Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How First Candle is Fighting SIDS

This is a really good article that describes some of the great work First Candle is doing to help reduce SIDS and stillbirth. Please click on the link below and check out this article:

How First Candle is Fighting SIDS

As First Candle continues to do its great work, I hope that less and less parents will have to go through losing their baby to SIDS or stillbirth. If you haven't heard about First Candle, please take a moment to check out their website ( or post a link to their site from your blog.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 15th

Remembering our sweet Cara Grace and all the babies who flew to heaven too soon...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why we cry for the silent.

Her birth was silent, and we wept. As the days passed, the quiet weeping turned to deep sobs and later passionate yells as tears poured down our faces.

Tim and I started this blog, Cries for the Silent, shortly after we lost Cara. Initially we intended to use this blog to advocate for stillbirth legislation and awareness. At times it has been that place for us. However, we also use it to remember, to cry and to validate the presence of our first daughter. Her picture is right there. How could she not be a part of our lives?

Now we have our second daughter Molly in our lives. We love her completely, wholly but in a way that is very different from Cara. Does that mean we love Cara less? Absolutely not. We love her differently, with longing, brokenness and pain, but with hope for restored life at the end of our journey.

Two painful experiences reverberate throughout the past 11 days. First, since I delivered Molly people think that NOW we are parents. I suspect if Cara had lived for even a minute her life would be validated by society, but since she was stillborn it was as if she was never here. However, we are and have been parents. We were parents when Cara was conceived. We were parents when I pushed her lifeless yet perfect body into this world. We were parents when that same precious little body was lowered into the ground. And each time we cried.

The second painful experience is the comments that now our happiness has been made complete because Molly is in our lives. Molly NEVER replaces Cara. Never, ever. Molly is wonderful and loved so, so deeply, but she does not take away the grief. We will ALWAYS miss Cara and years from now there will be tears to shed, because we will not send her to school or watch her walk down the aisle at her wedding or deliver our first grandchild. Parents do not 'get over' losing their child. The burden of the grief walk will lessen, but the grief will forever remain present.

With Molly we learn what we missed with Cara. I spend a lot of time smiling at my precious baby girl, kissing her cheeks, and nibbling her fingers. Once a day though I hold her close and weep for Cara. So we cry for our little one who came silently into this world. We cry for the other little ones who never had a voice in this world, for Aidan, for Hope, for Christian, for the many blogs we read of other parents battling through this journey. Their voices are forever heard in our lives.

The hardest part

Is that some people act like Cara never lived. Or that she was never born. I'm back at work today and everyone has been by to shake my hand and give me the typical congratulations. It is sweet. I appreciate their excitement and joy for Molly's arrival.

But comments like "How's it feel to be a Father" or "Molly was your firstborn" are hard to take. I know people mean well and are just saying the standard stuff I guess you say to what they see as a "new" Dad. But it's equally hard, frustrating and disappointing because I know these people know that Cara was born, and that she was here.

I can't let these comments go, I have to correct them. Which I do so by bringing Cara back in the conversation...

"No, this is not our first, our first daughter was stillborn at 38 and a half weeks."
"We're excited for our second daughter."
"Well, Cynthia's labor did seem quicker with Molly than it did with Cara."

I constantly remind people that Cara was our firstborn, and Molly is our second.

I know people mean well and unfortunately I think a lot of people just try to ignore the pain and grief in life. It's much easier to focus on the newborn than the stillborn which is just a shame. Cara lived and she still is alive. I'm still her Father and I'm still caring for her. Of course not physically, but in a spiritual sense I talk to her and care for her like any Father would.

I wish these comments would stop but based on the past couple of weeks, Cynthia and I are both realizing we will have to work through comments like "how's it feel to be a Dad/Mom or is this your first?" for the rest of our lives.

Which makes me grateful for the friends and family around us that act like Cara lived and is still with us in some sense. I'm grateful for those that see us not as a family of 3, but a a family of 4 - and that bring Cara into our conversations when they can.

I'm grateful for Cynthia and my two baby girls today.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Trying to let go, trying to embrace this new chapter.

Cynthia and I keep saying this week that we can't believe we're here....with Cara gone and now her little sister Molly here. Cara should still be here. We lost her just 18 months ago. It wasn't supposed to happen like this.

And yet the second child in our family, beautiful little Molly, is here with us. A little earlier than we would have planned if Cara were still alive, but she is here nonetheless - along with all her beautiful cries, wimpers, wiggles, and of course those chubby little cheeks.

Molly is here which is a miracle. A true gift from God. A gift that I know Cara along with all the saints on heaven and on earth interceded for. A gift that Cara and all the saints will continue to watch over. She is an awesome gift to our family. When I let that sink in, I'm short on words.

I wish so badly that Cara was here. Right now, most of us think that Molly resembles more of her mother. And who knows, we could be totally wrong, but right now it seems like she definitely has more of her mom in her, while Cara was very, very similar to me with her hair, nose, cheekbones and eyes. It will be neat to see Molly grow into her own beautiful person, but I do grieve that we won't be able to see Cara grow into who she would have become as well. Even just as simple in that we will never be able to walk down the street and have people say that "oh, Cara looks just like you, Tim and Molly is a spitting image of her mother." We do have this through pictures and in the sense that Cara is still alive in spirit - but right now I'm grieving that we won't have this here on earth.

This first week with Molly has been full of new memories. For the first time since our pregnancy with Cara, I feel like there is a tangible sign of hope and joy right in the middle of our lives. This is why Molly is such a gift. Because through each of her cries and wimpers and short little breaths she is a sign of life...a reminder that sometimes life does win on this earth. A reminder of something good - a simple, pure little baby girl...just like her big sister.

As soon as Molly was in our arms we started telling her all about her older sister, which in a sense is sorta funny, because I feel like Molly already knew she had an angel surrounding her. But we held Molly in our arms and told her how much Cara loves her, how much we miss Cara, and how much we wish Cara could be there physically as her bigger sister now. And this is just the beginning, we will continually tell Molly all about her older sister because Cara will be a part of our everyday lives forever.

But it's not all joy and it's not all easy. I've been struggling this week with fears that Molly might unexpectedly die. I'm very scared about SIDS, but after talking with our pediatrician about it I feel that if we follow all the recommendation from First Candle, the chances of SIDS striking Molly are very low.

But Cynthia and I still find ourselves checking Molly's crib to make sure she's ok. And we'll certainly continue to be over-protective parents for the rest of Molly's life. We just want to do everything we can to make sure she lives a healthy, long life.

So I'm trying to let go. I tell myself, and Cynthia says to me that "babies are meant to live." Molly is meant to live and breathe and be a normal little baby. Thinking about this seems to help a little bit.

I'm also trying to use music to work through these anxious feelings and embrace this new chapter. I decided the other day that I wanted to share my "Daddy Mix" with Molly. This is the mix that Cynthia made me shortly after we found out that Cara was a girl. So on Tuesday afternoon, I propped the laptop up next to Molly with Cynthia in the room and we listened to my favorite Daddy song, Paul Simon's "Father and Daughter." I heard this song around when Cynthia and I first got married and I remember way back then thinking how fun it would be to have a daughter one day and share this song with her. And it seemed just like a dream back then, but boy did my dream eventually come true. I hadn't listened to this song since we lost Cara. But on Tuesday, it felt like a good time to share this song with my second daughter. I feel like it sums up everything about how I love my girls.

I love you Cara and Molly. There will never be a father that loves his daughters as much as I love you.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Molly Anne

We would like to introduce the newest member of our family
Molly Anne
Born October 3, 2009
12:19 am
6 pounds 8 ounces, 19 inches

Friday October 2nd we were scheduled for an amniocentesis to check for lung maturity. Much to our dismay, we learned I was already in labor at 36 weeks 5 days when we arrived at the hospital. They broke my water around 6:00 pm and several hard hours of labor for me and baby followed. After an hour and a half of pushing, Molly arrived just after midnight on the 3rd.

My mom shared with me later that day October 2 is the Feast of the Guardian Angels in the Catholic Church. We believe Cara, Molly's big sister, was absolutely watching over her during labor and birth. Molly's heart rate dipped several times during labor, the doctor was worried both she and I were not recovering in between contractions, they slowed my labor towards the end, Molly arrived 'stunned' and required a hastened visit from the Pediatric team. In spite all of this, she is healthy and recovered fairly quickly.

I had hoped Molly would be born on the 2nd before I knew any of this. I just liked the sound of the second. It was only later that I learned about the Feast of the Guardian Angels. My mom reflected that perhaps Cara was watching over Molly, but then released Molly on the 3rd so it would be her own special day. I suspect I will always reflect on both days each year, the 2nd as a reminder of my little one who flew away to soon and the 3rd for the one who restored hope and joy.

Feast of the Guardian Angel
The American Catholic website offered these reflections, which I loved.
Catholic saints are holy people and human people who lived extraordinary lives. Each saint the Church honors responded to God's invitation to use his or her unique gifts. God calls each one of us to be a saint.

Perhaps no aspect of Catholic piety is as comforting to parents as the belief that an angel protects their little ones from dangers real and imagined. Yet guardian angels are not just for children. Their role is to represent individuals before God, to watch over them always, to aid their prayer and to present their souls to God at death.

The concept of an angel assigned to guide and nurture each human being is a development of Catholic doctrine and piety based on Scripture but not directly drawn from it. Jesus' words in Matthew 18:10 best support the belief: "See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Reflections on Birth

I found this reflection on birth while we were trying to conceive our second little one. It comes from The Pattern of Our Days: Worship in the Celtic Tradition from the Iona Community, edited by Kathy Galloway.

To wait
to endure
to be vulnerable
to accept
to be of good courage
to go on
day after day after day;
to be heavy with hope
to carry the weight of the future
to anticipate with joy
to withdraw with fear
until the pain overcomes,
the waters break,
and the light of the world
is crowned.
Then the travail is over,
joy have overcome.

Lord of heaven and earth,
crowned with blood
at your birth,
bring new hope to birth
in your waiting world.
Bring fresh joy to those who weep.
Be present
in all our dyings and birthings.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Twice in the past week someone has said to us that in a few days Tim will be a dad. I'm sorry, but did our first not count? The individual is someone who lost a baby in utero between 5-6 months, although it was this person's second child. In fact, this person was at the funeral when we buried our little Cara.

I finally had to say that there are a lot of emotions around bringing home our second child. I hope that is enough to silence these comments, because I fear I don't have the energy to confront the issue head on.