I Will Always Wonder

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My friend Nikol (check out her blog here) posted the photo above this morning on her blog’s Facebook.
While today is just Tuesday to most, for several mourning families it is a reminder that they are not alone, that their lost children are not forgotten, and that every child conceived is a miracle whether they make it to this earth or not.

Losing our daughter made Derek and I part of a community that nobody ever wants to be in.
Miscarriage, stillborn, infant loss: It’s the booth at a fair that you pray to God stays empty.
But it doesn’t.
In fact, once you stop by you find out that it is even bigger than you could have possibly imagined and it makes your heart hurt.
Because the truth of the matter is that there are so many families out there who have lost a child.
So many left with a hole in their hearts.

I found this book at TJ-Max the other day and it broke me (so naturally, I bought it).

It’s called Love From My Heart To A Cuddly Little Boy.

Here are a few pages:

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“My heart would be searching for YOU!”

When I read this and saw all of the little angel children I couldn’t help but think of my own angel in Heaven.

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I still cry sometimes when I see a mom and her daughter wearing matching outfits.

Or when I see other little girls who are the same age she would have been.

I will always wonder how she may have looked, who she may have been.
I prayed and prayed for a day of hope and a lifetime was given to me with the birth of Declan.

But we still talk of her all the time.
We still remember.
And we love her very deeply.

To anyone who has lost their child, hold on to hope.

Hope that we will one day be reunited with our sweet angels.

In memory of Kinlie Marie.

Lost but never forgotten. 

 

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A Letter From Heaven

Dear Mommy and Daddy:

Today marks one year since I’ve been gone.

Sorry that it’s taken me so long to write to you.

In heaven time doesn’t run the same as on earth and I’ve had a busy agenda:

Telling stories with our family.

Flying kites with Benjamin Franklin.

And praying with Jesus.

I know you have a lifetime worth of questions and I wish I could answer them all, but you’re going to have to wait until you get here.

Patience isn’t a virtue our family possesses, but I promise you it will be more than worth the wait.

What I can tell you and what I’m here to tell you however…

Is that I am safe.

I am healthy.

I am happy.

And I love you both, so much.

I’ve seen every tear you have shed for me.

Every outburst towards God.

And I’ve heard every whisper, every prayer, and every song you have sent.

I know you think about that day a lot.

You wonder if there was anyway you could have saved me.

I see you retrace your steps.

Going over every last detail in your mind.

But what you fail to remember is that I am saved.

Jesus says it this way:

Life on earth is like being at a giant amusement park.

You’ve got fun rides, fast rides, and scary ones with lots of bumps and sharp turns.

And heaven is the main attraction.

It’s the Space Mountain, the X2, the Silver Bullet and everyone gets a ticket to ride.

But you can’t get on until they call your ticket number, so in the mean time you go and explore the rest of the park.

Some people lose their tickets, others throw them away.

And some lucky ones, like me, get their ticket number called before they even get past the front entrance of the park.

Cry because you miss me.

I miss you too.

But don’t cry in mourning of everything you feel I didn’t get to experience.

I got to go to the front of the line.

Went straight to the main attraction.

And now I am patiently awaiting your arrival.

I’ll be with you everywhere you go.

Singing harmony in each song with you, mommy.

Cheering on the sidelines while you play catch with my little brother, daddy.

I’ll smile with you when you’re on the fun rides and pray for you when you’re on the scary ones.

And one day all of us will be together again here at the main attraction.

Hold onto that feeling of joy you had while I was with you and clear yourselves of the sorrow.

Remember me as that twinkle in your eyes when you first found out I existed.

And don’t be afraid to be happy.

Don’t beat yourselves up when you refer to my brother as your first child to strangers.

I know you love me.

And I know that I am forever yours.

Your little baby.

Your angel in heaven.

Your daughter.

Until we meet again my sweets.

All My Love,

Kinlie Marie 

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I took this photo in March of 2011, right after finding out I was pregnant. I had planned to take another in the same spot once I was halfway through my pregnancy and then a last one when she was born, but life had other plans for us.

Happy Un-Birth Day

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been thinking about this post for weeks now.

I actually almost wrote it in advance, afraid that writing it today would be too painful.

To my disbelief, I actually feel okay today.

Good even.

That’s not to say that I didn’t have a crying outburst in my driveway after the gym this morning…

But I blame Pandora for playing every sad song on the planet even though I had it on the Britney Spears and Glee stations.

Today was Kinlie’s due date.

Of course, if she is anything like her mother she would have undoubtedly been late.

Still, there’s something different in the air today.

And it’s not the sadness I anticipated.

To explain, I need to back up a little.

It’s no secret that Derek and I have been coping in waves since May when we lost her.

One month we would feel okay, the next our hearts would be in shambles.

And then October came.

The month and I have a special relationship.

I was born at the end of it and I love all things fall/Halloween, yet I hated October for over 15 years.

All because my bio-dad left a week before my 7th birthday and I just could not let it go.

That is, until Derek came along and showed me that I had no reason to fear my birthday.

That’s why he proposed on it.

And then we got married in October.

A month that had haunted me for so long became the best month of the year.

It seems fitting that this would be the time I would find the most healing in regards to Kinlie.

On October 8th my dear friends Tyler and Amanda welcomed their second child into this world.

They chose to keep their baby’s gender a surprise until delivery, so it wasn’t until the baby was born that they discovered they had another little girl.

I received a text from them at about 2:30 in the morning but it wasn’t until around 5 am when I finally got it and responded.

They called me up on speaker phone and what happened next blew me away.

Tyler and Amanda explained how much Kinlie had touched their hearts and they asked if they could use her name as their daughter’s middle name.

Meet Arya Kinlie Jonsson.

My first real step in healing was the birth of this little angel.

I’m not even sure if my friends realize the magnitude of the gift they have given us.

Names are special, I’ve said it before.

And one day Arya is going to wonder where hers came from.

And on that day, her parents will tell her of a little baby that never made it to earth.

A little baby that touched their hearts.

Kinlie Marie Franklin.

And as Arya takes her first steps, falls in love for the first time, and becomes a woman…

Kinlie will be a part of her.

On October 8th my dear friends changed my life.

From there, things got a little easier.

Then over the weekend of the 13th Derek and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary.

When we got back from our little trip to Big Bear, I went into the bathroom and noticed that my Kinlie necklace was tarnished.

I have no idea how it got this way and I know it wasn’t like that the entire trip.

In that moment as I sat there staring at it, wondering how this could have happened, I felt a tug on my heart.

Let me go.

I know that may sound bat-shit crazy.

But I felt it.

Felt her.

Telling me it was time.

Time to move forward and stop dwelling on the pain.

So I listened.

I took off the necklace.

And that Post-It I had hanging in my car since March…

I finally took it down and put it in Kinlie’s box.

(Refer to my original post here)

Today, I’m not broken.

Yes.

It makes me sad knowing that I don’t get to meet my daughter today like originally anticipated back in March when those two pink lines appeared.

But then I remember that she got to go straight to the finish line.

Kinlie never had to experience pain.

She never knew the disappointment and tragedy of this world.

And while she may never have gotten to see the beauty and love this world has to offer, I know she’s not missing out.

Because the kingdom of heaven and God’s love surpass anything and everything our minds can even comprehend.

And she’s got a front row seat.

If anything, I picture her sitting in Paradise praying for US.

Walking with Jesus in a field and asking him to bring her mommy and daddy peace.

And sending down whispers like:

“I love you both”

and

“Let me go mom. We will meet again my sweet.”

I’ll never let her be forgotten.

She will forever be a part of my soul.

But today I let go.

Let go of the hurt.

Let go of the disappointment.

Let go of the anger.

And I celebrate her.

I celebrate the joy she brought into our lives.

I celebrate the change she brought to my outlook on life.

 I celebrate the growth she prompted in my heart.

And I celebrate the fact that child no bigger than a peach changed lives for the better.

Happy Un-Birth Day my little angel.

I love you.

Daddy Talks: Guest Blogger Derek

It’s a rare occasion that Derek allows people to see his heart.

A true man’s man, he takes pride in being the strong protector.

So when I asked him if he would consider guest blogging to let out some of his emotions that have been plaguing him, I half expected him to brush me off.

To my surprise, he actually agreed and has allowed me to share this will all of you.

So without further ado, I will let Derek take it from here.

First and only outfit we purchased for Kinlie

I suppose I should start by saying thank you to everyone for their kind words, prayers, and support over the last few months.

It’s no secret now that Andrea and I have experienced both sorrow and growth WE never dreamt possible.

Andrea asked me if I would like to “guest blog” on her infamous Lend her my kite blog spot.

It’s kept her from self-imploding and has given her an outlet besides me during late night pillow talk.

Andrea like she always does, adapted.

She found a way to survive.

Survived not only in a literal sense, but she never lost her optimistic view on life…in faith.

It’s one of the things that I was not programmed for, but she constantly lifts me up day in and day out.

Andrea took no time at all to show how strong she really is.

I on the other hand, have found other ways to keep busy.

To keep preoccupied.

To keep from letting my wife and the world from knowing…

I haven’t been ok…

Far from it actually.

Until recently that is.

I guess I should explain what I mean better.

May 11th I realized would be the last time I ever got to speak to Kinlie Marie the way I did for so many hours, for so many nights before.

I knew that day after everything that had happened I couldn’t go back.

I couldn’t look up and see Andrea in pain.

I couldn’t talk to Kinlie Marie knowing it wasn’t with words of excitement, joy, and happiness.

So I blocked my emotions out.

I shut down to show I was the rock Andrea needed.

I put every ounce of my being to making sure this tragic event in OUR lives would be as easy as humanly possible on my wife.

After all a great man once told me (on 10-16-11)

“To always put her first, as that’s the secret of a happy marriage.”

However as I continued down that road I became disconnected with myself.

I eventually took on more responsibilities at work, more home projects, and when Andrea was around made sure she saw a strong and loving husband.

I tried so hard to let Andrea know she can always let her emotions out.

She could cry in my arms or simply talk to me, as she needed.

Sure there were the occasional times where we both broke down and cried to sleep.

Im not saying I am some sort of robot (if only right?)

But my job was to remain strong.

For her…for myself.

I began to realize my macho man façade I put up was not for her,

It was for me.

It came to my attention my wife needed me to be broken just as much as she felt broken.

I suppose we all need to be broken once in awhile

Otherwise how do we learn to put ourselves back together?

But Andrea needed to feel what I was feeling.

(Guys…we don’t get this but every woman who just read that is nodding her head saying “yep sure do”)

I said recently I was secretly suffering inside.

But what’s changed?

Andrea and I are no doubt stronger going through this.

My relationship with God no doubt stronger as well.

And like any muscle, my heart has been stretched farther than I thought imaginable.

Those are all wonderful things to have come from such a thing.

But they are not what make me “OK”

Kinlie is.

She is safe, she isn’t suffering, and she hasn’t left.

I find myself praying more and more.

And the more I do the more I catch myself passing messages to her.

Sounds weird I suppose.

Maybe even damn right crazy to others.

But it’s simply what I have found to keep me sane.

(Well, what I think qualifies anyway)

Andrea and I do not ask for people to feel sorry for us.

 Or to feel like the topic is Taboo.

We talk about her all the time.

Because plain and simple

She isn’t going anywhere.

Do I miss talking to Andreas pregnant belly?

Sure.

But now I talk to Kinlie all day long.

And I am ok with that.

 Letters to Kinlie from Daddy:

“Kinlie Marie Franklin I love you and miss you terribly.

Daddy wishes nothing more than your peace.

I hope you are smiling down on your mother and I as we look up with tears of joy knowing you’re home.

We love you little one and don’t ever think otherwise. Daddy will see you soon.”

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“Its been two months since you were forced to leave this world.  

Not a day goes by where you aren’t missed, loved, and prayed for.

I hope you can forgive us for not being able to save you, because Mommy and Daddy both struggle to forgive ourselves.

I miss you little one. I love you.”

Xoxox

What’s in a Name?

“An angel in the book of life wrote down my baby’s birth.
Then whispered as she closed the book ‘too beautiful for earth’.”

As I am sure you can imagine, the past few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster.

On May 11th, 2012 we found out there was something wrong with our baby, on May 16th we said goodbye to our baby, and today on May 30th we found out what was the source of the problem with our baby.

The testing came back confirming that our baby did indeed have a chromosomal abnormality known as Turner’s Syndrome, where the baby is missing a chromosome.

Turner’s Syndrome only happens in females, so we also learned today that on May 16th we said goodbye to our sweet baby girl:

Kinlie Marie Franklin

There is something extremely powerful about a name.

We chose the name Kinlie months ago, but had a harder time settling on a boy’s name.

I told Derek I thought that meant it was a girl, since we couldn’t decide on a boy name but the girl’s name was so clear.

It soothes my soul being able to put a name to our angel.

She is named. She is safe. She is loved.

Coping is a hell of a thing. There are so many levels, so many feelings involved.

Here are a few things I have been enduring.

Hardships:

– Emotions don’t run on the same daily clock as we do. I find myself crying when I wake up to go to work, when I am in a restaurant, and all other random times that my mind decides to remember what has happened.

– Seeing pregnant women. I have felt extremely tested these past few weeks with all of the pregnant women I have encountered. We even got stuck sitting next to a couple and their friends in the airport who were pregnant. They were talking all about the baby and pregnancy, not knowing the loss and sorrows of the couple sitting directly across them (us). The world doesn’t stop turning and women don’t stop being pregnant just because you did. It’s a difficult feeling/realization.

 – Mommy instincts kicked in the minute I found out I was pregnant, so it’s hard to not feel a sense of blame and helplessness knowing that I wasn’t able to help or save my baby.

Blessings:

– My relationship with my husband has become even stronger and more incredible than it was before. Our connection has managed to reach a whole new level and I know now more than ever that we are soul mates.

– I have become that much more grateful and appreciative of the love and friendships I have in my life.

– Our baby having Turner’s Syndrome means that it had nothing to do with us and that we have an almost 0% chance of this happening again.

– God has a plan bigger and better than anything I could ever hope to know and understand.

Kinlie has changed my life forever.

I have never felt so broken, yet so whole at once.

So pained, yet so filled with joy.

I know she was meant to be because she has made such an impact on my life.

I will never forget her.

I will always cherish her.

I will forever call her by name.

My first baby.

My sweet angel.

Kinlie Marie Franklin.

Xoxox

Until We Meet Again My Sweet

On March 6, 2012 when those two pink lines appeared on that pregnancy test, I knew I would never be the same.

It was like something instantly changed within me, an instinct just naturally kicked in.

I am growing a life inside of me. Our child. My baby.

I now knew love at a level I had never dreamed was even possible.

But with that love comes fear.

Thanks to the internet I became incredibly aware of all the horrible things that can happen, especially in the first trimester.

I was reading about miscarriages every single day, just praying that it wouldn’t happen to me.

One day I decided to stop worrying.

I wrote a verse on a post it and stuck it on my rearview mirror. That way, whenever I was feeling concerned, I could look at it and be reminded that God is in control.

It never occurred to me that these words would become a staple of healing.

I’ve alway been one to trust my instincts, but even instinct couldn’t have prepared me for this.

A week ago I went for a standard dr. appointment.

The nurse couldn’t find my baby’s heartbeat with the doppler but that is extremely common so I wasn’t worried.

She pulled out the portable ultrasound machine and there was our little one kicking its little legs and waving.

I was elated but I could see a look on the nurses face of concern.

She told me everything looked great and she even snuck me photos of the ultrasound to show Derek since he wasn’t there.

I knew something was wrong, I could feel it in every ounce of my being.

But I ignored it.

Convinced myself that I was misinterpreting her expressions and being my typical worry wort self.

This past Friday at exactly 13 weeks pregnant, I went for my NT Scan.

This is an optional ultrasound that searches for chromosomal abnormalities in the baby.

Derek and I decided to do it and were not even the slightest bit concerned about the results.

When they called my name to take me back the nurse took me straight to the ultrasound room.

This is weird. Normally they take my vitals first. Oh well.

We sat in silence as the nurse did the ultrasound, snapping photos without speaking to us at all.

She finally said, “I’ll be right back” and left the room.

Derek and I talked about how weird it was and assumed she was just in a hurry to get us out of there.

The door then opened but it wasn’t the nurse, it was a doctor.

My heart sank into my chest.

Something is wrong.

She cautiously confirmed my fears.

“What we are seeing here is not good. It’s really not good.”

She went on to explain to us that our baby has an excessive amount of fluid surrounding its neck. She said that when this happens it usually means Down Syndrome or Turner’s Syndrome, which is where the baby is missing a chromosome.

Doesn’t matter. There isn’t anything in this world that could make me love this baby any less.

But wait, there’s more.

“Normally that is what this fluid means, but your baby has too much fluid. The fluid has started to surround its body along with its neck, and that is when this becomes fatal.”

She continued to talk but I couldn’t hear her over my heartbeat and breath.

 I’m dreaming. I am in a dream. Close your eyes girl. Close your eyes and wake up.

I open my eyes and she makes eye contact as if she just asked me a question that requires answering.

“Do you want to do the CVS? It is extremely valuable in that it will be able to tell us which chromosomal defect caused this.”

Derek chimes in, thank God since I can’t seem to form functioning sentences, and asks her if the testing will help and what the survival rate is.

She lets us know that the baby’s condition is severe and that finding out what caused this will not change the outcome, however it will help us with future pregnancies. She told us that once this happens the odds of it happening again are slim to none.

“This is a 1 in 10,000 chance. It happens in 2-3% of all pregnancies, but the severity of your case only happens in 1%”

At this point Derek and I are still not clear on whether our baby has a chance to live or not.

The doctor has a genetic counselor come in to talk to us.

She is more upfront.

She is delicate in her approach but lets us know that our baby is not going to survive this.

We are advised that the longest they personally have ever seen a pregnancy like this go was 26 weeks, but that my condition doesn’t even stand a chance to last that long.

More like 1-2 weeks.

We finally left the doctors office and by this time the hospital was closed.

I had red eyes and a fever of 100.1 as we walked down the empty hallway hand in hand, dead inside.

We were on our way to Santa Barbara to meet with our friends and family to walk a half marathon in the morning in honor of my mother.

It was the longest drive of our lives.

We called our families and broke the news.

We cried.

We questioned everything.

We sat in silence.

“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

When I was leaving work on Friday to drive to my dr. appointment, for the first time ever, my post it fell off my rearview mirror and into my lap. When I got home I told Derek about it and how I took it as a sign from God that everything was going to be okay.

It was a sign from God that everything was going to be okay, just not in the way I thought.

I’ve gone over everything in my head a thousand times.

I didn’t eat cold cut meats, drink caffeine or alcohol, or do any of the other potentially harmful things for your baby.

Nothing is wrong with me. Nothing is wrong with Derek.

We are just 1 in 10,000.

Dumb luck. Or fate.

I don’t know why this has happened but I do know that God does his best work when we are weak and sorrowful.

I do know that Baby Franklin will forever be our first child.

I know that I will have another angel watching over me.

I know that this baby happened for a reason.

And I know that we will be okay.

On Saturday I finished the half marathon and it meant so much more to me than originally anticipated.

The race was in tribute to my mother symbolizing strength and the willingness to fight.

I started that race with a broken heart, feeling like I had nothing to live for, and like the hilly terrane I went through a mountain of emotions in the three and a half hours we walked.

I ended feeling accomplished, proud, and hopeful for the future.

Finishing this challenge and supporting my mom reminded me that in life there are so many tragedies, so many obstacles.

But we can fight.

We can fight through them and keep going.

And when your knees feel like they are giving out, maybe it’s because it’s time to get down on them and pray.

Baby Franklin,

You were carefully planned by mommy and daddy. The past thirteen weeks have been the best of my life thus far, nausea and all. Thank you for bringing so much joy into our lives. Your time here has been short, but you have  changed my life for the better. Though I will never get to hold you in my arms in this world, I know you will be waiting for me in heaven. Until we meet again my sweet.

All my Love,

Mom

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I had this post saved as a draft. I was going to post it today originally when we got home from Santa Barbara and was going to upload a belly shot with it. Though I don’t have the photo, I would still like to keep this post for Baby Franklin, so here is week 13.

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 Okay, I know I said at week 11 that I was going to post a picture but it’s not my fault!

[Well, it sort of is]

I somehow managed to lose the charger for my camera battery and naturally my camera decided to die the exact day I was going to take my photo!

It’s like $40 to get a replacement so I was trying desperately to find it but it looks like I’m going to have to suck it up and drop the cash.

So here is my lower quality photo for this week until I get my awesome Rebel up and running.

Here are the last two baby notes that you missed too :)

As my first trimester comes to a close, I want to look back on some key things I have learned about pregnancy since beginning this journey.

1. You think you know what you love, but you don’t. Before I got pregnant I thought I loved cream cheese, chocolate milk, yogurt, peanut butter, french fries, and bananas. Since being pregnant however, I have learned that I LOATHE all of those thing. Go figure.

2. There’s a reason I was never the sober driver. Watching a billion people around you act like piss drunk fools while you’re dirt sober isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. For some reason the jokes aren’t as funny as they are with a beer in you either.

3. Suddenly you want to petition to make bed pans a workplace requirement.  Getting up to pee every 30 minutes grows very tiresome. I feel like I spend more time in the bathroom then actually working these days. If only I could pee in a bed pan at my desk without terrifying my coworkers, getting fired, and ending up on Megan’s Law.

4. My bed has never looked sexier.  I have a new found love and appreciation for my queen mattress, fluffy pillow, and fur filled blankets. Never had I literally craved sleep this much in my entire life. Just typing about it makes me want to indulge. Mmmm sleeeep.


5. People think you’re fat, not pregnant. I look at women in a new light ever since becoming pregnant. When you see a woman walking down the street and she  looks like she’s got a little pudge, it doesn’t always mean she’s had one too many cookies. She could be pregnant! I have not gained any weight so far with this pregnancy, yet somehow my weight has shifted to my mid-range and I look like I’m smuggling a dozen Arby’s roast beef sandwiches. [For the record, I have yet to have an Arby’s roast beef sandwich this pregnancy, though I feel I could go for one now]

All that being said, I am IN LOVE with Baby Franklin and I spend every single day thanking God for blessing us with this baby. In life all things come with sacrifice and I can honestly say that everything negative I have experienced doesn’t hold a candle to everything wonderful.

Until next time.

Xoxo