Introducing my sweet Devon.

From the moment I laid eyes on his sweet, sleeping face, I was absolutely in love. He had so much hair, long fingers and toes, and was a solid 5 pounds/19.5 inches long. He was absolutely, positively beautiful - and looked so much like his big brother.

I will never forget the moment the nurse wheeled him in. I was signing paperwork to transfer him to the funeral home and have his certificate of stillbirth finalized, and I just lost it. I am pretty sure I never cried as hard as I did the moment I actually got to hold him for the first time. I wasn't sure if I was strong enough to do it - I didn't actually see him until several hours after he was born sleeping - but I knew I would regret it if I didn't take the time to bond with him before he was lost to the skies forever. I cried my heart out as I mourned the loss of my sweet boy, my second born, a little boy whose eyes I would never see, whose smile I would never see, whose cry I would never hear.

I held him as I signed the paperwork, rocked him until it was suggested I get some rest and let him go. He was brought back to meet my mom and JJ, then sent to the funeral home. I got to see him one last time at the funeral home and spent an hour with him, my parents, my sister, J, his uncle and cousin, and JJ. I held him one last time, kissed his sweet face, stroke the adorable suit my parents found him - the only pair of clothes he would ever wear. I'll never forget the moment I saw him last, as I placed him in a basket and walked away, my heart forever broken.

It's been more than a year since I last saw him, and my heart still aches for him. I do have his pictures, and they mean SO MUCH to me...I'm so afraid of losing them that I lock them in a fireproof, flood-proof safe box when I'm not home. Those pictures, along with the onesie he wore at the hospital and my hospital bracelet, are the only things I have of Devon's. I will forever cherish them, especially his pictures.

For the past year, I've debated about showing the world his sweet face. Only my family members have seen him and his pictures, and I wasn't sure how the rest of the world would handle seeing a sleeping baby. The whole pregnancy/infant loss thing is still such a taboo topic that it's hard to tell how people will react to something like this. We did not have an open casket at his memorial - he was cremated - so no one outside of my family has actually seen what Devon looked like. But today, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, I decided it was time to show the world the little boy who will always be a part of me.

Even as the world has kept going, as I've proudly watched JJ grow from a toddler to a little boy, as I've cherished my rainbow pregnancy, my heart still has a hole that was made the day Devon died. That hole will always be there, until we meet again. For now, though, I have his pictures, our memories together, and my love for him to keep me going on the tough days [like today].

So...here he is. Devon Alexander, born sleeping on August 19, 2012 at 5:30am. 5 pounds, 19.5 inches of pure perfection. I love you and miss you so much, sweet baby. In an hour, we'll light candles for you and for all of your angel friends - I hope you all can see them from Earth and feel the love your mommies, daddies, siblings, friends and family will always have for you.



It has seriously been a crazy semester for me. I can't believe it's almost the middle of October - the last part of this year has flown by so fast. It's been almost non-stop since school started back up...which I can't complain about, because at least I'm hardly ever bored. I'm always on my toes, doing something, making something, preparing something for work or school.

But I'll admit - I'm starting to get overwhelmed just a bit.

I mentioned on FB that I was going to do Capture Your Grief this year...but I started doing the prompts and literally hyperventilated. I just can't do it this year. I'm trying so hard to be positive about this pregnancy and our rainbow that doing something as emotional as Capture Your Grief just isn't in the cards for me, even if I thought I could handle it [which I did]. When I truly don't want to do something, I block it out - and I've been blocking out Capture Your Grief this month, even though I was so excited and determined to do it last month. I almost feel like a failure because I want to remember Devon in every possible way, but I just can't do Capture Your Grief without having some sort of emotional breakdown. It's still so hard to remember, even after a year.

At this point, I'm almost 25 weeks pregnant with Baby Sweet Pea, and things are starting to get tough. I do feel great physically [besides random pains, lack of sleep and feeling sick after eating certain foods], which is nice...but I'm getting bigger, which is making it harder to do things. Bending over is nearly impossible, as is sitting on the floor because I get uncomfortable quickly. I do have energy, but by the end of a very long day, I just want to crash on the couch - and JJ wants to play. I do what I can to keep him active and to play with him, even though it's definitely getting harder to keep up with him. We went for a walk/bike ride the other day, and I felt like I was going to pass out after we walked about a mile or so [and I definitely was having Braxton Hicks]. Pushing myself physically is getting hard, especially since I really haven't stayed physically active - like running - due to my SCH diagnosis in fir trimester. Sigh.

On a brighter note, she is definitely more active now than she's ever been, which is putting my PgAL brain at ease. I'm not sure I'll fully breathe again until our next ultrasound - which is three weeks from Monday, finally! [this appointment has been scheduled for almost six weeks now] - but to feel her actually moving and kicking around in there is a relief. I'm not wanting to reach for my doppler every five seconds to make sure her heart is still beating, which is a nice feeling to have [even though I do still check on her with the doppler a couple of times a week...I'm not sure i'll let that habit go until she's born]. A part of me wants to slow this pregnancy down and enjoy it more, but a part also wants it to be January so that she can be nice and safe in my arms. As I get further along and start to show more, I get more excited...but I also get more anxious. My loss milestone is in less than nine weeks now, and I just know I'll start counting down the days as we get closer.

While i would love to think that I can do everything, I know that I can't - and I have to start acting like that. It's so hard to be a working "single" mom [i put "single" in quotes because i'm definitely still happily married, but with j and i living in two separate states, it falls on me to keep this household running with very little help], to have to put dinner on the table every night, to keep the kitchen cleaned and the clothes washed and JJ nice and happy. I pride myself on keeping it all together, but I do feel myself starting to come apart at the edges. It's becoming a little overwhelming to keep the house together, work together, and myself together for my children...and it kinda puts a damper on things because I want to be able to hold it together. I have to hold it together.

Tonight, I almost lost it with JJ because he got upset over a little thing [it doesn't take much to set off a 4-year-old; tonight's episode came about because his train track set wouldn't link up right]. I had to pull myself away and calm down before I yelled at him, something I don't want to do. That made him upset, and he started crying. Then I started crying. We sat on the floor and cried together for a couple of minutes before I picked us both back up [with some much-needed hugs and kisses] and got him to bed. It wasn't his fault I was upset; I just let things pile up emotionally, and I just hope I don't explode. It sucks to feel overwhelmed.