Friday, July 31, 2009

Read With Us

Please click here to learn more about Read With Us and how it works. Holly is the founder of this group and leads us in a series of questions from each chapter in the book.

This book reading is for In Faithfulness, He Afflicted Me by Lynnette Kraft. (To visit Lynnette's blog click here.)

Have you ever been at a loss for words when trying to comfort another? If you've endured a loss, in what ways have people shown you they cared?

I have never known what to say when others needed comfort - I still don't. The only difference now is if I were to say something people would know that I have been there and been through the pain they are feeling. So many times people say "I can't imagine what you are going through" and it's true, unless you have been there. I do know that now I don't worry about saying the right thing because there is not a right thing to say. Just letting others know that I am thinking about them will be enough.

During the past few months there have been 100s of people that have reached out to John and I. I know I have so many wonderful friends out there and I am so blessed. There's one that I talk to everyday and she is very compassionate towards me in everything she does - recently she found out she is expecting. There are two other friends that found out they were expecting in December and they didn't tell anyone they were pregnant until after some time because of Hudson. They didn't want to gloat about their pregnancies after I lost Hudson. I have a sister-in-law that asked me the other day how I would like her to answer other people's questions about how many nephews she has - she wanted to include Hudson. John and I elected to have donations made in Hudson's honor to the March of Dimes in lieu of flowers and we are still receiving donations in his honor. Another couple of friends call me often and invite me places knowing that if I say no that they still need to keep including me and sometimes I will say yes. We had food brought, flowers, phone calls, cards, so much done for us. Word traveled fast during that event and so many people were already writing messages on our facebook walls and sending messages. If it weren't for our friends and family....I don't even want to think about it.

What fears do you have that you feel you should give to God?

Hmm...well I had two fears - losing a child and an epidural. Both have happened. I was scared of being pregnant because then I would be vulnerable to losing something I loved so deeply. When I was past 12 weeks I was excited, knowing I had passed the time when most miscarriages occur. I was also scared of the epidural because of the chance to be paralyzed; I know crazy, but I was going natural and I will next time. Now I have a fear of going through that heartbreak again and that I will never have any living children. John and I would be the best mom and dad to those lucky children - it's a fear that we will never have the chance.

Under the Tree - July

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How do you see or imagine your baby/ies now that you do not have them with you?

I imagine Hudson playing with all of the other children that were born into Heaven like him. Sometimes I see him being passed around from the arms of each of mine and John's family members and other friends of ours that left this world too soon. I don't know if Hudson already knows everything about his earthly parents, but I imagine our friends and family in Heaven telling him all about John and I. In some daydreams I picture him as a toddler - about 3-4 years old. There are days when I just stare at his picture and think how beautiful he is and what a cute little boy and handsome man he would have turned into.

How did the loss of your last pregnancy affect your choices/decisions about the birth of your subsequent pregnancy?

We haven't had another pregnancy other than Hudson and it's not something we're jumping into. At first it was all I could think about, but I didn't want to replace Hudson. Right now John and I are taking the first steps in seeing a fertility doctor - not for pregnancy, but to research what could have possibly happened. I don't want to lose another child and I know that when we do become pregnant again it will be a long road of nervousness and worry. We are already praying to take away any anxiety I will have, but it's going to take time. So for now we are just John, Kimberly, angel Hudson, and happy dog Hunter.

Walking With You - Our Marriage

I have been following a blog called The Beauty of Sufficient Grace and Kelly, the founder, has created Sufficient Grace Ministries to help those that has lost a child. On her blog she has created a study called Walking With You where women tell their stories, read each others grieving, while praying for each other and helping to comfort one another.

Comforting Others With the Comfort We Have Received
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
This week everyone is to write about how our marriages have been affected by the loss of our child/children. I tried many times to write this yesterday by thinking ahead what I would write, but the words never came to me. Today I am just going to write and hope that the words just flow into something that makes sense. Before writing how our marriage has changed I need to give a brief history (for those of you that do not know John and I) of mine and John's relationship.
In September 2001 John and I were sophomores in college and this is when we first started dating. Before then we had known each other for about a year - more as acquaintances. We started dating at 19 and were married at 25; during our dating years we changed so much, but changed together and even though there were difficult times (break-ups, arguments, etc.) we got through everything. So, fast forward to July 2007 - we got married and then John lost his job so we moved in with my parents in order to find better jobs; we planned on being there for about a year until we found a house. One year later, July 2008, we found out we were expecting our first child - oh and still living with my parents.
Maybe this is just me, but I think all couples change while they are waiting for their little one to arrive. There is a new bond formed that joins them together and brings them closer; they are forever connected with that piece of DNA. I watched John transform into a father and he started putting me and our baby in front of everything else going on in his life. There was an adjustment at times and little kinks we had to workout (laundry, go going with friends, etc...) but we got through everything. So - 30 weeks of pregnancy and then you know the story of what happened to our little Hudson.
I have said this many times, but John and I have always had a strong marriage, a strong friendship, and a strong sense of who we are as a couple. For the first time in our relationship others could see our strength. We were put in the spotlight and I knew that what we did and said would be watched closely. So many marriages cannot function after the death of a child and now I can see why - it's total and complete heartbreak that never leaves. Both of us had to grieve in our own ways and it is not easy to comfort another in their grief while you are grieving yourself. Maybe we're one of the lucky couples, but we haven't faced any difficulties - as far as our marriage. Yes, we have had our struggles, but we are getting through everything together.
I attended a wedding shortly after Hudson was born and listening to the vows I started to cry. I know everyone will get misty-eyed at weddings, but I literally wanted to weep. The parts of the vows with "'til death do us part" "for better or worse" - those John and I were actually living - we were personifications of those phrases. Listening to those phrases at other weddings, having said them myself, really makes you take a step back and reflect your own wedding day when you said them and then upon all of the obstacles/hard times you have said since then.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Still Building!

We now have cabinets in the kitchen and the bathrooms!! They have also finished the walls and added the trimming and baseboards - only a little bit longer!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

CMK's Bachelorette Party

This weekend I headed to Charleston, SC for Cindy's bachelorette party. Cindy is getting married to Craig in August - so we had her final "fling before the ring" girls weekend. We arrived Friday night to our condo and then had her lingerie shower. Before the shower we ate some yummy lasagna that Missy (Cindy's sister) brought from home and it was absolutely delicious! After the shower we went out and about around the downtown area of Charleston.

On Saturday we headed out around the downtown area to shop. Next we got ready for a fun boat trip and to hang out at an island. People from all over dock their boats and just hang out all day - it was a great time. They even have bartenders driving around on jet skis! How fun! After the boat we headed back to our condo to go out for the night. Everyone had a wonderful time and then we went back to our condo for some sleep! Sunday morning, when it was time to leave, my car got hit while parked - by a city official car. What a perfect way to end the weekend - ha! Pictures below!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Walking With You - Sea of Grief

I have been following a blog called The Beauty of Sufficient Grace and Kelly, the founder, has created Sufficient Grace Ministries to help those that has lost a child. On her blog she has created a study called Walking With You where women tell their stories, read each others grieving, while praying for each other and helping to comfort one another.

Comforting Others With the Comfort We Have Received
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
Please read Kelly's post this week - it covers a lot! Maybe it will help you or someone you know that is grieving.
Grief (as defined by
1.keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret.
2.a cause or occasion of keen distress or sorrow.—Idioms
3.come to grief, to suffer disappointment, misfortune, or other trouble; fail

Did you notice that fail was used to define grief? Amazing - that is one of the first things I think of when I think about our loss of Hudson. That I failed; that I did something wrong; that it is my fault. Women give birth everyday - it's supposed to come natural. Mine surely didn't. What's natural about a 20-something year old healthy and active woman having her child die for no apparent reason?
Grief is not something I had ever truly experienced - of course I have known people to die, but it is usually expected when it's your grandparents, not your child. The entire time John and I dated we had never experienced anyone in our families to die; in November we had to fly to Pittsburgh for his grandfather's funeral. Not two months later we were having to plan our baby's funeral. Does that make sense? No, it doesn't. I know I have mentioned this before, but the death of a child is the most difficult type of grief to experience - you lose more than just the physical being of that child. You lose the memories you had planned to make and the plans you had for your future children. I truly cannot say that to people enough because I want them to know that me being sad about Hudson is real and not just me saying, "Pity party, table for one please".
I know I wrote in an earlier post, months ago, that I refused to be sad in front of people. I hate to be seen without a smile on my face. The first week I went back to work I hated for people to hug me and try to console me because it made me cry and I didn't want to be seen as weak. I hated grieving and I was mad that I had to be sad - mad that this happened to me. Was I mad at God? No - I was mad at myself knowing that I had somehow caused this to happen. Some days I would sit at my desk and just break into tears - God bless those women in the mortgage department for letting me cry and crying with me those very hard days. They listened to me everyday when I was asking why, why, why. Not that my friends and a couple of other wonderful friends at the bank didn't listen and let me cry - they were just around me constantly.
After Hudson's death I needed to throw myself into something - a project to keep my mind occupied. Nothing worked; I lost my organizational skills and memory. I literally couldn't function and hold it together - behind closed doors. On the outside I had it together, knowing that I had to - that others were watching and I wanted so badly to set a good example; a Godly example. I knew that God had a reason for why this was happening to me and I knew that I had to have faith to believe that He was not going to let me fall.
Thinking on in those earlier months - it's not just grieving because you lost a loved one, it's also grieving because there is a feeling of something that never existed to anyone else. It's as if I am grieving the lose of my imaginary friend. No one but John and I have the memories of Hudson and they never will. When Hudson is not acknowledged as a grandchild or when someone does not acknowledge that John and I are a mom and dad it stings and it hurts. It actually just happened this weekend and I just sat there - frozen. My eyes were stinging and my face was about to explode - Hudson was real and maybe John and I are the only ones to truly grieve him; where am I going with this - no clue....I just want everyone to know that Hudson counted in my life and I will always tell people that I have a son named Hudson. I know that people try to do the right things and say things to not make me sad, but it makes me sad when he is rejected.
I remember not sleeping well some nights and I started taking some herbal sleeping pills, but I soon stopped taking those because I did not want to rely on anything to help me function. I wanted to grow from my grief and I wanted to learn from these new feelings I was experiencing. During the past few months I know I have changed and it is all from the impact Hudson has had on my life. The grief I carry with me will always be here, just like a little piece of Hudson's DNA (thanks Danielle for that wonderful post) will always be in me. Six months ago my world was turned upside down, but how far I have come today is truly amazing. If I covered the topic at this point I have no idea, but it felt good to post what I wrote. My rambling doesn't even make sense to me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lynette's Book - catching up!

I have joined a group of women in reading a book titled In Faithfulness: He Afflicted Me by Lynette Kraft (to visit her blog click here). In this group Holly, the creator, asks questions from the book and we answer using our own life examples of how we felt.

I am late in joining in this group because I went on vacation for a week and didn't have the book yet. The book arrived at my house while I was away. So - I have a little bit of catching up to do! The first part given to discuss was the Introduction and Prologue.

Have there been times in your life that God has shown you that He cares or that He is near? There have been plenty of times when God has shown Himself to me - that He cares and is near. Not only during with Hudson, but on many aspects of my life. God definitely knows me and knows how to "prepare" me for situations. He always has given me an insight or an intuition when something is about to happen. Some occurrences - job losses (me & John) and Hudson to name a few.
Chapter 1
If you are married, what was your marriage like in the beginning?
John and I dated for almost 5 years before we were engaged, then a year of engagement and then we got married. Our journey began in 2001 as two young 19 year olds trying to find our way in life. We were married at 25 and we thought we had already been through everything; we had "grown up" in during our dating years and knew that we would be together forever. We were already as strong as we were going to get - or so we thought. We were married on July 21, 2007 and spent a week long honeymoon in St. Lucia. The day we got back to our lives and back to work was the first day that tested us. John went into work and came home an hour later stating he had been fired. Wow, only newlyweds for a week and already we were being tested. So, what did we do? We laughed about it. We searched for job openings for a few hours and then I called home and asked my mom if she was serious about John and I moving in with them; she had made a comment about that a few weeks before we were married that we should move in with them to save money. Well, she said yes and we moved into my old bedroom. We are still in the beginning of our marriage and yet we have been through more than any of my friends and family members - job loss for both of us at some point and the loss of our precious Hudson. We definitely know that the best is yet to come and truly know now that we have become so much stronger than ever - and that having experienced life the past 2 years we know we can get through anything else that is thrown at us.
When did you first decide you wanted to have children? Was it planned or unplanned?
John and I always talked about having children - even when we were dating. Both of us wanted to have children in our lives. Having children became more of a reality once we were married. We knew that we wanted to be financially stable and secure before having children. Never in my life have I been on birth control so it was not a shock when after a year of being married we became pregnant. We chose the "let things happen when they happen" method and just let things happen without trying. I didn't want to put pressure on us to "try" because I knew that would be an obsession. When it did happen it was a pleasant surprise (we did discuss that if it didn't happen before the fall '08 we would put a more active attempt to it) that we were having our first child.
What feelings did you have for your child when you first found out you were pregnant?
When I first found out I was pregnant I was so excited - running around waiting for John to get off. I didn't walk anywhere - I skipped. I was already in love with what was growing inside of me. Within that one instant of seeing the positive test I no longer felt sick like I had all day, but full of energy and excitement. I already started planning how to tell everyone, names, etc within only 2 hours of knowing.
At what point in your life did you start searching for God?
This is tough because I am still searching - everyday. I have always been a believer, I excepted Jesus in my heart over 20 years ago; never have I doubted or questioned God. I guess you could say I had always been a cookie cutter Christian. Not one that reached out and proclaimed the name of Jesus, but not one to question God either. I never had a reason to - nothing in my life ever gave me a challenge to want more from God, until Hudson came into my life. More so until Hudson's life ended and my heart became this vulnerable object. I started experiencing so many new emotions and have put so much more into seeking God and His will for me. I guess until I had to "walk the walk" of a Christian I never went above and beyond the call.
Has there been a time in your life that God provided?
God has provided so much in my life - specifically when John lost his job and we were scared and worried about what to do.

Chapter 2

Do you have a funny experience to share? What are some of the silly or stupid things you did? None...John and I haven't had a chance to, yet.

Has there been a time in your life that you felt the world was falling apart?

For sure - January our little Hudson died, March I lost my could say I was thinking, "what next, what next". I lived waiting for the next thing to happen...

Has God ever worked a miracle in your life or in the life of someone you know?

I have read of plenty of miracles, but as far as experiencing any firsthand I can't say that I remember any at the moment...maybe the time when I was 7 I was hit in the head with a metal baseball bat and had it been a hair to the left I would have died or a hair to the right I would have been blinded.

How has difficult times affected your marriage?

What John and I have experienced has only made us stronger. I cannot remember the last fight or argument we really had - one with meaning. Yes, of course there are little spats and disagreements, but not over anything important. Then again, our sense of importance has changed the past few months as well.

What fears have you struggled with?

I always had a fear of when it was about to be my time for children. I have always sensed that I would have difficulty in having children - my intuition kicking in. My biggest fear was losing a child and now my biggest fear is going through everything again. The question I ask myself is "will I ever having a living child outside of my womb?". It has already happened once and I am told by many people that it can't happen to me again, it just can't. The truth is I know it can - it happened once therefore it can happen again.

Do you feel that God has a plan for your life?

Yes - what the plan is I have no idea. I guess you could say I am just living by faith and trusting in God. I used to have a plan for everything. Before even getting pregnant I had my list of people to send baby announcements. I don't like to go into something without having a plan for something. Now? I just live and try to plan for a few vacations here and there =)

What has been the hardest moment of your life so far?

I would have to say moments - seeing my lifeless child on the tv screen, giving birth to a child I would not get to know this side of Heaven, burying my child and leaving him alone in a cold cemetery....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

2 Years!

Today is John and my 2nd wedding anniversary! Isn't that so exciting? John and I have spent some of the day reflecting upon what we have been through the past two years - getting married, both of us losing jobs at some point, Hudson, building a house, and so much more. Most marriages would not last if they had to endure just half of the obstacles John and I have faced. Each day is such a blessing to us and we feel like the past 2 years have just flown by - we'll be at 50 before you know it! Here's to the past years and many more to come!!

*Photo by Jennifer Spence

Walking With You - Naming Hudson

I have been following a blog called The Beauty of Sufficient Grace and Kelly, the founder, has created Sufficient Grace Ministries to help those that has lost a child. On her blog she has created a study called Walking With You where women tell their stories, read each others grieving, while praying for each other and helping to comfort one another.

Comforting Others With the Comfort We Have Received
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
This week (well, last week really, but I was away on vacation without internet access - and yes I will post back dated posts on my vacation!) we were asked to share about naming our children. John and I named our little boy Hudson Greer Henninger. Why? Because we liked the way it sounded. We wanted a name that was different, unique and something that flowed well. During our pregnancy we didn't tell anyone the name of our baby - we still hadn't quite decided ourselves.
John researched some names and we saw Hudson and then Greer and we really liked the way it sounded. No one else we knew of had that name and it was unique. So, for most of the pregnancy we called him Hudson. Before we even knew we were pregnant I wanted to name our child Cooper Folsom (Folsom was my grandfather/great-grandfather/uncle's name), but John's sister was dating (now engaged) to a guy with the last name of Cooper - we felt that would either be confusing if they got married (because they were only dating at the time) or be a hard reminder to her if they were to break up. John also wanted our first child's name to be something that we came up with all our own. We have plans for our other names when we have more children (Folsom, Thomas, etc - so if any friends or family members are reading this those names are taken and do not use them =) thanks!).
Right before we found out that Hudson was gone John and I had really started researching names and trying to pick out just the perfect name for our little guy. I remember we kept going back to Hudson each time, so when John met me up at the doctor's office he said, "well, we have a name for our first son - Hudson Greer". There was no way we could have saved that name and used it for another child. It would only remind us of our first little boy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

House update

It has been two weeks since John and I have gone to see our house progress. We went to take a few pictures tonight - it's coming along! It is becoming more and more exciting as the move-in date gets closer. Less than 2 months to go!

...and so it begins...

Today starts the anniversaries of Hudson's life. One year ago today is when John and I found out we were expecting our little boy...I can still remember the whole day like it just happened today - I even remember what I was wearing. Here is the post from when we found out the exciting news.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bec's Bachelorette Party & Shower

This weekend was Rebecca's bachelorette party. Rebecca is John's younger sister. The big bash was held in Atlanta and the plan was dinner, a musical, and a surprise shower. I needed to be in Atlanta by 6PM for dinner and the kick off for the fun night, but since our cruise ship took a long time to let us go. SO, I met everything just in time for the shower - and I mean barely in time. We saw Legally Blonde - the Musical at The Fox and it was great! I LOVE watching musicals and live entertainment like that. After the show we went back to the hotel for a lingerie shower. I left with Rebekah - my sister-in-law to go back to her house. The next day we, along with Nikki (John's mom) we were hosting a bridal shower for Rebecca. Below are pictures from both events.
The group after the musical

The Henninger Women

Cupcakes - made by Jennifer

Cookies - made by Jennifer

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cruise - the end

The end of our cruise - our traditional end of vacation picture...this was taken during our 4 hour wait to get off the boat.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Cruise - Day 7 (Nassau)

Our last stop before we head home - Nassau. John and I got off the boat pretty early and headed to the ferry to take us to Paradise Island. We wanted to see the Atlantis. After walking around for awhile we took the ferry back to our original location and we went to the straw market - yay! I bought a couple of purses and a wallet - Chanel and Coach and love them! One purse is for Sheena, my wonderful friend who is babysitting Hunter for the week. After the straw market we walked around the shopping area and bought a few of our traditional souvenirs - Christmas ornaments, magnets, etc.

John and I headed to the boat afterwards and started packing our things in preparation for the end of our trip. We had such a wonderful time this whole week on our vacation - if only we could have brought Hunter with us....

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cruise - Day 5 (Costa Maya)

Another early day! Today we got up to eat breakfast and then headed to deck zero to get off the ship into Costa Maya, Mexico. John and I were the very first people to depart the ship. The only reason we got off so early was because we were scheduled for an early morning excursion. We saw a squirrel monkey while we were waiting - of course I had to have my picture taken with him. She jumped onto my shoulder and then onto Johns, then back onto mine and she did not want to leave! The guy tried to coax her with food, but she wanted to snuggle on my shoulder. Instead of getting off to get the food she grabbed to handfuls and stayed on me. I loved that little monkey and I wanted to keep her.

John and I got in line for our mini-jeep rhino adventure. We had a brief tutorial with the jeeps; John did because he was the driver. Our attire consisted of a helmet, goggles, and a bandanna - we looked like bandits. The first part of the drive was on a smooth road and then we went into the jungle where it was extremely bumpy - ugh, I thought it would never end. It was fun though! We headed to a little fishing village and had a break - enjoyed a sprite. The view was so pretty at the village. While we were there I asked John about living in paradise. I asked him where those that lived in paradise went for vacation. He said they probably didn't go anywhere because most of those countries are full of those that wouldn't be able to afford to go on a vacation. I decided it was a fair trade - to be able to live in paradise even if it was just home to them.
When we finished our excursion we went to the pool and met up with my family - we all had a great time swimming and hanging out. After a day in the sun we headed back to the boat - took showers, took family pictures, and then ate dinner, casino, and then bed.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cruise - Day 4 (Belize)

This day John and I did not have an excursion planned out - note to anyone traveling to Belize on a cruise ship; pick an excursion. We woke up early and then went back to sleep - we did this a few times. The ship was to port at 8AM, but the Belize port officers forgot to come and get the ship - how nice. So, we kept going back to sleep, then we got up to eat breakfast and then went back to our room for a nap. Around 12:30 we went to the bottom of the boat to catch the tender to take us to Belize.

Once in Belize we found a taxi drive to take us around the city and give us a little tour. We were on the tour with three others from our cruise. Right before the tour we stopped to eat at the Wet Lizard and had nachos and sprite/water. During our tour we learned so many things about the little country of Belize. We also saw a tree called the Piss-a-bed tree. This tree has flowers that are boiled into a tea and the children are given the tea to drink and after drinking it they never pee in a bed again. Pretty amazing, huh?
A church built by the slaves in Belize - they were not allowed to worship inside...
The handcarved door

The is not something you would eat, but the Mayans used this to make their bowls and dishes

Piss-A-Bed Tree

After the tour we caught the tender and headed back to the boat - took showers and a nap before dinner, played roulette, and then went to bed.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Cruise - Day 3 (Cozumel)

This morning we got up early for another fantastic breakfast in order to start our fun day in Cozumel, Mexico. This would be our first port of the cruise. For Cozumel we had book an excursion, but we had a little time to spare before meeting with our group. The first stops were at the jewelry stores to pick up our free charms - some deal that was going on with the ship. One of the stores had a man that asked me if I was "waiting" - waiting for what might you ask? To give birth - what a nice thing to say to someone that is not pregnant and just gave birth to a child they cannot keep. Anyways - he felt bad after I explained what happened and I felt fat the rest of the trip; so much for a boosted self-esteem.

After shopping (and picking out a couple of places to make a few purchases at later!) we headed to our meeting place for our excursion. The trip for us was a clear kayak and snorkel; John, my parents, and myself. We went to the location and the first thing to do was get into the 2 person kayaks and paddle around. There were so many fish to see in the water! The guide threw out some food for the fish so that we could see more. Some of them had eaten way too much! After boating we headed back to shore and took a break before the snorkel adventure. During the snorkel time we saw all sorts of coral, a sea horse, and all kinds of beautiful fish. Next we headed back to the pier to finish up our shopping and we also hung out at Fat Tuesday where we were given balloon hats - I made John chase the lady to get us two =)

So...then back to the boat for us, showers, dinner, and roulette...then bed!
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