This blog is an uncensored look into my soul. I am writing this as part of my healing process, but am leaving it public so others can follow me through my journey.

If you'd like to start from the beginning, click on the beautiful, adorable picture of Hailey on the right hand column.

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

The aMAYZing Race

Wow!  I don't even know where to begin or how to put this experience into words.  I guess the first thing to say is thank you.  Thank you from the very bottom of my heart to all of you who supported us in this cause.   I have so many good people in my life.  I don't know how I got so lucky in the area, but the Lord has truly blessed me abundantly.  Family, friends, and strangers alike supported us in so many different ways.  Many drove the 6 1/2 hour drive to The Valley of Fire State Park so they could be there personally to run, walk, or volunteer in Hailey's honor.  Then there were those who couldn't physically make it there, but still took the time out of their busy Saturday to show their love and support by walking/running the race from wherever they were!  One of my best friends and her neighbor ran the 5K in 40 degree weather outside of Boston, just so they could be a part of this event and show their support!!!  They even made shirts with Hailey's picture on it!  Getting the text with that picture brought the hugest smile to my face.  Lastly, there were so many of you who sponsored a US troop overseas in Afghanistan.  They also ran at the same time as us from where they were stationed.   The love and support we received has been overwhelming and I'm still having trouble finding the words to truly express my gratitude.

The scenery was absolutely breathtaking, but the terrain these runners had to conquer was not easy...very hilly and windy.  Being at the race was somewhat surreal to me.  We've been talking about it and promoting it for months now, so to see how it all came together was awesome.  The amount of work that went into making this race possible was beyond what I could have even imagined, yet my husband pulled it off, with the help of a very special friend...Thank you Tracy!  There were 368 participants, representing 3 countries and 39 states.  Amongst all those aMAYZing runners, we had a man with a prosthetic leg run the entire marathon.  It was such an emotional moment seeing him cross that finish line with his arms in the air and the look of pride on his face.  There was also a 4-year old little girl...the same age as Hailey would be now...who RAN the entire 5K!  After running, she came up to me and handed me a dime and said, "This is from Hailey."  I was in awe of her. (Oh, and that was her second 5K, by the way!)  The last runner to finish was a woman in her late 60's who also completed the entire marathon!

I have to share a truly aMAYZing experience that I had.  First off, I am so very embarrassed to say that I considered leaving before the race ended.  We had been up since 4:15 in the morning and by then it was after 1:00pm, plus there were only a few more runners out.  I was exhausted, not feeling so great (Don't forget I'm pregnant now!) and had a 6 hour drive home.  I rationalized to myself that not every single person who ran the race was running for Hailey.  This particular race has been going on for many years now, so I knew that some of the runners were regulars.  I figured it wouldn't really matter that much if I left a little early.  (Gosh, I am so humiliated to admit that and feel absolutely horrible and selfish that I even thought that way, but I'm only telling you all this because the rest of the story is too great not to share.)  Well something inside me said that I needed to wait to see every single runner cross that finish line...every single participant was just as important as the next.  So I did. I stayed. And the last lady to finish was the woman in her late 60's who had just completed the entire marathon.  First, I have to say that seeing her cross that finish line brought out such emotion and pride in me.  I wasn't expecting that at all.  Then, something I was expecting even less occurred.  That same lady walked up to me, asked me if I was Hailey's mom, and when I said yes, she took a dime out of her pocket, handed it to me and said, "Here, I ran with this in my pocket for 26.1 miles in honor of your little girl."  (Okay, the tears are flowing right now as I type this.)  I almost fell over.  I couldn't believe it!  I was absolutely speechless at the irony of the entire moment.  Here I was going to selfishly leave before she made it back, thinking she wouldn't really care if I was there or not, and yet she was running with this dime in her pocket the entire time.  Let me just say, that was one of those life changing moments that I will NEVER forget.  That dime holds a special place in my heart and home.

Now, speaking of dimes...I asked Hailey just to send me one dime that day so I knew she was there.  After arriving, Tracy (the wonderful lady in charge of the race) made an announcement to everyone introducing Sean, Lexi, Ava, and I as Hailey's parents.  (That was quite emotional in itself.)  After the announcement, groups of people I have never met before started walking up to me and handing me dimes!  It was so awesome.  She not only sent me one dime...she showered me with them!!!  I love her.  I haven't had a chance to count how much money I received in dimes yet, but I decided to use them to buy something really special to leave at her place as a memento of all those people who supported her and her family.  I'll update you all and post a picture when I decide what to get.

I'm still not sure how much money we raised for Hailey's Foundation, but the one thing I am sure of is that I can't wait to start using it to give out "halos!"  Christmas is the hardest time of the year for me without my little Hailey around, so I think being able to help others with her foundation will definitely bring a lot of joy. (Probably even more to me than those we're helping!)  I will keep you all updated on all the halos we give out so you can see the difference that your hard earned money is making to those special people in need of a little extra love.  Who would have ever imagined that so much good could come from something so tragic. That being said, I want to close by saying, Thank again...thank you, thank you, thank you...for all your continued love and support.  None of this would be possible without all of you. May God bless you and your families for your compassion towards those who are struggling in life.

P.S.  I hope to see you all there next year at the 2nd Annual aMAYZing Race!!!

A few photos:
Our Family

Check out that scenery.

Hailey's two sisters representing her cause.

About to start the race!

Lexi came in first in the Kid's Fun Run!
(Way to represent!  Hailey would be so proud.)

Hailey's flag flew at the finish line.
(It's in the bottom right hand corner.)

Monday, November 15, 2010

It Doesn't Always Get Easier With Time

The title says it all.  I have to say, that in a lot of ways, that for me personally, it has gotten a little harder.  It could have to do with the pregnancy, but honestly, I don't think it's all that.  I'm definitely more emotional and quick to shed tears, but it's the deep rooted pain that seems to be the worst.

I used to always say that I wish I'd cry easier and now that it's happening I'm not so sure I want that.  It's very rare that I cry in front of people, for any reason, but especially Hailey.  I'm not sure why...maybe because I'm afraid if I start I'll never stop.  You know how when you're trying so hard not to cry and someone gives you a hug and it just causes the tear ducts to overflow?...well, maybe that's what I'm so scared of.  Or maybe it's just that I don't want to make the other person uncomfortable.  I mean, honestly, it would make me uncomfortable if I were them.  I've personally experienced losing a child, yet I still don't think I'd know exactly what to say or how to comfort someone else going through it.  So how is someone who's never been there supposed to help comfort the sobbing mess that would be me?  Anyways, I do find myself crying pretty much everyday.  Sometimes at the most random times and things. Sometimes much more than others. 

I just miss her soooooooo much.  Some days it is almost unbearable.  I get so lonely without her, especially when Ava is napping for several hours and I'm home.  The funny thing is that I'm not lonely being "alone," I'm just lonely being without her, if that makes any sense.  Being with other people or keeping busy doesn't help with this kind of loneliness because it's all about her.  I want her.

I think part of the reason I feel so lonely without her and I miss her so much is because it feels like she's slowly slipping away from me.  Not her spirit, but her as a human being.  I knew her as a 3-year old.  I knew her likes and dislikes, the things that excited her, the things that made her yell her cute little head off, etc.  But now, when I think about her I'm lead to wonder who she would be today.  I can't answer any of those above questions for Hailey as she would be today and honestly, that sucks.  It hurts.  I often find myself looking around when we're together as a family and wondering where she would be in the mix.  What would she be doing at that moment?  What would she be saying?  Even, where would she be sitting?  

I know it's not good to dwell on those thoughts and I don't.  But I do think them about a hundred times a day.  It's the not knowing, the wondering that kills me sometimes.  I try to tell myself that there's no point even going there because that Hailey didn't and doesn't exist right now, but really, I dare anyone in my shoes to try not going there!  It's almost impossible.

Anyways, I just had to share all that and get it off my chest.  My faith is still as strong as ever.  Hailey is still spiritually as close as ever...the proof is in the dimes I still find just when I need them!  But the grief and pain is also still as strong as ever.

Maybe even a little stronger sometimes.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I'm Pregnant!

I started documenting my pregnancy journey as soon as I found out, so here it is from the beginning until now! 

Wednesday, September 29th

Oh my gosh, I just found out I'm pregnant!  Sean and I have gone through much thought, prayer, consideration, even heartache to arrive at the decision to try for another baby.  It all came down to us knowing that we would never regret having another baby, but could possibly regret not doing it.  So here we are, no regrets.

When I first saw the positive test I was shocked.  We hadn't expected it to happen so quickly.  Then, I got really excited, only to be overcome with sadness and grief in the same 10 minute period.  All of a sudden it hit me.  I was going to have another baby and Hailey wasn't going to physically be here to celebrate and experience it all with us.  I would never have a complete family photo with all my children.  I would never have a complete picture of all my children together in their Halloween costumes or on Christmas morning or just hanging with the family.  I was moving forward in my life, in a huge way, without Hailey.

I sat on the couch and broke down. It hit like a tons of many thoughts and emotions flooding through me like I've never felt before.  I felt guilty, as if I was betraying Hailey for feeling excited.  Yet on the other hand, I felt guilty, and as if I was betraying this new baby for feeling sad and crying.  I was so confused and torn.  As I cried, I then began to worry that something would be wrong with this baby, too.  How was I going to handle that?  I couldn't do it all again.  Hailey was my special so many ways.  I couldn't go through that with another baby.  I couldn't deal with the worry, uncertainty, highs and then lows, pains and triumphs, heartaches and joys.  My mind was a tornado of thoughts and emotions, some very realistic, while others just plain crazy.

As I sat there in that moment, I heard this voice in my head say, "It's okay Mom.  All will be fine.  I've got it covered."  The voice and impression was so strong...something I literally cannot put into words.  It was absolutely "amayzing!" Well, then I cried even harder...good tears this time.  I knew then that Hailey would be as much a part of this baby's life from Heaven as she would have been from here on Earth.  I'm still not totally thrilled that she won't physically be here, or even close to okay with it, but I have no choice in the matter, so I'll take whatever she'll give us!

Sunday, October 3rd

Yesterday I found out I have a sinus infection and didn't know what to do.  I am in serious pain and feel horrible.  A friend of mine, who's a nurse, told me to call my ob/gyn and tell her the situation.  So, I did.  Of course, I haven't been in to see her yet because it's been less than a week that I've even know I'm pregnant.  She gave me a prescription and told me that she was very confident that it would in no way harm the baby.   She said it was much better to take the medication now before it got worse or I ended up with flu or something else.

One of the reasons I am so uneasy about taking any medication is because Hailey's esophagus defect happened within the first 6-8 weeks of development.  Every single one of her doctor's have assured me that it was nothing that I did to cause it; it was just a fluke thing in the development.  Even so, as her mother, I still wonder if I did something wrong.  So the thought of doing anything that could even remotely cause problems to this baby not only terrifies me, but sickens me.  I asked the doctor if she were me and pregnant and had the history I did with Hailey if she would still take the medication and she assured me that she would.  So, I reluctantly had her call it in.

I didn't pick it up last night because I still wasn't sure of what to do.  This morning, however, I woke up and felt even worse and finally decided to go get it. Sean was completely supportive of my decision to take the medication.  But, on the way to the pharmacy I was still bothered by it and decided to call my sister for some advice or reassurance.  She didn't answer...thanks Kim!  Then I called my parents.  They didn't answer either...nice.  Lastly, I called my nurse friend who originally told me to call the doctor the day before.  Do ya think she answered?  Of course not.  

That's when I realized why no one was answering.  I was seeking reassurance from everyone except the one who knew all and could give it to me right then and there...God.  I knew He would answer!!  So I prayed.  I told Him everything about how I felt and how uneasy I was about this whole medication thing.  I needed to know that it was okay.  I told Him about Hailey and how much I swear I heard her tell me she was watching over this baby and I really wanted to know if that was true. 

So I went to three different stores to get a humidifier filter and my medication.  I paid at two of the three stores with not me!!  I never have cash.  Anyways, both times I paid with cash, when the cashier handed me back my change a dime dropped and landed tails up!  It was so crazy.  The first time it happened I didn't really think anything of it because everyone drops change sometimes.  However, I'm assuming that Hailey wanted to make sure that I did think something of it because it happened a second time at a different store.  Both times I had a full hand of change, but only one dime dropped and landed tails up!  That was all I needed to know!

It was her I heard the other day and she does have it all covered.  She's going to watch over her baby brother or sister and I don't need to worry.  I love my girl...and the Lord too!  I am so blessed. 


Well I'm sure it has something to do with the pregnancy, but my emotions have been crazy this past couple weeks.  I've been brought to tears at least once a day...sometimes by the most unexpected things.

For instance, the other day I was driving Lexi to school and passed by my neighbor's work building.  He was the one that Hailey absolutely adored.  Now, I drive by his building every single day while taking Lexi to school and never before has it invoked such emotion in me.  I began thinking of the day Hailey died.  He met us there at the emergency room and was giving Hailey a blessing when the doctor called her time of death.  I remember him collapsing in sobs, just as Sean and I did.  He loved her so much, probably as much as possible without being her actual father.  That memory and the thought of how he was there when Sean and I needed him brought tears pouring down my cheeks.  Luckily, Lexi was too busy watching a video to notice.

Then, the other day I had to move some stuff off her little memorial bookcase so the air conditioning people could get some things by.  I was in my room and thought I'd take a quick peek at the guest book from her funeral.  I've never really looked at it before, but didn't think it would be that big of a deal.  Well, big mistake.  It was a big deal.  I was immediately transported, as if in a time machine, back to that day.  It was as if I was reliving it all over again and seeing each of those people, who so graciously came to honor my little girl, for the first time again since she died.  Wow, the emotion and tears were flowing.

Halloween was another one.  I heard the second time around on holidays isn't usually as hard as the first, but in this case that was wrong.  I think last year I was still in total shock.  Halloween had only been 2 months since she passed so I was still numb and probably believing she'd be back soon.  This year, reality was there.  Having to go visit your daughter at her gravesite on Halloween is just plain unfair (and heart wrenching.)  I cried the whole way there, there, and the whole way back.  We had a flag up of her in her Halloween costume the year before she died and she looked so happy!

Anyways, those are just a few of the times I was caught off guard with my emotions.  I think that's the absolute worst thing about is so darn unpredictable.  As soon as you think you're going to be okay and the hardest parts are comes up and slaps you across the face all over again, completely unexpectedly.  But on a positive note, the blessings that come from staying close to God and not shunning Him in such times of pain are also much larger than expected.

Sunday, November 7th

Well I'm officially 9 weeks along now, so we decided to announce it to the world.  It was a tough decision.  I wanted to wait a little longer because I had a miscarriage between Lexi and Hailey, so I am still concerned it could happen again.  My excited hubby convinced me that all will be okay, so I did it...I posted in on Facebook.  There's no turning back from there!  :)  I still worry because after all we've been through losing Hailey I'm not sure how I'd handle a miscarriage or all the sorrow and pity that would come from others.  (Not that I wouldn't want the support, but in a lot of ways, I think it would be easier if no one really knew.)  Anyways, it's too late for that now!  

Last week, Sean and I went and had an ultrasound and saw the baby's heartbeat.  The doctor assured us that it was very strong and all looks great, so I'm hoping that's a sign for times to come...all will look great.  As I've gotten used to the idea of having another baby, I've come to feel more excitement.  I'm already dying to know if it's a boy or girl!!

Today at church I was talking to a friend and telling her how I feel like this baby will bring a lot of joy to our home, as well as open the door for more spiritual experiences between our family and Hailey.  This new precious and innocent soul will come into the world just as precious and innocent as her older sister left.  I think they'll have a special bond together and the baby will be very well watched over.  After telling my friend all this, I went into the bathroom and was digging around in my diaper bag (Ava's diaper bag!) for my lip gloss.  Well there on the very bottom was a shiny dime laying tails up!  I was so thrilled!  Hailey is so close to us all the time.  She is "amayzing!"

Anyways, that's the journey so far.  I'll keep you all updated and posted as things move along.   I have to say thank you for all the love, support, and excitement that's been shown in response to the news of our new little one!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!