Tuesday, December 28, 2010

River's Run and Ride Rally 2011

We are in high gear as the year comes to an end, getting ready for next year's event. The big day is May 7, 2011. This year we raised over $8000 on this one day for Faith's Lodge, The Compassionate Friends and River's Uplift Program. We are busy mailing out letters and compiling lists of people or places who are willing to donate to our cause. We are looking for gift certificates, merchandise, monetary donations as well as hand-crafted and one-of-a-kind items. This year's silent auction and raffle was amazing and we hope to make next year's even better! I am hoping to find unique items that will make our community inspired to donate! River's Run and Ride Rally helped so many people since May of this year, we want to be able to do even more next year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

River's Second Christmas

This Christmas is very different from last year. We are celebrating Asher's first Christmas, and what should be River's second! The biggest difference is that we actually got a tree this year, a real one and decorated it. We had done this in years prior, but didn't last year as we just had a very special tree for River, which has become a permanent fixture in our house!

We have done many special things to include River in our holidays, as we did last year:

*I participated in a wonderful gift exchange through Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope, as you may have read in an earlier post, it was beautiful to receive gifts in the mail for my precious baby from Melissa, Mikayla's mommy!
*River's Run & Ride Rally, Inc. purchased gifts for Operation Christmas.
*Ben and I bought a gift card when we went to dinner last night and had the cashier give it to the next customer.
*We had the beautiful candle lighting on the 12th, and our make-up one with The Compassionate Friends in Maplewood last night.
*We made ornaments again this year, as well as a candle for the grandparents.
*We purchased another brick for the path at Faith's Lodge from Asher.
*We write letters to him to put into his stocking as well.
These are all things we do because of our love for River. I think that many people forget that, we love him just as much as if he were here physically.
I am not quite as anxious about attending family functions this year as I was last Christmas, although it will be hard to see Asher opening gifts and there won't be any for River. We did get 2 ornaments from our parents for the tree, and they are so beautiful and it was so thoughtful. I will have to share pictures of these when I get a chance. I am still nervous about family functions because I think sometimes people feel uncomfortable when we talk about River, but he is a part of our lives and we aren't going to pretend like he isn't.
I hope that all of you have a safe, peaceful holiday season, filled with hope as we remember that our children live on, always in our hearts and on our minds.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


I haven't cried that hard in quite some time. I am literally feeling the pain of losing River all over again. I feel so helpless for my friend. At her son's service today, I remembered getting ready for River's like it just happened. Although it was today as people have been asking, that I realized that it's been over a year and a half. I remembered looking like I was still pregnant and wondering why I wasn't holding my baby instead of burying him? I remember thinking that nothing worse than this could happen to me, and that I wanted to be a mommy still. In my heart I was, but on the outside I didn't have any living children, so was I still a mother?

Then, I remember the day I felt a little bit of hope, like I would get through this, I had to for River. I had to keep my chin up and move forward doing good things in his memory. He wanted me to be happy, and to celebrate his life with us on earth. His spirit is with us, showing us the way. God is guiding us to help others in any way we can. If I had the means to devote all of my time coordinating with bereaved families, working on remembrance gifts and helping others I would.

I hope that what I have been doing is inspirational to others, I hope that it is helping, just a little. I know that I do not have the ability to change that I am a bereaved mother, but with that title, I can be there for others. As this week has gone on, I have thought "can I really do this? can I be the strength people need in their darkest hours?" As of right now, I believe I can. We will begin a support group, we will continue our work in River's name and we will move forward in the only way I know how, with hope and trust in my faith.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Broken Hearts

Well, this weekend turned out to be nothing like I had originally planned. It started with the massive snow storm and us cancelling all of our plans for the day... the day, that belonged to River. You see we were meeting a couple for lunch, a couple I had never met in person, only online and never would have met if it weren't for our precious babies, River and Brendan. Then we were off to meet with a good friend to work on updating our website for River's Rally and finish the day by attending The Compassionate Friends candle lighting. After the snow and wind yesterday, all of this was off the table, all of it. This made me very sad. Here is how our day turned out:

*Shortly after I woke up, I received a message with awful news. A dear dear friend delivered her son, stillborn. This same friend had endured the pain of losing the other twin earlier in pregnancy. My heart began to break, all over again.

*Turns out that we did get lunch in and it was wonderful to meet in person and share stories of our children. I am glad that we connected and that the weather cooperated!

*After lunch I had a chance to talk with my friend and I honestly didn't know what to say, yes me the one who has gone through this, didn't know what to say. I hope the words I did get out were helpful. She asked me how I got through this, and honestly I don't know. I had to, that's how. I know there were many things that helped, and many people that have been so supportive and have given me strength. As she asked me this, my mind was back to the day we lost River. Those feelings came back, so strong and I was choked up, my chest was heavy and I had to tell myself to take long, deep breaths. She asked me if there was anyone close by that experienced this that I talked to right after River died, and I had to think about it...not really. There is a family we connected with, but that didn't happen until a few months later. Who did I talk to, how did I get to where I am now? I really hope that I have given her some answers that I didn't have in those early days. In this conversation I was told about another family that we know (not really friends with, but know to an extent) lost their baby. Mother is being induced tomorrow. WHAT? This can't be happening, so many precious children, so loved and so wanted, this just isn't fair!
*Since we couldn't go to St Paul, we planned a gathering at our church. This event turned out to be wonderful, it was very small but much needed as I remembered River, and so many other angels I have met in this journey. I thought of all the parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters of these children, and all of our broken hearts. I thought of how we heal, how we begin to have hope and how we keep our children alive.

This is how I am ending my day, sharing this pain, sorrow, hope and love.
My thoughts and prayers are with all families tonight and every night, that we are able to find peace as we walk without our children on Earth.
Good night to all, remembering our children always, with love.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

In Loving Memory of River Daniel

This poem was written by a very close friend and given to us, the day of River's funeral. I have it posted on my fridge with one of River's pictures and I look at it every day, many many times.

Tiny hands that held so much
Little feet you couldn't help but touch
River's journey was short, yet it forever goes on
Taken from our lives just feels so wrong
Your touch is lost
Perhaps just misplaced
The emptiness slowly takes shape
But this is all part of the cost
I can't bare the thought of distance
And my soul hates the pain
It's not shown on the outside
But this feeling still remains
To see you, not be here at all
I slowly crumble away
A simple kiss you miss
A time of joy and happiness
Life journeys your river, indestructible boat
Our thoughts and our love will forever keep you afloat.

Thank you so much, Aaron, for this poem. Absolutely beautiful words, that are so very true.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Things and People In My Life

I woke up today and something was just different. It took me a bit as I didn't have to be to work right away, but it is the 6th...

It seems this day sometimes creeps up on me. May 6th, 2009 is the last morning I kissed my precious River before he passed away. The last morning I hugged him and held him close, the last morning I got to see his eyes open, so bright and alive with wonder. It amazes me how vivid I can still recall all of those moments, and all of his beautiful features. It also amazes me that I can't imagine my life before having him in it. I am who I am today because of him and his short time on earth. I will always be his mommy, he walks with me in everything I do, every moment of every day.

I would like to share a few other things, I am paired with an amazing mother, in the Faces Of Loss, Faces Of Hope gift exchange. Her name is Melissa, and you can read her beautiful Mikayla's story here: http://amazingmikaylagrace.blogspot.com
It is a beautiful blog and I can't help but read it every day. Well, as I got the email and was reading about Mikayla, my brain was already in high gear with ideas. Then I got a subsequent email that was from Melissa. Turns out that we had met briefly when Ben and I had served dinner at Faith's Lodgein October! So, then I really got thinking and I hope that I have come up with something wonderful to send them for Mikayla this year. I have been filled with so much joy in creating this gift for her family.

Next, I entered a giveaway that Melissa was doing, and I won! I am getting a gorgeous memory box for my sweet River. I have always wanted one of these! So, to Melissa I am so grateful and I appreciate your work in memory of River.
Lastly, we are making our annual ornaments for River and we have come up with a magnificent idea. I am so anxious to get to work on them! I will share pictures once they have been given out.

To think, that all of these things and all of these people would not be in my life if it weren't for River. I love you baby boy and am so thankful that I got to carry you for 9 amazing months and to hold you for 6 of the best days of my life. I am thankful for the things and people you have brought into my life. I miss you with all of my heart.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Card

Family Wall Noir Christmas 5x7 folded card
Get custom photo Christmas cards online at Shutterfly.com.
View the entire collection of cards.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Shutterfly Blog Promotion!

Ok, so I am participating in a blog promotion, in hopes to spread the word about Shutterfly and earn some bonus Christmas stuff! :)

My favorite Shutterfly Christmas card this year is the “Pictures in Red.” This layout allows me to choose a variety of pictures. After realizing that we cannot have your “normal family photo” without River here physically, I decided that having a card with multiple photos was the way to go.

I wanted to include things that represent his time with us. Mostly being shown with his garden, which we see so many beautiful flowers blooming all summer long. Also, we have bricks for him at Faith’s Lodge and we were able to take a few pictures of Asher with them…to me this showed my sons together. The only pictures I will be able to have as them being brothers.

I love using Shutterfly, it’s so easy to use but allows you to create amazing projects and gifts! Almost every year I give at least one photo book away and have grown to love the calendars, mugs and cards! If anyone has any other favorite projects, let me know!


Follow this link to check out this blog promotion!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Signs of River's Life

Aside from his garden, River shows us he is present in so many ways. Although there is one that has been exceptionally prevalent lately: deer. Ok, so I know that we live in the midwest and deer are not anything out of the ordinary, but almost every day that we visit the cemetery we see deer on our way there or home.

The other evening there were 2 right in the entrance, Ben shockingly yelled "wow" and it scared me as I was in the back seat with Asher. After the Children's Remembrance Service at North Valley Church on Sunday, we stopped again, on our way home. As we left, there were 2 in a field that crossed the road in front of us, only to look to the other side and see 3 more.

Seeing these deer reminded me of other times we saw deer on our way to or from the cemetery. The day we had Asher's 20 week ultrasound, there were 13 or more (we could hardly count them all) crossing the road from the cemetery to a field. We had to stop on the highway to allow them all to cross. Then I recalled shortly after River's funeral, Ben, my mom and I were on our way home from the cemetery and in a field there was a doe, and a baby...so small that we could barely see it hopping through the tall grass following its mama.

This beautiful animal has become something that reminds me of River, and a way that he shows me he is with us. Amazing how things I probably would have overlooked before have become such a big part of my life, and of River's.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Quick Note

Since I am new to this world, I didn't know what "gadgets" were but today I figured it out! I added a link at the bottom of the page to the current website for River's Run and Ride Rally. Just click on the RRRR LOGO designed by our wonderful friend, Kristin! Thank you so much!!!

This organization (RRRR) is a few steps away from being 501(c)3 aka "non-profit" status with the IRS. In 2010 we raised over $8000 for wonderful organizations, we are working on an even better 2011!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

River's Garden

So, it took me so long to start this blog when I really have had a lot happen as well as a lot to say about River and his life with us.

Shortly, and I mean very shortly after River passed away, we began a memorial garden at our house. Ben began digging for a river and pond, we began planting and making way for trees and plants we had gotten at his funeral.
Here we are over a year later and the garden has grown amazingly! There were flowers in the garden from March until now...October. There are still blooms, although I wonder how much longer they will last with winter moving in quickly!

What I want to really say about River's garden is that it has brought life to our home, almost every day I walk to work, there are 4 birds playing in the pond and they always fly up just as I am walking by. Most days, I see a rabbit or two playing around the path and the squirrels have come to love one of the benches that lies just below a walnut tree! They have a collection of walnut shells on that bench, and we have left them. There have also been butterflies, and fireflies, things that never occurred in our yard before this wonderful garden.
It is amazing how something we thought would provide us a way "to take care of River" by tending to the plants has given us so much more! He is bringing these wonderful things to our home and every day I see this I think of how my precious baby boy is watching over his family.

We had Asher out to the garden quite a bit in the spring, but he was much too little to really enjoy it. Later in the summer, there were just too many mosquitoes, but this fall we have had a few opportunities to swing in the garden or lay on a blanket and enjoy the surroundings. I am excited to have him grow up with part of his brother right outside our door.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

River Daniel

River was born April 30, 2009 and passed away May 6, 2009. He is our first born son, we found out we were pregnant in August of 2008 and we were so excited! Nervous, but so happy we were beginning our family.

The pregnancy was completely normal, despite the fact that I fractured a bone in my foot and was on doctor ordered bed rest for 3 months so it could heal. This was to avoid surgery during pregnancy or after he was born.

I began having contractions 3 days before our due date, with active labor beginning the next day. It was fairly normal, except I was dilated to almost 8 and my water hadn't broken yet, so the doctor asked if I wanted to wait and let it break on its own or if I wanted her to break it. As there was no concern for River's health, she said it was up to me. The pressure was becoming unbearable and I told her to break it.

After an hour and a half of pushing, River was born, with the umbilical cord around his neck twice and the Dr unwrapped the cord very fast, but he was not responsive. His APGAR score was very low (at this point I don't even remember what it was), I just remember thinking that he had to be OK. My husband cut the cord quickly and the doctor and nurse whisked him off to get him breathing again.
They it did fast, even though it felt like eternity, we finally heard him cry! The next day he began to develop jaundice so we were in the hospital until day three, then were home with the "bili-blanket" (aka glow lights) until day five with everything going normal.

We had his one week check up on day five and our doctor said everything was perfect. The jaundice had lowered to a safe level and he was gaining weight. Yay!! We were relieved that we seemed to be doing everything right. We were so happy, that our little boy was healthy, we could take him home and watch him grow!

On day six we woke up to find his color off. My husband immediately grabbed him and tried to wake him, then we started CPR with 911 on the phone. The EMTs arrived within minutes and took him by ambulance to the ER. When we arrived there they told us he didn't make it. Looking back, I already knew he was gone before they even left our house, I could feel it. Despite this feeling, the entire way to the hospital I was praying I was wrong. The ER doctor as well as the medical examiner told us it was most likely SIDS as they could see no other apparent reason. We felt as though we had let our guard down. We were so relieved with the results from his doctor's appointment, that for the first time since he was born, we both actually slept...and River died.

We didn't know that it was SIDS for sure until our autopsy came back which wasn't for four weeks or more, I really can't even remember. When the medical examiner called, they said "we looked and looked to try and find a reason, as you know there was no disease or trauma." What??? SIDS is what they classify a babies death as when they can find no other cause. It is the "reason", when there isn't one.

My husband and I have discussed a number of times, that we feel that River was probably not supposed to make it out of the delivery room. We got 6 days with him, and he could have died before we ever got to see his bright eyes and beautiful smile, for that we are grateful. We both know in our hearts, that we wouldn't be who we are if it weren't for him. He is a very special little boy that has been able to help us do things we never thought possible.

River has a little brother, Asher. We are teaching him about River. We want him to know about his big brother. River was here for such a short time but has impacted us tremendously. He will be carried with us every moment of every day.