Posted in Heartache


Relief: a feeling of reassurance and relaxation following release from anxiety or distress.

mammogram results, gratitude, relief,

I am so incredibly grateful to each of you who kept me in your thoughts and prayers.
To say thank you doesn’t even begin to cover my gratitude.

And to my aunt…thank you for the push. My heart is with you.

But still . . . Christmas

We removed Katie from her carseat, securely buckled her into the stroller, and lovingly tucked her blankie around her little legs.

It was a short distance to the medical building, where we rode the elevator in anticipation of our 8-week prenatal appointment. We spoke with Katie of Santa and how he couldn’t wait to meet her later that afternoon.

We were truly elated that the day of our appointment had finally arrived. It had taken us five months of temping and charting to conceive.

Nichole? We’re ready for you. Wow … Katie is getting so big!

It was at that same 8-week appointment, nearly two years before, that we had heard the the first sounds of life from our beautiful Katherine. After a year of trying to get pregnant, finally hearing her heartbeat made her so real, so completely ours. And as we sat, in that very same room, we were thrilled to have her with us as we prepared to hear her sibling’s heartbeat for the first time.

Okay, this gel will be a bit cold … so sorry.

The moment when the nurse placed Katie onto my chest for the first time, when I felt her warm and wonderfully sticky body, will forever be a pivotal moment in my life.  After a difficult pregnancy and eight weeks of complete bedrest to stave off preterm labor, she was safe and warm and she was ours.

Okay, let’s take a listen to this little one’s heartbeat.

Once Katie got the hang of nursing, I came to treasure those moments that were ours alone.  That connection, holding her in my arms, smoothing her downy soft hair, holding her tiny baby girl hands while she looked at me, was a gift beyond measure.  I was so eager to experience those early days again, to snuggle our tiny baby while we established our nursing relationship.

Hmmm…sometimes the heartbeat is too quiet to pick up with this fetal Doppler.

When Katie was learning to crawl, we enticed her from her rocking position with her favorite pink bunny, placing it just beyond her reach, encouraging her to push herself to get it. That moment, when the lurching turned to crawling, was bittersweet.  My beautiful baby somehow, in just an instant, seemed less of a baby.

Let me just run and grab the sonogram machine.

Katie walked at ten months. Her first, tentative steps were taken in our bedroom, with the lure of her grandmother’s necklace, held just beyond her reach.  Once she began walking, there was no stopping her, our baby, still a baby, but somehow older than her months.

I’ll be back in a just a minute.

We’ve always treasured bedtime. When Katie was small, Craig began the ritual of reading three books to her each evening.  When they finished their books, I would enter her room, Craig would wish her a good night sleep, and then I would quietly nurse her before carefully placing her in her crib for the night, wishing her the sweetest of dreams.  I would close the door with one hand and blow kisses with the other, just as Craig and I do to this day.

Okay, let’s have a look … Hmmm.

We always knew that we wanted to have at least one more baby, to give Katie a sibling, to have another baby to love.  It finally felt as though the time was right and we were so eager to see how she would respond to a baby brother or sister.


This family that we’ve built has filled an emptiness in my heart.  This life that we’ve given Katie, this life that she has given us, has brought me joy and a sense of fulfillment beyond compare. Being a part of a traditional family for the first time in my life has been completely amazing.

I’m afraid there’s no heartbeat.

Craig’s grip on my hand tightened and when I looked over at him, seeking his soft eyes, through my welling tears, he and Katie blurred into one.  One beautiful family within my reach.

I am so terribly sorry.

We gathered our things, too pained to know what to say to one another, too numb to know what to say to ourselves, and we went to see Santa, just as we promised we would.

In that moment, Katie couldn’t and wouldn’t know just how tremendous a loss we had just suffered, loss that would remain with us for always.

What she did know, what she could feel, was the wonder of the season, the magic that we’d been speaking of for weeks.  The love that we had for one another.

When you have a toddler, life continues. You can’t simply put it on hold while you grieve.

So, we celebrated Christmas as best we could, finding tremendous comfort in our beautiful daughter.

A Christmas of considerable loss and unprecedented sadness.

But still . . . Christmas.

Our second Christmas.

Above all, we were a family.

And we had each other.

I want to thank my dear friend, Kris, for holding my hand while I relived this painful experience.  I love you, Kris.  Beyond words.

This post is linked up with Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.  The prompt was to write a post in response to one of five words. The word that I chose was excruciating.

Mama's Losin' It

Because It Was Grassy and Wanted Wear

I will never forget that sound.

The crunching of the packed snow beneath my feet, dissonant with the throbbing in my ears from my racing heart.

He sought me out.  He wanted my forgiveness.  Wanted to talk to me…to see in my eyes that forgiveness was even possible.

I sought out a safe place to meet him.  Though I knew with certainty that he wouldn’t physically harm me, I feared for my emotional safety.  My aunt provided that shelter.

Fourteen years prior, he shot my father twice and killed him.

I was two.  And in an instant, fatherless.

As I reached to open my aunt’s door, I was stuck between two places.  In that moment, with my hand clenching her doorknob, I could move forward or I could retreat. There simply was no in between.

I pushed the door open and the heat from my aunt’s house engulfed me.

He was there.  Sitting at the table.  I greeted my aunt, shed my coat, and sat opposite him at the table. And I waited.

It wasn’t my turn to talk.

He apologized.  His words were much what I expected them to be.  I knew the story…the reasons for why he did what he did.  They had been the best of friends.

I can still see him, rubbing one of his hands with the other, worrying his skin raw.

But his eyes?  His eyes expressed his sorrow and remorse in a way that his words never could.

I’m not sure I have ever seen eyes as soft as his were in that moment as he sat there, stumbling over his words, looking to me for encouragement to continue speaking.

I let him speak until he was completely deflated…words expelled like air from a balloon overfilled to near bursting.

There was a familiarity about him.  Some part of my brain remembered him.

In that moment I was left to make a choice.  To forgive him or to hang onto my anger and hurt, polishing it until it gleamed with bitterness.

It was the moment to choose whether to set him free of his burden or take that opportunity to make him pay.  To crush his hopes for a release from even a small part of his guilt.

I didn’t hesitate for a moment.  I forgave him.

I made a choice that freed us both.

The easy, predicable choice would have been to hold my anger close, fueling it with thoughts of all that had been ripped from me.

The more difficult choice was to forgive him, to recognize that he was human and that relinquishing my anger would bring me peace unlike anything I had ever known.

His life was already broken.  He would never be the person he was before he killed my father.

But my forgiveness? He sat there and asked it of me.

And offering that it to him was truly the fork in my road.

The Road Not Taken — Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

*The decision to forgive this man who destroyed my family was my choice.  This was the right choice for me.  If I were my grandmother, grandfather, uncle, aunt, or mother, I can’t say that my choice would have been the same.  That is impossible to know.  I can only truly know what is best for me.  I love my family beyond words and their strength astonishes me to this day.

Mama's Losin' It

About me

Nichole Beaudry @NicholeBeaudry Location: Northern California
Each and every day, I strive to appreciate the wonder, beauty, and whimsy in the small moments, the moments that, when strung together, form a lifetime.
More about Nichole
  • @NicholeBeaudryon Twitter
  • Nichole on Pinterest
  • Nichole on Instagram
  • Nichole on Facebook
  • Nichole on LinkedIn
  • Subscribe to this site's RSS
  • Contact this author

I also write at

all Parenting
She Knows Parenting

Instagram photos