial Park.

This park and campground along with the Prelude Lake Panoramic Trail has been a family favorite spot for a few years. Our tradition began on Mother's Day 2008.  
Where it all began!

Every Mother's Day and every year on Claire's birthday since we have packed everyone up, plus a picnic, fire wood, and a few toys up and head out for a day of fun. We always take a picture at the end of the trail on the deck that overlooks the lake. 

I love being out there with my family. 
Just us. 
Having uninterrupted time together. 
No distractions.

On Claire's estimated due date Andrew and I took the day off 
and went out on our own to have some quiet time together. 
March 10, 2010
To see/read/view slideshow for this day click here.

Mother's Day 2012
To see/read more about this day click here.

Once Claire's birthday rolled around I knew that that was the place I wanted the whole family to be more than any other place. We made sure to add cupcakes for the birthday girl to the list of what to bring along this time, as well balloons to send her way with special messages and drawings all over them. 

Happy 1st Birthday Claire! October 1, 2010
To see/read/view slideshow for this day click here.

The year after we packed up most of the same but we did a lantern release instead. 
Happy 2nd Birthday Claire! October 1, 2011
To see/read/see slideshow for this day click here.

 And a silly shot from Mother's Day 2012
To see/read more about this day click here.

And just last week we went out with a giant cake and balloons again!
Happy 3rd Birthday Claire! October 1, 2012
To see/read more about this day click here.

I feel close to her there. I always look forward to going back. I feel her love there.

"Ohana means family.
Family means nobody gets left behind...
or forgotten."
~Lilo & Stitch

Monday, October 8, 2012

Day 8- Jewelry

I couldn't narrow it down to one!

~ During my pregnancy I wore my Pyrrha stork and butterfly necklaces. The minute I found out that my baby's heart was no longer beating I removed them and kept them in a closet for a year and a half before wearing them again. To read more about why, read here.

~ The handprint necklace is the one piece that means the most to me and that I hold closest to my heart. After losing Claire I searched day and night to find a piece of jewelry that 'spoke' to me. After an extensive online search, I found a shop in London England called Stephen Einhorn where I found the perfect little handprint necklace. I wanted to place an order but wanted a small change as the only handprint they had was the right hand and I wanted a left hand as I had held Claire's perfect little hand upon my pinky fingernail the whole time she was with me. I sent an email to the shop outlining what I would like to have done and why and a lady responded saying that for a minimal charge they would be able to flip the design for me... I caught my breath when I read the final line, "Sincerely, Claire" We went back and forth in our emails and then had to speak on the phone and it was so comforting to speak with Claire the shopkeeper. She was so kind and respectful and lovely. What touched my heart even more was when I received my necklace in the mail, she had included a handwritten note saying, "Dear Jaime, Here is your left hand print pebble on a necklace, I do hope it is of some comfort to you. With very best wishes, Claire" She will never know how truly touched I was by her gestures. 

To read more about the handprint necklace click here and here.

~ I love my Stella & Dot charm necklace! I added the wishbone charm for Claire because I wish, every day, that she was here and I also added the awareness ribbon to honor pregnancy and infant loss.

~ After the birth of our Rainbow Baby, I ordered a new Family Tree necklace by my favorite jewelry designer, Lisa Leonard, so that I could have a piece of jewelry that represents all of my children. All together. All close to my heart.

To read about Lisa Leaonard, check out her absolutely amazing personal blog here and to view her simple but oh so meaningful, fabulous jewelry click here. (She even has a babyloss piece which she made in collaboration with Angie Smith, named the Marked By Love necklace.)

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day 7- What To Say

The little things mean the most...

Keep it simple.
Make it heartfelt.

So very thankful...

A little something for us all to remember, even on our darkest days...

So thankful today, on Thanksgiving Day, for all that you have given me, shown me and shared with me. It sounds simple but as you all know it runs much deeper.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day 6- What Not To Say

Is that supposed to make me feel better?!

Would you say that to someone who's father just passed away from cancer?
Would you say that to someone who's niece was killed in a car accident?
Would you say that to someone who's child committed suicide?
Would you say that to someone who's grandmother died in her sleep?

Probably not.

So why is it okay to say it to me about my baby who died?

My baby is not a thing... and there is no good reason for her death.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 5- Memorial

My memorial tattoo for my sweet baby Claire.
4 dots as she was our 4th baby.
3 leaves as she was the third baby I gave birth to and she was born in the fall.
And after having it done, my friend pointed out that the design to the top left of the C
resembles 2 overlapping hearts. Totally unintentional but totally perfect! 
(Thanks, Antoinette, for pointing out that special detail!)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day 4 - Treasured Item

The only item I own that she ever physically touched.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 3 - After Loss Self Portrait

Monday October 5th, 2009 was a gorgeous, unseasonably nice day. My children were playing soccer in the front yard and I felt the need to “suck it up” and get outside to be with my family. I had delivered Claire 4 days previous and outside smiling was not at all where I wanted to be but felt that I was needed. I needed to continue to be a mom to my living children and to be a wife to my husband. I felt like I had to keep up some semblance of a “normal” family life.

I used to feel guilty looking at this picture. I felt guilty for having been caught smiling at something... anything... anyone. How could I have been smiling? I was no longer pregnant! We had just had a dead baby!

And yet, there it is. Picture proof. No denying it.

I used to wonder why I kept this picture. I debated trashing it as I was ashamed and embarrassed and worried that someone might see it and think I was over her and/or question how I really felt about losing my daughter.

3 years later and I now know why I kept it...

I needed to be reminded that it was okay to feel happiness through all of my sadness.
I needed to be reminded that I was stronger than I ever gave myself credit for.
I needed to be reminded that my family needed me to be present.
I needed to be reminded that that I still had so much to be thankful and grateful for.

Most of all, I needed to see my family for who we were in that moment, still able to smile, play, enjoy, and above all... love one another through unimaginable heartbreak.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Day 2 - Before Loss Self Portrait

Caitlin Cleveland Photography

I didn't know for certain that I was pregnant until the day after this picture was taken but I am pretty sure I wore the same expression the second I saw those 2 pink lines!

The before me was always smiling, laughing, being a complete goof and not worrying about much...
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