I am struck by the pull of the public and private. Knowing everything versus trusting in the unknown. In the age of sharing, and social media, I find myself torn. How to be in the present moment? How much to give outwards? It is a decision Mike & I have been faced with repeatedly as contemporary parents, and I don’t doubt that it requires all partners to dig deep.
So when I was presented the opportunity to share more about our loss, I checked in with Mike and then went ahead. I have been eager to keep a dialogue going about baby loss, but I have also wanted to protect our experience. Recently I participated in a short interview with ParentMap about abortion. A friend connected us through the organization Shout Your Abortion. The article was conceptualized before the election, and needless to say, there was a collective palpable urgency to share in the weeks and months after. It is my hope that by adding one more voice to the mix, I can help normalize. SYA’s mission is simple and direct, and the new website creates a space for all that is abortion. In our story, and in many others that are a part of an alarming statistic, two loving parents often stand behind it.
You can read the article here.
Mike & I declined all genetic testing during our second pregnancy. Ultimately, we wanted to restore faith in the natural process of things. Having access to these tools didn’t mean we needed to use them. Having terminated once didn’t mean we would do it again. Conversely, being a married couple with the best intentions to parent didn’t mean we would not consider terminating. For in 2013, we had found ourselves in that space. As my friends simultaneously go through the joys and difficulties of growing families, some are stopped short. They too have chosen paths that would bring their pregnancy to a halt. It is raw and it is unraveling. And there is not a moment when I doubt our right to choose.
My first pregnancy with the twins was very transparent (with ultrasounds every 2 weeks) and their birth very medicalized. With one ‘failed’ attempt behind me, and like all other pregnancies at 35 years and older, there was a very small chance our baby could have challenges. Our doctor checked-in repeatedly as the weeks ticked by. We were willing to risk it, willing to let hope guide us. And for both pregnancies we decided not to find out the sex. I have found a sense of buoyancy in not knowing absolutely everything.
In many ways I am healing. It’s as if Ramsey was plucked out of the sea, and placed into our laps to light up our lives. I do still impulsively dip into the nursery during nap time to check for his breathing. I know I’m not the only one to do this. But it is impossible to shake a loss. I simply cannot have another child taken from me. That might be the crux of it. I perceive that the twins were taken from us, not that I had an abortion to take them out of me. Because we did it out of love.
Many of us moms feel overwhelmingly moved to write, to travel, to yoga, to move, to activate, to march, to challenge the status quo, to speak to those who will listen when we lose a baby. Whisper, murmur, sing or shout, we find our ways to share. And the more loss and abortion are talked about, the less women feel alone.
I am fine-tuning my voice in floral to use it in a personal and powerful way. With every blog post shared pertaining to loss, I carve out more space for Flowers Heal within July Floral. The healing power, both in working with blooms and teaching floral design classes is rewarding. I’ll soon offer a floral to send specifically to grieving parents who lose a baby, or two. I want to share, and it’s on me. Stay tuned for this addition, and please spread the word.
From the Seattle Womxn’s March on 1.21.17.
p.s. For those of you who came to our Holiday Relief party in December, we raised $200 for Planned Parenthood!
I love winter weddings. No matter the size and scope of decor, there is a serenity to them compared to the frenzy of color & ebullience in summer event work. And a winter wedding scheduled just before the all-important occasion of New Years Eve is even more exciting . . .
I worked with Tara of Sugarcomb to create wedding flowers for Alexa & Matt this last December. It was to combine elegance and a sense of fresh with winter ever greens in the stripped-down venue of the Fremont Foundry.
We placed cedar & pine garlands down either side of the aisle for the ceremony, then transferred them to the reception tables. Tucking sedum, golden willow, juniper, evergreen magnolia & bay to add texture and depth. It all smelled so good! For the wedding party flowers, the Bridesmaids carried a long slender clutch of white callas. Alexa wore a bridal garland of eucalyptus, golden eleagnus & tallow berry. The perfect accompaniment to her ivory dress, turned paint suit.
Many many thanks to Carina Skrobecki for these beautiful images!
Wedding guests were seated in a 360 around Alexa & Matt for the ceremony, with the aisle specially demarcated by garland & hurricanes.
Table candlelight consisted of gold mercury, frosted glass votives as well as salvaged green wine bottles with the bottoms sawed off to create an enclosed flames & table numbers.
We massed hurricanes at the head table for Alexa & Matt, to anchor them in the space, among their 200 some guests seated around them.
Cheers to 2015, 2016 and beyond. Cheers to Love!
Last November I put wedding flowers together for Catherine & Matthew. The ceremony was held at Holy Names Chapel and the reception at Broadmoor Country Club, both beautiful venues. Catherine wanted rich colors straddling between fall bloom tones and wintery greens. We kept the ceremony simple with bridal flowers alone, letting the chapel space speak for itself. The reception had a lush centerpiece in a gold compote at each guest table to compliment the chargers and table runners that the bride had chosen.
For floral I brought in Quicksand roses, golden mums, spray roses, Tess garden roses, evergreen magnolia, smokebush, hanging amaranth, snow & pepperberry for a cascading look, silver tree, dusty miller & eucalyptus for softer greens and dark knight scabies’s & chocolate cosmos to finish things off. We were able to capture the last crop of Cafe au Lait dahlias from the local grower Jellomold Farm! It was a fun, sultry palette.
Thanks to Rebecca Anne Photography for these images!
Happy days to come for these two!
Last October we worked with a team of vendors to pull off a stunning wedding at The Rainier Club in downtown Seattle. The bride wanted to feminine, dreamy flowers to grace the space. Other details like table-side tea service, a Butler to greet the guests and wicker basket filled with flowers came to be. All to create a magical evening for this intimate group.
Throughout the planning process the wedding had been scheduled to take place at Court in the Square, until no less than 2 days before, when a transfer of venues became necessary. What an exciting feat, that turned out beautifully! Pink Blossom Events coordinated the affair, with Vintage Ambiance, Paper Fling, 321 Foto, Espresso Elegance, Queen Mary Tea, Erin Skipley Makeup, British Motorcoach on board as well.
So many details to include here. Thanks to Azzura Photography for capturing it all so well.
For the ceremony & cocktail hour we lined the rooms with potted cypress trees and twined garland greenery above and about. Two florals were placed at the start of the aisle and atop pedestals on either side of the altar fireplace.
For the entry, we placed baskets of flowers & white and sage green pumpkins in clusters up the staircase. Delicate garland was woven in and around them.
The reception was held in the dining room under Seattle’s most impressive chandeliers. Each guest dinner table had a lush centerpiece and the sweetheart table had a garland with blooms tucked in to span the front and spill off the sides. Garland continued to meander along the tea cart, dessert & cake tables.
A beautiful night, for a beautiful couple!
I have a growing baby in my belly that will join us in early April 2016. For months I have been cautious, and for several years I have wondered if this time would come. In these final weeks I feel the practiced swipes, thumps and pivots of movement. Mike croons Lyle Lovett songs to serenade it, and my heart warms.
Two years ago we thought we would be having twins. This rainbow baby shares the same due date. So while it is a new life, the baby is connected to two angels, Twia & Twib. I believe they will be present to help me usher their sibling into the world. I wouldn’t expect anything less, as Mike & I have journeyed together in stormy and meaningful ways. I have come to embrace the nuance & weight of this coincidence. And apparently I am fertile in the month of July.
Friends & family are very excited for us, and we are grateful for their support. For a long time, understandably, our peers didn’t know how to talk to us about their own babies. Now they can relay advice on swaddling, diaper changes and ways to cope with little sleep. We are no longer outsiders to this spirited conversation, and will soon obediently line up at Costco for the jumbo pack of you name it, with an SUV-sized stroller.
But while this pregnancy is healthy and has progressed beautifully, there is a fragility to it. I have been hesitant to admit my trepidation out loud, as if it is contagious. Perhaps I am superstitious; if we don’t cover all our bases the unthinkable may happen again. The early morning hours when one wakes to mind-chattering worry, to thoughts of mortality, mortgage payments, self-worth and the unknown future. I have found myself floundering, “Is the baby OK?” As my due date approaches, and I make small talk with my Midwife while she guides the Doppler to my belly, I brace for the pounding heartbeat. I have been marching to that drumbeat.
I still struggle over with who & when to share our story, and feel deflated when I don’t mention the twins. To me, they should be here with the other 2 year-olds scampering about, or at a minimum be mentioned. It’s not a matter of “it wasn’t meant to be”. And so I still keep active in the parent loss support network. They understand, especially now. The Mothers of this sort keep me uplifted, striking the balance between honoring the babies they lost and fiercely loving the rainbow babies that come. And the caveat that our lives are often more settled is bittersweet and frequently discussed.
Hope is more powerful than fear though, and I recognize that wholeheartedly. I have delved into resources in search of empowerment. Once again new care providers and educators like Ina May Gaskin and Penny Simkin have hit the spot. Penny is local, and it doesn’t get any better when it comes to birth classes. In an attempt to celebrate and normalize this pregnancy, I participated in a ‘belly lab’ at Bastyr University with new Midwifery students. 18 ladies studied my growing belly at 30 weeks, feeling for the baby’s position & listening to its heartbeat. They complimented my bump, often with wonder in their eyes. And as people continue to hear our news, their smiles brighten. I had one girlfriend practically jump across the table to hug me. My good friend Justine came over to snap some photos recently. People are excited for us to share in the joy of parenthood.
“You must be thrilled, I know you’ve wanted this for a long time”, said a family member over the holidays. It’s not that my life has lead to this one moment, or that I intend to reinvent motherhood. Mike & I have no idea what we are about to embark on! I suppose that’s where instinct kicks in, for the Mother, Father & baby. And I’m excited for the magic in that.
“Do you want to hold him/her?” says a new Mom. No thanks. I’m happy for you, but I just want to hold my own. Finally. “Is this your first?” Well, not really. It depends on my mood and who’s asking. “Are you nervous for labor and birth?” Kind of. I want it to go better than last time. “Are you planning to take time off?” Yes, I’ll hold the baby close.
Now the only questions left to ask is: “Is it a boy or girl?”
We can’t wait to find out.
Thanks to Justine Webster for these shots.
Since our loss, my work in floral has proved to be very healing. I’ve created a new space on the blog to write & explore this. Under ‘Flowers Heal‘ you’ll find my Balance post as well as future thoughts around loss that weave in and around the beauty of flowers. My intention is not to rant too often. This is only a part of me, and it extends beyond my own experience. It is an honor when grieving families contact me to create memorial flowers for a loved one. I predict I’ll have more to say as this flower child grows.
I love greens + whites, especially in January.
Thanks to Alante Photography for snapping these!