Pregnant After a Stillbirth

baby-24.jpgAuthor’s note: Pregnancy is hard. You’re tired, you’re sick and you’re sore. Pregnancy after a stillbirth, for me, has been harder. On top of the physical strain there’s a mental anguish nagging at the back of my mind the entire 9 months. I can’t speak for all women who become pregnant after losing a baby, but this post is about what it’s been like for me.

“Heavenly Father, please bless that my baby brother won’t die in my mom’s tummy.” That has been the frequent prayer of my four-year-old daughter recently. She’s four years old and she has to worry about if her brother will make it here alive or not. To be honest, we all worry about that.

Because eight years ago her older brother didn’t make it here to stay. He lived 8 months in my womb. I carried him through the morning sickness, the exhaustion and the aches and pains of the last trimester. Then at 37 weeks a knot in his umbilical cord tightened too tight and he died before being born. We got to meet that precious angel and hold him for a day. But then we had to say goodbye.

Long before we were ready.

That beautiful little baby changed my life forever.

And he changed my future pregnancies.

Being pregnant after delivering a stillborn is like sitting on a fence of insanity. On one side of the fence there’s the bliss of bringing home a tiny, sweet newborn to love, cuddle and raise. On the other, there’s the dark, depressing reality that not all babies make it home from the hospital – that there’s a slim chance that this one may not either.

I know what you are thinking, that this baby I’m carrying will be fine – odds are things will end up perfect. But no one can tell that to my brain. It knows what’s it’s like when things don’t end up fine and perfect.

So in order to survive pregnancy my mind creates a protective layer that keeps me safe from the sorrow that may come. My mind doesn’t let me really believe that I’m really having a baby.

Sure my body feels it. I’ve thrown up more this year than I can count, I can only fit in a handful of items in my wardrobe and I’m getting a couple hours of sleep a night – at most.

I’m totally ready to not be pregnant anymore. But I’m not ready for a baby.

My mind won’t let me go there. I don’t have a name picked out, I haven’t packed a hospital bag and I don’t daydream about snuggling my newborn.

Instead I teeter on the top of that terrible insanity fence. Mentally tipping from side to side not letting myself land either place. I won’t let myself believe this baby is coming home, or that we’ll have to bury him near his older brother.

I am in limbo.

There have been moments in this pregnancy when I have laid in bed pleading that this baby would move. I’ve waited to feel him kick – all the while planning out what I will tell his siblings if he doesn’t.

There have been times when I’ve pushed back my fears by keeping busy – I’ve carried on with work and church and PTA trying to keep my mind from worrying. I have moved on as if I wasn’t carrying a baby – working harder and longer than I should have.

I have had random complications – spotting, blurred vision, failed glucose test – that had me convinced this was going to end badly.

The middle of the pregnancy was the worst. The time when I first felt him move until he started moving regularly was the peak of anxiety. I know that babies are too small to feel all the time at first and that their movements are irregular, I KNOW that. But still my mind played some terrible tricks on me and I was prematurely planning his funeral.

Now that he moves all the time it’s easier. This baby has probably been my most active. But even still, I will feel him one minute and then panic the next. It’s terrible.

I have fears about returning the baby clothes I have purchased. What will I do with the new binkies, diapers and stroller? I still have a box of brand-new clothes that were meant for Luca. Would I save all these ones too?

I hesitate to assemble the crib – worrying that it may jinx the whole thing. I set up the crib the day Luca died. Taking it down empty was traumatic.

I have less than four weeks left until I will deliver. In a little more than a week I’ll be 37 weeks – the same gestation that Luca was when he died.

I should be prepping freezer meals and making arrangements for my other kids.

But I’m not.

I should be setting up the nursery and finalizing a name.

But I’m not.

I’m just surviving. I’m clinging to NST test results and praises from my doctor that everything looks perfect. I’m rubbing my tummy, feeling for arms and legs happily moving inside.

I’m watching my other kids run around and I’m hoping for the best, yet dreading the worst.

It’s all out of my hands.

I may go insane the next few weeks but there’s nothing I can do about it. Except maybe pray.

Pray like my four-year-old baby girl. Pray that this baby will be all right. That he’ll make it here kicking and screaming.

And pray that I’ll be able to survive if he doesn’t.


I gave myself a long break from my blog. I’ve written religiously each week for years. I couldn’t do it this year. So for the past few months I’ve been silent. 

But I would be lying to myself if I said that writing hasn’t been therapeutic for me. It’s been a way for me to work through my stress, my struggles, my sorrow. 

So here I am again. Writing. I don’t know if it will be weekly again – I’m not going to decide right now – but I know I’m going to write when I need to. Like right now.


I can’t stop thinking about fingerprints.

It’s been eight years since I was pregnant with my third son. Eight years since I was looking forward to bringing him home.

But he died on April 22, 2010, just a few weeks before his due date, and I delivered him still – never to bring him home.

Eight years is a long time to miss someone.

I remember immediately after his death everything hurt so much. There were moments I didn’t know how I could live and breathe. How could something so perfect be gone? How could a tiny baby die?

Much of my life from that time is a blur. I don’t know what I did day-to-day and I don’t know how I took care of my other two living children. It was a dark, dark time.

A time when I couldn’t imagine my life without my aching sorrow.

Fast forward 8 years and my grief has changed. There are moments when it hits and I am terribly sad at my loss – the loss of the life I couldn’t wait to get to know. Anniversaries are hard. Holidays are harder. And the days leading up to his birth/death date seem to be the hardest.

But overall my life is good. There are times I am so happy with how my life is that it’s hard to remember how sad it once was.

Then there are times when I wonder if it all really happened. Did I really survive burying my baby?  Did I live through that nightmare? Those times bother me most.

That’s when I think of fingerprints.

My 9-year-old told me that fingerprints are formed when a baby touches things in the womb.

I didn’t believe him. So we asked Google.

Sure enough, fingerprints develop in the womb when pressure comes to a baby’s hand through touch. That’s when tiny ridges are formed which become fingerprints. The markings are completely formed by the time a fetus is 6 months old – three months before it’s due date.

Isn’t that amazing?

I’ve seen Luca’s handprint. I’ve looked at those fingerprint ridge lines. After hearing how they were formed, they mean more to me than ever. They are proof that he lived inside me. Proof that he was a part of me.

Proof that he touched me.

Proof that that sweet little baby with chubby cheeks and strawberry-blonde hair was real – and really mine.

In a time of my life where things are busy and crazy, a time when I don’t have many moments to sit and reflect on life, I need that kind of proof. Because although the hurt doesn’t sting like it used to, it will always be there. And it hurts more when I try to ignore it.

I will always mourn the little boy I didn’t get to raise with his siblings. I will always tell friends and family about him. I will always wish he came home with me from the hospital.

But from now on, when I’m feeling down, I’m going to think about fingerprints. Think about those tiny markings on my angel baby that immortalize our bond. They show how connected we were and how he literally touched my life.

It’s amazing how something so tiny – like ridges in the skin – can make such an imprint on my life today.

But I guess that’s another reason why I like fingerprints. They remind me of Luca.

Luca’s life changed me forever. Just like his tiny finger markings reflect the short time he was here on earth, I too will forever be marked my his brief time in my womb.

My tiny boy has made a huge imprint on me.

Raising a Girl

Ruby's 3-year-old photos-76

After having four boys I was resigned to the fact that I may never raise a daughter. And I was all right with that. I love my boys. Honestly after Luca died I didn’t care either way. As long as they made it here safely, I’d take anything!

So when I got the results back from my round of genetics testing with my fifth baby I was in complete shock when the chromosomes read girl. Girl!?!?!? What?

Honestly I was terrified.

I had been raising ninjas for so many years I had forgotten all about princesses.

But these past three years have been magical. They’ve been filled with unicorns, baby dolls and pink.

I count myself lucky to be raising a daughter – I know there are women out there who are never given the chance.

All of my kids are different but I didn’t realize how different boys and girls were until our little princess arrived.

She truly is a caretaker. She loves to help me around the house and she loves to care for her dolls and stuffed animals. Her favorite thing to play right now is “house.” She’s the mom and I’m the kid. Sometimes, if I’m lucky, she’ll let me lay in her toddler bed while she serenades me with piano playing and lullabies.

This contrasts the warrior/hunting games my boys and I played at her same age. Of course we still had animals and friends we took care of, but instead of peaceful music, our games usually ended up with something scary trying to kill us and us having to fight for our lives.

She is definitely a fashionista. From the moment she could talk she started dictating her fashion sense.  “Not that shirt!” “I want those tights!” While my boys couldn’t care less what they wear, she has to be in a dress that “twirls” – and no matter how fancy the dress, she usually tops of the ensemble with a pair of pink and grey tennis shoes.

She gets embarrassed. Normally when my boys do something wrong they have an excuse or a reason for it. Instead of feeling bad or guilty they shout out the reasons why whoever or whatever deserved what was coming to them.

Not my baby girl. She accidentally tossed a ball at a baby at playgroup yesterday and she cried and cried that she just wanted to go home. She was so embarrassed. Even when she fell in downtown Salt Lake City and cut her head open she was more worried about people “seeing her” than the pain from the cut. She cried into my husband’s shoulder because she was nervous. Bless my heart. It was the saddest, cutest thing.

She loves her daddy. My boys were mamas boys. They followed me around the house and wanted to be with me all … the… time… It has been so fun to see the relationship between my husband and daughter. She prefers her dad. While sometimes I feel sad that she mostly wants her dad, I can’t blame her. After all, I married him, right? I love that she loves him like that.

She loves lipstick – so much that I had to hide it because she was using it as body paint.

She loves to dance and sing. You should see her hula! It’s completely different than the wild, run around, head banging, sword swinging her brothers did. It’s calm, it’s full of hip sway and it’s only performed on a “stage” of pillows.

I could go on and on about why she is different than my boys. She fills my life with ponies, blushes and twirls – things I thought I’d never care about as an adult.

I love everything about her. I am so grateful I get to raise a girl!

Ruby's 3-year-old photos-10 copy

Newborn Studio Makeover

Studio remodel-1

It’s finished!!!

All I wanted for Christmas this year was a makeover in my mini studio. My husband and I finished it up last weekend and I am thrilled.

Merry Christmas!!!

The studio space in my home is small and cozy – perfect for newborns, babies or toddlers.

A year ago it was our home’s office – an office that no one really used. Slowly, over the past 12 months, I have transformed it into a studio space.

Studio remodel-19

Here’s what things looked like a month ago. 

I’ve used it several times for newborn photos before the makeover and it has worked well, but I wanted something more clean, more fresh and more modern.

So we ditched the bookshelves, put up paneling and trim on the walls and I transformed the bifold closet doors into french doors.

Thank heavens for Pinterest. I couldn’t have done it without tutorials from a handful of online’s creative geniuses.

For the paneling we used this tutorial. My kids helped for a little while, but let’s be honest, they hate family projects. If I were to do it again I would space the boards farther apart. It was a nightmare trying to paint between the slats.

Studio remodel-8

For the square wall I used this tutorial. This wall was a lot easier than the faux shiplap wall.

Studio remodel-9

There were a bunch of door designs I thought about using for the closet, but I decided to use up all my scraps in this design. I used this blogpost as a guide for turning them into french doors. I still have to add handles to them, but I love how the doors turned out.

Studio remodel-12

I put down a couple of vinyl flooring remnants that I picked up from the local carpet store. I can move them around and use the different colors depending on what shot I’m doing.

It was more work than I think we imagined but I am so happy with how everything turned out. I still need to mount my backdrop roller but other than that it’s finished. Now I’m ready for all the babies!!!

If you know anyone who is expecting, I am giving away a free newborn session to celebrate my new space. Check out my Instagram this week for more information:

Here are a few more pics of the space.

Here’s to 2018

It’s almost 2018. The thought of a new year just blows my mind.

2017 was really good to me and my family.

It was a year I finally started to adjust the balance in my life and add some “me” weights to the scale. I started figuring out how to be myself again while still loving motherhood.

I decided to get some professional help and have finally been able to chill out lol.

My family rallied around me this spring while I studied hard and took a million photos during photography school – OK maybe not a million, but this year I’ve snapped about 50,000.

I launched my photography business in May and absolutely love having it.

This year we’ve celebrated Luca despite disapproval from local authorities. I sat in a field surrounded by thousands of floating lanterns as I dreamed of my baby boy. I told stories about him to my youngest two kids and I held him close to my heart when he felt too far away.

We visited another country in 2017 and spent a week on a golden-sand beach in Mexico. Sometimes I dream my toes are still in the sand.

And we bought another home in 2017. My husband’s grandpa’s farm house in a quiet, peaceful city in northern Utah. It’s a place where my kids can run around and explore. A place where I can sit still.

As 2017 comes to a close I am happy. Happy for the things I have learned this year. Happy for the fun I’ve had. Happy for those I get to spend my life with.

Here’s to 2018. Here’s to finding more balance, more peace. Here’s to more outdoor adventures and less backyard drama. Here’s to enjoying the little things. Here’s to doing more of what I love while surrounded by those that I love. And here’s to snapping more pictures of it all along the way.

Sometimes the Holidays Still Hurt


I was jamming out to Pandora yesterday while cleaning my house, getting it ready for Christmas Break when a song came on that reminds me of Luca.

It’s about a break-up, but the first verse always strikes me to the core. There are different types of broken hearts, but they all have something in common – they are broken.

The song, “Broken Heart” by John Meyer, goes like this:

“When you’re dreaming with a broken heart, the waking up is the hardest part. You roll out of bed and down on your knees and for a moment you can hardly breathe.

Wondering was she really here? Is she standing in my room?

No she’s not. ‘Cause she’s gone, gone, gone, gone, gone.”

When I hear it I flash back to the first few months my baby was gone. The sting, the sorrow, the anguish.

These days life keeps me busy. I run around chasing my four other children and try to keep up on my housework and photo editing, etc. I am happy.

But deep down, my heart still hurts sometimes.

And the holidays seem to make it hurt a little more than normal.

This time of year there is such an emphasis on family. It’s a time to spend together. A time for making memories.

It’s a hard time for someone who doesn’t get to make any with someone they love.

As I sat and listened to that song yesterday I couldn’t help but think of all the things I haven’t been able to do with my son who would be seven this Christmas season.

I’ve never helped him build a gingerbread house. He’s never made an ornament in school to hang on my tree. We’ve never rolled together a snowman or sledded down a snowy slope.

I hate that he’s never made it to our family’s Christmas-weekend getaway and I’ve never seen him sit on Santa’s knee.

There are so many things I wanted to and still want to do with him.

But I can’t.

For some reason he was taken from me far too soon.

So instead of bundling him up in snow pants and moon boots for a family snowball fight, I’ll take my other kids with a small stocking to the cemetery. I’ll light a couple battery-operated candles and place them at the top corners of his headstone.

I’ll push snow from his grave and stand in the cold thinking about our missing family member.

And then I’ll move on with my holiday. Because that’s the hard part. Life moves on without him.

Sure I’ll still think of him.

I’ll think of him Christmas morning when we’re all huddled together opening gifts.

I’ll think of him when we take our token Christmas-Day picture by our tree.

And I’ll think of him in the quiet that comes in the evening – at the end of all the festivities. When all my kids are tucked in bed.

All except one.

I’ll think of that sweet little baby boy. And my heart will hurt.

To a degree it will always hurt.

Kennedy Ranch

Randolph -7

I’ve always been a city girl. I grew up going to the movies, eating at restaurants and shopping at the mall with my mom and sisters.

Sure, there was a stint where I went country dancing every week and I have always loved Garth Brooks, but that’s about it.

My husband on the other hand is a country boy. He didn’t grow up on a farm with animals and horses, but he did grow up in a small town with a country feel.

A place where there were less than 200 people in his high school graduating class and he told me everyone waves to everyone when driving by.

And he spent time in his summers in an even more remote, country place – Randolph, Utah – helping his grandpa move sprinkler pipe on his ranch.

You could say opposites attracted when it came to me and him.

For the past 14 years we’ve satisfied my city heart by living in suburbia. It wasn’t until this fall that we were able to tie his roots back to the country. Back to Randolph.

How? My husband and his brother bought his grandpa’s Randolph home.

It’s a cute, small country home on an acre of land in what I would say is the middle of nowhere.

My husband couldn’t be happier.

It’s been an adventure. We’ve spent some time cleaning out the place and helping his grandpa sort through his belongings. My kids and I took a Saturday and cleaned out the small barn in the back yard.


I have never shoveled that much pooh. Never. And no amount of county line dancing could have prepared me for scooping out the two cat skeletons we found trapped in there. It was horrifying.


But on the other hand it was really rewarding.

Buying the house has been a great experience for my family.

Randolph is a different world. A world where we can escape from our busy, hectic city lives.

My boys think they are cowboys. My oldest now blares country music. They all want cowboy boots for Christmas. And they spend more time outside in that small town then they EVER do at home.

They run around our field looking for hidden treasures. They shoot arrows into hay bales in the back yard. They walk to the creek down the street and head to the neighboring arena to watch friends rope cattle. And my oldest would live at the reservoir if we let him.

We’ve got some remodeling work to do, but most of the time heading to our “ranch” house will be a well-appreciated break. I’m sure you’ll all hear about it on here and I’m dying to blog about our renovation projects. Life is so good.

When I see my kids running, exploring, laughing in the country, I’m glad they are going to get to live in both worlds. We are truly blessed.

Here are some pictures from our exploring adventures:

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: