Sunday, November 25, 2007


Hidden Ocean

"She held her grief behind her eyes like an ocean & when she leaned forward into the day it spilled onto the floor & she wiped at it quickly with her foot & pretended no one had seen. "

This is a quote from Brian Andreas, the maker of "Story People".
Check out his quotes/stories at

When I was a teenager, my family and I went to Maine for a vacation. (I think this was our last family vacation before my parents got divorced, but that is another story...) My brother was probably 13 and I was about 17 at the time. I remember Zach and I walking around Boothbay Harbor going for ice cream and browsing some fancy shops. We couldn't afford anything in them but we came across the "Story People". These Story People ended up sort of following me around- wherever I went, I would find stores with them. I now have 7 prints hanging in my house (but that too is another story..) Anyway, my favorite quote I found that day when I was with my brother was:
"She said she usually cried at least once a day not because she was sad, but because the world was too beautiful and life was so short"

I loved that quote and never knew just how true it would become for me...I do cry everyday. Somedays it is just a few tears or those that unconsciously roll down my cheeks at just the thought of Caroline, but then there are days like today where the tears are much like the first quote- an ocean- they just keep coming. I know that the tears are God's gift to me and they help us all to heal. When they come, I accept them. Today I knew they were coming and I was at work and being a teacher, you can't just leave the room, sit down and have a cry. So I swallowed hard, waited until I dropped my kids off to Art, and then I had a real good cry. One of my coworkers cried with me and prayed with me and I of course gained composure in time to get the students and carry on with the day.

It amazes me, truly, how the past month has dragged on like it has been a year. Maybe that is a blessing... maybe that has given us more time to miss her, more time to let it ''sink in". Sometimes I really have to stop and think, "Did this really happen? Could this really happen? Is this all just a bad dream?" I think this is why I often replay scenes from the hospital over and over again in my mind. Somehow it makes it really sink in and feel like a reality. I am also so grateful to everyone who prayed for us, with us, and helped us to make the right decisions. I would so very much regret not seeing or holding my baby. I am so glad that we did.

Many days I also question why this had to happen and although there are no answers to satisfy me, as I was reading another blog written by a mother who has 4 boys and lost her only baby girl, I found her words were so touching that I must share them here-

... I felt like all my hopes and dreams were lost. But what I did not realize then, but know for sure now, is that Madeline would not be who she was intended by God to be if she had been exactly as I had planned her. It really is a blessing that we are not in control of our lives because I never would have written mine with this outcome. God knew how badly I wanted a little girl and He could not have given me a more perfect one than Madeline Grace Hopkins. And even though she is not the child I had planned or dreamed about, she is even better. I knew early on that Madeline would not be "normal" and that I probably would never parent her like I have our other children. I was able to grieve the loss of that dream and it is only recently that I knew that as badly as I missed her and wanted her here to share in our life, Madeline would not be herself if she were able to do that. She was exactly as God intended her and I would not trade her for a healthy daughter anyday because that would mean changing her. Madeline was perfect in all ways, in our eyes and God's.

I am so grateful to have other mothers to share this journey with, but the sad reality is there shouldn't be so many of us....

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Our 1st Anniversary

Well, one year ago we were filled with joy, excitement, and anticipation for "the big day". I was running around all week getting ‘ready’. I had my hair and nails done, got my massage, had the bridesmaid luncheon, and then we had the rehearsal at the church and dinner at Hella’s. I remember that I stayed up very late the night before the wedding with Jessica, Kelly, and mom drinking wine… we giggled and acted so silly taking pictures of one another in my mother’s wedding dress. I was so happy. I couldn’t wait to get to that church and get married!

I loved Nick so very much then and couldn’t imagine my heart being fuller than it was that day.

Our wedding and reception was perfect and so much fun. Who would have ever dreamed what would happen next- a baby!? We had only been married 6 months when we found out we were pregnant. (I still think people thought we were nuts.) I vividly remember the date we found out- May 20th. My graduation from grad school was the day before and I was not myself. I felt so grouchy and irritable that whole weekend (which I am sure Nick would attest to). We had just gotten in the door from getting groceries and I had to use the bathroom. I figured “Oh, what the heck?” I had already bought the tests so I thought I would just ‘double check’ to be sure I wasn’t pregant, but when it said I was, well, my eyes just welled with tears. Please know this was not because I was sad, but because I was shocked! We had just started ‘trying’ and I couldn’t believe it. They were the kind of tears that come involuntarily- they just poured out of my eyes- I couldn’t stand the excitement. I opened the door to show Nick that test and he really didn’t believe I was serious. I sent him to the store and that night we took 2 more tests and of course they both were positive!

Words can never describe how much I loved being pregnant and knowing that little life was growing inside of me. I remember the night we found out she was a girl- Nick was just as excited as I was even though I knew he really was hoping for a boy.

What happened next was nothing we could have ever planned for. Hearing that our baby girl had died was the worst possible news we could have ever received and news we never expected. I feel like a piece of me died with her, but through all of this tragedy I truly believe it caused our love for her to be even greater. I want everyone who reads this to know that the man that my husband has proven to be through all of this made me fall in love with him all over again. He was so wonderful and supportive that I really felt grateful and proud to call him my husband.

I know that I said that on our wedding day I couldn’t imagine my heart ever being fuller than it was that day. But now it is so very full, full of love for:
  • our daughter, Caroline

  • my husband, Nick

  • and for all those who have prayed for us and have been here to help us handle this tragedy. (Please do keep them coming!)

We have come through the greatest struggle we could have never dreamed of being put through and we have come through it together with our faith and love as a couple being even stronger in the end. Although today is not filled with the same type of joy and excitement that we had last year as we prepared for our marriage… I will say that the anticipation is quite similar. I am anxious for the day that we do have another baby. I anticipate all that the future holds for us and know that we have many many years of happy memories to come.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Glory Baby

These lyrics were sent to me after Caroline died and have brought me so much comfort. I love this song and believe it whole-heartedly.
A word about the couple who sings this song:
"The album features the song "Glory Baby," a reminiscence of the child Christy miscarried. The couple suffered a second miscarriage before the birth of their son Noah Luke in 2000. Christy speaks candidly, both musically and in interviews, of the pain she and Nathan endured and its effect on their faith. "We've experienced grief for the first time and learned about that process, but I think through grief, God just showed me some places in my life that I needed to surrender," she told the Christian Broadcasting Network's Lisa Ryan. "It was a really dark time, but at the same time it is strange because I look back on that and I remember that being a very spiritually enlightening, very bright, light time," Nathan recalled in the same interview. "I think it was because everything was stripped away, just like that, and there was nothing except for us and God." Christy feels it is important to share her tribulations with audiences: "A lot of brokenness and vulnerability comes through on our records and in our concerts. People can see that we're weak, we're not super Christians, and we don't have it all together but, thankfully, God uses us in spite of it."

Here is a link to view the song on youtube:

Glory baby you slipped away as fast as we could say baby…baby..
You were growing, what happened dear? You disappeared on us baby…baby..
Heaven will hold you before we do Heaven will keep you safe until we’re home with you…
Until we’re home with you…
Miss you everyday
Miss you in every way
But we know there’s aday when we will hold you
We will hold you
You’ll kiss our tears away
When we’re home to stay
Can’t wait for the day when we will see you
We will see you But baby let sweet
Jesus hold you‘till mom and dad can hold you…
You’ll just have heaven before we do You’ll just have heaven before we do
Sweet little babies, it’s hard tounderstand it ‘cause we’re hurting
We are hurting
But there is healing
And we know we’re stronger people through the growing
And in knowing- That all things work together for our good And God works His purposes just like He said He would…
Just like He said He would…
I can’t imagine heaven’s lullabies and what they must sound like
But I will rest in knowing, heaven is your home
And it’s all you’ll ever know…all you’ll ever know…

Sunday, November 18, 2007


The reason I picked the title "Emerging from the Cocoon" for my 'blog'...

During my hospital stay, the staff placed a butterfly sticker on my hospital room door as a symbol for all nurses, staff, etc. who entered to be aware that I had a still birth.
I later was given a beautiful "remembrance bracelet" which had a butterfly charm on it and butterfly lapel pins to give to family/ friends.
The nurse explained to us why the butterfly is used. Her explanation was much like this one:
"In the grief process, the bereaved person must learn how to deal with the loss, or significant change. Many people may hide away from the rest of the world much like being in a cocoon while trying to heal. This cocoon phase is one of transformation and often introspection and reflection. The process ends as the person emerges from their cocoon, metamorphosed into a different person. Thus the transformation of the grieving process is much like the story of the butterfly."

The nurse explained to us that just like the butterfly can never go back to being a caterpillar we will never be the same, as Caroline's presence in our life-although short, changed us forever.

When I was in college student teaching, we raised monarch butterflies in the classroom. The children (and I) loved watching them grow from little larva to big, fat caterpillars. Then suddenly they would be inside of their chrysalis (cocoon)- usually they did this overnight so the students would come into to school and be surprised and shocked by the change. Then there was so much anticipation for when they would emerge. When they finally did, we had to release them and I remember the children being somewhat sad to see them go as they had 'raised' them and watch them be 'born'. This is exactly how I feel now. I loved watching my belly grow and had such great anticipation for the day my baby girl would come out. Unfortunately, just like my students and their butterflies, I had to let her go. The butterfly is a gentle reminder of how beautiful, and fragile life can be. I think that one of my students said it best,"You should not take life for granted, as some of us never even get the chance to live it."


Grief, when you are the one going through it, is unlike you ever imagined it would feel. You know all those times you have seen someone else you love grieiving, or in pain, you think to yourself "I wish I could take the pain away for you." When you are the one in pain you almost don't want it to go away because then it feels like it is over- like you are moving on- like in a way you might 'forget'. People have commented about how I don't cry or how I 'seem' to be doing so 'well'. This doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. Surely on the outside I may not cry, possibly because I have no more tears left. (Seriously, I sometimes wish I could have a great big cry fest and 'get it all out' but the tears just won't come.) But trust me I hurt, in a way I truly couldn't have imagined.. my arms are empty and my heart is broken. There are days I feel like I am completely useless and just want to go get in the bed and stay there forever. Knowing this is not a choice... you have to put on your big girl panties and you say to yourself "I can do this. I am strong enough to make it through today."

Tiny Footprints on a Mother's Heart

This poem was sent to me with a necklace that has baby footprints on a heart. The poem is so true and Caroline's time with us, although short, truly has touched all of our hearts forever.

Tiny Footprints on a Mother's Heart

When a baby arrives,be it for a day, a month, a year or more,

or perhaps only a sweet flickering moment-

the fragile spark of a tender soul

the secret swell of a new pregnancy

the goldfish flutter known to only you-

you are unmistakeningly changed...

the tiny footprints left behind on your heart

bespeak your name as Mother