This blog is just about my life and mostly revolves around my son, Jamie. This blog is a combination of everything, whether it may be a new recipe I tried, a good freebie I found, something funny Jamie said, or feelings I'm having about life in general. There's little rhyme or reason. I'll never win any blogging awards, but I enjoy writing about our lives and I mostly do it for my son. It's so easy to forget moments over the years. I've got all these little tidbits of our life in print and I hope that someday Jamie can enjoy them.

I called this blog Mother of Life, Mother of Loss because of my issues with pregnancy loss and the joy of finally bringing this wonderful person into the world. Truly, I feel the pains of loss, but you won't see too much of that here. I am blessed and I am, above all else, a mother of life.

After all the years of infertility and loss, Matthew and I were blessed with a surprise pregnancy. We were pregnant with twins, but unfortunately, Baby A could not stay with us. Baby B grew into a healthy and happy baby girl that we named Bella Marie. We are so blessed to have two beautiful children.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Jamie's First Heartbreak

Yesterday we went out to visit a friend. We had to stop at a gas station first. The lady at the pump next to us had an adorable little girl who looked about 3 years old in the backseat. Jamie saw her and exclaimed, "Oh Mommy, look at the pretty baby!" I smiled and took a look. She was adorable. I started to shut the van door to go pump and Jamie started yelling, "No, no." So I left it opened while I pumped so the two could see eachother.
Jamie yelled, "Mommy, Mommy!!"
"What Jamie?"
"Look at her hair!" She had almost white hair that was just a pure mass of curls. It was really pretty.
"Mommy, Mommy!!!"
"What Jamie?"
"Look she's smiling!"
"Mommy, look, she has a book!!"
I am almost finished pumping at this point and the lady next to us has finished. She gets in her car and begins driving away. Bless Jamie's little heart, he begins to yell, "No, no. Mommy she's gone, she's gone." Poor little thing. He just kept on mumbling for the first little bit of the drive away, "She's gone."

I wish I had talked to her mother. Maybe we could have set up a play date. Luckily, he seems to have gotten over her quickly.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Toys and Crackers and Crayons, Oh My!

It's amazing how quickly kids can deconstruct your home. Seriously, 5 minutes is all it takes to have crackers mashed on the floor, all the play food & dishes, cars, play tools, and crayons strewn everywhere, and every clean blanket drug out to make a fort. I can't seem to keep ahead of the game. I go to other people's homes and they seem so tidy. I get so aggravated with the mess. When it's just my son, it's not so bad. he can occupy himself pretty easily, but add another kid or two into the mix and there is complete and utter chaos.

I've done everything I can do to organize toys neatly. Each group of toys has it's own bin or drawer. The kids know where everything goes and they are capable of cleaning up themselves. I just don't seem to be a very good enforcer. I feel like pulling my hair out. It's so much easier to just handle it myself. I'm trying my hardest to stand my ground and teach them to get out one thing at a time but the chaos happens so quickly that it seems overwhelming. If the clutter seems insurmountable to me as an adult, I'm sure it does to them, too.

There must be some great secret I'm missing. Are other parents seriously staying right on top of their kids 24 hours a day 7 days a week? I feel like I'm spending the whole day demanding they pick up toys. I want them to be kids and have fun, too.

Well, there's a mess in the play room with my name on it. Off I go.

My Son on the Autism Spectrum?

I suspect that my son has an autism spectrum disorder. At first when people asked me if he was autistic I thought they were insane. Not my son.

With visions of Rain Man dancing in my head it's no wonder that I'd be in complete denial. I began to take note of my child's "quirks" and gathered a comprehensive report to take to his three year well check. His pediatrician watched him and interacted with him. At the end of the visit the doctor agreed that he needed to be evaluated. That was back in September.

I've got an appointment for him schedule on July 15, 2008. Actually, the appointment is for my husband and I. The psychologist wants to see us alone the first visit. I should be getting a packet in the mail soon with the paperwork I need to fill out for the appointment. I'm kind of excited. I've done a lot of reading and research and instead of being afraid of a diagnosis, I'm excited about the prospect. I believe he will be diagnosed with Aspergers or PDD-NOS.

The more I read, the more I realize that each of these children just have a special way of learning. The idea that I will understand my child better and be able to communicate with him better is thrilling. I've taken the report I drew up for his three year well check and documented changes on it.

Here are my notes. The updates are in green.

- Can not or does not tell people his name. Can say his name and knows who he is. Often refers to himself in third person.

- Seems to have no understanding of his age. No change.

- Becomes extremely upset and will not accept comfort. He has to isolate himself to calm down. Ex: Often goes into his playhouse, under the end table, or in a closet to calm down. Sometimes runs from room to room like he is out of control and looking for something to calm himself. Often he can calm himself using shapes (sometimes colors, numbers, and letters but mostly shapes). The running from room to room like he's frantically searching for something has stopped. He's been able to express some things better, but he's still having difficulty communicating, especially when he's upset. He accepts more comfort than before.

- Can count, knows his upper case letters well, knows his numbers well, can trace most letters, can write M & N freehand. No progress or development has been made in this area. I feel like he's even regressed some. He no longer traces or tries to write anything. I feel like I am stunting his progress because I don't know how to work with him.

- Still learning lower case letters. See above- Can concentrate on single task for many hours, like painting or blocks. No change.

- Typically will not tollerate being read to or for us to sing to him or with him. He does enjoy being read to now and likes everyone to sing songs together depending on the song and the pitch or tone of the song. My higher voice seems to bother him.

- Likes to "read" and sing himself. No change.

- Learning to pretend play alone or with others. He's doing excellent with this. He pretends to be characters from his television shows and often demonstrates good imagination. He seems to be playing with others so much better.

- Wants attention and to crawl on you or be in your lap, but can not handle being rocked, having a hand across him, or laying in bed and being touched. He's totally changed in this reguard. He still isn't fond of being rocked or "trapped", but has become more clingy and needs my touch and frequently wants my arm around him.

- Very frugal with affection, like kisses and hugs. He frequently asks for hugs but this is his way of asking to be picked up. He's still pretty frugal with his affection, but he's started giving more hugs and kisses. Recently I've had a few shocking moments when he hugged people on the day that he met them!

- Likes to be around other children, even strangers. No change.

- Can drink out of a cup or bottle. No change.

- Refuses many food groups. We're having some major issues with veggies at the moment. Quite a picky eater, but he does eat a wide variety of foods. We are still having issues with veggies. Textures are a major contributing factor.

- Easily upset by loud voices or music. The voices can still be an issue, but he seems much more tollerant. We went to a part recently where loud music was being played and he enjoyed himself and even asked where the music went when it stopped. We took him to the same place 4 or 5 months ago and he cried and hid in the closet because he couldn't handle the music.

- Seems to be afraid of sitting on the potty but can not tell you why.
- Shows no signs of potty training in the near future. Has begun to potty train. We thought we finally did it but he has shown some regression. He says "It's not working." I think I figured out what's not working for him. He wants to pee standing up but is frightened of standing on the stool. It's unusual because he attempted a few times to stand on the seat and pee from that height, which was a pretty messy affair. The next attempt we noticed was with one foot on the floor and one on the seat. He also has to completely romove any garments from the waste down. He's doing good with going to the potty to have bowel movements, though.

- Can not dress or undress himself, only helps put him arms in the sleeves. He's attempted pulling his shirt off but has been unable to do it. Very little change here. He's capable of putting his underwear and pants on himself but simply refuses. I don't understand this because he is going through the independent stage and wants to do almost everything himself, but not this. He can not take his shirt off.

- Concerned with rash. Suspect Keretosis. no change

- Several friends and family members, some with experience related to autistic children, have asked if Jamie could be autistic and more specifically mentioning Aspbergers. Does display a few characteristics that I've read about, but sometimes I have a hard time putting my finger on what makes Jamie so different. Sometimes I wonder if these traits are related to being an only child who spends a lot of time entertaining himself. The more progress and growth he has the more I doubt myself and what I'm actually seeing. I have fears that something is wrong and I've let it go too long. However, I have worse fears that I'm seeing something that isn't really there. When I get him with other children his age and even much younger I know he has developmental delays.

- Can put train tracks together and rearrange their configuration.
- Can put wooden puzzle pieces in place no change

- When dressing he insists on handing you his shoes and socks, but will not attempt putting them on himself. We bought him some crocs and he puts them on himself and seems to enjoy having the ability to do this. He hasn't attempted any other type of shoe or a sock.

- Enjoys peek-a-boo type games most. no change

- Good eye contact with me when lying in bed. Many mornings we lie there staring at eachother. He likes to have his face, arms, & legs caressed. no change

- Will look me in the eye if I say "Look at Mommy". no change, but I should elaborate and say that he won't look me in the eye very long.

- Will not look at you when mad or upset. no change

- Demands immediate acknowledgement when he wants something or wants you to look at something. May physically try to move your phase or push and pull your body to what he wants. no change

- Often will not allow others to participate when he's playing with certain objects. Example: One time Jamie was lining up blue blocks. Another child handed him a blue block to be helpful and Jamie became very upset. Maybe this was an indepence issue? Getting better about this. Is starting to allow children and adults he's comfortable with to interact in his special play.

- Frequently gets something that looks like cradle cap. I treat it with baby oil. no change

- Shows more affection to animals than people. no change

- Bowel movements are not a consitant color or texture. no change

- Frequently walks on his toes. I don't think he does this when wearing tennis shoes. I haven't been paying that close of attention to it until recently and have been noticing it around the house. unsure

- Very texture oriented in food choices. no change

- Understands and can verbalize "over there", "under the table", "in the basket", etc. no change- Can recognize some simple "word forms" like Cat. He doesn't understand that "C", "A", "T" spells cat but can recognize the word when written. Seems to have regressed and does not show any recognition of word forms.

- Likes to organize items, line up items, make patterns with items. He does this with toys, food, shoes, etc. no change

- Is unable to express emotions with words. He can not tell you that he is mad, sad, happy, etc. no change

- Is unable to express pain with words. He can not tell you his tummy hurts. Is able to tell you that something is wrong by asking for medicine. He seems unable to tell you what hurts. Everything is lumped into "medicine for my cough".

- Our schedule is not regular. With my current job this is not possible. Causes some problems with consistancy. Back to staying at home currently. We have a fairly regular routine.

- Flaps arms and "dances" when excited. Runs in circles when excited.

He is behind in speach and coordination for sure.


My name is Laura. I am a mother, a wife, and a woman who has experienced infertility and pregnancy loss. My grandmother adopted me as an infant but my mother was always in my life for better or for worse. She is bipolar and I have plenty of issues I need to work through because of her mental instability and abusive behavior. It seems that most people have dysfunctional families, so I'm sure nothing I have to rant about is shocking in any way, but I need a place to safely rant, complain, and talk about my life and my thoughts without the prying eyes of my family. I want a place to share the joys of motherhood and maybe sometimes the heartache of loss as well.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Pregnancy Loss - What Not to Say

I was looking for something I posted online years ago and ran across some pregnancy loss stuff I had posted to other people. I've got pregnancy loss on my mind tonight, so I thought I would edit it a bit and post it. I never found the post I was looking for, but I thought I'd share these anyway..

It doesn't matter if you have no other children or 50 children at home, losing a baby is a traumatic event. You have hopes and dreams for that child and the bonding begins from the moment you realize that little life is inside of you. The amount of time you get to spend with your baby, even if it's just a few precious days, doesn't mean it is any less important.

There is no specific way you should feel after a loss. Sometimes you feel pretty blah about things for awhile, then out of nowhere it hits you hard. Sometimes you feel like talking about it and others you don't. It's okay to grieve the loss of your baby. Don't be afraid, or ashamed, to do that. Don't try to compare your pain to others. Your feelings are every bit as important as anybody else's. Sometimes that's hard for me to grasp, too. Sometimes I feel guilty for feeling sorry for myself when I have a perfectly healthy baby now.

I really thought I would never have a baby. I blamed myself, my body, even thought maybe God was punishing me. I tried cycle after cycle and hope seemed to dwindle away. I didn't feel whole. I felt broken and like I was going through the motions of being alive, while inside I was mostly dead. Nobody around me had any clue. Even my husband couldn't fathom the depth of my losses. I didn't have to wait any period of time after my losses. I would try again immediately. That's the only thing that kept me going and yet that tore me apart, too. I often was torn between wanting to try again and not wanting to be hurt again. Sometimes I would just torture myself with episode after episode of Baby Story, Birth Day, Maternity Ward, etc. Other days I would be filled with so much rage I wanted to break something and sometimes I did. Once I tore up all my baby & pregnancy books. My DH was pretty mad at me that day. He couldn't understand why I would do something so stupid. I needed to vent my frustration and those books were a symbol to me of my failure. Sometimes I would sit in my would be nursery and cry. It was only storage at the time, but it was supposed to be my baby's room. All of us go through a variety of emotions. Whatever you are feeling is normal. Not all of us grieve in the same way. Some people, like me, find some measure of comfort in trying again right away. We can carry on as long as we find some hope. Others need to take time to themselves, take a break from TTC. Some need to be around friends and loved ones. I think all of us share the same basic emotional responses, though. Anger, sadness, and frustration. I think most, if not all, find ways to blame themselves even when they know there is nothing they could do. It's all part of the grieving process. When you lose a baby, especially early in pregnancy, the world doesn't really acknowledge your loss. That makes it even harder. You know you have lost someone so precious and special, yet the world keeps going as though nothing has changed. Many times people don't give you permission to grieve. You have to grieve. You are a mother who has lost her child. It doesn't matter how far along you were. I wish I had known all the ladies I've met online when I was going through all this. You just feel so alone.

I wonder all the time what my babies would have looked like. I think about the babies I lost a lot, especially at night time when things get quiet. I think about things that might seem silly to think about like how my house might be arranged with more children.


I guess the most important things to remember are 1. The heart defies reason and rationality. 2. That you can love a baby you have never even seen or felt. This extends to people who have failed adoptions as well. 3. Part of being there for a person in pain is being patient and empathetic even when you don't understand. What I mean by that is that there is nothing you can say or do to help with their pain. Do the best you can to let them know you care. People will undoubtedly say and do the wrong things, but it is equally as painful to be ignored and treated like nothing ever happened. This is the way I was treated at work and by most of my friends after each miscarriage.

But back on subject...

People are even more insensitive about my previous m/c now that I have a baby. Several people have said things like "Aren't you glad you didn't have those babies because you wouldn't have had Jamie." I wanted those babies too. Many people in my family have said this, "We are so proud of you for doing so well with this pregnancy." This insinuates that I had control of the complications in my previous pregnancies.

I still feel a little flush of anger and resentment toward some of the insensitive things people said about my miscarriages. I have had a lot. The most painful thing is that most people thought that since I had so many miscarriages that it was "old hat" to me or "same old, same old" Nobody expected me to carry a baby and they weren't shy about telling me so. When I was pregnant with Jamie people would either be afraid to ask me about my pregnancy and ask my coworker before saying anything or they would come and and ask "So, are you still pregnant?"

Many people told us that we should just give up and adopt since I obviously couldn't carry a baby. We were thinking about adoption, but that also seemed to belittle me.

I would like to have another baby someday. I fear going through all that heartache and pain again. Whenever I mention this to people they say I shouldn't try and just be grateful that I have Jamie. I don't like that sort of comment either.

I am grateful to have Jamie. I have room in my heart for more children than him. There is room in my heart for each child I have lost. Jamie doesn't replace them. He just takes up another place. Nobody thinks a new baby takes the place of a child that is with you, why would they think he replaces one that is living in heaven.

Anyway, I'm not good at making suggestions except by quoting my experiences. I really didn't mean for this post to be all about me. I probably use to many "I"s. I wanted to put in this post what I thought would be appropriate to say, but I felt at a loss for the right words. Suddenly that place in my heart began to pound and the tears were fresh and I realized that there just isn't "a right thing" to say. My best advice is just to express your love in very simple terms. Don't try to preach. Let the person know that you realize they have suffered a very great loss. Their loss is real and important and no less than anybody else's loss, including any of your own. To the person who has lost their child, it is the greatest loss. You don't know how they feel. Offer your shoulder to cry on, your ears to listen, your hands to hold, and leave out the commentary.

THE WHAT NOT TO SAY LIST (various contributors from a message board I used to frequent, not just my list)...

It wasn't meant to be.

It's probably for the best.

You can always try for another ...(you are never asked if you are going to try for another father or uncle.)

Was it something you did?

Oh well, it's not like it was a full term baby.

Children aren't everything.

Don't think about it, you're only upsetting yourself.

It's not the end of the world.

Your time will come.

Just be happy with the one(s) you have at home.

Time heals all wounds.

Just pretend you were never pregnant.

There was probably something wrong with the baby.

You're young. You have plenty of time to have another.

At least it was early.

At least now you know you can get pregnant.

There's always next time.

It was God's will.

Everything happens for a reason.

You need to get over it and move on.

I know exactly how you feel.

God doesn't give you more than you can handle.

Maybe you're not supposed to have a child.

At least you weren't attached to it yet.

It'll happen when you least expect it.