Tuesday, August 26, 2008

One Month

It has been one month since I heard Clairisa's heartbeat for the very last time.

It has been one month since I felt her little legs kick me as the monitors were put in place.

It has been one month since she woke me up with hiccups.

It has been one month since I was put under not knowing if my life would end, or even worse, if Clairisa's life would end.

It has been one month since my entire world was turned upside down.

It has been one month since I prayed more fervently than I ever have in my life.

It has been one month since I heard the worse news of my life.

It has been one month since I cried in Cory's arms with more agony than I ever thought was possible.

It has been one month since our entire family has been together.

It has been one month since I held my angel.

It has been one month since my heart was ripped out of my chest when I had to say goodbye (for now at least).

One month...

One month closer to being together again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Our 8th Anniversary

This weekend Cory and I went out to celebrate our anniversary. It was so wonderful to go out on a date with him. I feel as if our love is stronger than it has ever been. Stronger than it was the day that I kneeled across the temple altar from him, and stronger than when I called him a "Daddy" for the first time. Our love has changed. It is no longer the puppy love of a 16 year old girl and an 18 year old boy, it is a love of a man and a woman who have created a life together, a life that has changed them, challenged them, and refined them. Our life together has not been easy, in fact there have been some years where it has been really tough, but we always make it through...together.

Last year, Cory and I ran a 5k here in Asheville. We had been training for a couple of months but we always did our training on small hills or flat ground and most of the time we would run alone (well actually with our ipods). When the day of the race came, we were really excited to run it together but we were also very nervous because it was not just hilly, it was REALLY hilly (in fact one of the hills was more like a little mountain). The first mile was great. We had established our rhythm together and we were actually making pretty good time. Then when the second mile hit, things got tough for Cory. He was struggling up some of the steeper hills and at one spot he had to slow his pace down quite a bit. Instead of continuing on past him at my own pace, I slowed down because we were in this race together. After a minute or so, we picked our pace back up and continued on until I slowed down a little near the end of the second mile. He slowed down as well and stayed right next to me. In the third mile, I began to fall back again. It was such a hot day and I was so ready for the race to be over. He slowed down came up next to me and encouraged me on. His inspiring and motivating words kept me going during the hardest part of the race. Together we finished the race that day with great times. We had enudured one of the toughest 5ks either one of us have ever ran.

I feel like that race was symbolic of our marriage. There have been times where he has been the strong one and has slowed down his pace so that I could keep up and there are other times where I've been the stronger one. Then there have been other times where we have both just kept going as we've encouraged one another onward ever onward. There is nobody else that I would rather run with, in a 5k or in this life. Just like we finished our race together, I know that one day we will finish the race of life together. How wonderful it is to know that in the temple we were sealed together for not only time, but also for eternity. I love Cory with all of my heart. He is my everything and without him this last month, I think that I would've quit, but just like always, he has continually encouraged me on each day. He is my rock, my strength, and the love of my life. Happy 8th Anniversary!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Our Little Ladybug

While I was in the hospital, Cory and a whole bunch of his good friends had been working on a big surprise for me. They had been painting and putting up a border in Clairisa's room. Once we realized that we would no longer need that room as a nursery, Cory told me what he'd done and then asked if I wanted him to paint over it. He thought it might be too hard to see it. I did not want him to change a thing. The first time I went into the room was after the graveside service. Cory and I went in together and just sat and cried in each other's arms. It was one of the most beautiful rooms I'd ever been in. We decided to let the girls have Clairisa's room and use the other room as their toy room/guest room. They couldn't be more excited.

My sister had been in on this whole project because Cory called her and asked her if she'd help him with the decorating part of it. Andrea had planned a baby shower for me with all of our friends in Texas and together they were going to make a crib quilt out of the material at Baby's R' Us that matched the ladybug border. She also made a ladybug picture frame, a decorated box, flowers, etc. The baby shower was planned for the Saturday that they delivered Clairisa.

Every time I see a ladybug I just cannot help but think of my little Clairisa who was a tiny little bug who came into my life here on earth for a short time and then flew back to her heavenly home. I found the following poem on the internet and then I changed some of the lines to make it fit better.


Little ladybug
Sweet little ladybug
Where are you going now?

You start to fly,
While I must try
To turn away somehow......

In my heart there's a place for you
That will never go away,
Please know my love will continue
With every passing day.

I know that I can't keep you
There are other lives for you to please
So you shall fly away, then
To tend to others needs

It would be wrong to keep you here
And not let you be free ~
For your Father is waiting,
And someday together we will be.

~ Anonymous

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Enduring Well

In my last post, there was a comment by my cousin Jenna that really made me think. She used the phrase "enduring well". I have really been thinking about that this morning. What does it mean to endure the death of my baby well? I feel like I am enduring. I'm reading my scriptures, saying my prayers, taking care of my children, loving my husband, grocery shopping, fixing dinners, doing my church calling, etc... but to me those things are just part of enduring. I think that the ability, or blessing, of being able to endure well comes from the Savior and his ability to comfort, sustain, strengthen, and deliver us.

My sister gave me a book when she was out here that is called Making Sense of Suffering by Wayne R. Brickey. It is such an incredible book! One of the chapters is called "He Delivers". He talks about how throughout the scriptures we are taught over and over how the Lord delivers His people. He says,

"Yes, deliverance implies that we will have trouble. But the promise remains that we will be "supported under trials and troubles of every kind, yea, and in all manner of afflictions" to the degree that we put our trust in God. To be supported means that God will add his power to ours.
In trials--when we are tested for faithfulness- he will protect us from our weaknesses. In troubles--when things are breaking down, falling apart, and going out of control- he will calm us. In afflictions--when we suffer acute pain of mind or body-he will bless us by removing the pain or giving us power to endure it."

I have felt that power many times throughout the last month. Monday was my first day on my own, without my mom here to help me. I turned on my "church music" (that is what Cloey calls it), and I was folding some clothes. As I was thinking about Clairisa and feeling so empty and lonely inside, my thoughts were all of the sudden changed, and for a moment I felt as if I was able to look at this trial through heavenly eyes. For the first time since her death, I was able to feel joy--the joy that comes from knowing that I helped fulfill her purpose of giving her a body and that she is back home. I felt so grateful for the fact that she will not have to experience the troubles and pains that are associated with mortality. She will never have to suffer. My whole purpose as a mother is to raise and train my children in the gospel and to help them "remember" who they are, to know they're divine nature, and to help them discover their purpose here on earth. Clairisa already knows and for that I can not only find joy but I can "endure well" the sorrow and pain that comes from missing her.

Katelund's First Day of School

We were so lucky to have Grandma Black here with us for Kate's first day of school.

Cory was so cute about wanting to be there in order to walk her into school. He is actually dropping her off everyday on his way to work. Katelund feels so special when she leaves in the morning with her Daddy.
She has now gone to school for three days (today is her 4th day). She is LOVING it!! I was so nervous about how she would do since she has never been in preschool, daycare, or anything else. When we went to Meet the Teacher night, she walked right up to the other kids who were playing with the blocks and said, "Hi, can I play with you guys?" It was just that easy for her. I think school is going to be a great thing for all of us, except for maybe Cloey. She just doesn't now what to do without Katelund around.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Impatiently Waiting for Normal

The other day I was at the store with my Mom. While we were waiting in line to check out, I noticed a mother with her 5 or 6 month old baby. The baby was absolutely beautiful. He had dark skin and the most beautiful blue eyes. It seems like everywhere I go I see mothers with babies or pregnant women. It is always really hard for me. In fact, I usually always break down crying. Well, this time I was feeling strong so I decided to do something that I would have normally done. I walked over to the mother and told her how beautiful her little baby boy was. The lady looked at me with an annoyed look. I don't even remember what she said or if she said anything at all because once I saw her expression I felt as if the scab over my bleeding heart had just been ripped off. Why did I even say anything at all? If only that lady knew how hard it was for me to first of all, look at her with her baby, and then to go so far as to make a comment. That was a pretty big step for me. I know that she had no idea where I was coming from so I don't blame her, I just wanted to feel normal.

I just feel like I am so vulnerable and weak, and it makes me crazy. I get so frustrated with myself. I know that there is a time to mourn and grieve, but I feel like my time is running up and I am supposed to and need to find more joy and strength in my life. I am just not. I start feeling like I am getting stronger and then I am faced with the reality that my strength is not so strong and it seems to falter and come crashing down whenever any other burden is placed upon me.

The other day I decided to go for my first run in months. I went out and ran down the street and back. When I came inside I literally felt like I was going to faint. My pulse was pounding inside of my head and I was really dizzy. I laid down on the floor until I was able to catch my breath. Again, I thought I was a lot stronger than I was. I guess that is how I felt after I commented on that baby, as if I had just ran before I was ready. I just want to run. I want to be back to normal. I know that normal will never be the same because nothing is the same. I now have a child in school, I have moved across town, and I have buried my own baby. I just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I know that the Lord has carried me so much over the month, and I feel as if His strength is what gets me up each day to take care of my kids and unpack my house. Otherwise, I would probably just lay on my bed all day in the fetal position and cry (something I do a lot at the end of the day). I know that Heavenly Father loves me and he has shown me that over and over again throughout the last couple of months (that is a whole other post). I also know that there is a plan and purpose for my life and although I don't see it clearly now, I do know that in order for me to get where I need to be, I have to allow myself to stumble, fall, and get back up again.

My steps are slow and some days I feel really clumsy, as if I am falling every couple of steps, but I now that over time I will be able to run again. I am just anxiously, and impatiently :), awaiting that day...the day where I can find joy in looking at others' babies, find strength and determination in my life, and find the patience and endurance that I need to wait for the day when I'll be able to look in the eyes of my angel, my beautiful baby Clairisa. That will be the day of my dreams. The day where my family will be complete, whole, and normal.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I feel like one of the greatest lessons that I have learned through the last couple of weeks is how to serve others. Our family has been served and loved in the most incredible ways and by so many people. It has been such a humbling and incredible lesson to learn from my friends and family. I would like to list some of the amazing things that have been done for us in order to give others ideas but mostly just so that I will never forget how the Lord has poured out his tender mercies through those among us who have been so thoughtful, selfless, and inspiring.
-sending sympathy cards
-sending flowers/plants
-writing emails/texts of sympathy and love
-phone calls
-babysitting while I was in the hospital
-the priests not only bringing us the sacrament but also giving us a summary of sacrament mtg.
-lots of hugs
-books that have been sent or suggested to offer comfort
-getting my bedroom not only clean and free from boxes but also having my bed set up and made, candles lit, relaxing music playing, and beautiful plants set out in order to make me feel better about coming home from the hospital without my baby and into a new home that I had never been to.
-beautiful home-made thank you cards that were made for me to pass out
-relief society sisters who helped Cory and our family pack up and clean our condo
-lots of chocolate, magazines, books, a gratitude journal, lamp, pictures, and a plant that were given to me in the hospital
-My friend who came to the hospital almost everyday to have scripture study with me just because she knew I would love it.
-dinners and lunches brought to me at the hospital from friends.
-dinners brought to our family when I got home from the hospital
-the most incredible anesthesiologist ever
-cards that were sent to me at the hospital
-a pedicure in the hospital by my mother-in-law
-my husband who stayed the night with me in the hospital every night while the girls were at grandma and grandpas and then after the girls were home he would come to the hospital for his lunch break everyday and then pick up the girls after work and come back to the hospital.
-amazing nurses and doctors who did everything they could do
-a sister-in-law who bought me and my girls dresses to wear to the graveside service so that we wouldn't have to worry about it.
-grandparents who sent money
-In-laws who have traveled back and forth from Asheville to Fayetteville a dozen times
-Logan and his fiance who drove out right away after the surgery to help with the girls and give support
-My family who drove from Texas to N. Carolina as soon as they heard the news
-My mom who has stayed by my side for almost 3 weeks
-My mother-in-law who calls to check on me everyday
-My sister who literally unpacked and organized our entire house
-Cory's co-workers who brought meals to us for a week
-Friends who I haven't talked to in years who reached out through letters, packages, and emails to offer their love and sympathy
-A huge group of men and youth who helped Cory move us
-priesthood and father's blessings given
-My sister-in-law and her family who flew out from Las Vegas and my other sister-in-law who flew out from BYU for the graveside service and to show us their love and support
-and last but NOT least....
MANY, MANY prayers which have lifted, comforted, and sustained us in the most miraculous way
"Thank you" just doesn't do justice to the overwhelming amount of gratitude and love that we feel for our friends, from near and far, and all of our family; siblings, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, who have done so much for our little family and who have supported us through such a difficult time. As a family, we are praying daily for opportunities to serve others because I think that is the only way that we will ever be able to show our thanks. We truly believe that their are angels among us. :) We love you all.

Sunday, August 10, 2008


My adorable 8 yr. old neice, Abby, who weighed 2 ounces less than Clairisa when she was born, took this picture of me when I was in Texas. It is funny how at the time I hated this picture but I just couldn't erase it from my camera. Today when I look at this picture I cry and I feel like it is one of the most cherished pictures that I have (along with the pictures that we have of Clairisa).

It is funny how experiences can completely change your perspective. Now as I look at pregnant women around me I think that they are the most beautiful women in the world! My other two pregnancies were completely normal, and although I saw what my sister went through with her premature babies, I had no idea what it was like to have a high-risk pregnancy. It is so incredibly scary and like I said before, it has completely changed my perspective on pregnancy. What a blessing it is to be a woman and a mother, especially the mother of three beautiful little girls, one who is completely perfect. At Clairisa's graveside service, my dad sang the familiar primary song, "I am a Child of God", but he changed the lyrics a little. Here is how he sang it...

I am a child of God and He has sent me here.
Has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear.
Lead them, guide them, walk beside them,
help them find the way.
Teach them all that they must do to live with me someday.


Yesterday we had a birthday party at Fun Depot. It was an all inclusive party where I didn't have to provide anything but a birthday cake, candles, and tiaras (that was a must according to Katelund since it was a princess party).

Since there were two boys at the party we had them decorate blue visors with gems since they were the princes. :)

Today is Kate's 5th birthday. Thursday is her first day of Kindergarten. I just can't believe how quickly five years pass. I love my sweet little girl. This month has been really hard for us as a family and she has had to deal with a lot of emotions and confusion. She has been such a great support for me and is always by my side asking me if my stomach feels better, putting her arm around me when I cry, making me laugh, and continually melting my heart! I couldn't imagine my life without her in it.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Not Giving Up

Where do I even begin?

Yesterday I pulled up the new post to begin writing again, but I didn't know what to say. I wish I could say that everything is back to normal or that all though last week was the hardest week of my life, that this week has been a whole lot better...but I would be lying to myself and to all of you. Life is not normal and I find myself crying, aching, and hurting most of the day, but I do feel like this week is easier than last week. I am finally ready to talk to friends, answer my phone, and even post an entry on my blog. That's progress, right?

Monday was a really bad day and I was just so down in spirit. I took Katelund to the dentist and found out that she has lots of dental work that needs to be done and then of course we had to sit down next to a woman with her two week old baby girl. I just felt like such a failure as a mother on so many different levels. Two days after the emergency c-section, they told me that I needed to begin to get up and walk. I didn't care what they said. I didn't want to recover, I just wanted to lay in my bed and cry. Cory told me that all though I didn't feel like recovering or getting up out of that bed, that he needed me and our two little girls needed me more than ever. So...reluctantly, I finally began the "recovery" process. On Monday afternoon, I again felt like I just wanted to give up, but I knew that I couldn't I just didn't know how to get back to normal life, and really I just didn't want to.

Later that day, I pulled out my scriptures and began reading about Captain Moroni and how the Lamanites were fighting harder than they ever had and so Captain Moroni rallied up his troops by reminding them what they were fighting for...their families, religion, etc. As I was reading this the Spirit told me that I too was fighting my own battle and that I needed to get up, be strong, and not ever give up because I am fighting for my family. I got on my knees and prayed with "real intent" that the Lord would give me strength and lighten the burden of death which is weighing me down so heavily. While praying, I felt the Lord's love and an amazing amount of comfort, peace, and hope. It was an incredible experience and hard to put into words, but I have literally felt boosted up as if the Lord is carrying me right now. I know that there will be more hard days and moments filled with tears, but I just feel so amazed at the gift of the Atonement and the blessing that is ours to have the gift of the Holy Ghost and the scriptures to give us the inspiration we need, especially at times when all we want to do is give up.

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