Honoring the loss of a child you miscarried

When we were at the hospital immediately following my miscarriage, the doctor asked us questions we weren’t yet prepared to answer. He talked to us about the options of disposition as well as mention of the availability of a chaplain and an upcoming memorial service.  Having worked in the hospital before and witnessing families deal with loss, these were the “typical” conversations that staff had with families yet when someone is directing these conversations to you, your world stops abruptly and you are reminded that you really did lose your child.

I’m glad Mr. Pizza and I were given some time to talk it through because it was difficult for me to process my own thoughts around these end-of-life decisions.  As we drove back home that night, thinking about the reality of our loss, we knew that we wanted to honor our baby in some way.

We decided to plant a tree in our backyard, but I wasn’t exactly on board right away. I’m pretty clueless when it comes to planting or growing anything outside so I didn’t want the added responsibility of helping to grow and keep a healthy tree alive, especially since it would be connected to the loss of our baby. Once the tree was planted and we spent some time talking to the girls about the loss of our baby and why we planted the tree, I was glad we chose to honor our baby in this way. Because of my uncertainty, I was thinking of and looking into other ideas of honoring our baby up until the day we bought and planted the tree. Here are some of the ideas that I thought of or came across.

Stepping stone – This was one of the first ideas I came up with.  I like the idea of the stone being in our backyard and something we would always see when we are playing in the backyard.  I’ve come across some nice options to personalize the stepping stones.

Jewelry – I’m drawn to jewelry because it can have a lot of meaning to you but to others can simply look like a beautiful piece of jewelry. I liked this, this and this necklace that can hold some of the ashes.

Tattoo – I don’t have any tattoos myself but think this would be a meaningful way to honor a loss.

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Upcoming Books

With Christmas around the corner, I’m starting to do research for good gifts I can get for my crew. I always gift books and while I have a mountain high list of books I can pick from at any given point in time, I always like seeing what new books are coming as well. Here are some of the ones coming before the end of the year that I’m excited about and hope to add to our home library.

here we are

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth – Oliver Jeffers is a well known staple in our home so when I saw he had a new book coming, I had to add it to the list immediately. Besides the Crayon Series books he illustrated, we love The Way Back Home, The Incredible Book Eating Boy, This Moose Belongs to Me, and more.  I even took Drake and Juliet this summer to see a special play based on The Way Back Home which was incredible and made such an impression on them both. I’m sure this one will be no less creatively and imaginatively fun as all of Jeffers’ books are.


Windows– When I was young, I had a tendency to always look at the bright lights of other people’s homes as we drove by in the evenings. As an only child, I always imagined what other people’s families were like. What kinds of foods did their children eat? What TV program was on in the background before bed time? To this day I still find myself doing it when I’m the passenger in a car, wondering how other people tackle the same daily routines I have with my own family. This book about taking a stroll at night looking into windows of neighbors reminds me so much of my own childhood. So I’m very interested in reading it and sharing this experience with my kids to learn what they think at night looking at all those lit up homes.

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Mommy Wars? Not Even Close

Occasionally an article will pop up about the “mommy wars,” pitting SAHMs and WOHMs against each other. And while the day to day experiences are different, I haven’t experienced the animosity of the mommy wars. I have the opposite experience of teaming up with WOHMs, especially once my oldest kiddo began preschool.

When BeBe started preschool, volunteers were requested. One of the moms who had a corporate sales job and busy travel schedule volunteered to be the room mom. I volunteered to run activities for classroom parties and help with field trips. At the time, I had a new baby with serious medical issues, and didn’t want to take on any projects. She had the time to email parents and organize events. And while she attended many events, she knew she had me and a few other parents committed to running the event if she had to unexpectedly travel for work. (Also, her husband was very involved too). This worked well because we shared resources and responsibilities. However, she took on much of the work, and I appreciated her doing so.

Now with BeBe in elementary school I’m less active in volunteering, but I make the effort to attend at least one school event a year. But even scheduling one event is tricky, because their school does not allow younger siblings to attend. This is where I combine resources with a WOHM friend. For a recent field trip, I could only get a babysitter for our little guy in the morning, and she could only slip away during the afternoon. We contacted the teacher and let her know we would be sharing chaperone duties for the day. With a quick pass of the kids’ lunch bags and sweatshirts at noon, we both enjoyed the field trip with our kiddos. And the teacher didn’t have to do any extra planning.

Another challenge WOHMs (and dads) face with kids in elementary school is the daycare options shrink. It’s a juggle to piece together camps and before and after school care. This is where I pitch in as a SAHM. If there are a few days between the school year ending and summer camp starting, we invite kids over for an all-day play date. And if WOHM friend has a last-minute work crisis, they know they can text me, and I will get their kiddo off the bus and the kids can play at our house. Other times a WOHM friend will pick up their kid from school, drop them at our house, and rush back to a meeting. (They need to let the bus company and school know ahead of time, though).

My WOHMs friends also pitch in to help me. When I’m scrambling for an early morning babysitter for BeBe because our little guy has an appointment at the hospital, guess who is up early, starting their day, and willing to watch my six year-old? Working parents with little kids, and they have been awesome about watching BeBe when that happens.

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Night Terrors

Our oldest has never been a particularly good sleeper. Ever. When he was a newborn, he lost a lot of weight very quickly and we were advised to wake him every two hours for the first several weeks to make sure he was fed. From our perspective, it messed with his sleep big time and it was hard to break that routine. Cry-it-out was a disaster for us and he frequently woke at 4am every day to play until well after he was 18  months (as in, he was up for the day by 4am). Even after he started sleeping through the night more reliably, there have been plenty of evenings where he’s woken up and needed us to get back to sleep. As much as I complain about being woken up in the middle of the night, I have to admit I’m grateful when Lion quickly turns over and falls back asleep the minute he realizes Mr. Dolphin or I are in the room.


So sweet and peaceful at 9pm. A completely different story by 11pm.

The nights I dread are the ones where we hear crying or screaming coming from Lion and Panda’s room, the nights where nothing we say or do is going to rouse Lion. To make matters worse, they share a room and while Panda can sleep through a bit of crying or fussing, he’s unlikely to make it through one of Lion’s night terrors.

Before we had Lion, I had no understanding of what night terrors were. I thought night terrors, or sleep terrors, were just about nightmares or bad dreams. I’ve come to appreciate that night terrors are something completely different. When Lion has a night terror, he starts crying or screaming uncontrollably. If he talks, it’s usually gibberish. Sometimes he seems to be awake, but continues to cry no matter what we do. He doesn’t seem to acknowledge or recognize us. And the crying can last up to fifteen to twenty minutes. It. Is. Awful. And it never feels like fifteen minutes, it feels like it is lasting forever.

I don’t have much advice to share, only my own experiences:

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My second attempt at Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding didn’t go too well the last time. I basically gave up at the hospital when feeds #1-3 resulted in bloody nipples. The pain was so intense I couldn’t imagine continuing on! I have super low pain tolerance and turns out that my nipple skin was just extra sensitive. Even with the perfect latch, I was in such intense pain I would pull away after 15 seconds. So, I exclusively pumped for 8/9 months and it was… difficult. I always wondered if there was something else I could have done to successfully breastfeed. It would have been nice to not carry around ice packs for my breastmilk! I envied those moms who were able to immediately stop a fussy baby by breastfeeding.

Here were some things I prepared myself for the second time around:

  • I knew there would be judgment from the hospital staff when requesting formula. It’s crazy that even as a second time mom, I still felt really guilty asking for formula. I had to put my foot down and officially say, “I understand that the best way to get my milk in faster is to continue breastfeeding, but I still want to give formula right now.” Once I set a firm tone, the staff immediately let it go and gave me formula.
  • I expected the same intense pain from the first feedings, and possibly cracked/bloody nipples. The second time around still hurt like crazy! But this time I used a breast shield and it took away about 70% of the pain. Once again, the most smug lactation consultant was amazed that it still hurt with a perfect latch. What can I say – I just have super sensitive skin!
  • I prepped fenugreek, dandelion root, mother’s milk tea and lactation cookies. I had my husband freeze some homemade lactation cookies so I could just take them out and bake when I needed them.
  •  KEY THING: Sleep as much as possible! I know this seems so backwards (and I’m sure everyone is different), but I actually got more milk the more I rested. The last time I pumped religiously every 3 hours for 5 months, with one long stretch in the night. So even if I was in deep sleep, my alarm would go off and I would pump no matter what. But this time, I was more relaxed. I tried to pump every 3-4 hours, but if I accidentally slept in that would be OK. Less stress/anxiety and more sleep was first priority!

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Giving Birth the Second Time

I gave birth to the newest Baby P eight weeks ago. My household is adjusting to life as a family of four and we are working on finding a routine. Little P turned two last week. She is an energetic and outgoing girl and is learning that having a sister is pretty great.

It’s no secret that I didn’t enjoy pregnancy as much the second time around. It was challenging taking care of a young toddler while pregnant, plus I had several complications. I saw my MFM for the last time at 37 weeks. She checked my placenta location and measured the baby. My placenta was 2.5cm away from my cervix, which was a half centimeter more than it needed to be for me to have a vaginal delivery. The baby was measuring 1-2 weeks ahead instead of the 2-3 weeks she had been for most of the pregnancy. My MFM estimated her birth weight at high 8 or low 9 pounds.

Rainbow Joy Photography

At my 38 week appointment my OB and I talked about delivery. For most of my pregnancy we weren’t sure if I would need a c section because of my placenta. At that appointment my OB recommended inducing based on the baby’s size. She said that because I had a successful and very easy vaginal delivery the first time, she was comfortable with inducing me versus having me have a c section. I was happy to hear that. I enjoyed my labor and delivery experience the first time and was hoping to repeat it. I left that appointment with an induction date for 39 weeks.

Over the next couple of days my mom and Mr. P’s mom and aunt came into town. He finished up work before his leave (I was already on leave) and we got the last of the baby prep finished. The night before I delivered, Mr. P and I took Little P out for one last outing as a family of three. That night as I spent a little extra time tucking her in, I told her she was going to have a sister the next day, but she was too young to really understand what that meant.

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fall bucket list and why seasonal family bucket lists are the best

Before I had children of my own, I remember talking to a 5-year-old girl who went on and on about everything she was looking forward to from her family’s summer bucket list; it incorporated unexpected activities like getting to pick anything out at the dollar store and eating mostly popcorn for dinner to the typical summertime fun like making s’mores. The way her family approached their bucket list reminded me of the book, Yes Day!, which is about a special day of the year when all of the kid’s requests are met with a “yes!”, except with a seasonal bucket list you could spread out the requests over a few months. The bucket list was one of those ideas I stored up in the back of my mind that I was excited to start doing one day with my kids….and here we are!

At the beginning of last summer, we created our first bucket list. We wanted it to be a mix of seasonal activities along with any activities that either the girls, Mr. Pizza or I wanted to do. Since they are young, we try to keep it simple so it’s manageable, yet still memorable. We don’t have any ideas listed that are too out of the ordinary this fall but I’m absolutely okay with that.

Here are a few reasons why seasonal family bucket lists are awesome!

– Bucket lists are great because just like people say, “the days are long but the years go by fast”…and with that the changing seasons seem to pass so quickly. Without activity ideas that we could fall back on, it’s easy to let a perfectly nice Saturday pass by.

– Seasonal bucket lists get you excited about the new season and the holidays that are coming up.

– Different family members can have their say in the list so there’s things on the list for everyone.

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