Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sandy toes

A little sand between the toes, a mouthful of shells and red little cheeks make an afternoon at the beach basking in the warm sun perfection. I often forget how close to paradise we live considering we get so caught up in the everyday hustle of work, family and life. It was heaven taking a day and spending it on the one of our most beautiful beaches with some close friends, perfect setting to catch up on life.

What a differnce in a year can make.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ounces of Hope {dreams come true}

When dreams are shattered and hope is lost you wander aimlessly wishing for a miracle. The past 3 years and most specifically before CC came into our lives, I felt hopeless and useless. I felt my energy that should be given to Nolan was overlooked and I was forever ruined in grief. Granted I picked up the pieces ever so slowly and grieved out loud, I wouldn't be who I am or what I have become in the past 3 years if it wasn't for loosing Nolan. I'm slowly learning understanding God gave us my our experience so I could do great things.

Ok, typing that out makes me sound like I fully accept losing Nolan, but that's not exactly what I mean.

It's more so that there are times in your life that define you forever. They create you who are, how you change, how you react and most of all who you become.

Nolan was given to me for a reason, and I believe it now more than ever before.

On March 23rd, I clocked in for the first time as a working respiratory therapist in the NICU Yes, you read that right. My dreams have come true. 6 years ago I chose to take my career in the direction of adults with a desire to one day become a NICU therapist. My dreams shattered after becoming a MOM and going through some major PTSD (apparently I had PTSD after siting in on a lecture at a neonatal conference and nodding my head to every sign & symptom). And to be frank, I was scared I never would fulfill my dreams after that. But here I am, it just feel into my lap, I had a great support system and it has been the most healing experience I have had yet.

On May 11th, I launched Ounces of Hope, a complimentary photography service offered to the babies in the very same NICU. Named after Nolan only being 13 ounces and the hope he gave us. I realize now that those very pictures I took so innocently those 3 days in the NICU would forever be gold in my heart. Parents often have cameras & pictures in mind when caring for their newborn baby or critical neonate and I want to give back to them what I got. So in years to come they can look back to where their journey began.

So without further ado, my latest project...

Ounces of Hope

I have been so overwhelmed with nothing but support and love and I am in love with the direction my life is heading.

I had hit a point in my grief where I need to do something to pay it forward. I've been watching other Moms have fundraisers to add new Giraffe beds to the NICU, some knit hats and others build memory boxes to give to newly grieving parents before they leave. All which are absolutely amazing things to give to the NICU.

I knew I wanted to do something for my NICU I just didn't know what. I knew it had to be close to my heart and have a driving passion for whatever it may be. It took me 2 and a half years to have my "ah-ha" moment... that photography is where my heart is at. With in weeks of proposing the idea to the director of the NICU & hospital officials, Ounces of Hope was born.

As I stand back and look at the whole project as one, I realize I am picking up the pieces, turning them into something beautiful.I look at our Nolan as my light, my cheerleader, he gave me a cause and I'm going to run with it. The void I have felt the past 3 years is starting to fill in with hope again and dreams for others. I want to be part of it. And the connections I have made in the past couple of months with Nolan's caregivers (and now co-workers) & with the families and parents absolutely exceed anything I could ever ask for. 

Coming up on 3 years this month (June 8th) I never expected to be typing a blog post of this nature. It really puts into perspective how far I really have come.
I guess I can say, I am one lucky girl.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Coming soon....

I'm alive and well. Very well. So much has happened in the past few months and I am dying to share. But blame the 17 month old, new job- yes I said new job (can you guess where???) and writer's block, I have been MIA.
Add a few vacations on a cruise....

and a trip to Chicago and this lady is exhausted. Again, in a good way.
I have sat down numerous times to tap out my thoughts on a keyboard and I don't know if it's the overwhelming sense of joy (of what I want to write about) or the lack of attention added to writer's block....
It's like a blogger's jumbled mess of art. Yea- art. If you only saw my draft.


Until the next post....... I'll leave you with some CC crack.
He's a walking, almost talking 30lb little boy. Where did our baby go!?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Strength [strengkth, strength]
- noun 1. the quality or state of being strong 2. intensity 3. force in numbers 4. strong or valuable quality

I am not strong because I lost a baby, nor am I strong because I grieved. I am not strong because I put one foot in front of the other to survive each day. It was pure choice to either live or die. Strength in my mind had no play in that. It was simply what I had to do- live. Go through the motions, grieve and find that "new normal"

Over the past 2.5 years I have heard over and over again how strong I am. I'm convinced it's what people say when they see your survival. I don't feel that strength that others seem to see when they look at me. I'm just an ordinary girl who had some pretty shitty things happen to. I burrowed into my new normal, picked up the broken pieces and nestled into my new home of my so called life.

Until last night, I'd fight you to say your wrong if you called me strong. I survived.

But last night I did something. Something that I was unsure if I'd ever be able to do since the day those dreams were broken.

Dreams that got put on the side burner since the night we watched Nolan code in front of our very eyes. The images of compressions being done on Nolan in his issolette, the entire NICU staff surrounding his bed, the ocillator being brought into the room in attempts at a last chance effort. But I'll never forget that moment. The moment it was all over and the crowd slowly left the side of the issolette while Chris and I held our lifeless baby in our arms in pure shock.
The smell, the atmosphere, the moment has been etched in my head to this day. His spot in a room full of babies, right next to a door in the back corner.

But last night I took the first step in following my broken dream of becoming a NICU therapist.

Last night I was strong.
Last night I shadowed a dear friend on her shift in the NICU. I wanted to feel it out, see if I was ready: my heart was saying yes.
It wasn't my first visit back to the NICU but it was my first back into the corner Nolan was. But I surprised myself, instead of anxiety- I felt strength. Yes strength. Actually I walked past that spot many of times through the night.

And at one point, I found myself sitting and looking at his corner, right through that very door they brought us in when we were rushed up to the NICU. I didn't find myself mad or upset, instead I felt pure strength.
I may have been on the journey to be a NICU therapist long before Nolan was ever an inkling on our mind, but at that very moment I knew that my dream and goal were once again possible.

Not only that, I had hands on care with some of the babies. I saw equipment, heard the same noises and oddly enough felt like I belonged. As I did 2.5 years ago when my plan to become a NICU therapist was put on hold.

I had an amazing night. I proved to myself that I am strong. I did things last night that at one time in my grief journey I thought would be near impossible.

I can do this.

Walking out of the hospital this morning I felt on top of the world. It was what I needed.

So I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry when I got in my car. Ok the water works poured out.
But funny thing was it wasn't sad tears, it was thankful tears that I was able to do it. I'm going to follow my heart. I know I my heart is ready and I am going to be a NICU therapist, finally.