Friday, November 15, 2013

He is STILL my Baby lest I Remember

I haven't written about Seth in such a long time.  I am not sure why not really and yet I am absolutely sure why not. It is not like he is not STILL on my mind.  Would you ever stop thinking about one of your children?  He is there.  At times I find him there and I think to myself "I really should write about this, get it out of mind, record the thoughts of him. After all, these are more proof he was here." I find excuses as to why I let the thoughts go without recording them...I am just so busy with the kids. Sitting at the computer and trying to write just seems too complicated right now.  What if I start writing and the right words don't come? They might not make any sense at all.  I might open my grief box and the tears, the pain may be too much. Again. I even think to myself....what if someone reads what I wrote and they simply don't understand why I am still so heavily filled with grief, sadness, the questions, the longing for a baby whose name they are unsure about saying around me anymore.

So instead I spend time reading what others have written. I strangely find comfort from their words.  I feel understood by complete strangers while I walk in my real life ever wondering what others really think about my "traumatic" life event. The one that is unimaginable and too hard too believe.  I worry they see me as the woman who had a dead baby.  And then almost worse I worry that they look at me and forget it even happened too me.  They forget HIM.

I am filled with thoughts I just don't mention except to a very select few.  And even then I worry I have said those thoughts too often. I hear myself talking about it, mentioning him all the time, and yet it feels like STILL no one really knows him at all.  I wish I would write about him more.  It is all I have to keep the memory of him.  He lived.....he died.  Then his story was left to be told.  I STILL want to tell it.  So I am.

I am wondering myself too what convinced me at 4 am to go ahead and give in to the urge to record the thoughts...and this is it.  I woke up at 3 am unable to sleep.  I ran across this story.... 

Yes, that is me too.  I opened the story curious as to what she had to say.  Her words, her thoughts were too familiar.  I started thinking of those in my life I wanted to read it.  I want you to read it and I want to feel understood. I want you to know this... I found myself screaming inside..."Yes, this! This is what I STILL think about. This is what I STILL want to tell others about my son.  The one I named Seth.  Oh I STILL miss him terribly."

Please take a minute and read this mother's motherhood story.  Maybe it won't have the same impact on you as it does me.  But I think selfishly I want you to read this mother's story while placing me in her story because it matches up to so much of my story of stillbirth, to my thoughts of a life without my son Seth.  I have had many of these same thoughts, these familiar memories in my head but have been too unsure to write out.  If I am really honest though I want them shared.  Her words...her thoughts they remind me of my own.  If you are a mother who has experienced stillbirth too.  I am so sorry you had to say goodbye to your baby.  I hope her words bring comfort...a feeling of being understood.  If you are a friend of mine I hope you hear her voice as one that speaks for me too.  I STILL want to be asked about my son.  I STILL want to hear his name.  I know you don't always understand what it is like to have a Stillborn baby.  I wish I didn't either but I do.  I know you may not always know what to say to me about Seth.  But just telling me that you remember I have a son named Seth speaks volumes to my heart.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Return to Zero -- True Story of Stillbirth Coming to Theaters

Undoubtedly the single most life altering event in my life has been the silent birth of my son Seth at 39 weeks. It rocked me to my core.  I never knew such grief and pain.  It has been a long road of healing.  If I can be completely honest for a minute I would tell you that it was so hard to experience a loss that most in my life were not familiar with. It hurt to realize that I was really the only one who knew Seth most intimately.  I longed for others to love him like I loved him.  It was so hard to talk about Him because people reacted so quietly around me when his name was mentioned.  It made the silence of his birth even more defining as people were not sure what to say.  There are 26,000 babies each year whose birth results in stillbirth. I know it is crazy hard to talk about it, but it matters. These babies matter. My son and his life mattered!  His life has taught me lessons about love and faith that have changed me forever.   I love to tell his story.

Coming very soon to theaters is a movie that tells a story like Seth's!  One of loss, grief, love, and hope.   It is a movie with the main theme surrounding the stillbirth of a baby.  A baby that was longed for, dreamed about and loved.  It speaks the story out loud.  I hope this movie gives stillbirth a voice in our everyday conversation so that people aren't so afraid to talk about it.  BREAK THE SILENCE. 

 Return to Zero 

RETURN TO ZERO is based on the true story of a successful couple who are preparing for the arrival of their first child. Just weeks before their due date they are devastated to discover that their baby son has died in the womb and will be stillborn.

Maggie and Aaron attempt to go on with their lives but cannot escape their postpartum grief. Their lives and relationship have been forever altered by this loss. They try to cope in a myriad of ways -- through denial, escape, and alcohol -- but when Maggie ultimately discovers that Aaron is having an affair with a co-worker, she decides to end the marriage.

Just when Maggie believes she has started a new life, she discovers that she is pregnant by Aaron (in a last ditch 'this will save the marriage' getaway to Vegas.) With the help of her empathetic doctor who had experienced a similar loss years ago, Maggie finally grieves for the loss of her son. Through a turbulent and terrifying pregnancy, Maggie and Aaron reunite to see their child, a daughter, safely into the world.

I can't wait to see this movie with my box of Kleenex's in hand.   I know I will cry but I hope the story will bring public awareness and ease us into being able to talk about stillbirth. BREAK THE SILENCE.  It would be so amazing to me if you would join me. Please pledge to see this film opening weekend TBA. It is a real story! The creator and his wife also experienced a stillbirth. Stillbirth is a subject that deserves be told in film and in theaters. Put me "Kim Schamburg" as your Local Leader on the pledge form if you are in Missouri near St. Louis. If you don't live near me consider signing up to be a Local Leader in your area in memory of Seth. You will be sent flyers and movie information to distribute. 



More information can also be found at

Monday, March 18, 2013

Seth's birthday

Today was your birthday! We had a cake. We had a candle. We had balloons. We looked at your pictures. We held your things. The only thing missing was you! 
Today could have been the day,
That you blow out your candles,
Make a wish as you close your eyes.

Today could have been the day,
Everybody was laughing,
Instead I just sit here and cry,

Who would you be?
What would you look like,
When you looked at me for the very first time?
Today could have been the next day of the rest of your life.


Letters to Heaven

photo credit: small bird studios

Dear Seth,
If I could write a letter to heaven, I would tell you "Happy, Happy Birthday my sweet boy!"  I wonder what birthdays are like in heaven.  Do you get a cake all your own and make a mess with it?  Did Jesus clean off the frosting off your sweet little face? Do the angels sing the "Happy Birthday" song to you?  I know, I know honey I might be asking silly questions today.  That is ok!  Mommy can pretend today because it is your birthday. 
I will admit selfishly that I would rather be watching you get all messy with cake. I would like to be the one to pick you up all covered in frosting and give your special 1st birthday bath. I long to smell the scent of baby wash in your skin and see you giggle with glee.  I wish I could know what you look like on this day. 
It makes me wonder would you laugh as we sang to you or would you cry thinking it was strange?  Laughing or crying I wish I could just hear your voice. It has been much too quiet in our very noisy house without you. They say there are no tears in heaven.  So I guess today you must be laughing.   I am glad there are no tears in heaven, and that you have never cried at all.   But I must admit to you baby boy I have cried so many tears this past year. A mother just cannot forget her baby. It makes so sad to not have you apart of our lives everyday. So many tell me so often how wonderful heaven is for you and much God loves you. I am convinced it has to be. Heaven has to be beautiful and miraculous, and incredible beyond description.   It has to be!  This would be the only way heaven could be a better place for you than you being cradled in my mothering arms. 
If I could write a letter to heaven there would be so much I would tell you and yet I feel a loss of words.  My heart feels so heavy now that it has kept beating for a year without you.  Life has gone on and there is so much I could tell you about this past year.  But honestly sweet boy if I had a chance to write you letter to heaven none of this would really matter.  I would want to tell you more than anything how much I love you.  I am so proud to be your mommy.  I was chosen for you and you for me.  I think I would need more than a letter to heaven to exactly explain my love for you.  Oh how I hope you know.  I hope you have always known.  I hope you never forget.  I love you Seth Josiah today on your birthday and always. 
I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, As long as I'm living my baby you'll be.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Rainbows and Friendship

I learned to crochet a couple of years ago and I fell in love with it.  I made many projects like washcloths, baby blankets, prayer shawls, purses, and hats.  When I found out I was pregnant with Seth the first thing I did was go to Wal-Mart and buy yarn to make booties.  Yes I bought pink yarn and I came home and made my first pair of crocheted pink booties for my baby I was calling Faith.  I also crocheted a blanket for baby in a neutral green color.  In November when I learned my Faith baby was a boy one of the first things I did was go to Wal-Mart again and buy blue yarn.  And I started right away to crochet him a newborn hat and baby booties.  I loved how they turned out.  I couldn’t wait for him to wear what I had created.  These were his and he did wear them, but not like I had imagined.  I have them now in his memory box.  They represent the love I had for my sweet son while I was pregnant with him. 

I have boycotted anything crochet since he died.  The very thought of picking up a crochet hook and yarn made me sick to my stomach.  I was cheated out of seeing my son wear the hat and booties until he outgrew them.  And another thing that bothered me about crochet was the night before his birth I had moved a couple of boxes from my room to downstairs.  Some of the boxes were heavy and one of the boxes was full of yarn.  I have not moved those boxes since that night and when I see them guilt pours over me with the “what if” I caused him to die by moving those stupid boxes.  Boycotting yarn, yarn hooks, and crochet just seemed like justice to me. 

Crochet however has been an amazing experience for me.  When I learned about the craft friends and I were so intrigued by the fact that while your hands were busy it would be a wonderful time to pray.  I loved the idea of this ministry and I found myself praying for the recipient of my project while I was crocheting.  It was a new found love.  I am thankful as I created those sweet booties both the pink ones and the blue ones I prayed for my sweet baby.  It is a bittersweet memory.  But I have to believe God heard my prayers and my baby sensed them too.  My baby was cuddled, loved, and prayed over.  It was the best possible gift I could have ever given to him. 

I have a great friend who knew how the amazing experience crochet had on me.  She has gently tried to encourage me to pick up my crochet hook and create a project.  She reminded me that it might be healing to cry and pray as I created each stitch.  I have balked at her suggestion every time.  I wasn’t through letting crochet know that I was hurt that my most precious project was greeted with pain.  But if there is anything I have learned about grief is that sometimes the best way to work through it is by some physical outlet.  I have worked through pain by painting birdhouses, making bread, taking pictures, even mowing the grass and raking leaves.  I often balk at the idea of it but find the physical release of my grief moves me forward.

I am honored to have met a sweet friend who unfortunately knows the grief of losing a son full term too.  I was matched up with her through the hospital grief program.  We wrote to each other daily in the beginning and then finally decided to meet up for dinner.  We talked for four hours about our sweet boys, stillbirth, pain, and heartache.  We shared birth stories and photos and memories.  It was amazing to be with a friend who knew the language of babyloss.  I didn’t have to explain my feelings to her.  She understood them. 

I was thrilled when she told me that she was expecting her rainbow baby.  But I admit I was nervous too.  Because she was further along in her grief she had become like a big sister to me.  She had held me hand and listened to every hurt and pain I was experiencing.  Could I now return the favor and love her and support her during a pregnancy?  It was a rainbow baby!  I was in no way jealous of her.  I wanted her to have a baby.  I needed her to have a baby.  Her only child had died.  I have a houseful of kids.  This friendship has allowed me love her like I always love on a friend who is expecting.  And it was safe.

I had been pondering the idea of making her baby a hat, a rainbow hat.  But I was confronting my own pain of the connection I had allowed crochet to become to Seth and his death.  I picked up my crochet hooks and held them in my hand.  I felt determined to use them, to create with them, and to love on a “rainbow baby” of a precious friend.  I searched for the yarn.  It took a couple of attempts but then I found it.  I loved the rainbow colors and I was ready to create a rainbow colored hat for a rainbow baby.

I was nervous picking up the crochet hook, but I was reminded of my friend’s courage of being pregnant again after a loss.  I admire her courage.  I crocheted my first chain with the yarn.  And after a couple of attempts and a phone call to a friend to remind me the sequence I was crocheting again.  I began praying for my friend and her baby.  I also remembered my baby boy and my pregnancy.  The memories were sweet.  Although the pregnancy ended in heartache, I have a sweetness in my mind, in my soul of a sacred relationship with my son.  I found my eyes full of tears that began streaming down my face.  But I knew as they fell that they were tears of healing.  As I continued crocheting the hat I begin feeling a pride in my accomplishment.  My sadness began turning to a smile as I held this little hat in my hands.  It was beautiful.  All of it was; the hat and the moment of creating it.  As I finished the final stitch I was sad that it was complete.  It had been created so quickly. 

I wanted to make sure I had the sizing correct so I pulled from Seth’s memory box the sweet hat that I had created for him.  I held up the two hats to one another. The fit of the rainbow hat would be perfect.  I held within my hand the hat of my baby boy’s past and the hat of a new baby’s future.  It brought to mind of an unlikely friendship.  We met because our babies died.  It is a horrible reason to become friends, but now that I know her I can’t imagine not being her friend.  We have been through hell, but God and our babies brought us together to ease the pain. 

I loved how the crocheted hat turned out beautiful.  And of course I needed to crochet more.  I also made her sweet baby rainbow booties. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Remembering at Christmas

As I watched them open their presents I witnessed the joy on the face with each gift.  It spoke volumes to my hurting heart.  I felt happiness and grief dance within me once again.  I felt so blessed to enjoy five of my children on such a peaceful Christmas morn.  The tears however, fell and reminded me of the one missing around my tree.  I remember him.  I remember the baby who danced within my womb last Christmas.  I remember the baby who I wish was gumming a red bow off the gift of one of his brothers.  It seems possible in mind.  I return to those with me.  I am blessed. I am sad.  Christmas will always be filled with a sad wonder and a glorious joy.   

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Angel of Hope

Angel of Hope
Candlelight Memorial
December 6, 2012
We attended the Angel of Hope candelight memorial as a family in memory of Seth.  It was such an unique way to remember him and include him in our family just before Christmas.  The candlelight memorial gives families a place to meet with lit candles and remember their children during a brief memorial service that included poem readings and live music.  Families who have the experienced loss of a child of any age meet at Ben Rau Memorial Garden at Blanchette Park in St. Charles.  I didn't even know it existed or knew of the story behind the Angel of Hope before I lost Seth.  There is a beautiful pathway lined with bricks lovingly engraved with the names of children being honored by their families.  The path leads up to the "Angel of Hope," an angel that was created based on the story The Christmas Box.  These angel statues have been created and placed all over the world.  It gives famlies a place to release tears and express grief.  The ceremony ends with flowers being placed around the base of the angel in memory of each child. 
The night was special and emotional for me.  I would like to think we will include this event in our traditions as a family.  It will be our special night in December before Christmas to remember our little "Snowdrop".

Little Snowdrop
Author Unknown
The world may never notice
If a Snowdrop doesn't bloom,
Or even pause to wonder
If the petals fall too soon.
But every life that ever forms,
Or ever comes to be,
Touches the world in some small way
For all eternity.
The little one we long for
Was swiftly here and gone.
But the love that was then planted
Is a light that still shines on.
And though our arms are empty,
Our hearts know what to do.
Every beating of our hearts
Says of our love for you.