Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dear Devoted 2 Jen & Patrick friends



As many of you know, a group of special friends put together a fundraising event/page to help Patrick and I get some answers and hopefully help us have a rainbow baby.

(rainbow baby meaning: a baby that comes after loss and pain, with the rainbow being the beauty after a storm)



With the funds that were raised and with an amazing genetic team battling our insurance company, we were able to get the genetic sequencing done.  If you recall, Dylan and Noah both had a unknown genetic anomaly.  The only way to potentially find this needle in a haystack, was to have genetic sequencing done.

I use a library analogy that seems to help people understand how difficult finding this "defect" was. Think of a massive downtown or University library.  Think of all the floors, the rows, and stacks after stacks of books.  Now I tell you to find the missing word.  I don't tell you the floor, the row, or the stack. I don't tell you the book or the page.  But I expect you to find it.


Now do you see how crazy difficult that task was?


I can't tell you how many people asked us, 
        "can't you test for whatever it is? There should be a test!"

Right, there should! But how do we expect doctors and modern medicine to know what an unknown is?! There ARE tests for KNOWN defects, and mutations. But that took time, money and someone having that defect.

So we knew there was a good chance that they still would not be able to pinpoint the exact problem. We sent out all the DNA samples they requested and then we waited...

                   and waited...


                                AND WAITED...

until we got the call to come in.

Now she called me and said we have the results, when can you guys come in? Those that know me well, know I am EXTREMELY IMpatient. I called Patrick and said, "ok, they have the results what time can you get here?" LOL.  He wanted to wait.

WHAT?!?! NO! We already waited months and months and we KNOW they HAVE the results! This isn't a "what is a couple of more days gonna do" type of situation here!

Patrick (thankfully) decided not to battle me on this (love you hon!) and came to meet me later that day.



THEY FOUND IT  !!!!!!




So what next?

Then we met with 2 different IVF clinics to discuss what our options were. One clinic was SO AWFUL at communicating they made the decision extremely easy.

The clinic needed to talk to IVF genetic lab to see whether or not they would be able to create a probe to test for the defect.  So then we waited again, which another possible road block.

We found out a day or so after Dylan's birthday, that the lab would in fact be able to create a probe and be able to pre-test any embryos that were made for the defect the boys had.

So next up, IVF meds and pokes...and pokes...

Poking yourself in the stomach repeatedly with needles, isn't that easy lol.  I was able to do it though, because I knew what the outcome could be and that helped motivate me.

We went through the pokes, and the egg retrieval.  They were able to get a handful of mature eggs that they fertilized and then again waiting.  We needed the embryos to get to day 5 and still look great in order for them to be biopsied and tested.

3 made it to day 5.

They were biopsied and then frozen and then...you guessed it... we WAITED.


They found out that 2 had the defect, and the one had another issue that made him/her not viable.


I cannot put into words how gut wrenching, earth shattering that news was.  It's just a constant soccer punch over and over, and at some point you feel like there's no way this could honestly be happening to us. Not after everything else.

WHY?????

I can't tell you why.

I can't even tell you the next step. Speaking for myself, I feel like giving up. How can I not? I'm sorry if that makes you disappointed or angry with/at me. But at some point you need to call UNCLE! Enough is enough!


Are we there?  I don't know.


We know there are other options, we don't need to have them listed to us.  We know we can try again, we don't need to be reminded.

We need to take time for us right now, and heal from this blow. Healing takes time.  I am picking my marriage and my husband right now.  I will not rush or force him to do something he isn't ready for, and he isn'y doing it to me.  To be honest, I'm not sure I can handle anything else.  Just being near or seeing anyone pregnant is like pouring gallons of salt into an open wound.

But I wanted to say a BIG thank you to all of you for helping us try. Thank you for giving us the support and the opportunity to try and have a biological baby. I have wanted to give you all an update sooner, but I just couldn't bring myself to type it all out.

And even though the outcome isn't what we all hoped for Patrick & I, you have all helped advance medicine and helped future parents have healthy babies without this mutation.  So THANK YOU <3



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I'm still here

Sometimes you just need to take some time off and deal with some things. 

But I'm still here. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

3 years ago today...

I woke up this morning, knowing what today was.  It's not an ordinary day for us.  My phone was blinking and I have the habit of having to look...even though I figured it was so-and-so added a new picture, or updated a status (on facebook, for you non-fb'ers).

I was wrong.

There sometimes comes a time in a friendship, where they really become part of your family.  They hurt when you hurt, cry when you cry, and never judge you in your weakest moments.

One of those friends made this picture and posted it on my facebook wall, so that when I woke up, I would see it and know that it wasn't just me knowing what today was...



Today is a hard day, but it is also filled with the wonderful memories of taking Dylan home.  And the peaceful thoughts of knowing, he would not feel anymore pain or suffering but only the warmth of our arms and the love surrounding him.

Many tell me they are inspired by me and my strength, although I don't feel strong.  Many say, they wouldn't have been able to go through the pain and heartache we have and continue to go through.
I would have said the same thing.

But you have to know that your children would not want that for you. They would not want you in bed all day, crying and suffering.  They would want you to go on living.

So that's what we do.

But we had to take it a step further.

As many of you know we have created a March of Dimes team in the loving memory and honor of our three children in Heaven, Devoted to Dylan.  We started our team in 2012, and have walked the last 3 years.  We have people walking all over the country (as you can join our team, and walk in your hometown!) wearing Dylan's (and now Taylor and Noah's names) proudly.  Reminding Patrick and I that we will never be alone, and that our children will never be forgotten.

Over the last 3 years, we have been recognized as one of the top teams in our city, state, and even in the entire country. In our 3 years, we have raised $89,000 for other families and babies to have a healthy start.  This year, our goal is to raise $11,000 as that will bump us up to raising $100,000 in honor of our children.  Can you think of a greater gift?

If you have walked with us before, please walk again.

If you have thought about it, but didn't feel strong enough, please try again this year.

Please tell people about Dylan, and our team to help raise awareness of the March of Dimes and to help families become more educated on safe pregnancies and to help give all babies a healthy start in life.

Please visit our team page here, and sign up to walk with us or to donate to the cause.  All donations are tax deductible, so print and save your receipt! Please help us reach our goal of $100,000 for babies this year and be apart of the team that did it!

We are also trying desperately to find a location for our big Kick-off Party Silent Auction.  If you know any restaurants, or managers that would be willing to have us, please let us know!! We are also looking for auction item donations!

Please also share our blog! Post to Facebook/Twitter, tell you friends and family.  Please help spread the story of the little boy who changed our lives forever, and who's light continues to get brighter with every passing day.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Changing the World



As most of you know, from reading this blog, after Dylan was born he stayed at Children's Hospital's NICU.  I was not able to see him right away since I had to have a c-section and had to recover, and he was not stable enough to leave the NICU.

As you can imagine, there was a whirlwind of people in and out.  Checking in on me, checking in on Dylan. Poor Patrick had to run back and forth to update me on what was happening with Dylan, as I was still in recovery.

Right after Dylan was born, a doctor went to talk to Patrick about Dylan's lungs.  They hadn't fully matured and he needed help breathing.  He got some surfactant (Thanks to all the research the March of Dimes does!) to help get his lungs stronger. There was another doctor, a resident, there as well (Patrick remembers she was blonde lol).  However, Dylan was born in the midst of a doctor switch.  The attending doctors switch every 2 weeks and the residents every 4 and we are VERY thankful that they did.

Patrick remembers meeting *Sally (name changed for privacy), but he was still exhausted from the whole experience so the details are a tad foggy.  I should ask Sally what she remembers!

We didn't love the attending.  He was very cold, and I think both Patrick and I felt like just another cow in the herd...

However, Sally on the other hand, was amazing.  We could both tell right away that she took to Dylan right away and never made us feel rushed or that we were less important than any other family she was taking care of.  I for sure felt safe with her. I trusted her right away with my baby boy, and to any mother out there reading this, you know how difficult that is.

Because I have a strong science, and somewhat strong medical background, I was probably one of the most annoying NICU parents there. I made sure to get to the hospital early enough in the morning to hear the attendings round on Dylan, and as you can imagine, I always had a list of questions...Why are you giving A, B, or C? What caused his HR to dip down? etc... They learned quickly that I knew the terminology and had ZERO problem voicing any question or concern.  What I appreciated was they started making sure I was okay with the plan, and the treatment course. Checking to see if I had any questions before moving forward. Sally always came back after rounds to make sure we had a good understanding of what was going on, and watched over Dylan when we were home.

For those 4 weeks, we felt like Dylan was in the best possible hands possible all because of Sally.  We started up with a new attending 2 weeks in, and had to start all over with a new person learning about the in's and out's of treating our boy.  But we took comfort in knowing Sally knew all that and would speak up when necessary.  When her 4 weeks were up, we knew there would be HUGE shoes to fill and we were dreading the switch.  She wrote us a sweet card (that I still have!) and gave Dylan an adorable football onesie (even though she isn't rooting for the same NFL team--GO PACK!) on her last night with Dylan. We went home worrying about who would be watching over Dylan now.

Sally's next rotation was Palliative care.  The Palliative team at our local Children's hospital is the absolute best.  They are the most caring and compassionate people in the world, and not everyone is capable of performing this job. There are special places in Heaven for these people.  Even though Sally was no longer Dylan's NICU resident, we were being taken care of the Palliative team, and Sally came by every single day to check in on Dylan and me.

There was another doctor there that would take care of Dylan on the overnights and on some weekends, and we immediately liked this guy. There was no way not to like him.  Just a genuine, caring person, who shined from the inside out. *James (name also changed for privacy) was such a character.  He made us laugh or smile when we needed it, and he was caring and serious when we needed that.

Both Sally and James are in the right profession.  Sure smart people can go and become doctors...but you need that compassion chip and bedside manner that not all of them have.  And when you have a sick baby/child, you REALLY notice that missing chip. These two not only have the chip, but it oozes out of their pores! :)

We became close with these two doctors very quickly and bonded over loving Dylan, football, and food!  We learned later on that these two were actually dating!! And what a PERFECT match!!

We were honored to be invited to their wedding, and are honored to be their friends. They were there the day Noah was born as well, they wanted to meet Dylan's baby brother <3

Not too long ago, they became a family of 4 (no not twins, but because they also got a cute puppy!).
Sally sent me this email to tell me:



I'm sure I don't have to tell you that I was sobbing. I am again actually, re-reading it for the 100th time. I know I have said it before, but knowing that the child you lost lives on in the hearts of many, is the greatest gift of all.

Although our little boy was only here on earth for a short time, his work and love continues to shine through others.  I see it everyday.  October is another hard month for me, as it's when we said goodbye.  But I hold on to the promise that it is goodbye for now.

It's amazing to think of the people that have come into of lives because of Dylan.  We would have never met Sally and James, and other wonderful friends that share the pain of losing a child.  We are so blessed to have them in our lives.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Happy 3rd Birthday, My Sweet Angel!



Oh my sweet boy, Happy Birthday! 



I hope you have a wonderful birthday up in Heaven today! I know your great grandparents, and great uncles are spoiling you without any doubt in my mind.

I'm trying not to be sad today, because I know you wouldn't want that.  But I miss you. The longing to have you here with me and daddy has never gone away, nor will it ever. I still get angry with God that you are gone, even though I know it's not His fault.  But I know He can handle my anger and still love and forgive me.

We have our 3 balloons ready to send up to you, I found an Elmo one! Thought you might like that one.  Mommy and Daddy are of course going out for your favorite meal tonight, pizza with extra sauce. For dessert we found an Oreo birthday cake! I think since both mommy and daddy love oreos, you would have loved them too!


So many things show me how you continue to live on in so many people's hearts. 

You probably remember me talking about the Bumpies (aka September Sweet Peas) before, 
if not go here.


Most of the ladies have been very supportive of all of our efforts to the March of Dimes by raising money on their own, or by simply joining our team and walking in their own hometowns.  I know you see the sea of green and I hope you realize just what an impact you have made on so many families.


And you will continue to live on in the hearts of many sweetie, just look at the picture below of your fellow peas :) I know they all know of you, and wear your name proudly <3 




You received a special delivery yesterday, a balloon bouquet was delivered for a Dylan McGraw <3 from some very special friends.  We will send those up to you as well so be on the look out for 
A LOT of balloons baby :) 

You are so loved.


I love you so much, I wish I could have just one second to hug and kiss you and breathe you in 
just one more time. 

Happy Birthday my sweet boy!


John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.

Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.




Update: Received an email this morning that was very touching.  Here's a little snippet:

"3 years ago you received a very special gift one you have shared with all of us and our world is brighter because of that so I want to Thank You for continuing to let his legacy & life have the impact it does on us all."
Makes my heart full :)


Thursday, August 7, 2014

In one week

In one week, Dylan would be turing 3.  I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that he's gone, and the pain has never gone away.

This was shared recently in one of my groups, I read it today. 


Taken from jsonline.com

The heartbreak of infant loss

Did you know that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month? I'll bet not. Despite the infant mortality crisis that's been at the forefront of Milwaukee's public health news for months, the only people who have more than a cursory comprehension of what it means to lose a baby are those who've lived it.
Infant loss is nature's cruelest practical joke. It's investing all of the required time and effort into pregnancy, only to be robbed of the result. It's cradling a body that grew within your own and trying to reconcile the cold, lifeless form in your arms with your memory of the baby who turned double flips in your womb.
It's worrying that you'll forget what your child looked like and snapping an album's worth of photos that no one will ever ask to see. It's sobbing so hard you can't breathe and wondering if it's possible to cry yourself to death.
Infant loss is handing off a Moses basket to the nurse who's drawn the unfortunate duty of delivering your pride and joy to the morgue and walking out of a hospital with empty arms.
It's boxing up brand new baby clothes and buying a 24-inch casket. It's sifting through sympathy cards, willing your foolish body to stop lactating, clutching your baby's blanket to your chest in hopes of soothing the piercing ache in your heart.
It's resisting the urge to smack the clueless individuals who compare your situation to the death of their dog or who tell you you'll have another baby, as if children are somehow replaceable.
Infant loss is explaining to your 7-year-old that sometimes babies die and being stumped into silence when she asks you why. It's watching other families live out your happy ending and fighting a fresh round of grief with every milestone you miss.
It's being shut out of play groups for perpetuity. It's skipping social events with expectant and newly minted mothers because, as a walking worst-case scenario, you don't want to put a damper on the party.
It's listening to other women gripe about motherhood and realizing that you no longer relate to their petty parental complaints because, frankly, when you've buried a baby, a sleepless night with a vomiting toddler sounds something like a gift.
Infant loss is pruning from your life the friends and relatives who ignore or minimize your loss. It's recognizing that, while they may not mean to be hurtful, the fact that they don't know any better doesn't make their utter lack of empathy one whit easier to bear.
My baby girl would have been 5 years old this month. I don't know what she'd look like, what her favorite food would be. I've never had the privilege of tucking her into bed, taking her to the zoo or kissing her boo-boos. I will never watch her graduate or walk down the aisle.
Infant loss is more than an empty cradle. It's a life sentence.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

My oil of the week...Peace & Calming!



So as many of you know, we got a new kitten this past weekend. Here's our girl Josie in case you haven't seen her yet:


To not upset our other pets (Tigger - a 16 year old cat, and Vedder- a 9 1/2 year old Chocolate lab) we have been keeping them separate...which means no sleep for us.  We are taking turns sleeping with Josie in our room vs on the couch with the boys.  Neither is better than the other. She thinks your body is a playground all hours of the night and knocks things over at 5am.  The couch is not super comfy, but the boys are quiet.

So, I turned to my oils.  I diluted my peace & calming and rubbed some on the bottom of my feet at bedtime, just to see if it would help.  I slept like a ROCK.  Josie could've done somersaults at my head and I don't think I would have noticed!

I need to try this oil in other aspects yet.  Maybe I could diffuse it when we introduce the 3 pets to each other...I'll have to look into that!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Artsy fartsy Friday

We have lots of stuff on our walls in our house.  We have pictures of Dylan and Noah is almost every room, and some wedding pictures.  And then there's my husband's Pearl Jam posters...in fairness, they are framed nicely so it does look like art.

So in pursuing the good ol'internet I stumbled upon this artist, Egidijus Baranauskas and his watercolors.

This one in particular caught my eye! We have bird feeders all around, and have taken an interest in all the birds visiting :)


I just LOVE the colors!

Do you have art having up in your house/apartment? Are they original pieces? Prints? Photographs?


Thursday, July 17, 2014

My oil of the week...PEPPERMINT




So I posted that I believe in the oils :) I've had friends and former co-workers using the oils and saying how great they were and I thought I'd waited long enough, so I jumped in right away and bought the premium kit. I'm so glad I did because I'm able to play around with 11 different oils. This week, I'm highlighting peppermint and how it's helped me.

I get the occasional headache, I don't suffer from them often. But when I do, I try everything else before taking anything (Tylenol/ibuprofen).  I'm sure some people think, oh just take it and stop feeling miserable...but I would rather know WHY I have a headache. 9 times out of 10 I needed to drink some more water, and the headache goes away.  For the 1/10, I will take something. But not anymore! Lately all I've been doing is rubbing a drop of peppermint on my temples/forehead and it takes all the discomfort away!

My co-worker mentioned that he really enjoyed a drop of peppermint in his water, and I read that it can help motivate/energize you for a work-out...so I added a drop to my water bottle at the gym last night.  I felt like I had more energy and was able to push harder in my class than usual. I take this same class at the same time of day on the same week, so there isn't much variation in that... But I felt great during and after class! I will def be doing that again!

There is some debate over the different companies of essential oils out there.  All I can tell you is to do your own research so that you are comfortable using the products on/in your and your family's bodies. I really love Young Living's Seed to Seal guarantee and I've only heard great things about this company. Just take care of yourself, and read labels :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

August is coming

I know it's coming and that I can't stop it from getting here.  All my mom friends are talking about how they can't believe their babies are turning 3 in a month (or two).  And all I can think about is how you'll have been gone for 3 years. 

As usual I will try to stay positive and focus on the good things, and I usually do pretty well on your actual birthday.  The leading up to has always been the hardest part.  Maybe it's the anticipation alone.  Maybe it's because all the other peas are turning three, so there are comments/posts all over the place about the parties, and the "I can't believe it's 3 years" Whatever it is, it all sucks.

We've seen quite a few butterflies near your garden lately, and that always makes us both smile and think of you.  We think about and miss you three every single day.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Essential oils...I now believe! LOL




So I bought a kit a couple of weeks ago.  Without bombarding you with ALL the details, I'll do one every now and then :)

I suffer from chronic allergies and sinus issues, have for many years now.  I read that lavender can help relieve the pain/pressure. So I thought "what the heck, it's worth a shot"

IT WORKED.

I rubbed a drop on both cheeks, where my pressure is usually the worse.  Within minutes, I was back to normal! No sudafed or mucinex needed! just 2 drops of oil! on my face!

It also relaxed the muscles on my face and I smelled great :) WIN-WIN!

Have you discovered a love for essential oils yet??

Have you tried lavender? For what? teach me! :)

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

sick of this weather

I'm a very solar person...so this rainy grey crap is for the birds!
I need some sunshine!

What do you do to bring your energy up on grey days?





And in my search for a sunshine picture, this popped up! Does anyone else remember these books?!?!


Friday, June 20, 2014

Brigg's and Al's Run 2014

Please help us support the NICU here at Wisconsin's Children’s Hospital (CHW)





CHW is the reason we had two months with our Dylan.  The doctors and staff here worked to make Dylan comfortable, and to try and find answers.  He had his favorite nurses (Brenda, Laura, and Sue) who he saved his flirty smiles for.  The lactation team of nurses checked in on me daily to help me with pumping and making sure I was able to provide the best nutrition for my baby.  The doctors realized that Dylan preferred some therapy over others, and adjusted the treatment plans based on Dylan's reactions (he preferred one type of ventilator over the other).  The palliative team (Dr Humphrey)  worked hard to allow us to take our baby home and the genetic team (Dr Basel and wonderful Reagan) are helping us try to figure out the how's and the why's.

We also attend a support group that is 100% funded by CHW for families that have lost a child.  It is a great comfort knowing that you are not alone, that someone DOES understand the pain you are going through.  

We wouldn't be where we are today without the staff and programs here at Children's hospital.  Some of you reading this are local here, and may have not had to use the services here, and I hope you never do.  But I hope that you take immense comfort in knowing they are right next door if you ever do need them.



Al's run is September 13th (Saturday) in downtown Milwaukee 
         (starting line by Marquette University)

The run is an 8K, or 5 miles, and the walk is 3 miles.  Please come run and walk with us in support of Children's hospital.  If you can't run/walk, please consider donating and help keep these programs running and helping families in need.

you can sign up or donate here: http://events.chw.org/goto/dylansmom

Here are some videos and stories to show how wonderful CHW is:

This is LuLu and her strength and wisdom amazed me. 

 "I know mom,  Storm Rainbow, Storm Rainbow"





Wednesday, June 11, 2014

ok so I'm a couponing junkie :)

But saving money is fun :) it means for money for fun stuff!

So here are the two trips I made this week.

Target:



I spent $2.41 OOP and earned a $5 gift card :)


CVS:



I spent $0 OOP and earned $15 in ECB (extracare bucks)

It was a good week!!

Do you coupon?? If not, you should!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Dylan's Trees

We received cards, and other thoughtful gifts after we lost Dylan.  We also received three awesome trees. So we planted them quickly in mid october here in Wisconsin (in 2011).  And today I'll show you some before and after's, I'll do one in the fall as well because that's when one really shows his true colors!

The Autumn Blaze:





The Smoke Tree:





The Lilac hasn't changed much as it's a miniature tree, but here's a recent picture (it hasn't bloomed yet)


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Movie Noah

My husband and I went to see the movie a few weeks ago at a budget theater. And we were disappointed in how Hollywood portrayed Noah.



Looking at other reviews, it's sort of a 50/50 toss up.

Things I liked:

I thought the way they showed how evil/devil can be found everywhere, in all of us.  They went back to the story of Adam and Eve, and the snake.  The snake was first shown as a green snake like the one below.



Then later you see a black snake emerging out of the green snake (or shedding it's skin) But I loved the play with the color.  From English I remember studying archetypes, and black vs white is a very common one.

I also really enjoyed the animal scenes, when the animals all came to the ark.  They were beautifully done and caused me to tear up quite a bit.

These pictures do not do the scenes justice.





Things I didn't like:

I really didn't like how full the entire second half of the movie, Noah is portrayed as a crazed murdering monster, to the point of letting everyone know he plans on killing his unborn grand child once they are born...



That did not sit right with me at all.

What did you like/dislike about the movie? Or did you not see it for any reason?


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sorry it's been awhile!

So I was kinda crazy busy there for a little bit.  I was finishing up my class, Sociology, with a presentation, huge paper, and exam.  Plus I was training for my first ever half marathon. One of my bumpie friends got me to sign up for the run and I'm really glad she did! (Thanks Sara!) So Sara, another bumpie, Dawn, and I started training. All in different cities, but motivating each other to stick with it.

It was SO MUCH FUN and I think I want to try for a full.  My hips and knees are the limiting factor in all this, so I will train and see how they handle the extra distance. Here are some pictures from the race in Green Bay, WI. I GOT TO RUN IN THE SAME TUNNEL AS THE PACKERS!!!!

Carb loading dinner with this adorable family <3

Everyone getting ready to line up for the start

Can you find me???

RUNNING IN LAMBEAU!!!

Back of my shirt, custom racing bib


About to cross the finish!
(Picture Proof from the photographers there) 

Beer in hand and I couldn't stop smiling!

WE DID IT!!! :)




Then last weekend we volunteered for the Dave and Carole Miracle Marathon for our third year in a row :) We love doing it and it helps us give back to the hospital that took such great care of our boys. We met some new friends (Hi Pat and Denise!) and had a great day.



Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Bereaved Mother's Day


Bereaved Mother's Day was this past Sunday, a day to honor the mothers that have lost a child.  

I posted one of the pictures and tagged the mama warriors that I know on my facebook page.  I was immediately distraught when I was over 10 women.  I know over 20 women that have lost a child, and that breaks my heart.

I also learned about the actual history of the holiday (Mother's day). Anna Jarvis  founded the day to honor her own mother, 3 years after she had passed away (1908).  A mother who had also lost 7 children.

Mother's Day is near impossible for me to get through.  I am a mother.  I will always be their mother. But a day where all the other mom's get to go out for brunch, or dinner to celebrate being a mother. It's almost like salt in the wound.  

My husband took me out to a Mother's Day brunch that first year, and I felt funny. I know people were looking at us funny wondering where our children were or what we were doing there.  A table for 2? On Mother's day?  If you don't believe me, try it once.

I'm going to try and get through the day, but I know it's not going to be easy.  I'm definitely up for suggestions if you have anything.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

We are SOOOOO Close!!!





We have almost raised $10,000 for March of Dimes this year!! We are $128 away!!!
If you haven't donated yet, you still can!! Just go here

Remember every dollar counts and can make the difference in the life of a baby!

**EDIT** WE DID IT!!!! WE RAISED $10,000 FOR MARCH OF DIMES!!!!!




There is also a Pink Zebra Fundraiser going on to help our team reach our goal!!
Please go here to check it out!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Interview Link

Good morning everyone! Hope you had a wonderful holiday, the weather here was beautiful :)

CBS posted the interview link online this morning! In case you missed it or live out of town, just click here


We have 6 days left before the March of Dimes walk!You still have time to join our team and walk with us, for Dylan and Noah, as well as some preemie friends of ours (Jonah, Nathan, and Charlotte) or for a preemie or a loss in your life.  Come help support the March of Dimes and all that they do!

You can still donate to our team, just click here to go to the donation page :)



Friday, April 18, 2014

CBS interview!!!

Patrick and I were asked to do an interview for CBS 58 (Milwaukee) about our involvement with the March of Dimes and the upcoming March for Babies!!

It airs Saturday night (4/19) at 10pm and again bright and early on Monday morning (4/21) 5-6am

Please check it out!! Once the story has aired, we will have a link for the out-of-towners!!! :)

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

"How can you still believe in God?"

I am not affiliated with any church or domination, and I am a scientist in the sense that I have a BS in Biology and currently work in diabetes research.  I have struggled many times with creation vs evolution, but I have always believed in Him.

I can't quote scripture word of word, and I can't tell you which Apostle told which story.  I went to Sunday school as a little girl, and continued going through high school.  I remember the easter egg hunts in the pews, and the chocolate bunnies and the baked ham dinner.  As I got older, I remember getting the palm leaf the week before Sunday.  But I never really understood.

When we found out that Dylan was sick, we were angry.  I can speak for myself and fully admit, I was angry with God.  How could he do this? What did we do wrong to deserve this? Our sweet innocent baby taken away from us...WHY?!? On bad/weak days, we can fall back on the anger.  That's easy.

But the hard part?  Focusing on the good.  We cherished the 37 1/2 weeks that I was able to carry Dylan, to feel him kick and move around.  We took maternity pictures and succumbed to marinara sauce carvings.  I painted pictures for his nursery, washed all his baby clothes.  (If you can recall, the doctors didn't know the extent of what Dylan had or what it meant, so we tried to prepare as best we could for the complete unknown) And we were given two full months of baby smiles, wiggles, kisses and baths, all be it not in the ideal situation, but those two months were a blessing and a gift.

And then when we realized we would be reliving that nightmare with our Noah, the same emotions flooded on through.  Anger first, and then we had to be strong and focus on the blessings.  This time we knew the outcome, a gift from his big brother Dylan, so we knew not to put Noah through the same battles as Dylan.  We again took maternity pictures and succumbed again to different cravings of Kraft Mac & Cheese and buffalo chicken tenders.  Noah was incredibly active during his pregnancy. I felt him very early on in the pregnancy and once he started, it was a full day of summersaults and fist bumps.  We were given a 50% chance of Noah surviving the pregnancy, and getting the chance to meet our boy alive.  We prayed and prayed, and those prayers were answered (yet another gift) and beyond, as we were given two full hours with our little boy.  Pray to Him, and He will listen. Noah never struggled or felt pain.  All he ever knew was the world form inside my belly and then the love that surrounded him during his two hours here on earth.

More miracles have been confirmed as time as gone on.  We learned that the genetic disorder that our boys had is in fact lethal to males.  The boys never make it through the pregnancy.  But BOTH of my boys did.

Women that I have never physically met have banded together walking and raising money with their children in loving honor and memory of our boys, all benefitting the March of Dimes.  I believe this also to be a gift.  It's a gift in the sense that we know that our boys live on in the hearts of many, their lives were not lost in vain, and that they will never be forgotten.  Talk about gifts! :)

People sometimes ask me, after hearing about our story, how I can still believe in God after the experiences we have been through.  I tell them what I know or of what I believe very deep inside of me.  I don't believe God took my children from me. I don't believe He is punishing my husband or I, or our children.  We live in an imperfect world, where good people die; where good people are killed, taken advantage of, robbed, starved...the list goes on. I don't believe God to be a punishing God, but a loving God.  Those of you that are familiar with the Bible and scripture know this week to be a very Holy one.  Today is Holy Thursday, the day of the Last Supper.  Jesus tells the apostles that this will be their last meal together, and he knows that He will soon be sacrificed.

And those familiar with the story, know of the crucifixion and then the resurrection (Easter Sunday). And then Jesus comes to John, and from that, the Book of Revelation.

"I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty."


"He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[a] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

And the promise that I will get to see my children again, is what gets me through each passing day and gives me the hope that I cling onto.


I am not trying to say one religion is better than others, or make you a believer if you aren't one.  I'm sharing with you my thoughts and beliefs, especially since I do get asked this question and I'm sure others have.  I can proudly say that I am a mother of angels <3


It is also not accidental the timing of this post, as Easter Sunday is approaching. To me, it means a lot more than marshmallow peeps and chocolate bunnies nowadays. 










Friday, March 21, 2014

it's another Fundraising Friday!!



So what does this mean exactly??

You come to the VFW Post in New Berlin and shop at all of you favorite vendors. Say you want some beer bread from Tastefully Simple and a mini muffin pan from Pampered Chef! The reps will sell you these items and donate a % of the total sales to the March of Dimes.

Here are the links from some of the vendors I was less familiar with so you can also see what items they have available!



Scentsy (Click on March of Dimes Shop to buy online!)

Close to my Heart (click on Join Devoted to Dylan to buy online!)

Magic Cupcakes will be there selling treats!


Friday, March 7, 2014

Fundraising Friday!

HI all!

Here's the 2014 logo


First and foremost, our Devoted To Dylan tshirt order is going in next week.  These are slightly different than last years as they have Noah and Taylor's name on them.  You don't have to walk with us to have a tshirt! If you want one, please order one.

Here's the tshirt order link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1n0aEA10Qcim_8nPFwA5rDP-mXgEFbKziCLbfCUr_0QY/viewform

And on to the fundraisers...

Of you are near Froedtert, Children's Hospital, or the Medical College of WI we are having a Krispy Kreme Donut Fundraiser on Wednesday March 12th 8-9am




The Tastefully Simple fundraiser is still up and running and they've launched their new Spring/Summer Catalog! Go here to check it out!


If you are on facebook, go to our group page here

If not, go here

Underneath Nichole's avatar, you will see "Upcoming Parties"

Click on "Jen M" and then in the orange rectangle, click on "shop now"
and you're all set!

I think this looks pretty tasty!


Friday, February 28, 2014

Fundraising Friday and a shopping tip :)

Sorry for the lack of posts since last friday!

We still have the two fundraisers going on right now. To read more about those go here

I know that money is tight right now,  for everyone. It's hard to donate money.  I break it up and donate something every month instead of a big lump sum and that helps me from feeling the hit of the donation.

I also am a crazy coupon lady as a lot of you already know, not crazy enough for a show...I won't be buying pallets of toilet paper anytime soon...but I still coupon and am able to save a lot of money.


I learned about this new shopping app on Hip2Save, and used a fellow hipper's referral code.  I was rewarded with a free lindt bar.  So I decided to make a trip to Walgreens.  They were running some other good deals that I wanted to grab.  The Scrub Bubbles are on sale for 2 for $6 and you earn a $2 RR, there are $1/1 coupons on coupons.com, so I used 2.  The Snickers are on sale for $0.49 and I had a $0.75/2 coupon. The glade starter kit is on sale for $4.99, and you earn a $2 RR.  I also had a $3/1 coupon from the glade site.  And then my lindt bar :) Full price, no sale.

I had a $4 RR from last week that I rolled into this and I used some of my balance points (another loyalty program that Wags does) and ended up paying $1.28 out of pocket (OOP) and earned my $2, and $2 RR.  Then I went to my smart phone apps :)

Shopmium is the new one.  To get the app you go to their site located here and to get a free lindt Chocolate bar you need to enter in a referral code. Mine is GMAKHAPC.  Thanks for using mine and if you sign up, feel free to add your referral code in the comments and hopefully someone else will pay it forward and so on.  All you do is scan the barcode of the item you bought and take a picture with your camera (all done on your smart phone) and you're done! BOOM! I got money back for the lindt chocolate bar and the glade starter kit.

So using my apps, and getting my RR's from walgreens I spent $1.28 OOP and earned $2 and $2 RR, earned $4 from shopmium and $2 from Checkout51 basically making money on my trip last night.

So I can donate even more to the march of dimes this month :)

and PS I tried that mega shower foamer last night, IT IS AWESOME! GREAT product! And no they are not paying me for saying that.