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Showing posts from 2015

Merry Christmas | 2015

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Merry Christmas from our family to yours!Sharing our 2015 Christmas card!


Peter Simon Balentine

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We’ve been on a writing hiatus…for a great reason.
On Thursday, September 24, 2015 at 1:35am, we welcomed our FOURTH (!) little boy to the world.  Please meet, Peter Simon Balentine.   His birth was a cathedral moment for Adam and me. Adam yelled out, “it’s a boy!” and I cried, “I wanted a boy so bad!"  How’s that for honesty?
"We get to keep him?" I kept thinking as he let out his first beautiful cries on my chest.  Death wasn’t at our doorstep.  Life was fresh and new.  
Mommy and Peter! 

We took seven weeks away from the blog to relish and even mourn during  the first week of Peter’s life, enjoy quiet time and quite honestly, rest.  We are tired.  When we had time to write, we chose sleep (or work in Adam’s case) and time to simply stare at Peter and play with Teddy.
We spent a day and a half in the hospital and decided to head home with our little boy.  The nurse helped us gather our things and got me a wheel chair to be escorted out.  I’m very familiar with th…

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness | October 2015

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The entire month of October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.  However, October 15 is a special day where bereaved mothers across the world light a candle at 7pm to honor their baby or babies in heaven.  This ceremony is called the Wave of Light.    

The pregnancy and infant loss support group for bereaved mothers that I host in our home, You Made Me Mom, is gathering on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day, Thursday, October 15 at 7pm. 

The evening will also include a guest speaker.  Christine Henderson will be presenting her story called, Turning Grief Inside Out, after the candle lighting ceremony. Christine is a mother to six living children and five children in heaven.  She has experienced three miscarriages and two stillbirths.  To read more about Christine, feel free to check out her website.  We will close the evening with each mother having the opportunity to share her present grief walk.  

If you are in the Kansas City area and would like to join us for this c…

Is this your second baby?

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"Is this your second?" 
I hear that question from strangers often.  Each time, I think to myself…how much time do I want to invest explaining this? 
Often times I tell our story quickly answering this is our fourth. I always receive a surprised look.  When they ask gender and ages of my other children, I go ahead and share with them the quick full story.  People respond graciously and I have received many hugs from random checkers, waiters, and store associates. 
I tell strangers our story for three reasons – One, because they keep asking questions!  Two, because I have faith that our story might help spread awareness of pregnancy and infant loss and open discussion so it doesn’t seem like such a taboo topic.  In addition, I like to talk about Simon and Thomas – even though it might make me tear up.  And three, because I get to share our hope that we will see our sons again, fully restored, in Heaven.
This week at library story time, a stranger randomly asked if this was my sec…

With a full heart

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I feel the cool forehead of my son on my lips tonight.  He's gone, but I remember the temperature of the skin above his brow.  He would wrinkle his forehead as if to acknowledge that he recognized my kiss.

We are at 36 + 4 days with our fourth child (on the way).  I suppose Amy and I both are feeling nostalgic longings for Simon right now.  To see him, to hold him.  Valiant and flawed warrior.  Brave until the end.

"Lone Survivor" is on HBO in the hotel room where I sit alone tonight and the dialogue between two of the wounded soldiers I just heard resonates hard with me.  I'll paraphrase it and revise it as if it is a message from Simon.  "If I die, tell mom I love her.  Tell her I died for my brothers.  Tell her I died with a full heart."

There is no progress on this journey, only fading memories.  Yet the fuzzy memories stay laced with enough pain to last a lifetime.

God has been so faithful and so protective of us.  His steadfast love endures forever.

35 weeks + 4 days with baby #4

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I breathe in and out and my eyes fill with tears as I reflect and compare this pregnancy to Simon’s.   I can’t help but compare.  Pregnancy after loss (PAL) or pregnancy after loss plus another loss, in our case, is a tough journey – but one I am thankful to be on.  I seem to slightly hold my breath as I hit each milestone.  I think to myself, we’ve made it past the 13-15 scary weeks of when we lost Thomas.  Then I think, this new baby’s life has already doubled the time we had with Thomas.  His life was short, but without it I truly believe the support group, You Made Me Mom, wouldn’t have come to fruition.  We hit the milestone of 24 weeks where our "new" baby had a fairly good chance of surviving outside of the womb.  And then 34 weeks where baby had an extremely high chance of making it should he or she be born early.  And now today, I hit a new milestone and it hurts just thinking about.
I gave birth to our Simon at 36 weeks + 4 days.  Today, I am 35 weeks + 4 days with …

Dear Teddy, Love, Mommy

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Teddy strolling through Worlds of Fun.
Dear Teddy, You have lived through a lot already at such a young age.  And the beauty is that all of this living is just a part of your life.  It’s your normal.  Heaven is a real place to you in your two year old mind.  You often hear mommy talking about Simon and Thomas to other adults.  You have regularly said, “Simon and Thomas died and they are in Heaven with Jesus now.”  Who knows that that means to you, but I am thankful you utter those words and remind me of that truth. 
After Simon died, I never had a moment of feeling like I couldn’t get out of bed.  I didn’t want to miss this life with you.  You are a constant visual reminder of God’s faithfulness.   You have allowed me to mourn in front of you – and my tears often encourage you to ask, “mommy, are you sad because of Simon?”  Recently, I responded and explained to you my tears were of joy because of Simon and Thomas and Jesus’ promise of redemption.  I said to you, “You know how much momm…

Searching for the missing puzzle piece

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I wandered from my parents "religion" from about the age of 16 through 26.  Although I was taught the Bible had all the answers, I didn't see how God could truly understand me, or how Jesus' teaching could be relevant to where I was in life. I started binge drinking when I was 16. I had great tension in my heart as I wrestled with wanting to be accepted in a group while still hanging on to the tenants of my young faith. I desired the attention and physical interaction with girls, but I believed the best thing was for me to guard myself and run away from sex. From a young age, my heart was convicted that the Bible was true; and that Jesus is who he said was. But most of the time those truths didn't align with my personal agenda. The really scary thing is, I got great at faking it. I was excellent at saying the right things to the right people. Whatever it took for people to accept me, like me and help me feel like I belonged.

What would happen if I told my parent…

Expecting

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We all enter circumstances with expectations.  When Adam and I went through our pre-marriage class, I realized we both had a lot of expectations for one another.  I expected Adam to take out the garbage, fix things around the house, go to work, be faithful to me - you know the normal stuff!

When we were in the early weeks of pregnancy with Simon, we had expectations for him - like bringing him home, fighting with his big brother, Teddy, heading off to college and getting married. The "normal" milestones.  Again, with Thomas, we had the normal dreams and expectations you have at the beginning of a pregnancy.  While I was nervous during Thomas' pregnancy, I still tried my hardest to enjoy the time I had with him and dreamt of what life would be like with him.  And I was desperately hoping he was just an average child who would come home to live a long life in our home.

Our due date with Thomas was two days ago.  I quickly realized when we first were pregnant with Thomas tha…

CuddleCot Campaign Thank You

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What a gift you have given to so many families.  After raising enough for one CuddleCot in just 14 hours, we decided to raise the challenge and try to fund money to purchase two cots.  In seven days and twenty-two minutes you gifted $8,345.00!  

This means:
One CuddleCot will be donated to St. Luke's Hospital (Kansas City/Plaza).The second CuddleCot will be ordered and donated to another hospital after we research and prayerfully consider which one will use it most.You Made Me Mom now has funds to spend on becoming an official non-profit ministry! We will use funds on business cards, paper resources for local hospitals, the bassinet program for miscarriage and stillbirth.  We will have enough money in the new bank account of You Made Me Mom for future projects to support the ministry, and thus families affected by loss of a child.These generous donations speak love to us and honor the legacies of our two sons, Simon and Thomas.  
Thank you for responding with an overwhelming "Y…

Simon's Death

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In a world where death is hardly spoken about - though it happens to all of us, I feel compelled to share some intimate moments of Simon's life and death with hopes we each walk more closely with one another when experiencing grief and the death of a loved one.  So many have run toward us and supported us and I am so thankful for this.  I encourage you to do this for others - even when you don't know what to say, say nothing and just be there when death occurs.


Edited photos of Simon without his feeding tube - my Mother's Day gift from Adam.

Tonight, after my You Made Me Mom gathering, Adam and I will live through the first anniversary of Simon’s death.  We will likely sit in the same place and embrace each other as we remember those moments.  I'd like to hold Simon's body, which is now ashes, in my hands too.  Just to feel closer to him. I am thankful we have his earthy ashes here in our home which will be buried with me once I die. Thomas' body also resides i…