Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day: My Story

15 Oct

I hadn’t realized there was a Pregnancy and Infant Loss day, but have been toying with blogging about our loss for a while now.  So here goes…

Tyler and I knew we wanted kids for a long time, well before we were married.  After we got married (in 2007) we decided to wait to have kids until I was done with my second degree.  As the years passed we started to get itchy for a little one and decides to start trying.

We tried “on and off” for a while, (as in, would stop trying if there was something on the horizon it wouldn’t be convenient to be pregnant for) and in 2009 were ecstatic when we finally discovered we were pregnant!  We started planning our future with our little one the minute we saw that second pink line and couldn’t wait to tell friends and family.  The timing wasn’t superb, as my due date was right around the date I wrote my nursing exam, but we knew we would make it work.

We received a dating ultrasound and I was quite early (about 6 weeks) along.  The two of us grinned from ear to ear and stared at the fuzzy black and white picture of our little baby, who was just a small sac at the time.

I was doing a flu shot clinic in my final student rotation and discovered I was bleeding.  My heart sank, and my instructor drove me to the ER to get checked out.  I was reassured that since I wasn’t cramping it was most likely fine, but only an ultrasound would tell.  My blood work came back with positive numbers, and I was relieved to discover I was still pregnant.

I continued to have light intermittent bleeding, but no cramping so I brushed it off and hoped for the best over the next week.  One night, I was at my sister’s with my mom watching her kids, and I discovered that I had passed what looked like a small sac.  I called my mom to the bathroom and, between sobs, told her I knew it was over.  I felt absolutely empty, and was certain I had miscarried this time.

An ultrasound the next day confirmed I had in fact had a miscarriage.  Tyler and I were beyond heartbroken.  We sobbed in the darkened room, and were fairly silent on the ride home.  What I will never, ever forget is what happened when we came home.  Ty went down to our fourth level, and I lay down upstairs.  Suddenly, I heard sobs that sounded like a heartbroken animal crying.  I went downstairs to find Tyler beside himself with grief.  He explained that he was trying to be strong for me, but just couldn’t right that moment.  My heart broke even more, but my love for him grew.

Things I learned:

1. A baby is a baby, now matter how early the loss.  The minute I found out I was pregnant, that was my baby. I thought in the future, and even though I had an early loss, I still pictured what would have been.

2. A miscarriage is not a one day event.  Following the loss, I had pain and cramping and even ended up in the emergency room to have remnants of conception removed over the two weeks that followed.  It was horrible, and while the physical is still happening, it was impossible to move forward with the emotional.

3.  A loss is just a profound for the father.  Tyler lost his baby too, and hurt just as much as I did.

4. Miscarriage puts a future fear in you.  I was terrified to try to get pregnant again after, because I was worried I couldn’t handle another loss.

Obviously our story ended up happy.  We gave my body some time to heal and decided to try again shortly after and were shocked when we got pregnant on the first try.  Holding Abrielle in my arms made me realize that without losing my first baby, I would have never had her.  Down the line, I wouldn’t have had Gracie either, and while it is a lot easier to say that now that I can hold them in my arms, I truly believe that everything happens for a reason.

For myself, I feel it is important to share my story with others because so many people have experienced it.  I was not ready to talk about it until after Abby was born, but now I share it freely.  I know that talking about it helped me heal, and I feel at peace with what happened.

At the Heart of it

6 Oct

I have to say, as much as I wasn’t looking forward to being in my thirties, with it has come a sense of self acceptance and peace. 

I have gone through a lot of changes this year, both physical and emotional.  After hurting my back (an annoying issue that I am still dealing with), I gained a lot of weight back that I had lost.  It is hard to watch your body change back after working so hard to make positive gains (no pun intended), but I am surprised that it hasn’t affected me mentally as much as it would have in the past.  I think I have a new self confidence that I have grown into, and I absolutely know that I am responsible for promoting a positive body image to my girls.

Although I want to change my body, and am not satisfied with it, I still love what it does for me, and what it has done in the past.  This body has comforted the sick, grown babies, run a half marathon and danced at concerts.  It has swung my babies high over my head and threaded needles in tiny little veins.  It deserves respect, and I intend to give it that, extra jiggle and all.

Emotionally, I feel I have grown the most.  I use to be very concerned with pleasing everyone, and hoped everyone liked me.  I don’t want to sound glib by saying “I don’t care what you think about me”, because that isn’t entirely true.  More so, what I am concerned with is how what you think of me makes me feel. 

I can’t control the opinions of others, and some of those opinions will always be true, whether I like it or not.  All I can control is how I feel about it, and how I choose to let it affect me.

For example, if someone says they don’t agree with a parenting choice that I make, in the past I would have thought “that person is judgemental” or something along those lines while bitterly defending my decision.  Now, my focus is on not what they said (because they absolutely have the right to say it) but rather what emotion it evokes in me.  Insecurity?  Is it because maybe I don’t actually agree with my own decision?  It is always worth a reflection.

It is especially hard if this comes as a character attack. Hearing someone say something about you that you don’t believe to be true is a hard pill to swallow, and hard to walk away from.  I do believe that anytime something is said, it is worth a reflection.  Is there truth to it, even if I don’t like it?  More importantly, what motivated them to say it?  Where are they coming from?

My experience is, most times, it isn’t really about me and conversely comments I make might not truly be about the other person. What is at the heart of it?  Are they motivated by trying to inspire a change, or is it more likely coming from a place of hurt, jealousy or insecurity? 

This new outlook has brought me so much peace.  It has made it easier to confront a problem to delve in and see if there was actually an issue, or maybe just a misunderstanding.  It has allowed me to let go of anything that just doesn’t serve me or make me happy.
Why hang on to something like that?

Something I have been focusing on lately with Abrielle is the statement “is it true”.  Just because something is said does not make it true, and it doesn’t mean you have to accept it. Brush it off and move on.

I feel so blessed to have such a fantastic group of friends and family, and hope the same for my girls.  Life is a journey of self reflection and growth, and I hope they always push themselves to be the best version of themselves that they can be.

I will try to do the same. :)

Sunday Scenes

5 Oct

This weekend has been unseasonably (and amazingly!) warm.  I am in a new position now where I work 2 weekends of days a month, so I was happy to have a family weekend these past few days.

Yesterday was an absolutely lazy day.  We had a big brunch and stayed in our pjs until about 3:30. 

image

Ty’s AA team was playing at home so Richelle, the girls and I head out to watch.  It was nice to have some girl time while my little ladies ran around and devoured popcorn, and Richelle even walked away a little more flush after winning the 50/50.

Today was wonderful in that I slept in until almost 11:30!!!  I cannot even remember the last time I did that and it felt great.  We had lunch and then head down to the park for some play time before Ty left for the rink again.

Gracelyn was fairly hilarious on her bike, yelling “cwazy dwiver!” and “back me up, I stuck!”.  The girls had fun running around before heading home for some down time.

image

image

image

image

We hit up another little park outside the hockey rink before going in to watch today’s game.  We also hit it up after the first period following an absolute and totally embarrassing full on melt down by Grace that was related to a 5 cent candy.  She was a full blown terrible two for a little while, but thankfully settled after a talk outside.  I tell you, there’s a little bit of devil in those angel eyes!  Good thing she is adorable and sweet 96% of the time….

image

image

Go hockey!

image

Both girls actually intently watching the game!

We stayed until the end of the 2nd period and then head out to my mom’s for dinner where the girls had a blast playing with their cousins.  A little blip on the radar when Abby threw up because she saw Gracie’s poop (this kid has a hair trigger poop related gag reflex!) and then Gracelyn who has been a little….erm…..backed up, made her second deposit of the night that ended in needing her pants and my mom’s bedding washed.  All in all a good night!

Gracie Goo at 2

1 Oct

Angel,

My baby, you are no longer a baby.  I can’t believe at this time two years ago Abby was just your age and we were getting ready to be induced.  Time has absolutely flown.

At 2, you are a wildly happy, stubborn, spirited girl.  Your smile is big, your temper is short, and your laugh usually from the belly.  You have such a grab life by the horns attitude and know what you do (and don’t want).  You go from using the sweetest little “please?  Pleasy weasy?” to having a melt down if you don’t get your way, but thankfully are almost always quickly redirectable.

image

image

Your favourite things are playing with your sister, playing babies, princesses, doing fashion shows and tea parties.  You love Bo on the Go and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  You love to sing and dance, and Daddy recently taught you to fist pump, so that is hilarious!

You continue to be an excellent sleeper and  terrific eater.  You are almost potty trained (I just need to take the leap and stop putting pull ups on you!).  Your vocabulary is amazing in my opinion and there aren’t many words you don’t know! 

image

image

At 2, you are incredibly busy and love jumping, playing chase, riding your bike and going to the park.  You love swings and slides and climbing…baby, you give me heart attacks with your bravery! 

image

You are now almost 25lbs, 33.5 inches, in anywhere from 12-24 month clothes and size 6 shoes.  You just popped your last eye tooth today and are a very healthy little girl.  You have long legs, and I suspect you will be a tall lady! 

Your love for coffee is ridiculous and insatiable, and you steal sips every chance you get.  You love colouring and doing “hair pretties” and harrasing the dog.  You think you are hilarious and laugh with a goose like honk at your own antics. 

image

Gracelyn Ella, you are nothing but a delight.  Although I recently said I was going to sell you to the gypsies (you would probably establish a coup and become their most wild leader), you make me laugh every day.  You are incredibly sweet and love to give kisses and snuggles.  You are beyond cute and have the most precious little face.

Gracie Goo, you completed our family when you arrived 2 years ago and I can’t imagine a day without you.  You are such a joy and a blessing, and I am thrilled and grateful to be your Mama little girl.

Love you always,
Mama

image

image

image

image

image

image

A Royal Affair

28 Sep

Another birthday party is under our belts, and once again, it was a gooder.  We celebrated Abrielle and Gracelyn’s upcoming 4th and 2nd birthday yesterday with a royal themed joint party, and it was a blast.

This might (not) come as a shock, but I like to have a theme for a party.  I feel a little lost without one.  This year was a no brainer, as both girls are princess obsessed.  Although they dressed up as Elsa and Cinderella, I made the executive decision not to do a Disney theme, as a) I didn’t know where to even start…the merchandise is exhaustive and b) it felt a little non inclusive for boys.

image

image

This is a very, very grouchy Cinderella

image

I internally do a happy dance every time she asks for a crown braid

The morning of the party Mike, Richelle and I went to the venue to decorate.  The space is awesome, but ugly so I quickly covered the walls with table clothes and we strung some bunting and homemade pom poms. 

image

Before

image

After

The whole time I was watching the forecast hoping the thundershower warning would be called off.  Our bouncy house vendor, Parker Parties, was beyond gracious and offered to give it until 1 hour before the party to improve before cancelling.  I started to think of a back up plan! Thankfully it was a go, so we headed back to the venue at about 2:45.

Naturally, I punished anyone who arrived early by making them help me make drinks, set up picnic tables and direct traffic.  We were ready just after 3 when friends started to arrive.

I had set up a dress up station with sparkle spray and dress up accessories, but this was largely ignored early on in favor of the bouncy house.

image

image

image

image

Shortly after everyone arrived our Fries and Dolls food truck was ready to serve up dinner.  Everyone lined up at their leisure and Lisa did a great job pumping out the food and even made me a veggie dog.  People looked stuffed and satisfied afterwords, so in my mind, that is a success!

image

image

image

Shortly afterwards, we sang happy birthday, ate cupcakes, and then the kids tackled the pinata.  It was the cutest frenzy when Craig finally ripped it open on them!

image

image

image

image

image

image

There was a mad opening of gifts, where the girls were absolutely and utterly spoiled and then people started to trickle out (incidentally, we ran out of beer at the same time, lol!).  A few folks stayed for some time around the fire we had going, and Danielle, Craig and Rick all helped clean up and take down (major thank you by the way!).

image

image

image

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who came and helped celebrate our girls this weekend.  I appreciate all the love and support we are shown, and am so thrilled to be raising our daughters in this little village of friends and family.  Xoxo

Abrielle at 4

24 Sep

Bumblebee,

Your 4th birthday is only a handful of fingers away and your father and I are trying very hard to digest the fact that we will soon have a four year old in our house.  Four is big time…not a trace of baby remaining except for in memory.

My sweet girl, you are a dreamer.  You are a romantic, a twirler, a story teller and song writer.  Much of our day is spent in an imaginary world of your creating, and it seems the other part you simply float through. 

You love princesses (Rapunzel still tops the list, although Elsa and Aurora are also popular) and a good fairy tale.  What I love most though, is that you always look for redeeming characteristics in the villains and sympathize that they make bad choices, but are not necessarily bad people.  This makes me feel like Daddy and I are doing a good job at helping to shape you into a compassionate and empathetic person. 

image

You are an outdoorsy gal and love camping, quading, riding your bike or scooter and jumping on the trampoline.  You are in your element and parks and could climb, swing, slide and play for days I would imagine.  Recently you tackled this big boy and beg to go back time and time again.

image

image

image

You are an easy going child and very friendly, but at the same time you are slow to warm to new people.  You typically will pretend you are mute and play shy for the first minute or two, and then there is no holding you back!  You make friends easily but also are quite content to play on your own, in your own dream world. 

You love to sleep in, and are starting to resist naps and opt for quiet play or reading instead.  I am dreading next year when I will have to wake you up early 4 mornings a week!  You always sleep with a protective arm around your Ugly Dog, right through until morning.  You claim you can’t sleep without Ellie in your room, but little do you know she sneaks upstairs after you fall asleep :-)

image

You are almost 4 feet tall, 50lbs and in a size 6t clothing and size 11 shoe.  You are a bit of an Amazon my little one, and tower over your friends.  Your hair has gotten so long and your curls are coming in.  Your hair colour garners daily comments as it is the most perfect strawberry blonde streaked with gold.  You tell me your hair colour originates from the sun kissing a strawberry one day, and God seeing the colour and knowing it would be perfect for you.

image

image

image

You are a smart cookie who is constantly making observations about the world.  You like to point out patterns, find rhymes and have excellent number and (most) letter recognition.  You forget NOTHING…EVER and hold people accountable for their promises (as you should!).  You use big words that make your teachers, family and my friends laugh and are absolutely curious about the world around you.  I have no doubt that you are going to move mountains, baby.

image

My sweet bumblebee, you are a marvel.  I couldn’t have ever dreamt of a child as wonderful as you are, and you changed my heart forever 4 years ago when you made your silent entrance into this world.  Not only did I become a Mama that day, but a better person.  You make me want to be the best version of myself, because I see it reflected in you. 
My sweet girl, I love you to the moon and back.  You make my heart happy, and I am so grateful to be your mama.

image

image

image

image

Pity Party, Table for One

12 Sep

Whoooo boy, this last week was a rough one.  Remember this?

image

This darn slide was the cause of my demise.  After hurtling off it with Abby on my lap and jamming my feet into the ground, my back was really sore.  That was Friday, and each day after it got progressively more sore.

Initially I did my physio exercises, used my TENS and some Tylenol.  I added in Robaxacet and voltaren cream as it got worse.  By Wednesday I was beside myself with tears and had to call Ty and ask him to come home and help me.  I had tried to get a doctor’s appointment with both my family and sports med doctor’s, but no luck.  Finally, we decided to go to the emergency room.

image

I hate going to ER, because I feel like unless it is actually an emergency, I don’t need to go.  Ty had offered to take me a few times, but finally when I couldn’t find any position to sit, stand or lay in without a huge amount of pain, I gave in and decided to go.

I was seen by Dr. Mackey, and he was amazing.  For one, he instantly acknowledged that he could tell I was in a huge amount of pain.  After talking a little bit about my prior injury (that I assume I have aggravated again) he point blank asked me what I thought I needed. I pretty much started to cry, because I hate asking for pain killers and told him as much.  He was very comforting in that he reminded me that I was asking for them because I was in a significant amount of pain, and not because of a drug addiction.

He did a quick exam that almost made me faint because of the pain, and then a former classmate of mine delivered a sweet injection of morphine and gravol for me.  They also sent me with some Percocet to go and he personally called my doctor so I could get an appointment the next day (where I got more pain killers and an anti-inflammatory).

I have to be honest, I consider myself to have a pretty high pain threshold. I delivered two children naturally, and this back pain had me begging for mercy.  I cried pretty much all day Wednesday and Thursday and felt so helpless.  Then, once I started taking the Percocet I started feeling better, but I was stoned.   I could not function properly at all and felt like I was underwater.  I basically felt like a giant loser who couldn’t do anything for anyone.

This might not come as a surprise, but I am an incredibly stubborn person and I don’t like not being able to do things for myself.  That, coupled with feeling drugged, was really hard emotionally.  Tyler took over full care of the kids and the house, not to mention me.  He ran around town, cleaned, cooked, bathed the kids, brought me pills and rubbed my back.  We were worried, because he was scheduled to leave on a boys trip this morning.

Luckily I woke up with a lot more mobility. I was having a good amount of pain still, but finally able to get off Percocet and stepped down to tramacet.  The girls have been angels and Abrielle has been especially sweet and helpful.  I received 7 texts this morning from family and friends reminding me that they were a phone call away if I needed help.

Today got better and better as the day went on and the girls and I were able to enjoy some sun, a chat with my sis in law and Abby and I even snoozed together while Grace napped too.  I couldn’t make a girls dinner but am hopeful that I can actually drive somewhere and leave the house tomorrow!

image

Overall, this is a blip on the radar and what it shows me is how amazing my support system is.  I have so many friends and family who were willing to drop everything to help me out.  Also, I cannot say enough about my husband.  I probably thanked him a gazillion times for all of his help and for putting up with my crazy emotional mess of a self, and he always shrugged it off as if it was no big deal.  I feel so blessed to be surrounded by such support and love.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 483 other followers