Monday, March 4, 2013

Life Before Loss

There is nothing like a baby shower to represent a new beginning.   Friends gather.  Laughs are shared.  Food is eaten.   Everyone rallies around the soon to be mom, offering words of wisdom and stories of their experiences.  Each new gift that is unwrapped is already used in someone's imagination.  The baby is pictured in each adorable outfit.  We imagine mom rubbing Boudreaux's Butt Paste on the little one's backside during a diaper change.  We can visualize those teeny tiny socks covering wiggling little tootises.  We can hear her laughter as she plays in the bouncy swing.  Everyone knows that with a baby comes sleepless nights, days without showers, mornings full of poopy diapers, and afternoons full of screams and spit up.  But no one cares.   The joy and excitement of creating a new life and bringing that life into the world so far outweighs the times that wear.  A baby shower epitomizes that rose-colored glasses attitude.
This is a picture of me at my baby shower.  My sister, a die hard Hokie fan, had given me this shirt along with a few VT onesies and a maroon tutu.  This was one gift out of many given with excitement to me and baby Kenley.  That day was a day of happiness.  A day when I had so much ahead of me.  A day when I looked to the future with excited anticipation.  I was going to be a mom.  Yes, it would be difficult.  Yes, it would be exhausting.  But, it would be worth it because I would have my little girl who I loved so much, who I was so looking forward to watching grow.

We decided to start trying last June.  I got pregnant last June.   Whoa!  In the words of Office Depot, "That was easy!"  We were excited, although admittedly a little apprehensive.  Everyone told us no one was truly ready for children, and our bank account surely echoed that sentiment.  Oh well, we'll figure it out, right?   As the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months, I watched my belly grow.  We traced my profile on a canvas every few weeks with plans to paint it the colors of her nursery.   I sang to her in the shower.  I talked to her in the car.   We had a quirky and hilarious maternity photo shoot with our photographer and good friend.   Mike and my goofy personalities shone through big time.   This baby was going to be amazing!
We worked hard to put her nursery together.  Mike ran around like a chicken with his head cut off trying to make sure all of the pieces were organized and in the right place.  He wanted to be ready when the time came.  The diapers were organized.  The clothing was categorized by size and age.  The crib sheets were washed and the blankets were folded.   We were ready.  
We had every reason to hope, to laugh, to smile.  We were starting on this new and exciting journey together.  We were going to be parents!  And we were going to be great!  Not those mamby pamby moms and dads who don't discipline their kids and can't seem to get their s#$% together.  No, we were going to set boundaries.  We were going to have a homework schedule and a chore chart.  We were going to raise a cultured and respectful child.  A world leader.   We had so many dreams for her.  And, man, would that kid have been loved!  She would have been so loved, and cherished, and adored.   As much as she may have been annoyed with our parenting, she would have known -  without a doubt -  that we loved her.  

Life before February 25th was full of joy and newness.   It was soaring into the future with life and love.  Life after February 25th is very different.  The light that shone so brightly is hidden by dark, black clouds.  The joy that filled my heart is gone, replaced with a heavy sorrow.  What once was feathered wings is now a leaded stone.   What once was excitement and happiness is now despair and rage.  I wish I could turn back the hands of time, to the moment right before my beautiful ninja twisted herself beyond the point of no return, and go down a different path.  But I can't.  This is where I am now. This is the path I have to walk.  And so I walk.  Heavy hearted, one weary footstep at a time. 


  1. Clearly our princess needed a bigger kingdom to rule. Love you!!!

  2. If only there were a magical way to redirect your little ninja baby and say, no not that much...don't play too close, too often, with the cord, as you would clearly have done with a danger in the outside world. It is senseless. So many babies manage to become entwined in their cord, without incident. I hope that you sharing your words is helpful to you and that it may also reach other moms who have faced the same horror so that you may help them heal as well. You are so brave for posting your words and thoughts and letting us in to read them.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. I believe it is important for other mom's out there who are dealing with this as well, but most importantly for yourself and your husband. This is such a hard time. You are brave to share this to the world. She IS lucky to have you as a mom. I felt really strongly that I should share my beliefs with you. I believe that you will see your daughter again. I believe that families are forever, not just in this life on Earth. I believe that she was a perfect child of God. She came to this Earth to get a body. You were willing to have children. God does not give us trials to make us weak. He does not give us something we cannot handle. He knows you and your daughter. He loves you all very much. I believe that children who are born or die at a young age are perfect and will wait with God to see you again. This life on Earth is only for a short time, but we will have eternity to share with our loved ones.

    I have not experienced what you have. I cannot even pretend to imagine how much your heart aches. My grandparents lost both a daughter and a son, and my mother has had multiple miscarriages. I have lost a sister-in-law. These are the closest kinds of sadness of losing loved ones that I have, but I am grateful for what I know to be true. That I will see them again. That they are waiting in Heaven with God. Thank you for sharing your emotions. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for wanting to be a mom. You are a mom. You are an amazing mom. You will both see your daughter again. She knows you love her.

  4. I awoke early this morning with thoughts of you, your husband, your extended family and friends, that were so eagerly awaiting the birth of this most wanted little girl. I'd heard about you, and what a wonderful Mommy you were going to be, and what a terrific teacher you are and the details surrounding all you do- from my own precious daughter- Jeanee James. She had called in tears when she heard what you were having to endure. She did likewise after the beautiful memorial. Our prayers are with you for additional heavenly help and I do believe it will come.

    How wonderful that you write and can express your deepest emotion. That sharing, that searching for the words to give life to your emotions, will be very healing to you plus it will strengthen others, by them being able to identify with your feelings... To understand.... To better deal with their own challenges and heartaches.

    My life is experience is this... harsh unwanted, unasked for events occur, with no personal invitation or desire, to experience any such challenge. With that experience will come the strength to survive, to share and to help all that hear as you share your journey of raw emotion...emotion of the highest joy, symbolized by that pink balloon, and the jagged deep pain of unexpected loss.

    There will be many of us praying for you to be sustained, in this heart wrenching mortal experience, as you glean and gather all that you need to survive in wholeness, to be what your baby girl knows you are capable of.

    1. Jeanee is a wonderful person! She has been such a support to me during these dark times. Thank you for your kind words. I am trying to be strong for my daughter and be the person I know she'd want me to be.

  5. Thank you for sharing.
    I just lost my girl, almost a month ago... Still can't believe it happened, still can't understand how I will survive this. But then again, the days pass, and we're still here... The only thing I can think of, is that I want to be a better person, for her.

    1. I am so sorry for your loss. The only thing that kept me going was finding a cause and throwing myself into it. This blog, volunteering with charities, making art....anything to help me focus on something good. I needed to make her death mean something, You can do it. It's a hard road, but you aren't walking alone. Contact me anytime. There's an email address on the Kenley Around the World tab you are welcome to use!