Thursday, December 31, 2009

Open Letters

Dear 2009,

I thought you were going to be good to us, I guess I never took you as serious. But whatever the case, I am so glad I am kissing you goodbye, waving
you our the door, flipping you the bird, whatever. I am not sure what it is about you, but you were just plain ugly. What I thought was going to be an awesome year, turned out to be the worst I have ever experienced. Not only did my son leave us, so many other things happened and it seemed like you did it out of spite. Seriously, Val gets appendicitis a week before her sons big open heart surgery!? My Dad get real sick?

If there is one thing I can take out of our experience in 2009, it is to never say "it can't get any worse" because you sure did teach me!

So screw you 2009, screw all your days (except June 8th 2009-I like her) and you can take all your months and shove them up your a$$.

Tonight's countdown will never mean more than it will tonight, I am so glad the curse of 2009 is over, OVER in T minus 17 hours and 55 minutes.

So kiss off 2009!



Dear 2010,
Oh how I have been waiting for your arrival. I would like to introduce myself, my name is Ashley and I am crazy, energetic, happy go lucky type of girl who feels like the year
of 2009 defeated me. Your friend, 2009 betrayed me, my husband, family and best friend. And through the mist of it all, we kept saying we couldn't wait for you to arrive.

So here we are, I hope we become great friends over this next year. I plan on lots of health, a healthy pregnancy, jobs for those who are without in my family and my parents house to sell. If you want to throw in the winning lotto numbers too, I won't be upset.

Our group of friends is celebrating your arrival in true Ashley & Chris form. My famous sloppy joes, drinks, football and a bunch of friends. Welcome 2010! I have never been happier to see the change of a new year. I look forward to all the good to come, I know you have it!


I would love to REALLY write my true feelings about 2009, but it might get a little ugly. I am so thankful for June 8th, 2009 (Nolan) and Dec 9th (My Dad) but I am truly happy for this year to be over. It just felt like one thing after another was happening. Valorie and I will be spending our New Years Eve at work and that is perfectly fine for me. I would rather celebrate the New Year on Jan 1st 2010!

That reminds me, a year ago yesterday I got this.
I can't believe it's been a year! Now begins the journey of last years pregnancy, shoot me now. At this time last year I was doing 'this'... and this time last year I was doing 'that'. Amazing how one little test can change the rest of your life. If you want to read the story of the day we found out, click here. So now I will just have hope that we can feel that excitement in the coming months once again. Prayers!

Happy New Years everyone. I hope 2010 brings us all health and happiness. To all my new friends, I hope for pregnancies and healthy babies that get to come home. Be safe tonight and don't do anything I wouldn't do.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Angry, irritated or maybe just plain upset. I have no clue where this blog post will get me, but figured maybe if I try to type it out, I will feel better.

I am mad because late last night I had a break down, I ended up in Nolan's room and laid in the middle of the floor with Chris and just cried. I needed that cry, but so many feelings come flooding back. Why in the heck am I crying in my son's nursery with out him? Shouldn't he be with us and we are consoling him from his tears? Shouldn't I be holding him instead of Chris holding me?
(Just great, TV in the background is playing the Silent Night commercial(Pampers) with the sleeping babies- how ironic)
What would our life be like if he was still here? Questions that I always think about, but last night I just had to cry them out.

Then I wonder, will we ever fill this room with a crib and rocker? IT DRIVES ME NUTS! I wish I knew...I wish I knew that my body will not give up next time. I wish that when you had a positive pregnancy test, it meant a guaranteed healthy baby to bring home. But as we learned, that's not the case and since being in this journey I have met so many other women that have lost their babies to causes I never even pondered. So I am now more aware than I have ever been before of other things and I know that doesn't help.

I am praying SO hard that 2010 brings us our dream, the same dream that was shattered in 2009. I wish 2009 didn't turn out this way.

2009 was suppose to be the BEST year for Chris and I. Even better than 2008 when we got married. We were starting our family. I guess I never ever expected to be 'this' Mom, the one who is trying to relive the moments I got with my son instead of having new moments with him. I am in a transition of trying to live without him but carry his story and do things in his memory instead of dwelling on our loss. I don't know where it's going to take me, but I have a feeling I will be in touch with the NICU a lot in 2010. I need to give back for what they gave me, 3 days of hope that Doctors said was never possible.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Dear Nolan,

Merry Christmas. I hope the angels are singing and you are all rejoicing up there in heaven.
I'm at work and can not stop thinking about you. It hit, you won't be here when I get home in the morning. I won't come home to a family to celebrate Christmas, won't be going to church with you all dressed up in the cutest holiday outfit, not going to to a dinner with family and friends where everyone ooooo's and awwww's over you. None of that and I wish more than anything you were here and could be with us to celebrate Jesus.

I tried to get you a small Christmas tree to decorate with all your ornaments, but since your procrastinating Mother waiting until the last minute they were all pretty much dead. I have all your ornaments hanging from a picture frame to show them off. I promise next year, I will get you the best Christmas tree you have ever seen with the brightest lights and red & blue ribbon.

So on this Christmas Eve, stay close to us tomorrow. Know that I will go to bed thinking of you and wake up missing you. Dad leaves for work before I even get home from tonight's shift so I will be feeling pretty lonely. I think your great Aunt Mary is going to join Chris tomorrow and come up to the hospital with food to have Christmas dinner with me. I guess it will feel like the most awkward Christmas, but as long as I think you are with me, I will feel better.

I hope you are having the best Christmas a little baby can have up there in Heaven. I can only imagine how beautiful it is. I like to think you are being passed around by all your great grandparents, Grandma Ruth is holding you tight while Grandma Pat is trying to find the perfect garage sale present for you and Grandpa Cliff paints your beautiful angel face. That's what I like to think is going on. Merry Christmas angel.

I love you and miss you more than I can even express in words. My heart is aching for you and as Silent Night sings...
"sleep in Heavenly peace"

Your Mommy

P.S. I will do everything in my power to come visit you this Christmas morning before I go home. I just wish your Dad and I could visit you together on such a hard day.

Christmas for Nolan

Just a few things that have recently put a smile on my face because someone other than me was thinking of our Nolan. So with out further a due, I present a few recent gifts that were sent our way in memory of Nolan. I guess I kind of look at it as his Christmas.

I just had to share this card I got from Brie when she sent the 'n' ornament, because it was perfect and made me laugh out loud when I read it.

One very special surprise ornament that came from a friend Laura, who also had a destination wedding and we have been friends ever since we planned our weddings back in 2007/2008. Thank you Laura. This ornament is perfect and exactly what I had been searching for.
I got this sign from my best friend Amy also known as Kalli's Mom a few weeks ago and I even hung it as soon as I opened it up.
Lastly, Nicole one of my very close friends, former student, and now coworker said she had to get this for Nolan's room when she saw it. The rainbow projects as high as the ceiling, but I couldn't get a good picture of it with my camera, so this will do. Thank you Nicole, your fits him and his room perfect.

And I just found out last night that Nolan's Blessing Ring is done. I saw this on Megan Grace's blog and Amber(Megan's Mom) had her sister make a special one for Nolan. It's to hang all his cards that we got back in June, so I look forward to going through all them since I don't think I soaked in any words that I read the first time. Thank you Amber! It's just sad how things fall into place, I remember reading Megan's story when I was still pregnant.
I remember praying so much for little Megan and I didn't even realize how sick Nolan was yet. I never thought us two would be connected in such a tragic way. So from one Mom to another, Thank You.

I am regretting not decorating this year, kind of regretting working both Eve & Day, I'm just feeling pretty empty and lonely this morning after Chris left for work. I wont see Chris until late tomorrow night when he drops me off Christmas dinner at work. Even though I wouldn't see him if I wasn't working, just knowing I have no family to see because I have to sleep just makes me sort of sad. It's okay, these 2 days will pass, I will celebrate what Christmas is really about and hope that next year bigger smiles and lots and lots of decorations will be floating around our house.

I have a big plan for next years Christmas, but I can't wait to write about it, but that will be another day.

I wish every single one of you a Merry Christmas, hug your loved ones and give extra hugs and kisses to your little ones for those of us Moms & Dads that are missing out this year. May your holidays be filled with what ever kind of cheer you find.

"All I really want for Christmas is someone to tuck me in... there's so much I could ask for, but just one thing I need, all I really want for Christmas, is a family"
~steven curtis chapman, man of God, bereaved parent, on adoption..

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Epic Fail

I tried. I really did, I promise. I was so excited about them too. I thought about them all last night and I think it's the only festive thing this season I was looking forward to.

Christmas Angel Sugar cookies decorated by yours truly.

Well. It didn't go as planned, at all.

It all started when I saw blogs and FB status updates about baking cookies. Well gosh darn it, it sounded like a great idea! I mean my Grandpa was a baker and owned a bakery, so it should be in my blood, right? HA! I wanted to make a few different shapes but really wanted to make angel cookies to bring to work, since I work the next few nights and I really should contribute to the food everyone will be eating. Easy plan, or so I thought.

I couldn't find a darn angel cookie cutter for the life of me. So I bought a pack of 3 small ones at Target and figured they would work. Then I came home with enough ingredients to make 2 batches. I was so ready! Chris was shocked that I was even in the kitchen to make something that didn't require a microwave. I mean how hard could it be to make a freaking cookie, just follow the darn recipe right?

So I started taking some good photos so I could share my experience with you all like the cooking blogs do. And here's how it went.

So I went shopping, got all my ingredients. Which most of I didn't even have in my pantry. Shhhh
This can't be too hard to follow right? This cook book has NEVER let me down. Until today.
Getting started.
I'm a very messy baker.
Why the heck are they so poofy?

This is after several attempts of rolling sticky dough, baking a few batches that all turned out fluffy, bland and well just plain awful. I made a mess and it really looks like a flour, sprinkle & food coloring tornado came through.
So needless to say, I am going to work the next few nights empty handed. I did give Chris a good laugh and he tried to stay encouraging and say they tasted great, but he is such a bad liar. Ha!

So if you have any recipes for cookies you swear by that is a guarantee I can't screw them up, please send them my way. I am determined to do my Grandpa proud and make some good sugar cookies.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas cheer

I got a special ornament from a co-worker last night for Nolan and I just HAD to share it. Barb, a nurse in SICU makes these beautiful ornaments every year, so I am so thankful the took the time to make an extra special one for Nolan. He even has his eyes closed, just like Nolan since I never saw his eyes open and used my favorite colors red & blue. Thank you so much Barb. Sometimes it's just the simple things that make such a huge impact.

I also got this ornament in the mail from Brie, a fellow blog friend and I adore it. I can't wait to hang these on my tree next year.(Don't mind my glass of vino in the background)

I actually got excited since getting these ornaments and went to buy a small tree I saw at Publix a week ago even though I am anti decorations this year. Well just my luck, the tree is dry and dead, so it looks like I will just have to wait till next year. Bummer. At least I made an attempt.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Broken record.

I have so much to say, but no way to put it in words without sounding like a broken record. With the approaching holidays, all I can think about is how lonely they feel this year. Granted I have Chris, friends and family, I am working the entire week to distract myself from from the empty feeling festivities. I'm just bummed out and ready to move on to 2010. I am just crossing my fingers for good things to come.

So as the broken record repeats... "I love you, I miss you and I just wish you were here- this just isn't right."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Thank You

First off, THANK YOU for all your comments pointing me in some directions to find an ornament for Nolan. There were so many good ones it has inspired me to make Nolan a little tree of ornaments just for him. Even if I only get 2 or 3 this year, I can always build on it every year.

Secondly, I love getting blog comments from those who have never commented before. I love to see who reads Nolan's story. I know a lot of people do (according to the 80,000+ views), but it's always nice to put a blog, face, or name to the person on the other side of the screen. So thank you for those of you who commented the first time and sent ideas for Nolan's ornament.

Lastly, I am still working on our cruise blog post with pictures. I only have a little bit done and I work the next few nights so hopefully next week I will be able to post it.

Only 13 days left of 2009. I am soooo ready to kiss this year goodbye. I am working NYE, so it will suck up to the very last second, but we are having a "Welcome 2010 Party' on NYD with drinks, champange, football and some very close friends. I am ready for a new year filled with good things. Hoping and praying 2010 is a better year for everyone, since 2009 has been a rough one for many of us.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Can someone please help me?

Even though I am not decorating for Christmas this year or even getting into the spirit, I still want the perfect ornament for Nolan. But I can't find a single thing that jumps out and says "this is the one"

Another mother who lost her quads got this in the mail today, she called her babies 'the peas' so this is the perfect ornament for her.

This friend & mother who lost her twins got this for her babies, I love the idea.

And I fell in love with this one in Danielle's bog. Maybe I need to copy this idea, but even so... it's a copy and I wouldn't consider it his own.

All the baby ornaments are for alive babies and all baby blue or pink and strollers or baby shoes. But Nolan never got a stroller or baby shoes so those don't seem right. I don't know, maybe I am looking too hard. Do I want an anchor? An angel? A star? Should I make one would be even more from the heart then, right... but I don't even know where to start? I told you I am letting this ornament thing eat at me.

I have googled, etsy'd, ebay'd and I just can't anything that stands out and says... ' Would Have Baby's First Christmas' well of course I won't find that since it's so negative sounding... Maybe 'Baby's 1st Xmas in Heaven'

So I am reaching out to anyone that has seen something that I may be looking for. I am afraid of being a Christmas failure if I can't accomplish the one thing I set out to do for Nolan this Xmas. I know it sounds so stupid, but it's one of the few things I have control over, just like his flowers.

Oh, I did get a beautiful 'N' ornament from Brie and I wanted to say THANK YOU... it means so much to me when people remember Nolan like that.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tiny reminders

I went out blog surfing tonight since I can't seem to fall asleep. I figured I would try to find some new blogs to follow. I am typically a blog follower of moms & friends but I branched out to home decor type blogs tonight in hopes to become inspired. Well low and behold, with out even trying I come across these.

My heart broke a little when I came across this. That shower was suppose to be exactly what Aunt Mary & Val had planned. I never got it and seeing this just made me sad that it never got to happen.

For those of you that don't remember, these we're the baby shower invites that were made 1 week before having Nolan. Needless to say, they never made it to the mailbox.
Then I came across this awesome blog that I fell in love with all her creative parties, home decor and projects. And what do I come across? A freaking awesome nautical baby nursery/room. I am just IN LOVE with it and wish I could steal some of the decor for Nolan's memory room.

Just tiny reminders. Gosh I am such a sucker for anything nautical.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy 1st Anniversary

December 14th one year ago, Chris and I FINALLY got married. I have to say we had one AWESOME wedding. It was a week long party celebrating with 40 of our closest family and friends. When we got married I sure didn't picture our first year if marriage going the way it has. Honestly, I feel as we have gone through more than some couples have in 5 years. I'm proud of us, we have done remarkably well considering what we have gone through this year. So a year later I can say, we made our first year... the year they say is the hardest and sure did find that out.
So in review, our past year...

We got married on the Ruby Princess

We found out we we're expecting our first baby.

Bought our first car in both our names. It was going to be my soccer mom car. LOL

We went to Washington D.C. for a mini honeymoon when I was 20 weeks pregnant.

We celebrated a friends birthday one week before giving birth.

I was admitted at 26 weeks for Preeclampsia, and delivered Nolan 4 months early.
We became parents to a preemie baby who lived in the NICU.

A week later, we buried our first born and started the journey of grieving.

Chris taught me to golf as a distraction from what we were going through.

We went to Vegas for my best friend Noelle's wedding.

We spent many days in Tampa for my best friend Valorie's sons open heart surgery.

We took up exercising and bike our way to visit Nolan.

We went to Oktoberfest.

Spent a weekend at Epcot for the Food & Wine Festival.

We took a 10 day cruise in memory of Nolan.

We are spending our anniversary in Ohio for my Dad's open heart surgery. You think I have seen enough hospitals for this year? He is doing well and will hopefully be going home in the next 2 days.

So it has been one stressful first year of marriage but we tried to make the best of what we have gone through. The biggest thing is we became parents this year, one thing that we dreamed about the past few years.

I wish we were celebrating our first anniversary with Nolan because that would have made our anniversary 1 million times better!

Friday, December 11, 2009

6 months ago

6 months ago today... My world was turned upside down, dreams were shattered and we started a journey we never ever expected to take.

6 months ago I lost my baby. My perfect and teeny tiny Nolan who we had so many hopes and dreams for.... left us. I can't even begin to tell you what I felt in those few days and weeks after because 6 months later it seems to be a blur. I don't remember who I talked to, who visited, cards that were sent or things I did. I somehow got through each day and found comfort writing in this blog. Which to this day, I am terrified to go back and read the months of June & July because I am so scared to 'feel' those feelings because I remember writing them so vividly.

6 months later, grieving is different. The days between tears get further apart and the piercing stabbing pain is not a frequent visitor as it used to be, although she shows up unexpected when it comes. I am not as jealous as I used to be of other pregnancies and babies, yet I am still very sensitive to babies born around Nolan's due date. It's hard to see them and correlate how big Nolan would be or look like. I wish it wasn't this way, but it is.

6 months later, I have a hard time with accepting the unknown. The unknown of why Nolan left, why my body failed and if Chris and I will ever have a baby to bring home. I have a hard time accepting the fact we visit our baby at his grave in a memorial garden and I shop for flowers to make arrangements instead of baby clothes and toys. I have a hard time accepting why God chose us to take this journey. Why why why?

6 months later I still find myself back in a pre-baby routine consisting of Chris and I going out on dates, working full time, up keeping our house and enjoying our marriage. I agree getting back into a daily routine helped to grieve but it also put some feelings on the back burner and when I am not distracted, they can strike at any time unexpectedly. Sometimes the pain is just at raw as the second I feel into Chris arms after we lost him standing by his incubator in the NICU. The feeling of overwhelming shock and pain come flooding back.

6 months later, I still wish and hope I will wake up from this nightmare. I wish I never met some of the women I have that have gone through a similar loss, but they have been my support and I am thankful I have them.

But 6 months later I am learning to regain some of that hope back. Hope that 2010 will be our year. Hope that Dad will heal, my parents house will sell, new job for Dad and a 2010 baby for Chris and I. 2010 has got to be our year. Positive thoughts and lots of hope and prayers.

Tears (update #3)

Dad is ding GREAT! We were a little bummed this morning when we called to talk to his nurse and get an update and she said he wasn't extubated yet. They sent him to a CT scan to check the fluid around his left lung. That scan came back negative and they started weaning him off the vent shortly after.

We all got here and he was wide awake but had he tube in still. The RT and RN were working r4eal hard to get his PO2 up so they could pull the tube. Dr Buckley came in and gave the orders to take it out and I can't even tell you how happy Dad was.

The Dr came back in to shake his hand and Dad teared up, I have to say it was a pretty happy moment. My Dad is sill here with us because this this Dr.....thank god for him.
So Dad's humor is still here, he's cracking jokes left and right and charming the pants of the nurses, well not really...but you know what I mean. Thank you for all the prayers and Dad said that HIMSELF. How awesome.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gifted Hands (Update #2)

Dad had a text book perfect surgery by such a gifted surgeon and we are SO thankful for that. His surgery lasted about 6 hours which is shorter than we expected since we were told 8-10 hours if all went well. When we got the call from the OR nurse that he was being closed we were surprised it was so soon. The surgeon came out and said he did very well and that he went ahead and did the full graph and valve replacement. We were able to go see him shortly after in the PACU and his nurse was going to try to get him extubated before he even went to the ICU so that was great news. He was sleepy but awake and was aware we were all there.

Upon arrival to the ICU I noticed right away he was still intubated and was wondering what happened to cause the dely in getting his tube out as they expected. He as also being paced by an external pacemaker. Come to find out they caught a small pnuemothorax (partial collapsed lung) and they wanted to put in a chest tube to drain the fluid that was collasping his lungs and keep him intubated overnight and let him rest

So we all decided to go home and rest since Dad having us there does him no good right now. He is heavily sedated and comfortable- well we hope. He is in great hands and we will be back tomorrow morning to spend all day with him. I know nothing makes him more happy than having his loved ones with him. We're hoping he will be extubated soon and start the recovery game. We are just so thankful he made it through and had the best surgeon take care of him.

It starts (Update #1)

It's 8am, Dad was taken back to the OR at 7:19 so now the waiting game started. Dad was in great spirits considering what he will be going through today. I'll try to keep this updated throughout the day and the coming week.

6 months ago this week our nightmare of 2009 started and we are hoping that today closes our nightmare and a new dream starts, a good one. It's been a rough year for our family and even my best friend Val and if there is one thing I have learned this year...

"Never say never or it cant get worse than this"

We have found out first hand that things can take a turn for the worst even when you think all the cards have been dealt. So starting today, we are going to have a good hand and hold on to that hand all of 2010.

Thank you for all your prayers and well wishes! Our entire family appreciates it more than you will ever know. They say the surgery will be 6-8 hours if all goes well, so we sit back and wait... it's going to be one long day.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dear Nolan,

Happy 6 month birthday up there in Heaven. I am sitting here at your grave writing this as I type. I left work and came straight here to see you. Just a short 6 months ago I was crying my eyes out trying to bargain with the Drs to let you stay put in my belly. I knew you weren't ready to come and fought for you to stay. Needless to say, mommy was too sick to fight anymore. I can't believe it's been 6 months since the day I first heard you cry to the first time I met you when they wheeled me into the NICU right after I came out of the OR. I feel like those moments are so foggy compared to what I used to remember. I hate that.

So as I sit here I wonder how big you would be, wonder about the things you would be doing, what outfits you would wear, if you would be sleeping through the night, what size diapers I would be buying, who would be watching you while mommy and daddy work... And this list could go on and on. I am always wondering and dreaming about what it would be like to have you with us still.

I made you new flowers and put them out just now. They ate pretty Christmas-y but it's the only holiday thing I am doing this year, decorating your grave. I gave you a snow man since it's Florida and you will never see snow here. And you have a little Christmas tree, it's the best mommy could do for you.

I miss you with all my heart and you know I think about you constantly. This week is hard for mommy since grandpa is having his big surgery. Daddy & I are going to Cincinnati tomorrow morning to be there for him. Keep a special watch over Grandpa, he loves you more than you can imagine.

Happy birthday angel, your the beat thing that ever happened to your daddy and I and we will always remember our little miracle that entered this world 6 months ago.

Your Mommy

Saturday, December 5, 2009


I wish I could love Christmas this year. I obviously know the reason to celebrate is more than Holiday cheer and decorations, but that's what triggers my sadness with the season. I miss my Christmas music playing, I miss my Christmas tree, I miss hanging lights and most of all I miss the joy the holidays bring. BUT, I just can't seem to find that joy right now. I just miss my baby.

I just wish Nolan was here, he would ALMOST be 6 months old and I am sure we would have some big family holiday plans. Instead of looking for an angel ornament for his first, I would be buying a baby's first Christmas ornament. I would be shopping for a cute Xmas onsie to wear on Christmas morning. But instead I am on a mission to find the perfect flowers to decorate his grave with. This sucks.

I don't want any Christmas presents this year, because nothing can be better than having our Nolan with us. I plan on working both Christmas Eve & Christmas Day just so I can go to work and escape from the emptiness. It's hard because I know people have moved on and forget that I am still very so much hurting. It's just a hard time of year and I have been told "The Year of Firsts" is the hardest. SO TRUE.

So it will be a quiet Christmas, and that's okay with me. I think it would be easier to sleep through it, but that would be too easy. Head up, step by step... hopefully one year Chris and I can rock our baby in our arms on Christmas morning. A couple can only wish and hope.

Friday, December 4, 2009


We had the most fun, relaxing and exciting cruise! I'm sad we are back on the mainland and back to reality. The last 10 days has been the perfect escape for us that we needed.

I'm already back at work(we got back this morning-blah) and I work the next 5 nights. The we leave as soon as I clock out Wed morning to fly up to Cincinnati for my Dad's open heart surgery that is FINALLY happening. It's going to be a busy week!

I have plans to write up a blog post about our cruise with pictures... so keep your eye out! Now I need to go catch up on the million blogs I follow.