Photo Friday

The book was nearly finished when the publisher asked for a current family photo.



Wait.  Two years prior we’d bid on and won a photo session at our school auction.  Would Ramsay be available anytime in the near future?  I hadn’t seen him in weeks.

I bumped into him (literally) at school that afternoon.

He arrived at our house with his Kindergarten-age son Jasper, a box of Legos and loads of photography equipment in tow the following afternoon.

“Tell me your story,” he said.

I read him the preface of Preemie instead.

Everyone has a story. Mine began in November of 2000 when I thought I’d given birth to the smallest baby ever born. She arrived four months prematurely, weighing one pound, eleven ounces and measuring eleven inches long. Imagine a potato with tiny arms and legs. Several days after my daughter’s birth, I mustered up the courage to ask a nurse if she’d ever seen a baby that little. When she replied, “Oh honey, this hospital floor is full of babies this small,” I no longer felt quite so alone.

After my daughter was born, I longed for a compassionate woman who had been in my shoes to sit on the end of my hospital bed and share her story with me. It wouldn’t matter how different or similar our stories were, just to have someone who understood what it was like to have a pregnancy end halfway through, resulting in a baby that didn’t resemble any baby I’d ever seen. I wanted to see her nod in understanding as we discussed the daunting task of raising, loving, and believing in a child born at 25 weeks.

That woman never arrived. Due to hospital privacy rights, we were discouraged from even glancing at other babies or parents in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (or NICU). I was lost, incredibly lonely, and terribly wrought with guilt and fear. 

So I’d like to sit on the end of your bed and share my story with you. Your story and mine are sure to be different, but if hearing my story allows you a moment away from yours, if it leaves you with a sense of hope, then this story was worth writing down.

“I get it,” he said.

Out of 189 photos he took, these were our four favorites.





One of them made it into the book.

Big heartfelt thanks to Ramsay Thomas of Mountain Bliss Photography, (

Think we made the right choice?

Photo Friday



December, 2000




August, 2012


Facing Fear

On Monday, I had a radio interview on LA Radio’s Answers For The Family withAllen Cardoza (click this link to listen –  It was the longest interview I’ve had so far, and I was nervous about an hour-long, live interview.  But it turns out there was no need to worry.  Allen’s insightful questions led to a lively conversation and it felt like we could have talked for a second hour!  (Plus, with commercial breaks on either end, the interview ended up closer to 45 minutes!)

We were about half way through the show when Allen read an instant message sent in by a preemie mom.  Her son had been 3 pounds at birth and spent 3 months in the NICU.  At 12 years old he continued to have respiratory issues, and Mom spoke of her ever-present fear; her fear of losing him.

Did I have any advice?

At first, my mind went to the practical.  I spoke about our visit to the pulminologist’s office that I’d written about in the book.

“I listened to the petite doctor with tight curls tell me that because of her birth history, Andie would never be cured of asthma. I declined her offer to prescribe a variety of daily preventative drugs. Instead, I tried to strengthen Andie’s lungs my own way.  At a physical therapy supply store, I bought a bunch of “lung development games” and brought home straws, feathers, and cotton balls, cheering the kids on as they blew the “bunny tails” across the kitchen table. The kids and I blew up balloons and played kazoos, harmonicas, and whistles.”  (From Preemie Chapter 28)

I spoke about how I refused to let others limit my child’s potential, and I encouraged that mom to search for a similar store in her area and create her own at-home, lung-improvement routine.

And then I remembered something else.  It was a really powerful moment I’d had withKaren McCarthy, the energy healer with whom we’d worked.

“I can’t keep living like this,” I’d said to her.  “I can’t keep living in this constant state of fear.”

I’d explained to Karen how I’d tried pushing my fear way down deep into the recesses of my belly, how I’d tried running from my fear, how I’d tried to pretend that it didn’t exist, but no matter what, my fear was still there.

“What if you just looked your fear right in the eye and said, ‘Yup, I see you. I know you’re there.  I’m afraid.’”

I had nothing to lose.  So I did.

I acknowledged my fear.

“I’m afraid,” I said out loud.  Many times a day.

And everything changed.

I’d brought my fear to light.  I taken away fear’s ability to breed and grow in the dark.

My fear was still there, but it no longer had the same control over me.

I shared that story and once the interview was over, I hung up the phone with a big smile on my face.

I hadn’t been off the phone for more than a few minutes when I remembered my upcoming trip to Chicago for the Preemie Parent Alliance.  Instantly, I felt a familiar dull ache in my belly.

“I’m not even going to talk about the trip,” I’d said to Lee a few nights prior.  “I’m just going to pretend it’s no big deal and just get on the plane and go.”  My stomach had burned as I said it.  It’s burning now.

I’m afraid.

I’m afraid of leaving my children.  I’m afraid of the plane falling out of the sky and my children growing up without their mommy.   I’m afraid the kids won’t get their school lunches on Friday or make it to their soccer games on time or remember to feed the dog and the cat.  I’m afraid I’ll get on the wrong plane, or miss my plane or take the wrong shuttle to the hotel (prior experience proved that’s a legitimate one!)

I’m afraid.

I’m afraid.

I’m afraid.

Ah…I can breathe.

Thank you to the woman who wrote in asking for the advice.  It was just what I needed.

Now I can start packing for my trip.


What about you?  What are you afraid of? Are you willing to bring your fear to the light? 

(Hey Massachusetts friends, I’ll be signing books at the Fiske’s booth at Celebrate Holliston on Saturday, September 22nd! Would love to see you there!)

In the Blink of an Eye…

I blinked…

and summer was over.

The kids are now back in school.

It isn’t until they’re actually back in school that I realize I haven’t formed a complete thought in about 2 ½ months!  I kind of wondered if I’d ever find my writing voice again.  It bopped in for a few fleeting moments this summer, but quickly ran elsewhere when cries of I’m bored, I’m hot, I’m hungry, I want this, I need that, swirled in the air.

But on my morning walk with Meg today, I realized we were not alone.  My Writing Voice had gleefully jumped aboard my shoulder half way down our favorite path.


We love our morning walks!


Back to school.

Our children’s Waldorf School has a wonderful tradition of beginning and ending every year with a Rose Ceremony.  The incoming first graders are paired with eighth graders, who are beginning their last year in the school.  In the fall, the name of an eighth grade student is announced from the left side of the stage, followed by the announcement of a first grade student’s name from stage right.  Both children, the big one and the little one, cross the stage and meet in the middle.  The big one, the eighth grader, then hands the new first grade student a welcoming rose.  In the spring, the entire process is repeated, but at that point the first grader hands a rose to his or her graduating eighth grader.

It’s impossible not to cry.

I’m crying just writing about it.

Somehow the teachers always manage to get the student pairings just right.  When Tucker’s little guy crossed the stage, I inhaled a quick breath and squeezed Lee’s hand.  Could I be the only one to notice that this first grader was a miniature Tucker?  The way they both shyly forced themselves across the stage in their khaki pants, button down shirt and tie?  The way their hair sloped down on their foreheads over their big eyes?  The way they both leaned side by side, flat against the back wall when their turn was over?


He was thrilled about the picture taking!

“Your first grader looks just like you,” I dared to say to Tuck after the ceremony, imagining he’d shoo me away in embarrassment.

Instead, he looked at me with those big round eyes and a rare toothy smile, “I know,” he said.

Andie began middle school, entering the sixth grade.  In true Andie fashion, she’s already lamenting the end of the year.  “I just can’t believe Tucker will be graduating,” she keeps saying.  She spent much of the summer weepy at bedtime, grieving the loss of “the little boy Tucker used to be” and now at bedtime she’s begun turning the focus inward.  “I’m so sad to be growing up,” she says.  I keep reminding her, and myself, that her little self still lives right within her.  Sniff.

So, what’s new with the book?  Well, I’m still doing quite a few radio interviews (ClickHERE to check out the latest) and I just booked a flight to Chicago for later in September where I’ll attend the annual Preemie Parent Alliance Summit.  Upon my return, I’ll be traveling down to our old town of Holliston, Mass for a book signing at the annual Celebrate Holliston event (I’ll be at Fiske’s booth if you’re in the area!).

Earlier this week, Preemie was featured on the website of one of my favorite authors, Katrina Kenison!  I was so honored! To read her incredible post, please click this link – and don’t forget to comment and/or share it with your friends!

And now, as we all try to find our back-to-school rhythm, Meg and I will continue to take lots of walks, reflect on this summer and all the others, and invite my Writing Voice to come along!

(Right about this time last year I was in the same reflective place which I wrote about HERE.)

So what’s new with you?  Are you sending kids back to school?  What emotions does fall stir up for you? I’d love to hear!