Saturday, December 3, 2011

Stationery card

Charming Dotted Ribbon Christmas Card
Design photo Christmas cards at Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I've been feeling a bit down because I've busted my butt with this fitness thing and the scale just won't budge. I've stopped eating out, I don't drink soda, I'm drinking 130+ oz of water a day and I run all.the.time and do Ripped in 30 and nada. So I did a little comparison to a picture I posted on the blog earlier and I **think** I've lost inches...lets hope so!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

The face of Acrania

I finally had the courage to look at the last photos we have of our precious baby Chace. These ultrasound photos are from the 3D center that gave us the heads up that something was wrong. This was the day that went horribly wrong. As much as these pictures hurt, I am glad I have them 1. to spread awareness and 2. to show that Chace was our precious little boy who will hopefully touch many lives, he will always be loved and missed and we are proud he is our son.

Please be aware some of the pictures may be difficult to view before scrolling down.

Here you can clearly see the missing skull and exposed brain tissue

Here is a look from the back, you can see where the skull did not form.

Here you can see his beautiful legs and body, so precious.

He was otherwise perfect, with 10 fingers and 10 toes and a beautiful heart. I will never understand this, but I am confident there is a reason I was chosen to be Chace's mommy and I hope I can live up to his beautiful message and make sure his short life makes a difference.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

For those who don't know my story...a little "how I got here"

I'm not sure where I want to start this...but my past experiences are a monumental part of who I am today so I wanted to let those of you who don't know me that well, or didn't know me then, into my world.

I think I was a pretty typical teenager. I made good grades (graduated 8th in my class), held down a pretty grown-up job (bookkeeper at Bi-Lo 253, how may I help you?), had a cool car (Saturn SC1, in black gold, tyvm). I wanted to go to college for psychology and become a forensic psychologist for the FBI (oy vey).

The summer after Senior year I met a boy, not just any boy...he was handsome and charismatic, he treated me like a princess, he pursued me relentlessly and showered me with gifts and attention. I fell, hard. I had been accepted to Clemson University starting in the Fall of 1997. I was not a girl who would change her life path for a boy, yet. I left for Clemson in August, it was only a short hour from home and we promised to make it work. He would come visit me at school all the time and my grades started slipping. I cared more about spending time with him and his friends than studying or even going to class. By Christmas break I wasn't going back, I dropped out of college! Me, the studious scholar, the "smart" girl, quit school. I got a job back home and kept seeing A. In March of 1998 I found out I was pregnant, at 18. I didn't know what I was going to do. I was living at home, working a menial job and now I was pregnant...and alone. A dumped me and started seeing a "friend" of mine when he found out I was pregnant. I decided I had to live on my own, I was going to be a mom for goodness sakes! I got an apartment with my best friend, her boyfriend and his brother. It didn't take long for A to beg to come back, he had realized his mistake and wanted to help me raise our baby. I took him back, much to the dismay of everyone around me...they could see what I couldn't. Unfortunately, this was short lived as leopards don't change their spots and soon enough I found myself alone again. This time I wouldn't really see A again until our daughter was 3 years old.

My precious girl was born on November 13, 1998. She is my savior, my life, my love. She is the thing that woke me up, made me get my act together. I was all she had, her dad had disappeared (to us). I brought her home to my parents house where we lived until she was about 15 months old. I honestly don't know where I would be without their love and acceptance. I am sure it was not their plan for me to be a single, teenage mother. I am sure there had to be disappointment, but they loved that little girl the moment they met her and she's had them on a leash ever since.

I got a job at the Bank of Travelers Rest where I met some of the most amazing people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. Life long friends for sure. I got my own apartment, it was me and my baby girl (and my sister until she left for college). I enrolled at Greenville Tech and went to school at night a few days a week, took some online classes and some weekend classes. When Alyssa was almost 3 years old, I decided I would have to enroll in a university somewhere to get a degree...after all I had never gotten a dime of child support and I didn't know that I ever would, I had to do something to better our life on my own. Around that time I got a summons for family court, no big deal, I got them every few months and every time I would take the time off work only to discover that A had not been served and the case was continued. I arrived at the court house and my heart dropped into my stomach. There he was. A. The father of my daughter that I had not seen in literally years was standing right in front of me. He asked the mediator for a paternity test, quickly did his, and left before Alyssa could get there. He had never met her and didn't even stick around to meet her then. Paternity was established and we started getting child support, I could breathe.

I got accepted to the College of Charleston in 2001. Right before 9/11. I moved myself and my daughter to Charleston in April of 2002 to start college in the Fall. I couldn't believe it! I was going to do this, I was going to get my degree. I moved in with my sister and her roommate to a house in downtown Charleston. Some of my best and most precious memories are from the time I shared with my sister and my daughter in Charleston.

Fast forward to February 2004. I got a call from my mom while I was leaving class. I was about to go to a career fair and then to my full time job (it was a very busy time). She asked if I was driving (odd) and then told me that my grandma had found an obituary for A. "What?" There was no way, someone would have surely told me. I sank to my knees, shock. Even though he had never had a desire to know his daughter, I had always hoped that one day he that one day was torn away from us. There was no mention of a daughter in his obituary and that stings to this day...he has a daughter, not printing it doesn't make it not true. I called the courthouse where child support was established a few days later to find out that child support had already been cancelled (didn't waste any time) and I would need to apply for social security survivor benefits. I applied, and was denied...I couldn't believe it. A had not worked enough for his daughter to get any benefits. I was on my own again. In college full time, working full time and a single mother with no financial support. I contemplated quitting, but I just couldn't do it. There had to be a way, I was only a year from my Bachelors of Science degree. I took out every dime of student loans I could so that I could pay daycare and living expenses above what my small salary would cover and kept going.

I finished my bachelors degree in May of 2005 and I gotta tell you, walking across that stage was my proudest moment behind the birth of my children and marriage to my best friend. I did it! A working single mom, I graduated from college!

There were so many bumps in the road and a lot of missing pieces to this story that I will keep to myself to show respect for the deceased. My point in posting this is to show that nothing is impossible, no problem is insurmountable and life always gets better.

My daughter saved me, my husband brought me back to life and my son makes me young again. They were all worth every misstep, every hardship, every tear. God Bless the Broken Road indeed.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

16 weeks....2 weeks

Today I should be 16 weeks pregnant.  I should be feeling flutters and rubbing my growing belly.  Instead it has been 2 weeks since we had to say goodbye.

I had my post op yesterday.  I am healing well physically and the doctor was very kind.  Chace's neural tube defect was very rare and the doctor reassured me that I did everything right, although I will always wonder what happened, what disrupted his neural tube growth and caused the Acrania?

For now, I am on 4 mg of folic acid daily in addition to a prenatal vitamin.  We are hopeful this will curb any chances that this nightmare could happen again.  I am hoping we can try again in the New Year...New Year, New Beginnings.


Sunday, October 2, 2011


Friday I had a health screening for our insurance.  Although a lot of my numbers are good, I need to get some weight off.  Embarrassingly, I haven't lost any weight since about 6 weeks PP (well I did for a bit before we found out we were pregnant with Chace).  Nursing was not kind to me, suckage.  I want to run again and get back into a gym routine with my hot husband (we reconnected at the gym, hottness).

Soooo...with that being said, I am holding myself accountable.  I want to lose between 30 and 40 lbs before we try to have another baby and of course I WANT another baby so this is a huge motivator.  I would love to try early next year so I have about 3-4 months to get my act together.  I think a good idea is to come up with a system, maybe a prize for every 5 lbs lost, like a pedicure or a special date night...with the ultimate prize being a healthy me with a cute pregnant belly and healthy baby.  So give it to me...I need ideas, I'd love encouragement, I want YOU to hold me accountable and cheer me on!

Here I am today, 188 lbs wearing yoga pants because my clothes don't fit and it hurts to wear maternity clothes.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

1 week

This time last week, Brian and I were arriving at the hospital to prep for surgery.  It seems like months ago, not a week.  I'm still in disbelief that this happened to us, what did we do wrong, why did our baby have to go?  I don't know that I will ever understand.  Maybe I'm not meant to.  I keep retracing every step since the pregnancy test...did I take some medicine, do some activity I shouldn't have?  It may drive me crazy, I have to find a way to not be consumed by come to terms with the fact that I may never know why our sweet boy had this horrible defect.

My mind has begun to wander back to normal life and I'm terrified...I feel like I should never be normal again.  I know I have to get back to life, but does getting back to life mean I am forgetting him?  Moving on?  That is my fear.  I will never stop loving him, I know its irrational...I can't help it.

I made an attempt to busy myself yesterday.  I bought fabric and re-covered my dining room chairs.  I also did a Halloween project with the kids that turned out really cute.  It did a little to soothe my soul and heart but today I feel like I am back to square one.  I think I'll be wearing out that square over the next few months.

I'm scheduled for jury duty next week.  I knew I had to go get the info out of the closet so I could ask for a postponement but I also knew that info was in the same folder as the gift certificate for the ultrasound that unraveled my entire life so I've avoided it, until this morning...I definitely had a mini breakdown getting that folder out, I was so happy the last time I opened that happy.

On a positive note, Alyssa was chosen to participate in Duke University's TIP program.  I signed her up this morning to take the SAT on December 3.  This is a huge honor that can open many doors for her and I am very proud.  She qualified by scoring in the 97th percentile on the ITBS Reading vocabulary test.  She's smart and beautiful, and mine...proof that God is good.

chair before:

chair after:

art project:

Monday, September 26, 2011


This weekend, Brian and I went to get tattoos in memory of our baby boy.  We ended up at Amber Island tattoo in Easley with Sam.  Sam was amazing and as we told our story, she listened...not like the "uh huh, that's so sad" listened...she had tears in her eyes and she cared.  The tattoo is exactly what I wanted to pay tribute to my son, something I can look at anytime I want to remember what an impact his short life had.  I love you Chace, and I miss you every day.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Tonight for dinner, Brian made ribs...ribs I bought when I was still pregnant with Chace...happily awaiting those first flutters and kicks...just another punch in the gut tonight.

For information

I will be doing my part to spread awareness.  There is not enough information out there.

What wasn't to be

I was reading through my last post, at the time blissfully unaware of how drastically our lives would change in just a few short days.  Last Friday, September 16, Brian and I met in the parking lot of the Baby Impressions 3D Ultrasound store. We had decided that even though it was early at 13 weeks 3 days, we really wanted to take a shot to see what this baby was so that we could surprise everyone before my mom moves to Afghanistan for a year for work.

All started off well, we saw the baby wave at us, beautiful little fingers.  We got to hear the heartbeat for the first time because the doctor who did the initial scan couldn't get the sound right.  It was a beautiful, familiar sound and it brought me so much peace.  I mentioned to the tech that this baby had made us nervous and that is when our world crashed down around us.  She got quiet, then said she shouldn't say anything but something didn't look right to her with the baby's head.  I saw it to, of course I thought it might be normal or early but I saw it too.  The rest of the appointment was in anxious silence.  She suggested we speak to our doctor as soon as possible.  Crap.  It was Friday, the doctor was already closed. I could not go a whole weekend thinking something was terribly wrong with my baby (a baby this tech said was a girl).  I called the on call nurse at my OB and waited.  It was taking too long for me, I told Brian to take me to the ER.

On the way we made the phone calls we needed to make, "no, we don't know what is wrong", "yes, maybe its just something simple or better yet, nothing at all", "yeah I think the doctor would have noticed last week if something was wrong, this will just make me feel better".  We got to the ER and I finally heard from my OB office.  They suggested we leave the ER and meet them at their office, they would open for us.  We were met by a nurse and an ultrasound tech, Jamie and Andrea (angels if there ever were any here on earth).  Andrea began the scan and I immediately knew something bad was going on.  She didn't speak much but when she did she said the word "Acrania", "100% fatal" and "I'm sorry".  I remember asking if I would miscarry and she said no, I was dumbfounded.  This baby, with this fatal condition, would continue to grow and thrive in my body but would never survive outside.  How cruel a fate.  How devastating a choice to make.

We were sent up to the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctors just one floor up where the doctor there confirmed the diagnosis.  He said these type of neural tube defects are prevented by folic acid.  I was taking folic acid, I had been since I got pregnant with Cason and the entire time I was nursing.  He said they had no answers for women who took the proper folic acid but only recommended that I now take 10x's the amount recommended, I wish I had know that in time to save my sweet baby, who had now been confirmed as a boy.

The weekend was a blur, a lot of tears, a lot of "why's", a lot of anger.  On Monday I went to the doctor and they inserted cervadil.  On Tuesday morning, I was admitted to the hospital to deliver my sweet boy at 14 weeks.

Today has been 1 week since this ordeal began.  I don't think I will ever be the same, then again...I don't want to be.

Michael Chace Jewell will be our angel and I will work my whole life to make him proud that I am his mommy.

An angel opened the book of life and wrote down my baby's birth,
   Then she whispered as she closed the book,  "Too beautiful for earth."

"Dear Lord, I would have loved to have held my babies on my lap and tell them about you, but since I didn't get the chance, would you please hold them on your lap and tell them about me?" 

"Loved with a love beyond telling,
Missed with a grief beyond all tears."

Friday, September 9, 2011

Catching up

So much has happened since I abandoned my blog (whoops).  I finished my masters!! whoop whoop!  We have relocated the Jewell clan to a bigger house in a neighborhood we LOVE and best has an extra bedroom because....we are havin another baby!  I am just over 12 weeks pregnant with what *better* be the last Jewellbean.  We had an ultrasound yesterday and our OB is guessing another boy!  Hopefully we will know for sure soon.  I will be adding pics shortly!  Stay tuned!