Our Family

Our Family
Fall 2015 - These are my people

Friday, March 30, 2012

A New Day

Yesterday I was feeling incredibly sad and wasn't able to see much in a positive manner. Today, I woke up with a different outlook and I'm so grateful for that. I've been enjoying my kids today. Going to the bakery for treats and warm yummy drinks for me and my Buzz doesn't hurt either...that could certainly brighten anyone's mood, right? :) But in all seriousness, the waves of grief which I've heard about are upon the shores of our home. And today's wave is very small in comparison to the squall which seemed to cover the home and our hearts yesterday. Thank you Lord for the currently small wave of the day. I really appreciate a reprieve from the intensity of the raging sea.

Erik and I have been blessed to have a counselor named Grace with whom we have met before. Her name is so befitting of her as she emulates grace and peace and encouragement in such a strong way. I know that God has placed her in our lives. And this week, I knew that we needed to start going to see her again. Last night we had the privilege of doing just that. It really helps to talk through grief and loss as a couple with an outside party. If you or someone you know has gone through loss of any magnitude, I encourage you to seek counseling. You don't need to do your grieving all on your own...and putting voice to the thoughts in your mind can be incredibly helpful. There is no reason to be ashamed to seek counseling. It does not make you less of a person. It doesn't mean that you are not strong. In fact, I think that it makes a person stronger to admit that they need help and to go seek that help. Thank you Grace for joining us on our journey. You are a gift to us.

Now...I'm going to focus today on the little kiddos that are present with us and the blessing that they are. They need their mama today, and I need them too.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


It had been a few days since I felt the pit in the gut...the absence of her...but today it resurfaced. And of course it happened while I was at my favorite store with the big red bulls eye. I would have to say that right now I may have a love hate relationship with that store, as it sometimes is a place of zoning out and peace for me and other times a place full of triggers and reminders of my daughter. Those triggers can come for me anywhere and at anytime without warning, but today they were like darts...one after the other...digging into my abdomen...only unlike a dart board, I couldn't remove them like I wanted to.

One of the things that is sometimes hard and sometimes not hard is seeing pregnant women with very huge bellies. Today that hit like a ton of bricks. I kept seeing them, one after the other, the glowing mommies...and I was reminded that I should've either already had my healthy baby or I should've still been pregnant...and reminded that my due date is fast approaching, and only days away...April is right around the corner, and April 9th is almost here. I didn't know how hard it would be to think about my due date and honestly thought I'd be okay thinking about it or that it wouldn't bother me much. But today it is difficult to think about.

(***PLEASE NOTE...if you are pregnant or have just had a baby and you're wondering whether or not you should talk to me or hang around me, I WANT to see you and I WANT to talk with you. Please don't worry that it will be too hard for me. I have to face this challenge. It's just part of life. And again I say that sometimes it is more challenging than others. For instance, when I went to my MO_PS group for the first time two weeks after losing Solveig, I really didn't have a problem seeing all my sweet mommy friends and their babies and their pregnant bellies. It was wonderful to be with them, because I felt so loved...and I DO feel loved continually by them and by my other friends. And I also want you all to know that I am HONESTLY very happy for you if you are currently pregnant or have just had a baby and have many friends for whom this is the situation and I'm praying for you.)

While we were at the bulls eye store, we also walked through the kids clothing section as I was looking at some pants for my Bug. But while we were there, my eyes were of course drawn to the baby girl clothes...and especially a dress that I had purchased for my Solveig to match her big sister...that particular dress I had Erik return to the store because it would've been too big for our tiny peanut who was sort of swimming in the preemie sized outfit that we ended up using instead. But I keep seeing it. It is sometimes a good reminder of her, but today it was a tough reminder.

I want to find good reminders of her. And one of the things that I want to do is to plant something in our yard in honor of our daughter. Our yard was already sort of landscaped when we moved in, so there aren't necessarily a lot of places to plant something lovely and white or pink for our baby...but I'm on a mission to figure out where exactly I could do that and what I could plant. If you have any good ideas for me, let me know. I've heard different things recently that peak my interest...magnolia or cherry trees and tulips sound lovely. What would you plant? I want to see some beautiful blooms that will remind me of my beautiful girl.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A beautiful poem...

My sweet friend Emily (aka "Sunshine") who I worked with at the Y_M_C_A when we were day camp counselors wrote this amazing poem for me a few weeks ago. I asked her if I could please post it on my blog and she said that would be okay. Thank you so much, dear Emily. Your words are beautiful and touching...and when I read this I weep in gratitude for the way God has allowed you to think of my Solveig. Thank you.

An Angel of Peace

He born her onto Heaven

filled with your love.

Perfect and Precious

He born onto to us an Angel.

She burst from your womb

through Heaven’s open doors


your glorious Gospel.

She knew no suffering,

no pain,

no disappointment,

nor loss

Only the warmth of your internal home

and the completeness of your love.

What a gift for a soul

to live in your light,

to be filled by your love

To move from your sweet being

to home with our Heavenly Father

We will never know why your years on Earth with her

Must now be said goodbye to

Like water poured on a fire

the promise of this dream has gone out.

And yet, through this unspeakably grief

Which no words can capture

There is beauty

and joy

and hope in your future

For she lived within you

Danced in your body

Filled you with love

Just as you filled her

And although you do not have a lifetime

to know her, to see her each day before you

You know her in the deepest sense of knowing

Where there is no darkness or sorrow

No worry or pain

Only the feeling of her little body

Moving in yours

two souls joined

Forever in love

She is with you now.

Shining down on you from Heaven

Taking the love you gave her

And sharing it with our world

And she shares it with you.

In the flicker of a sunset

In Northern lights dancing

the warm smile of her daddy

the laughter of her siblings

she comes to you always


with comfort and love

to continually show you

the beauty you gave

in your gift to the Lord

His perfect Angel of Peace.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Finding Support

Walking through grief is a challenge, and to find people who are willing to walk that road with those who are grieving can also be a challenge. We've been tremendously blessed with family and friends who are journeying with us and upholding us in prayer, love and friendship as well as actual physical helps...like my mom, who has been doing some of our laundry - what a gift...and both of our sets of parents who have been helping with our children some of the time - amazing...and all the people who have brought food or who are still committed to bring food in the weeks to come - we are thriving and surviving because of all of you who are doing these things to help us. Thank you doesn't seem like enough to say. But thank you I will say again and again...

Recently we started attending a support group for people like us who have been through some type of loss of a child. What a healing place to be. We are so grateful to have found this group and we know it will be a place of continued blessing for us and hopefully for the rest of the group as well.

I honestly don't know how people get through the loss of a child or any other type of human loss without this kind of support. And for us, I do not know how we'd get through this without our faith and hope in the Lord. He is showing Himself to us each day. Today as I was driving, I was thanking God out loud for the way He has shown up in our lives in this journey. I was remembering how present He was while we were in the hospital before, during and after delivery - I felt the presence of the Lord in a mighty way and that brought me hope and strength and peace. And I was thanking Him for the way that He has been allowing Erik and I to talk through things. Even though we're at different places in our grief sometimes, we're still able to discuss things and be there for each other right now...and I'm so thankful for that. I was thanking Him for not leaving us comfortless..."I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you." - John 14:18 He has done that. He has been comforting us. (FYI - the only reason I remember that scripture reference is because I first learned it through song with my college choir - thanks TKS for all the music you helped implant in my brain. :))

One day I hope that we can help comfort others the way He has comforted us.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


A walk in the spring air was in order this evening. Bailey and I headed out into the coolish outdoors for our adventure. It has only been 3.5 weeks since I delivered Solveig, so I haven't been walking very long distances...until today. Walking around the loop at the park just didn't feel like enough today, so I decided to take our slightly longer loop and ended up walking for 30 minutes. This was quite a bit for today but it felt so good.

While I was walking, I thought about the notion that deciding to walk and deciding to continue on in my walk is much like continuing to press on in life after the loss of my baby girl. It would be really easy to shrivel up and not move forward, but I know that I need to slowly move forward...bit by bit...step by step...one foot in front of the other...day by day...moment by moment. In the midst of my grief I can choose to continue moving forward. I can choose to live fully in each moment of each day. Believe me when I say that this is a real challenge right now. And I know that I am nothing in this challenge without the strength of the Lord sustaining me through each step of the walk. The depth of sustenance from the Lord is what keeps me going. He is my rock and my strength, the one in whom I place my trust.

If you're struggling to place one foot in front of the other today, I encourage you to do so. You can do it. You will get through it. He can carry you...if you choose to let Him.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Pink Ones...

A window of opportunity arose this afternoon for me to have some time alone, and gladly I took it. Thanks Erik for taking the kids to "training camp" with the grandparents.

While I had said time, I took my near daily trip to my favorite store with the big red bullseye...and while there I felt such a pit in my gut as I walked around. It was so hard to focus on what I was trying to find and I just ended up wandering for awhile, aimless in destination. (Wandering, however, is a very common ailment at the store with the big red bullseye...or so I hear from my discussions with other friends.) After a bit of wandering and finding some new thank you notes, it became increasingly apparent to me that my heart was missing my sweet baby girl immensely and I knew that I needed to go and "see" her at the cemetery.

First I stopped off at the flower shop to buy some flowers. When the nice lady asked me what I wanted, I said, "I need two roses by themselves and five in a bunch." And the tears started to flow...and I couldn't hold them back. My body was shuddering as I thought of the reason for my intended purchase. The nice lady wondered which color I wanted and I pointed and said, "the light pink ones." She said, "oh, I can't sell those because they are for a wedding...but I have some other pink ones right here that I just bought and they will be beautiful." They were indeed beautiful, but they were a bit darker in color...and I so wanted those lovely light ones, the same shade of light pink we had a few weeks prior for Solveig's burial...light pink and delicate like my delicate daughter. But I decided it wasn't something for me to fuss over and that the deeper shade of pink would be suitable for today's purpose. After the lady brought the flowers up, she whispered something to the other nice lady in the shop and I figured what she was saying must have been something about this being for my child and to cut me a deal. I explained to nice lady #2 my crying eyes and red puffy cheeks..."one rose is for my daughter's grave and the other is for the little girl buried next to her (the daughter of my friend). And the five other pink roses are for me to bring home." (5 for the 5 of us, including Solveig...maybe there really should be 7 since I have those two miscarried little ones in Heaven too...it's not that I don't think about them, because I do...but the weight of her loss was so intense since I carried her longer and I birthed her and I held her...) The nice lady who rang up my purchase told me that she had lost two children as well - one had passed 12 hours after birth - she understood my loss on a very personal level. And she looked at me with tears in her eyes and told me that it is still hard to this day, but she said, "I want to encourage you to enjoy your days here. Your child would want that for you. It will take awhile, but you'll get there." That meant a lot coming from her.

I felt encouraged after leaving the flower shop. And the drive to the cemetery was full of a similar nervousness as the day we buried our Solveig...but when I pulled into the driveway for the tiny little country cemetery, I felt such a relief. As I walked up to her grave, the freshly raked dirt was still there a few weeks after her burial. And it felt so real and so raw again...and I sobbed and missed her so deeply. I laid a rose first on tiny B's grave next to my Solveig and then one on Solveig's grave. I crouched down near the grave and cried and thought for awhile about the tiny little love who was resting just a few feet underneath me. If you've lost a child, perhaps you can relate to the urge to want to dig up the ground and see the body one more time...that's kind of how I feel when I go there...but it's not something I'd ever do, it's just something that crosses my mind and probably is a very normal maternal, primal instinct. Obviously, I know she is very much gone...and her sweet spirit is with Jesus...

The sun was shining today and the warmth of the sun on my shoulders was so soft and tender. It was like Jesus was reaching down from Heaven and holding me close...reassuring me that my precious girl was safe in His care. I felt an immense peace and I was able to breathe again.

Thank you Lord, for the reminders of you today...and thank you for taking care of my Solveig until I can hold her again...and for holding little B too while her mommy misses her too...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Our Story - Part Two

Monday February 27th, 2012 - This was the day that we were to pull everything together at home. I didn't yet know exactly what was to happen, as we were hoping that maybe my body would just go into labor on its own. But since Solveig had passed already a few days prior, it wouldn't be healthy to let her lie inside of me too much longer. My sweet Dr. L called me around lunchtime to discuss a plan. She recommended that we come in the next day to try for a version, the procedure to turn the baby since she was lying transverse, and then induce labor after that. She said it could take a couple of days for the delivery to be complete after the induction began.

That afternoon I spoke with an AMAZING woman from the hospital who works with families like ours as an advocate and grief counselor. She's incredible. I knew immediately over the phone that we were going to get along well and that she was going to be a wonderful resource and encouragement to me for time to come. "A" encouraged me to go out and find a special outfit for our baby girl, and to make sure to get a duplicate. I wrote about that in an earlier post and if I knew how to link to it I'd do that, but you see I'm not too fancy yet in that regard. Anyhow, that night we went out and got a special outfit and blanket and made sure to have our own clothes pulled together for what would be a photo session two days later when Solveig was born.

After shopping for several hours and being together, we came home and crashed and got our luggage ready for the next day...

Tuesday, February 28th - We had been told to call the hospital early in the morning to schedule an appointment. We arrived there around 8:30am after Grammie (my mom) came over to be with the kids. It was so odd to walk into the hospital for this delivery. I was a bit apprehensive yet anxious to see our daughter. The nurses in labor and delivery knew we were coming and escorted us to the end of the hallway so that we'd be in a bit more of a separate area from some of the other delivering moms. We were shown a pretty teal box sitting on a table which had been prepared for us by another family who had gone through a similar loss years before. Inside there was a letter from that family as well as some things to help us remember Solveig and work through our grief. There was a special plaster mold to capture hand and footprints, a "tress press" for holding clippings of hair, a book for our kids about how there was supposed to be a baby and there was instead an angel, and some other grief pamphlets and things that I'm forgetting. We read that book about the angel baby and wept.

It took awhile that morning to get things started medically. Around noon, the anesthesiologist came to give me an epidural prior to my version procedure. After my body was numb, then Dr. F came to perform the version. She first did an ultrasound only to find that little Solveig was somehow head down now and therefore I wouldn't need the ultrasound. Sometime that afternoon, Dr. F used a fol_ey cath_eter to help things to dilate more "naturally." I was glad for this as I was hoping to avoid any further medicine. The nurses and dr.'s kept monitoring me closely to see if things were progressing and they really weren't going that far. They kept asking if I wanted to take Pit_ocin to induce labor more quickly but I said I'd like to see how far things could go naturally.

February 29th - We slept some during those wee morning hours. Erik caught more winks than me, as I was enjoying talking with some of the lovely nurses who were caring for me. In fact, there was one named "C" who happened to take care of me and helped to deliver Bug almost six years ago. It was so great to talk with her - such an incredible, caring woman who encouraged me so much. ALL the nurses did a great job - they were so wonderful and helpful. I really respect nurses. Thank you sweet nurses.

SO, after sleeping for awhile Dr. L came in towards then end of her shift to check me and determined it was a good time to break my water. I was okay with that as I knew it would most likely help labor move along. An hour later my sweet friend "M" who is also a dr. came in to visit us and to bring chocolate cookies and oranges for me and Erik. I started having very intense contractions while she was there with us.

Right after M left, Dr. M who had been with us on Sunday to give us the news was on call and she came in for delivery. Little Solveig had somehow moved back to transverse position so she would be delivered breech, which for her was not a problem. In any other circumstance, being delivered breech could be an extremely dangerous situation...but because she wasn't alive and she was so tiny, it was okay. Her little arm came out, then her end, and then her head last.

8:03 AM - our little Solveig was out and in my arms. She came out and right away they were talking about the cord. Her cord was wrapped around her neck three times, around her mid section and around her arm...and there was a true knot in it. There was no need for an au_topsy at this point as it was clear to see the cause of death was all about the cord getting in the way. As dr. friend M said to me, "that blasted cord." I couldn't agree more. Blasted cord, indeed. Dr. M said that the cord was very long. That little girl had been SO busy inside of me...she was doing somersaults and getting tangled in that cord for who knows how long.

Even though that delivery was very difficult emotionally, it was physically the easiest delivery that I have yet had. Thanks be to God for that. I'm so grateful that I could delivery traditionally and that I didn't have to do a c-se_ction. That would've caused a much more challenging recovery emotionally and physically. And also, through the difficult emotions, we had such a deep peace and sense of the Lord's presence with us. I really felt the power of the Holy Spirit in that room. It was quiet...and there was light. He was with us. He IS with us. We are not without our Lord, even through this dark valley.

We choose to praise Him who has chosen to give us life and who has chosen to keep us here on this Earth...and who has allowed our baby daughter to pass into all eternity before us. We can't wait to meet her there at the pearly gates one day...

Thanks for reading. And thanks for praying.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

3 Weeks Later...The Story...

Three weeks ago today, our tiny little Solveig was born. The time has gone by so quickly and there are so many moments when it really feels like she just came yesterday. Last night as I was laying in bed, I couldn't help but remember where I had been three weeks prior...laying in a hospital bed, waiting for our little girl to make her arrival. As I talked with Erik about it, I told him that it was so different than the arrivals of our other babies...for this time we weren't awaiting a live baby, but rather a dead one. We were waiting to hold in our arms the little love whose spirit had already slipped quickly into Heaven a few days prior. That feeling of knowing that her spirit was already gone was so prominent for me - I truly could feel the absence of her life, besides the fact that she wasn't moving. Her shell was with me still and I longed to hold her. That night of waiting was one of the longest in my life. It felt like forever as we waited for my body to fully go into labor, but in reality it really wasn't that long. Here's the timeline leading up to the arrival of Solveig as best I can recount:

Monday, February 20th - My regularly scheduled NST and Ultrasound appointments at the clinic. I was a regular, going in weekly for extra testing due to my blood clotting disorder and needing to monitor more closely for clots in the pregnancy.

Thursday, February 23rd - I felt around 200 tiny rapid movements in succession from the baby...but they weren't hiccups. I know what hiccups feel like. To this day, I wish I had at that moment called the clinic about this. But I didn't want to be the "worried mom" who shows up all the time. I'm forever different about that and will never again worry about being the worried mom. (And I'm trying to let go and forgive myself for not calling...because I cannot change the course of events...) And to this day, I'm convinced that those little rapid movements may very well have been a huge part of Solveig's demise. After talking with some nurses and with my Dr. L, I feel that those movements were perhaps part of a seizure. If indeed they were part of a seizure, even if we had gotten to Solveig in time, maybe her well being was already so compromised...maybe she was brain dead already...we just don't know, and we will not know until we get to Heaven and can ask the Lord all about it.

Friday, February 24th - I went about the day and was incredibly busy. That night, around midnight, I realized that I hadn't really felt Solveig move all day. I told Erik and I was very worried. In fact, I went into a panic attack because I was convinced that she was gone. I just knew. Mother's have instincts. And maybe that was kicking in...and maybe God was telling me too...but I just knew something was wrong. However, as I lay awake for the next three hours worried beyond belief, I kept praying, "Lord, please let me know if my baby is okay. Please help her to move. Please keep her safe. Please God, please give me peace." Finally, around 3:30 am on Saturday morning, I felt Solveig move just a tiny bit. It felt like she was tickling me or scratching me with her tiny fingers - letting me know that she was there. She did that about five times. And that was the last that I felt of her...

Saturday, February 25th - We went about our day, because of how I had felt her move in the night and thought perhaps she was okay...so we went on...and around dinner time, I felt Solveig shift inside of me, so I thought to myself, "oh, okay. She moved. Great." Looking back, that very well may have just been my body moving her around.

Sunday, February 26th - We went to church. I had such a pit in my gut. I knew that something was so off, but I wasn't fully acknowledging it yet. And I wanted so desperately to believe that my baby girl was still okay. I kept searching and hoping for any signs of movement. There were to be no more. I felt no movement all day. We did life all day with our kids. I made dinner. And then I said to Erik, "We need to go to the hospital. I just need to make sure that she's okay. I need to know that things are alright." And there was some sense of peace in finally making that decision and finally going forth with our trip to the hospital to be evaluated. Even though I had a foreboding knowledge that something was wrong, I was glad to at least be in the right place, finally.

At around 6pm or so, we got somewhat settled in what felt like such a sterile and stark environment. Everything felt so dark to me. I felt so ill in my stomach. The nurses came in and tried to find the heartbeat with the NST and they were not able to. That in itself felt like an eternity. Then they got Dr. M who I knew from the clinic, and she came in with the ultrasound machine. I could barely see the picture on the screen because of how everything was positioned in the room, but I was so anxious and so worried...and then I saw what every parent does NOT want to see and is NOT prepared for...my precious baby girl and her vacant heart. After seeing such a vibrant, pulsating flow of blood and little valves working splendidly just days prior at her last ultrasound at 33 weeks, I was in shock to see absolutely nothing...just an empty little heart. It was the worst moment of my life. Dr. M, with tears in her eyes, looked at me and Erik and said, "I'm so sorry. There is no heart beat." We wept and held each other, and the primal cries of parents who have lost their precious child poured forth...and my amazing Erik said to me, "Melody, she's with Jesus. She's in the arms of Jesus now." And he held me for a very long time...

Dr. M comforted us in such a beautiful way. We had an amazing conversation and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was so of the Lord that she could be there with us that evening. Thank you, Dr. M. You were and are such a blessing.

We went home in complete and utter shock and devastation, as we decided that it would be best for our psyche's to be able to prepare more mentally, emotionally and physically for an induced delivery within a couple of days.

Immediately songs began to fill my head...and I started planning for the funeral which would come all too soon...

To be continued...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Forewarning...this is somewhat of a scattered post. That's kind of how my mind is working these days.

At times I feel like I'm in such a fog in this the beginning of our grief journey. Sometimes I wonder how I am supposed to be feeling and what it is I'm supposed to be experiencing. Then I remember that it really is going to be different for everyone, and that there is no specific formula or time table for grief. Some dear friends have been helpful to remind me of this as well, and it does mean something to hear it from some who have gone before me in their own journeys of grief. Perhaps when it is cloudy and rainy outside that may add to the feeling of mental fog, and we've had a bit of rain happening now after what was such a warm and sunny week. Thanks to B for sending me the link for this little devotional which captures some of what I'm feeling today.

One thing that has been nice the last few days has been spending time with some sweet girlfriends and their kiddos. Not only has it been a good distraction, but I've just so enjoyed their company and so have my kids. Thank you friends. I appreciate you. The way you and so many others have been loving on me and my family means so much.

Today my Bug and Buzz both were admiring the new necklace with Solveig's footprint...and they were holding it in their cute grimy hands and saying, "ooh, that is so pretty," and "oh, so sweet!" I agree. I have loved wearing it today, and I will continue to love wearing it for a long time to come.

Today I miss her being inside of my belly. I miss the weight of her. She will always bear weight in our lives. Tomorrow marks three weeks from when I delivered her into this world...it sometimes feels like a surreal dream that perhaps we will one day awake from, but it is not. Coming to terms with that is challenging in some moments.

These verses capture some immense truth that has brought strength to my life for years, and now really means a lot to me...

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written, 'for your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.' No, in all these things we are more than conquerers through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:35-39-

Amen to that. Jesus loves me, this I know...

Monday, March 19, 2012

A Beautiful Thing

When Solveig was born, the hospital did a great job of helping us to capture her hand and footprints - things which I so treasure now. They captured them not only on paper but also in a plaster mold for us to hang on the wall. Today when I opened my mailbox I was surprised with a most incredible gift. There is a jeweler who has partnered with hospitals to provide necklaces for mamas like me who have lost babies...and my necklace came today. A beautiful, round silver pendant hangs from a silver chain. And on that pendant is my darling daughter's footprint shrunk to miniature size. On the back is her name and her date of birth. I was sort of in a fog at the hospital when we were told about this opportunity to get a free necklace, but I knew it was something I wanted and of course I signed up for it and filled out the paper. I completely forgot about it and it really stunned me today to open the tiny package holding this little memento. Now that necklace is gracing my neck and I probably won't want to take it off for a very long time...and that is just fine with me. I know it isn't my daughter, but it sure is nice to have something special by which to remember her. That and the charm bracelet from her daddy mean so much to me. A big, HUGE thank you goes out to THIS jeweler for creating this amazing piece of love for me, in honor of my Solveig. THANK YOU does not really seem like enough to say. I'll forever be grateful for this treasure. And if you or someone you know has gone through something like our loss or if you are wanting to honor a special girl or woman in your life with one of these pieces of jewelry, I highly encourage you to do so. It will mean so much.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Big Sister Bug today voiced these words while we were out at my favorite store with the giant red bullseye logo..."It's sort of disappointing that Solveig died. But it's not too disappointing because we'll get to see her in Heaven again, so that's good." Erik said, "That's a great attitude to have."

For me, I couldn't respond because I'm still quite disappointed. I'm bummed that I couldn't have these three kids grow up together. I'm sad that she's not in my arms today, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine. I feel a huge hole...she is missing. I'll always think of her. Life will never be the same without her. I know that we will eventually learn to move on, but she'll always be part of our family.

There were a few good days where I pretty much held it together. But last night I missed my little Solveig so much. I picked up the pink teddy bear given to us and wrapped it in a pink blanket that was given to us along with a little bean bag to give weight to the wrapped up teddy bear in the blanket...and I held it for a long time while I laid in bed. I was trying to remember what it was like to hold Solveig in my arms. It has now been three weeks since we heard that she was gone and two and a half weeks since she was born. However, sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday that we lost her. Everything is still raw like an open wound. Sometimes I think there is a bit of a scab forming, and then it will get ripped off in an instant without warning. I know that's normal and it will just take a long time to feel a sense of "normalcy." I'm not going to be surprised if it takes years. I've heard that it can. I imagine there will be more to this wound and the scabs which may form and reopen.

In the meantime, the little people are calling...and burgers are ready to be made...life here on Earth continues even through the pain...and there are moments of joy to be had and moments to treasure and remember...

God is still God. He is still on the throne. He is still in control.


Moment to moment...that is how some days are. Valley and desert and mountaintop...these are all the places I've been lately emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. One song which for us has been such a clear picture of where we are at and that we had at Solveig's funeral is called appropriately, "Des_ert So_ng." It is from Hi_lls_ong Ch_urch in Aus_tra_lia and we love it.

A few years ago when I first heard the song, I watched the video for it over and over online and then found this interview with one of the lead singers who originally recorded it. She went through somewhat of a similar experience to us losing a baby and she talks about her experience here. I highly encourage you to watch this as I can so relate to her...she talks about how she knew she needed to continue praising God through it all as that is what she was created to do. That is exactly how I have felt. May you be encouraged by this lovely testimony. And here is the link to the song in its entirety. I tried to find a video version of the band singing it but couldn't find a good one.

Friday, March 16, 2012


There is something incredible about spring time. Once the snow and ice thaw, the grass turns green again and the buds on the trees appear...the flowers peek their heads out of the ground...and the birds come a looking for worms to eat. One art song titled "Spring" is a setting of a poem by Em_ily Dic_kin_son, and I have sung it. The text and the music are sprightly and make a person happy just hearing it, and singing it. "Spring, the sweet spring. The pretty birds do sing...."

Not only do the birds sing in the spring and the blooms abound, but for me there has always been a sense of renewal and an impetus for fresh starts. Erik and I began our relationship in the spring, quite near this time, about ten years ago. So for us, the spring is quite nostalgic. Our wedding anniversary is in May, in the spring. Bug's birthday is also in May. And Erik and I have birthdays two days apart in the early days of June, followed by our summer baby boy's birthday in later June.

Here we are in mid March and the weather is glorious in what often times is a frozen tundra at this very same time of year. We are absolutely loving the warmth and the sunshine and the summer like almost balmy air. To me, this feels like a most amazing gift from God during such a challenging season of life. Feeling the warmth on my skin and soaking it in has been just the medicine I needed as I begin to heal emotionally and physically.

Yesterday, I felt like God began to grant to me a sense of hope. Not only do I have a continued hope in Heaven and longing to be there with my Solveig, but I also have a hope for what lies ahead here on this Earth. I have a hope for my life with my beautiful family. I have hope for what the Lord will continue to do in my life and in the lives of others as a result of my daughter's life.

One of my all-time favorite scripture passages is Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." I have hope. And I have a future. Thanks be to God.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Letter To My Daughter

We had our kids make special cards for Solveig using scrapbook paper that I had and stickers that were given to us by the Miss_ing Gra_ce Foun_dation. Those cards were on display next to her casket at the funeral, and upon burial we placed the cards inside to be buried with Solveig. I knew that I needed to write her a letter as well, and I encouraged Erik to do the same - and he did, bless his wonderful heart. We placed our letters in the casket right before it was sealed the day of her burial. I made sure to make copies of the letters for us to keep here. Below is my letter:

Sunday March 4, 2012

My dear, beautiful daughter Solveig Sofia,

I love you so very much and right now my heart is aching to have you here in my arms. The Lord brought you into our lives and He took you out...but your life was not a mistake, nor will it ever be forgotten. I will always be grateful that I carried you close to my heart, inside my womb. There is nothing else quite so astounding as the presence of a baby inside a mama. This mama prayed for such a long time to have another child. And after losing two sweet babies early on in pregnancy I wasn't sure if we'd ever be able to have another baby. Then God surprised your daddy and I with the gift of you. And what an awesome gift you were, are and always will be to us. Daddy and I are deeply grieving and we do not understand why you are not here. We do not know why your life was taken so early due to the umbilical cord wrapping around your fragile frame. But what I can tell you is that many people's lives have already been touched by you, and the Lord is being brought glory. Your funeral yesterday was absolutely stunning and I am so thankful that we could honor your short life in that way. I wish that you were here...to rock you, nurse you, hold you, kiss your soft skin and stroke your feather soft hear...to see you grow up with your big brother and sister...to enjoy life with you. There is no one who will EVER replace you. No one will ever take from your daddy and I the pieces of our hearts which you have. We long to see you again in Heaven where we will stand with you in the presence of the Lord God Almighty. We look forward to running through the streets of gold and the lush green fields, playing with all the animals, laughing, singing, dancing and eating. Solveig Sofia Johnson, you have left an indelible print in our lives and we will always love you.

Love always,
Your mommy, Melody

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Soft and White

In a previous entry, I wrote about how we went shopping for a special outfit for Solveig to wear when we were spending time with her and also for her burial. When I thought about what color it needed to be, I just knew that it had to be white. White is such a symbol of purity and cleanliness...and to us, our little daughter was the complete embodiment of those symbols. This was especially true since we knew that her spirit had left her body prior to her physical entrance into this world, and that spirit was caught up in Heaven where all things are made new and clean and whole and pure. After we bought the outfit and she was resting peacefully in it while we held her and when we placed her in the ground, I realized that I had forgotten to purchase a duplicate outfit and for me that was a very important detail. A few days after the burial, I decided to go ahead and order that duplicate...and yesterday it arrived in the mail. Wrapped inside this tiny package was the preemie sized white cotton pointelle knit baby gown that we had bought for our little Solveig. Seeing it again almost took my breath away, but it was really sweet to once again hold that outfit in my hands and to feel its softness next to my skin. I know it's not the same thing as it was when my little girl was wrapped in something similar, but if it helps me remember her and think fondly of her then I think that's great. Tears welled up in my eyes as I showed Erik...and he also had tears.

There is a tiny rosebud on the outfit, and it is so befitting of our baby who was wearing it. She was like a rosebud...so soft and new and beautiful. On Solveig's original outfit, there was one difference...her rosebud was stained from drops of blood which came from her mouth or nose. At first this really bothered me, seeing those drops on her clothing. It seemed that it was now soiled and no longer pure. But this is just a natural part of what happens after a person has died and blood and water weep from their body. As hard as it was for us to see that blood coming from our tiny baby, it was a visceral reminder to us of Christ dying on the cross...the blood and water seeping out of Him when He was pierced. And for some reason that brought to me comfort, knowing once again that it is He who saved us from our sins. And because our daughter was quickly taken from this sinful world before she ever fully stepped foot into it, she now has complete freedom from ever being brought down by that ugly sin. Oh, to be free from the curse of the sinful world...we all can have that chance, if we just believe in Him who died to set us free.

May the rosebud inspire you to think of Him. We are forever changed by Him, and by our little girl.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Big Sister's Thoughts

Many sweet thoughts have been coming out of our children's mouths these last few weeks. Today at lunch, Bug started talking about Solveig and said, "Sometimes when I think about Solveig, I like to call her 'Sissy.' (I know that she means sister, of course.) That's just like when Buzz was a baby and he would call me [insert nickname]." I asked her, "Do you miss Solveig?" Her reply was, "Yes, I do. Sometimes at night when I'm trying to go to sleep, I think about her and about all the fun times that we would've had together." Tears from the mama...unstoppable...leaving me speechless....Then I say to her, "well one day when we're in Heaven together, we'll have a great time together with Solveig." Bug says, "Yes, that will be great. We won't have to live in separate houses anymore."

No my dear, we will not. For we will all live in God's big house with many many rooms...oh how I long to be there.

Sunday, March 11, 2012


This weekend, I was blessed to get away with four of my girlfriends for one night and two good days. I thought it might be too early for me to get away, and I wasn't sure what it would be like to face people and to talk about things...but you know what? It was GREAT. To be surrounded by dear friends who love me no matter what was just what my soul needed. Thanks to my Erik for encouraging me to go away. And thank you dear friends - you know who you are and you are a blessing.

One thing is for sure - I am not a person who can stuff things inside and not talk about what is going on my life. That is just not my personality. And for better or worse, I like to get out the "stuff" and work through it. Most of the time I believe it is for the better. Part of me wanted to run and hide in a cave and not come out for a very long time after we lost Solveig. I have definitely had moments of cave dwelling in the last week and a half. But for the most part, I do better when I spend most of my time out of the cave. I'm grateful that Erik is willing to talk through life with me and helps me process things. He's so good like that.

While sitting with my friends yesterday, I told them that I want them to be able to ask me anything about Solveig and what has happened because of her loss. I don't want people to ever be afraid to broach the topic for fear of offending me or "bringing up" something that I don't want to talk about. The truth is, I'm always thinking about her - she is always in my thoughts, and I suspect she may always be...or at least will be extremely present for a VERY long time. Therefore, people talking about her or asking me about her is not a shock and will probably not catch me off guard. If you are reading this and you have wondered about this stuff, please know that I mean it when I say that I want to talk about her and I want you to say her name...and I want you to ask me all about her. Please do. What I don't want, and what anyone who has been through the loss of a child does NOT want, is for people to forget our children. We don't want them to go unremembered...we don't want them to get lost in the shuffle of our busy society that continues on at warp speed even when we feel suspended in space grieving the loss of our children.

And remember...you don't need to solve our situation...you can't, really. You can't change it, you can't do anything to make it different...you can't fix it...but what you can do is simply say, "I'm sorry for your loss" and/or "I'm praying for you." That is really the best thing that anyone can say to someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one. Don't feel like you need to expound on the situation any further. Yes, we believe that our baby is in Heaven now...but honestly, it's hard to hear things like, "God needs babies in Heaven too" or "there must be a reason why." I know that's true. We know it 100%...and even though we know it, it can't bring our baby back...and believe me when I say that we'd do just about anything to bring her back to be with us if we could. We know you mean well if you do say things like this though, so don't worry if you've been one who has said such things. Don't worry that you've offended us. We've heard a lot now and really aren't that easily offended in the first place. And we appreciate people's love for us and their concern, so please don't take what I'm saying as ungratefulness...that's not it at all. Just trying to help you understand what it's like to be on this side of things, if you haven't been there yourself. Hugs and sorry's are so wonderful to hear and experience.

So...clarity...that was my title of the post after all...I feel as though God gave me some clarity this weekend after getting away from my home and my family for just a short respite. I feel like He is lighting a fire under my tail and He is already showing me that I am to use Solveig's life and story as a platform to help others. I really don't know how or what that may entail, but I know that it will be a part of my future...and perhaps it's part of my present too as I am typing these things into cyberspace. But as the grief counselor warned me when I told her that I wanted to help others...I need to wait awhile to really go forth in this desire to help others...I need to keep healing and grieving the loss of Solveig before I'll be ready to help others in a fuller way.

Thanks for your continued support and prayer over us. It really has helped us get through each moment of each day. Some days are good and some days are really hard...but God is with us through all of it.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Strawberry Dresses

Because we already have one daughter, I didn't need to do much in the way of shopping to prepare for little Solveig. I figured I'd have most of the things I needed to get her started at least, and I would just fill in the "holes" where needed. But every now and then when I was out shopping, something would catch my eye and I would buy it for my baby girl. Just a few special items made their way home with me, and also some essentials such as diapers and a new diaper bag.

Tonight, Erik and I decided that it was time to take stock of which items needed to be returned to the store. I just went into the nursery and melted when I came across certain things...like the "little sister" onesie and sleeper that I was looking forward to her wearing...and the "big brother" book that I had purchased for Buzz. He was so excited to be a big brother, and a good one he would be. I decided that I would keep the little sister onesie and sleeper for now, because honestly, I just couldn't part with them. Then there was the open pack of newborn size diapers that the kids and I had opened a few weeks ago, just so we could see how adorable and tiny those little covers really are. They were so excited about the diapers...so was I...

The last bag that I opened up held some adorable matching red strawberry dresses that I bought for Bug and her little sister, hoping that they would wear them later this summer and we'd find a cute green shirt for Buzz to join in on the fun. I had in my mind a very cute photo session with the three of them. And now that is not to be.

Thinking about things like the strawberry dresses, future photo sessions, growth milestones...all these things which will not be for our Solveig...these things are difficult to swallow and to accept.

Maybe there are fields of strawberries in Heaven for us to eat together...maybe she's eating some right now...I look forward to the feast there with our daughter.

No Guarantees

Perhaps it is because I'm a worrier by nature, or maybe because I knew so many who had lost babies of their own, but even in my first and second pregnancies I never felt as though things would just be fine and I wouldn't need to be concerned about losing my babies. There was always a part of me which remained reserved and didn't want to expect that my children would be born healthy and would live beyond their birth. Maybe God was just preparing me and giving me some insight that I wasn't yet to fully understand. Well, those two precious children of mine were born, but their lives did not begin without difficulty. With my Bug, I had Pree_clampsia and our lives hung in the balances during the last week and during the delivery. God protected us and that Bug is doing so well. With my Buzz, the pregnancy was fine but following delivery I had a superficial blood clot on my leg and then Buzz was admitted to the hospital just 3 days later for an unknown virus and also dehydration. He nearly died. It was a scary time to say the least. But again, God protected that dear boy of mine and revived him. He is strong and feisty and we are so glad.

In November 2010, we had our first known miscarriage. I was so early on in the pregnancy, probably 5-6 weeks. But it was such a blow. In January 2011, we had another miscarriage, also between 5-6 weeks gestation. After these two miscarriages I really wondered what was going on and if there was something more happening in my body. Dr. M had many tests drawn on me and nothing too earth shattering was found at that point. In a way that was comforting, but I still wondered if something was wrong. Several months later, August 1st, 2011, we found out that we were expecting another baby. The excitement was so strong, yet the reservation was there and I didn't want to get too excited for fear that we may lose this one as well. In the early weeks of the pregnancy, I had my first OB appointment with Dr. M. She thought about my medical history for a few minutes and decided that I needed to be seen by a Hem_atologist for further blood work, to see if there might be a blood disorder which had contributed to the Pree_clampsia, superficial blood clot and two miscarriages. Dr. T found that I have Factor V Lei_den, a fairly common blood clotting disorder. It sounds more intense than it is. What I learned is that I have about a 1% chance of developing a blood clot in my lifetime, and of course that risk goes up slightly during pregnancy. With the new pregnancy underway, the dr's decided that I needed to take baby as_pirin to hopefully avoid developing a blood clot in the pregnancy. And then following delivery, I would need to take a blood thinner called Lov_enox for 4-6 weeks. (I'm currently taking that blood thinner and it's going okay - it just stings, but I've gotten really brave about injecting myself...something I never thought I could do.)

The pregnancy sailed along quite smoothly and I began having regular ultr_asounds and N_ST's each week near the end to monitor baby's growth, health and to hopefully spot any clotting if it were to appear. Things seemed really good. My last ultr_asound and N_ST happened just days before we learned of Solveig's passing - I was 33 weeks along - only 4 weeks from being considered full term. It's amazing how quickly things can change. And also amazing that the cord and all of its tangles were not visible on that screen. And we don't know when the cord was tangled - it might have happened right near the end, or perhaps it was in the works at that ultrasound. These are things we may never know until we get to Heaven.

All this to say, there is only so much that we can humanly do here on this Earth to monitor the progress of a baby inside. And there is only so much we can do during a delivery. And there is only so much we can do once the baby is out of us, kicking and screaming and living. We in our humanness are powerless to do much. There are NO guarantees that any of us will be breathing in the next minute, hour, day or year. We are mortal. We ought not to ever take for granted this life that we have been given. And we ought not to ever take for granted the lives of our children, both those who are here or those who have died.

If you are currently pregnant or you are wanting to be, I really hope that you don't read this and get all worried. I just want to encourage you and all the other readers to really live each moment to the fullest and to love your families and love your children, both inside of you and outside of you...and be grateful for each second you have here. God has kept you here for a reason and He has a purpose for your life. Don't waste it.

Appreciate life. Appreciate breath. Appreciate who you are called to be in this world.

And if you have children, hug them a little bit longer today...tell them again that you love them...show them that you are really listening...spend time with them...you don't want to live with regrets. I see my Bug & Buzz so differently now. I view them through a different lens. And I hope that I always will.

Solveig has changed me. She has changed our family. I hope we will always reflect that change and never forget what she has taught us.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Charm Bracelet

February 27th...this was the day after we found out that Solveig was no longer alive inside of me. We learned mid day from Dr. L that we would need to go to the hospital the next day to begin the induction process and prepare for arrival of our daughter. There were so many details to be taken care of and it was overwhelming. Not only did we need to make sure that the kids would have child care, but the dog needed to have her own arrangements and we needed to pack and prepare mentally for what was to come. That evening, Erik's parents were able to come and stay with the kids so that we could go out and do some last minute shopping. We wanted to buy something special for the baby to wear - we wanted her to be pretty for her pictures. At first I had it in my head that I needed to get a fancy dress of some sort, but it is very difficult to find something fancy for a tiny preemie. After making lots of phone calls to local stores, I decided that we just needed to go out and do some looking. We came upon this beautiful and simple white gown and upon seeing it we both knew that it was the one for our little girl. We found this soft and cuddly blanket and decided we would wrap her up in it. I decided that it would be best if we all wore white for our photos so that we could be coordinated. For Bug, we found an adorable white dress and Buzz had a white shirt at home. I found a white top and Daddy had a white shirt as well.

After finding the clothes, I had this burning desire to go and find a piece of jewelry to help remember and commemorate Solveig's life. This is something that was suggested to me earlier that day when I spoke with an amazing woman from the hospital who helps with grief counseling. She had been through a stillbirth years earlier and said that having a special piece of jewelry was often a very helpful thing for people like us. We made our way to this store and the sales lady helped us to find a very simple and elegant bracelet on which we could place charms that were meaningful to us. We chose some initial charms to represent our three children, and also a special charm just for Solveig that had a cross on one side and said "believe" on the other side. For her, we also bought the same "S" charm and cross charm and had them placed inside a small box that was later displayed next to and then placed in her casket. I told Erik and also the sales lady that the cross charm had multiple meanings for me. I believe in the cross, and in Christ's death on the cross for our sins. But I also believe that it is because of His death on the cross that our Solveig is now in Heaven celebrating eternal life. We have the promise of being there for all eternity with our daughter because of the cross.

Every time I look at that bracelet, I am grateful for my Savior and his blood shed for us on the cross. And I'm grateful for His loving arms wrapped around our daughter. For until we are there to hold her ourselves, He will care for her in our place. That my friends is comforting.