Thursday, April 4, 2013


This is more than about termination of unwanted pregnancies, people. WAKE UP and pop your bubble of hate and ignorance! 

Do you have friends or family that are wanting to expand their families through IVF?  Well, you go ahead and tell them they can't, that it's wrong, and that you support the state banning them from creating children to add to their families that way.  Go ahead.  Crush their dreams of being parents.  While you're at it, since you're so pro-life, why don't you get pregnant and then give them your baby? 

Do you have a friend or family member who could die if they continued to carry the baby they are carrying because of a medical condition that makes pregnancy dangerous?  Are you willing to tell them, their partner, their other children, that this baby's life is more important and that if they both end up dying, you are more than ok with that?  You go right ahead and do that. You tell them their life isn't worth it.  You tell their families that you are ok that they can go ahead and die because a termination is not right for YOU.  Never-mind their own lives.  It's all about you.  After all, you'll be there for their families after they're dead, right?

Do you have a friend or family member that was happily expecting a baby only to find out that baby will die because of fatal diagnosis?

Yes....Yes, you do. That friend or family member was ME!!!!!!

Will you be there to tell them it's wrong to terminate to protect their other family members from the pain of the death of a child?  Will you be there to support them if they CHOOSE to carry to term, like I did?  Will you be there to watch their child suffer?  Will you be there to fight for that child's rights to be comfortable when a hospital, who was against termination, doesn't want to give comfort measures when your child is in pain?  Will you be there to fight for that child's right to be fed when the hospital tells the parents that feeding the "abnormal" child would "only be prolonging the inevitable"?  Will you be there to fight for that child's right to be kept warm when the hospital disagrees?  When the hospitals disagree to basic human comfort measures for a child THEY deem as not worthy of living, but were against termination during the pregnancy?  Guess what?  If you say you will be, you're probably lying.  Will you be there to pay for the medical bills from that child's short life?  Will you be there to pay for the funeral?  Will you be there to pay for the headstone?  Will you be there to pay for time out of work for maternity leave and grief?  Will you pay for psychologists for both your friend and their children to cope with the death?  Will you be there to cook meals, listen, support, and remember their child not just for a few weeks, but FOREVER?  Chances are, NO, because death makes people uncomfortable. So why should it EVER be YOUR choice when it comes to someone else's life?

North Dakota Assault on Women/Families

Sunday, March 31, 2013

April Fool's...

April Fool’s

I love a good prank.  I have a great sense of humor and anyone who knows me, knows how much I love to laugh.  I've been the prankster, had them done to me, and still giggle about them.  I've sticky-note bombed my husband’s vehicle, put Icy-Hot under door handles of friends’ vehicles, and put a rubber band around the spray nozzle on the sink.  I've silly stringed, whoopee cushioned, and booby trapped my fair share of birthdays (my favorite day to prank someone) and April Fool’s days away, all in good fun, and I've always helped clean up any messes incurred with my pranks. 

I love a good, innocent physical prank.  Safe, silly, physical pranks can be epic, remembered for a lifetime, and fun for all involved.

But I draw the line when it comes to emotional pranks.  Emotional pranks….Can set loose an avalanche and if you don’t care what that avalanche causes to others for the sake of your “prank”, you need to think about what it means to care for others.

An emotional prank is anything that plays on the emotional side of your victims you’re engaging.  The one that gets to me the most is the way over done “I’m pregnant” prank.  You know the one – on April Fool’s Day, women around the country post/call/text/announce that they are expecting a child, some even give a due date, usually on a day that doesn't exist, such as the 31st day of November.  Some only play this prank on their husbands, even going as far as getting a pregnant friend to pee on a pregnancy test for them (I know people who have done this), and some play it on everyone they know.  Then the next day, they admit it was an April Fool’s joke, all in jest, good times, ha ha, the end.

Only….not so much.  For me and so many other mothers of babies who have died and mothers who struggle to conceive or carry healthy children, this joke is like a knife through the heart.  We take pregnancy announcements very seriously.  We wish nothing but the best for friends announcing pregnancies because of everything we’ve been through.  The minute we see that announcement, we worry for you, we genuinely care for your baby, we pray for you and your baby.  When we find out the announcements were a hoax and not true at all, it’s incredibly painful to us.  We simply cannot understand why anyone would ever joke about something so precious as a life.  Our emotions heightened in concern for you and your fake baby, for nothing.  Our hearts abused, betrayed for your joke.  It’s not so funny when it’s your heart being ripped open.

I can hear some of you now – “oh calm down, have a sense of humor, it’s just a joke, it’s April Fool’s Day it’s to be expected”.  Ok, fine.  All for a joke, ha ha, I get it.  Here’s some food for thought for you.  If someone were to announce on April Fool’s Day for a joke that they were diagnosed with cancer.  Or their mother died.  Or they were in a serious car accident and paralyzed from the waist down.  

Would that be funny to you?

This is how those of us “Baby Loss Mommas”, or BLMs for short, feel about the April Fool’s Pregnancy joke.  Please, consider the emotional repercussions of your April Fool's jokes this year and be compassionate in your pranks.  It is possible (and so much more fun for everyone) to play a good prank on someone without toying with fragile emotions. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything." ~ William Shakespeare

To give you all an idea of how scattered a grieving brain still is at just 7 months out, I'm still so out of it, that I forgot about my own all-time favorite holiday ~ Earth Day!  It's one of my favorite days of the year.  One day of a celebration that doesn't scream "you should have your whole family here and together", though I wish more than anything I did.  It's just a day to enjoy the world for all its beauty and add something to it.  It's a peaceful day.  Traditionally, my daughter and I are doing garden things all day and never turn on the tv or computer.  I look forward to Earth Day all year long.  It's an extremely important day to me.  And my grief made me forget....  In fact, I can hardly recall these past 7 months at all.  I recently had to ask my husband where we were for or what we did for Christmas because I truly could not remember.

Oh, and 7 months after the death of my son, I'm still lucky if I remember to brush my teeth daily.

Grief is an amazing force that no one can control.  Not even a seasoned griever such as myself.  Forgetting things is a normal part of grieving.  If I have forgotten to acknowledge an important event in your life or to do something I said I would, I sincerely apologize and need gentle reminders from you of those things.

So, Happy Belated Earth Day to all.  I suppose we'll have our own belated celebration one day this week, but I'm still a little upset that I could forget my favorite day so easily...

I'm also beginning to realize that my 30 day blog challenge is starting to look like a 30 month blog challenge.  Procrastination at its best!

In the midst of your grief, what are some important things that completely slipped your mind?

Friday, March 2, 2012

"Chaos is a friend of mine." ~Bob Dylan

About Me Blog Challenge Day 3:  A picture of me and my friends.

When I'm not kickin it with Chaos, I'm usually hanging out with my friends...on facebook!  It's the most convenient thing for us busy bees, tied up with either work, parenthood, or both.  Every now and then we make time to get together for some well deserved frivolity.

Depending on the group of friends I'm with, the activities vary.  Some of these activities include:
St. Louis Zoo days hopefully soaking in some sunshine and getting those glutes in shape by power walking up the hills, sometimes twice because I forget a section is under construction and I have to go back and all the way around;
Shopping (which means a lot of yawning for me unless it involves Lush, The Body Shop, purses, or eating);
Guerrilla warfare like attacks with Nerf guns and we have to include our American Pit Bull Terrier, Dori, or she does this obnoxiously loud whine-snort-lip puff-squirrel howl until we shoot the face...why she loves it, we have no idea, but we rest easy knowing if for some reason we have to end her life with a rifle, she'll wag her tail and ask for it;
Movies...sneaking in Jimmy Johns in our purses to scarf down while watching hot werewolves and sparkly vampires OR pre-loading on good food and a couple pitchers of yumminess;
Playing boardgames because you're just never too old for that;
or simply ooohing and aaahing gorging on fantastic food.
No matter what the activity, it's always a blast!  My friends are great, from all around the country, varying in origins of our how friendships began.  Coworker friends, Angel Mommy friends, family, or the group of our online gaming community friends!  They all mean so very much to me!  I couldn't choose just one group of friends, so here goes a few!

My husband and I are best friends. (Let the awws and gagging commence!)  
This was us New Years Eve 2011 in Las Vegas, NV for a friend's wedding.

Some of our online gaming buddies that come together annually for "The Gathering" at our house.

My coworker buddies after a couple pitchers, good food, many laughs and heading to a movie!

A couple of my many wonderful Angel Mommy friends!

"The best friend is the man who in wishing me well wishes it for my sake." ~ Aristotle

Stay tuned for Day 4 of the Blog Challenge:  A habit I wish I didn't have.  Oh dear, how do I choose just one???

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm." ~Marcus Garvey

About Me Blog Challenge Day 2 (give or take...):  The meaning behind my blog name.

Everyone has storms in their lives.  Some are slight showers with breaks in the clouds that touch your life, but don't define you.  Many are unexpected but welcomed, cleanse, and make your world more beautiful than ever before.  Others... are monsoons that wash away your very being; tornadoes that uproot everything you once knew, flipping your world over.  Nothing can reverse the damage done and everything looks different from this new, uncomfortable angle.  You find yourself dangling upside down, struggling to hang on to a piece of debris that feels as if it's searing your flesh in an effort to make you fall.  You're in the same world as everyone else except they are not upside down like you are.  You feel yourself continuously being pulled into the remaining darkness left of the storm, while they're enjoying the sunshine.  They barely noticed the devastation caused by the storm, for it wasn't theirs.  It was your storm and yours alone.  You'll find some friends/family, who they are may surprise you, right there in the thick of it with steel toed boots to lead you confidently through the rubble, thick gloves to grip your hands so you don't fall, and a flashlight for when the darkness overwhelms you.  Other friends are not equipped to pull you from the wreckage or are afraid of your new world and disappear causing you to lose your grip - this is where your friends with the thick gloves come in handy.  Along the way, you come across others trapped in the devastation of their storms, you recognize each other's storms, and help each other in ways no other friends/family could.  These fellow Angel Mommies hold a very special place in my heart and always will.  They are the friends holding umbrellas when the rain starts to fall.

Throughout my life there have been storms, but nothing compares to the births and deaths of my sons, W in 2006, and E in 2011.  

When W was unexpectedly stillborn, I never knew a storm that intense existed, let alone that you could survive it.  There was an amazing rainbow tossed in there with the healthy birth of my daughter, D in 2007.  While still struggling with the aftermath of the storm, she helped me see the beauty of it all and gave me hope.  It took a handful of years to navigate my destroyed world until I came to a point where I realized I had accepted my new world, accepted W's death (which doesn't mean I liked it), and had learned how to be happy in this new normal, learning to live the rest of my life without one of my children.  My broken heart never came together the way it was before and the scars of his storm will remain forever, but I was getting some of that sunshine I had seen pass me by over the years.  My sense of humor unearthed itself.  I laughed – a lot – truly appreciating how good the laughter felt after years without it.  I found joy in some new activities while others I had once enjoyed have never resurfaced.  I survived.  I was a happy again, a different happy, but happy.  I loved my family and was so proud of everything we survived together, with my husband as my anchor, never letting the tides of grief push me out too far without pulling me back.  The storm clouds are always there and sometimes come out of nowhere on a day I expected sunshine.  But for the most part, the dark clouds were kept at bay, and I could feel the warmth of the sun again.  

We decided it was time to add to our family and quickly learned we were carrying our sweet son, E.  Another storm came crashing down, this one more like a hurricane that I watched on the doppler radar as it crept closer, sweeping me up in its current, beating me to a pulp with the familiar agony before throwing me into the upside world again.  This time, it was the water that was my biggest threat, weighing me down, drowning me, terrifying me.  I'm not a very good swimmer and I was so afraid of going through a storm of that magnitude again.  Getting E's diagnosis, being forced to make a decision about his life and death, and carrying him were a crazy pattern of storms, sunshine, and unknowns as we tried to enjoy the only time we'd have with E in our lives.  Again, I had to find the friends/family who could handle the hurricane.  Acquaintances became friends, while friends became acquaintances.  I met another realm of angel moms and it always amazes me how many of us suffer these storms...  The day E was born and the days he lived well were like the eye of the storm - calm, beautiful, filled with so much love and happiness for our little boy and his proud big sister.  I held two of my children in my arms at the same time, a dream come true!  The aching empty spot belonging to W was still there as always.  Our life with E was full of sunshine, and yet we knew the worst was yet to come.  And it did after just 3.5 days...  Now, 5 months after his death, the hurricane is still here and I'm still working very hard on *weathering the storm again.  (*Get it?  See, it's pretty obvious.)  This time, also trying to help my daughter through her own storm, suffering the death of her baby brother she loves so much.  My husband and I learning how the storms are affecting each other this time around and working hard to give each other what we need to weather them, since no two people experience these things the same way, even the second time around.  Weathering the storm.  It's all we can do, it's the only choice we have, and it'll take the rest of our lives to do it.

I've always loved messing with words, puns, and the like.  I'm able to put spins on titles to my work; whip puns out like a pro, and help others come up with a little witty repartee to satisfy their needs.  When it came to my own blog, I went completely blank.  Trying to come up with a way to include all of my children, what my life is like without giving too much away or being too negative, what my blog would be about, and how I could put a creative spin on it was overwhelming.  I feared the permanence of choosing a terrible name and it held me back for months.  Finally I threw out a plea to my friends/family to help me name my blog.  A wonderfully creative (and genius!) angel mom friend of mine, Leslie M., immediately came up with "Heathering the Storm" because of all the storms I've had to weather in my life, plus my name thrown in putting a play on phrase - and a rhyme I've heard all my life having the name Heather.  As soon as I read those words, I knew that was my blog's name.  I wish I could take credit for the name because I LOVE it, but I will take my place in the front row as she takes center stage for this one!  Thanks, Leslie, you’re a genius!!!

I came across the quote, "Look for me in the whirlwind or the storm." by Marcus Garvey and that's exactly where you'll always find me.  In the storm, heathering my way to calmer days.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” ~Jim Rohn

Hello, all, and welcome to my blog!  My name is Heather.  I'm married, I'm a mom, and I love all animals.  In an effort to get a blog started and keep it going, I've decided to do a 30 day blog challenge entitled "About Me".  Once the 30 days are finished, I hope I've figured out something to write in that particular section.  It's been a long time since I've written anything, so I'm hoping this blog will oil my rusty writing muscles while I share with you how I'm learning to balance the storms of my everyday life as a bereaved mother, Heather-style!

Day 1:  A recent picture and 15 interesting facts about yourself.

Here I am on Valentine's Day at Sea Turtle Rescue, Inc in South Padre Island, Texas!

1.)  I love to travel and see new places, but I'm terrified of flying.  I'd rather drive for 5 days instead of hop on a plane to be there in 5 hours.  Flying also kinda disgusts me - germs everywhere!  I'm the weirdo handing out clorox wipes and antibacterial hand wipes to my fellow passengers, while my daughter encourages them to sneeze/cough into their elbows, not their hands.  Just ick.  I'd much rather be in my own vehicle with my own germs. 
2.)  My favorite dog breeds are American Pit Bull Terriers and Border Collies - both of which blessed my life for many years.  I will forever fight for American Pit Bull Terriers, if not for them, then for my daughter whose best friend happens to be one and I'll never let anyone separate them.
3.)  My husband and I were married by our friend who got ordained to marry us and we were married outdoors at my aunt's gorgeous lakeside resort in Minnesota.  Our wedding reception was a bonfire on the beach!  Our 3 dogs were there and wearing collars decorated with flowers and the wedding colors.
4.)  My husband and I have 3 beautiful children, 1 daughter here on earth and 2 sons in Heaven.  Our son, W, was stillborn on 12/19/06, no cause was ever found.  We had our beautiful daughter, D, just under a year later in 2007.  Our son, E, was diagnosed in utero with severe heart defects (Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia) and also a seizure disorder called Miller-Dieker Syndrome.  He was born on 09/08/11 and amazed us with 3.5 wonderful days with him in our arms, soaking up our love.  E died due to the heart defects on 09/12/11 in our home, spending every minute of his life held by someone who loved him.  He was definitely a Momma's Boy and wanted to do nothing but nurse!  I love all of my children and ALL of them will always be a part of our family.  I'm hoping beyond all hopes that we can have another living child to raise and we'll get to watch our living children grow up, until one day when they're old and gray, they'll bury us - the way it's supposed to be!
5.)  After many years of being Pro-Life, I'm now Pro-Choice after being faced with that difficult decision between horrible and awful.  Regardless of the decision, it's a decision made out of pure love.  We chose life for our son, knowing he would most likely die anyway (and he did), but it was extremely difficult and not for everyone - I would never take that choice away from someone now and will fight for the right to choose.
6.)  I love to laugh and be silly.  A LOT.  
7.)  I started and run a support group for mothers who have suffered the death of their child(ren), mostly geared towards miscarriages, stillbirths, and infant deaths.  It has shocked me with how much it has grown and makes me so proud to see the amazing support everyone offers each other.    
8.)  I want to change the way our society grieves, views grief, and handles the bereaved.
9.)  I am a Harry Potter freak.  The books are falling apart and I've had to replace my DVDs...more than once!
10.)  I will wait forever for my Hogwarts letter and I get way too excited if I hear/see an owl...
11.)  I love to create with all sorts of mediums:  paper quilling, clay, wire, beads, drawing, coloring, and any crafts with my daughter.  But I have problems finishing crafts since I'm usually working on many at the same time.
12.)  I eat 2 jumbo bags of snack size Hershey bars every week.
13.)  I was a guest columnist for our local Sunday newspaper writing humor columns.
14.)  I hate heart defects with every fiber of my being and curse them for killing one of our sons.
15.)  I drive a mini-van and I love it.

Tomorrow's Blog Challenge?  The meaning behind my blog name....which is pretty self explanatory but I'll do my best!