Pregnancy After Loss: Balancing Grief, Realism and Optimism

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve published a new blog post. It’s not for a lack of things to write about. I just haven’t been able to clearly articulate what I’m going through.

Andy and I found out in February (6 months after losing Jensen) that I am pregnant with our second child – our rainbow baby – a girl we have named Madeline.  We are due in October.

For those who haven’t heard this term before, a “rainbow baby” is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss. In the real world, a beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm (i.e., the loss of your baby) and gives one hope for brighter days ahead. The rainbow is more appreciated having just experienced the storm of grief in comparison.

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The Support You Need Most Surrounding a Prenatal Down Syndrome Diagnosis

wp-1485129373120.pngI was 17 weeks pregnant with my first child when I received a call from my doctor’s colleague, Dr. London (my doctor was out of town).  He told me very gently that my prenatal quad screening test came back with a 1 in 21 chance that my baby had Down syndrome (Ds), otherwise known as Trisomy 21.  It felt like my world had come crashing down. My heart was beating fast and I started to shake.  I tried not to let him hear me cry as I listened to what he had to tell me.

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Announcing 321 Miles for 321 Smiles

donate-jensen2We are excited to introduce our 321 Miles for 321 Smiles project! On 3.21.2017, in recognition of World Down Syndrome Day, we will begin a 321 mile journey with a very special purpose –  to promote awareness about Down syndrome (Ds).  We are calling our journey 321 Miles for 321 Smiles!

We will be walking, hiking and/or running 321 miles.  Each mile that we traverse will be dedicated to a person who has Down syndrome. Each individual with Down syndrome will have his/her photo  featured on our blog along with the reasons that make him/her smile. Our goal is to show others that individuals with Down syndrome are more alike than different.

Our journey will take place over the course of three months (March 21,2017 – June 30, 2017) and we will be traversing many different areas over the great state of Michigan. Once we start our journey, we will post pictures of each mile that we walked on our blog and Facebook and dedicate it to a person with Down syndrome.

Go to our official 321 Miles for 321 Smiles page for details and information about how YOU can help!  If you have a family member that you would like us to dedicate a mile to, please email us at 321miles@honoringjensen.com.

Help get the word out! Share this post, or our promotional flyer.

A special thank you to our partner, the Down Syndrome Guild of Southeast Michigan.

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The Year 2016: A Tale of Two Years

The Year 2016 is a paradox for us. It was the best year of our lives, and yet, it was the worst year of our lives.

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It will forever be etched into the history book of life for Andy and I.  It contains many life altering moments – good and bad.  I find myself reliving these moments and reflecting on how very quickly your life can change.

When we entered 2016, I can honestly say I was the happiest I had been in my life. I was pregnant with our first child.  I was going to be a mother and Andy was going to be a father. By Christmas, Andy and I would be a family of three with a beautiful baby.  I was on top of the world; the prospects of the Year 2016 held unlimited happiness for us.

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As we exit 2016, that happiness is gone.

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Dear December – Part One

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Dear December,

I have been dreading you.  But you are here. You’ve been here for a few days now and Andy and I are tentatively learning how to navigate your waters of frigid and harsh grief. We don’t want to be swimming in these waters.  We never asked to be here.  And yet, we are.  And we are trying to figure out how to swim against your forceful current.  I know it’s not entirely your fault, but I associate you with Christmas. 

Never in a thousand years did we think we would find ourselves in these shoes; figuring out how to live through Christmas after the loss of our child.  No one thinks this can happen to them.  Until it does.  I never thought I would be silently and passively protesting Christmas.  It is hard to simply just exist when the season is one that is overwhelmingly full of joy and good cheer.  

Continue reading “Dear December – Part One”