When I get anxious, I get stressed. When I get stressed, I get depressed and I become a recluse. I get agitated, I get short tempered, I get nauseous. The elephant starts to appear. I start to feel his weight on my chest. My heart begins to race and my mind begins to wander. As I become more sad, the elephants weight weighs heavily on my chest. I start to panic. I start to think about Jacob. I think about what he went through, what he was thinking, what he was feeling. I think about how hard he struggled to breathe and it takes my breath away, literally takes my breath away. I start to hyperventilate. The elephant weighs heavier on my chest. I try to breathe but I feel I'm being squeezed. I feel I am losing it. The tears start uncontrollably falling. I need to compose myself so what do I do?
I snuggle next to Bee, head nuzzled against hers. I wrap my arms around her and hold her, singing, as she falls asleep. I tell her I love her. I inhale her sweet smell. I look at each and every hair on her head. I look at her tiny nose, her tiny ears. I stare and admire my beautiful miracle. As she falls asleep I start to close my eyes. I think back to when she was born, to her first cry, to my first breath when she took hers. She was finally here, healthy and alive. I let my mind wander to her first year, all her milestones, her smile, her laugh. Then I let my mind wander to California and how happy we were. I keep my eyes closed as she continues to sleep and start to pay attention to her breathing. I breathe in and out with her....I do this for a few minutes and then I am settled. I have calmed back down. My sadness and depression have left the surface along with the elephant. I can breathe again.
As I gently lay her in her crib, I give her a soft kiss on her head. I pray for Ty and Jacob to watch her through the night and give her sweet dreams. I tell the elephant he'll have to come back another day because I don't have room for him in my heart today.
There is an elephant on my chest. At least it feels like there is one present. The anxiety since Thursday has been epic. I can't shake this feeling. There have been many tears, many swear words, many sleepless night. My mind cannot stop wandering, my heart cannot stop racing, I can't think straight, I cant focus. I feel weak, I feel helpless, I feel vulnerable. It sounds like this may be the case for the long run. I feel so anxious I considered going to the ER to get some anxiety meds to help calm things down. I took my rescue remedy but it did not help. The feeling is still in my chest. I feel hopeless. I have to figure out a way to deal with this because for the last few months all I have done is taken steps back and Thursday, I feel like I hit rock bottom. I can't remember when my anxiety was this bad before.
I've forgotten to eat, sleep has been non-existent, I'm trying to keep it together for Bee but I can tell she can feel it coming from me and it's affecting her. I've tried to be out with her, feeding the ducks, going to the park so she can see mommy relaxed and happy, not weak and anxious. I feel the stress is rubbing off on her and she's not sleeping well because of it.
I know I keep mentioning Thursday but I can't exactly say what happened then to cause this. Our next steps taken cannot be disclosed at this time. But the outcome from the last few months and especially this past week are not good for my journey. I'm incredibly thankful to have my husband by my side and a little girl to keep me going because if I didn't, can't say I'd be here. They are my life, they give me reason, they give me purpose. There has to be a way out of this and if anyone is willing to look for it, it's me. People will soon realize that you can't bully the weak, you cant bully the fragile because those in that position, some of us also have fight in us. Some people think they can get away with things but there is lovely thing called the law and having worked in the law field for 4 years, I know my rights and I will be making sure those rights are not taken from me because someone feels they can.
Of course, this all couldn't come at a worse time with an impending vacation coming up, which I'm horribly anxious about within itself. It's strange though to see how different the affects of different kinds of anxiety are. Most of my anxiety and especially in the past has been situational, meaning certain things cause me to become anxious. But the last week it truly has been general, it involves everything because I have been pushed back and I'm going to have to come out swinging. I find it kind of fascinating though to see how differently my brain and body respond to different kinds of mental health. So many people try to blanket term mental health but each mental issue is unique, as is each person who struggles. If I can just make it through the next couple of weeks, put on my boxing gloves and kick some bully butt, everything will be great!
People seem to not understand how the death of Ty and Jacob had a swirl affect, meaning their deaths led to a host of issues I now suffer, given I wouldn't change things, obviously them being here I would, but if it meant not having that experience at all, of carrying and loving Ty and Jacob, that I would never change. But, in their deaths, things have risen and continue to rise. So if you run into me/talk to me in the next few weeks and I seem rather stark, scattered, short tempered, short talked, there is a reason and it's not you. I'm just busy trying to find my gloves to begin this fight.
Barely hanging on by a thread over here......but, at least I am still hanging on!
In light of the recent shooting in Texas, I feel I need to address this issue again, mainly thanks to the media. One reason I am so open and honest about my struggles not only in infant loss but PTSD as well is because I try to show the face of how it truly is. I want people to know and understand what kinds of things we go through and that for the majority of us we are still "normal" people.
As a PTSD suffer I m appalled by the accusations that "every single person with PTSD needs to be locked up for the safety of society". That was a comment left on one of the articles about the shooting and it goes to show how little people actually know about the mental illness. I live my life in two taboo to talk about subjects, infant loss and PTSD. I am adamant about raising awareness in regards to both issues but as of late, I feel I need to defend PTSD much more because of mass media.
Just to be clear, the majority (minus maybe a handful or two) of people with PTSD do not go around killing people, nor do we have the urges, nor do we plan to hurt others. It's not just PTSD that does that to someone, it's a lot more mentally than just PTSD. People seem to think every person with PTSD is a ticking time bomb waiting to go off and go on a shooting spree but most of us simply are not like that.
PTSD is not strictly limited to people in the line of duty, it can happen to anyone who experiences trauma of any sort. I still get flashbacks when I am driving in the rain due to having been in a car accident when it was raining out. Given, its not severe or to the extent that I have anxiety and flashbacks due to Ty and Jacob dying. Nor is my trauma experience the same as someone fighting in a war. Our experiences are different so our flashbacks and reactions to PTSD are different, however, most of us still aren't going around on killing sprees and if we do have an outburst, most of the time it doesn't end up with us committing a violent crime, most of the time it's self inflicted.
Speaking of mental health, I partially blame the government due to it's lack of resources available to those who need them. I'm the perfect example. I honestly believe one of my greatest challenges and biggest issue has been inconsistent care. Over the last 4 years I have seen 10 different people in regards to my grief/PTSD/GAD. 10......I'm not how many of you have been to see a specialist but it goes something like this. You make an appointment, go to that appointment and for the first 2-3 appointments they get all the background information they possibly can. You tell your story over and over, you don't really get anywhere. They all have the same agenda, they all seem to have been trained at the same school by the same teachers so you never really get anywhere. Though, on the off chance you do start getting somewhere that's usually when your resources are cut off and you are passed onto the next program.
I'm onto person 11 and it's only temporary until I can get into an adult trauma program, which by the sounds of it, I should have been in from the get go. There is no time limit in this program, they work with me as long as I need and I won't get passed around from person to person. Given, it will be the 12th person I see but hey, maybe lucky #12 will be the one!
After everything I have been through over the last 4 years, I can say that our government (Canadian) severely lacks in helping those with mental illness. Just walk down any street and you can see the evidence everywhere. I know first hand, I've seen it, I've experienced it. Luckily for me, I have great family and friend support and I'm with it enough to know I need help and seek out that help myself. Not many people are in the right state to do that, or they deny it. I have no shame in talking about it because, just like infant loss, there is a huge stigma around mental health. There are labels, there are whispers but there are people as well. People who have names and lives and need help. They don't need shame, they don't need to be told to get over things, they don't need to be told it's easy to not be anxious, or that using anxiety as an excuse to get out of something is getting old. It's not easy. I would never choose to feel this way. I don't like it, I've been feeling it for so long that is has taken a toll on me not only mentally, but physically as well. Of course, that just adds to the stress too.
But then, I can't say I'd choose a different path. I have met some amazing people a long the way and though I'm sure it goes without saying, I much rather Ty and Jacob have not died then be where I am, but I am thankful to have gotten to where I am. Yes I still battle everyday, I still struggle everyday, even on sunny days like today I can't get out of this funk. I just feel like crying and the anxiety is eating away at me (I think it literally is eating away at my stomach with all these issues I am having). I am thankful to my family and friends who have been by my side, I just wish they could understand that it's not in my head, that it's not as easy for me to face my fears, that it is not easy for me to change. I like pattern, I like prediction and I like control. It eases my anxiety and when all of that goes out the window, I recede.
Hoping the next few weeks brings some much needed answers (in our favour of course) and that we can get our feet back on the ground and running. Well, who am I kidding, walking, I don't run anymore.
There is no doubt that Ty and Jacobs death have profoundly changed Stephen and I. We have learned so much and grown as people. Our eyes have been opened and we see more clearly. We understand the importance of life, the importance of family and friends and place a high value on relationships as opposed to material objects. I like to think Ty and Jacobs deaths have changed us for the better.
One thing I have noticed, which has been there since Ty died, is how deeply I feel. Given, the depth of my emotions only exists with the negatives, but it is deep. When I am angry, or sad, or empathetic, anxious, or upset, or just down, I feel those emotions in my veins. It is strong, like a cup of dark coffee. It seethes from every pore in my body. It is so intense that the anxiety eats me right up and the tears flow like a leaky faucet. How I wish I had that depth when it comes to positive feelings. If this week has been any indication of that dream ever coming true, I have hope. At least this week I have been able to feel joy and happiness, even if only on a small level, it's a new level and that is a step forward.
With this new found depth of emotions, I do tend to get teary eyed rather quickly. Not only do my emotions have depth but they have speed. I imagine my emotions like a hurricane, there's the calm before the storm and then BAM, intense, pounding, quick, horrific and then it's over and I am left to clean up the damage. But when I wasn't prepared, when I didn't board the windows, plan an escape, make a survival kit, cleaning up becomes a challenge, a long one at that. I feel I am walking the lonely, desolate streets trying to find my way.
I also feel that having a lot of time in between care (one of my main issues with treatment) that I've internally been trying to figure things out for myself, plan out my next steps, make some hard decisions. I know I'm on a new level of grief and it's rather hard to navigate but I hope in time I can find someone to show me the way. In the meantime, I have to handle my depth of emotions in a cool headed way, which lately has just been tears and lots of tears. I turn everything internally and it's causing me physical health issues. I know I have to figure it out because I cant keep living with this depth of negativity. I want to be able to shrug things off like I use to. I want to be able to have a conversation, feel connections, feel empathetic and sympathetic towards others without completely losing my shit. Perhaps one day.....
The warmth of the sun soothes my soul, the wind blowing through my hair refreshes my mind, body and sprit. It is officially spring and mother nature has decided to give us Southern Ontarians a break. A MUCH MUCH needed break. The weather has been gorgeous the last week, sunny, cool and a little breezy, some of my favourite weather. It has surly lifted my mood and spirits. Yes I have been super anxious, to the point of having more stomach issues, but for the first time I have also felt joy and happiness.
Something about the decent weather always awakens my soul. It lets me see life, it lets me breathe, it lets me live. I truly do believe that in addition to PTSD and GAD I have seasonal affective disorder. SAD affects people in the winter months and makes them depressed. It's no secret to me that when the weather is nice, I do feel better and this week has been fantastic.
Bee and I get out at least twice a day, once so I can get a good exercise walk in and once so she can play at the park. Some nights after dinner we've even got to go to the park with Stephen and for another short walk. It has been wonderful. I have been waiting for moments like this. I have a renewed sense of self and life.
It feels so good that tears bubble to the surface. This is the life I imagined when we found out we were pregnant 4 years ago. Doing family things, spending time outside, relishing in my daughters delight, this is what I wanted 4 years ago and after Ty and Jacob died, I never thought it would be possible. To experience what I have waited so long for is wonderful.
I feel a sense of living this year. We have a lot of plans this summer and for the most part I am looking forward to them. Of course the anxiety is there and I'm sure it will be for awhile, but excitement is also there. It's not just anxiety anymore, it's such an amazing feeling. I'm excited and look forward to doing things this summer. I never thought I would look forward to things again and not let the anxiety ruin my fun. We are making more plans to do even more things, we WILL go camping this year. We use to love camping but the past 3 summers we've just been trying to survive but not this summer, this summer we will live!
I look forward to starting new traditions with Bee, most are ones I wanted to start with Ty and Jacob but didn't have the heart to do yet but this week, the artificial Christmas tree was donated and will be replaced with a family trip to the tree farm to cut down our own tree. I know it will be hard, there will be tears of sadness but to see Bee delight in life will also bring joy as it has lately.
I feel like I am on a new level of my grief journey. The deaths of the boy don't shadow my every day. I have come out of the fog of a newborn and new parent and now I'm beginning to see and live but trying to deal with my PTSD and anxiety. Finding a balance is challenging but these days, I'm up for the challenge. Well, at least for today I am, if I've learned anything its that when up things always knock you back down.
Today I had the chance to see the depth of my anxiety and I can tell you, it's not pretty.
I'm a pretty reasonable person, I know sometimes people make mistake's, I have, we all have and I understand that but when mistake are made that could greatly affect my daughter, well I've seen a side of me I never knew possible. Perhaps it's the mama bear, call it what you want but sometimes people seem to forget the shit storm Stephen and I had to go through to get Bee here. She is our miracle baby. We've already buried two children and it's my lifes mission not to have to bury more so when someome fucks with my daughter, it's not pretty.
Bee went in for her 15 month checkup and needed some medicine. She was given the wrong medicine. After hours of completely losing it, falling apart, balling, getting sick to my stomach, calling every medical professional I know and being online researching, it seems she will most likely be okay. However, the emotional state, the fragility of my mental health has taken a huge blow and I am unsteady.
I am furious, I am livid, I feel this is a huge set back, validity that I can't trust anyone with Bee (other then a handful of people I know) She cannot be left alone with anyone, it is one of my greatest fears and even more so now. If someone can mess up that bad when I am there, I don't want to think about what could happen when I'm not there. I just can't do it. What happened today has pushed me far back. I've been a wreck all day. I feel sad and depressed and just exhausted from the anxiety and stress of today. Any mention of Ty or Jacob has thrown me in the loop. I lose it.
My wonderful husband offered to stay home but I couldn't let this ruin his special day. He, more than anyone, deserved to be in that Summit Suite at the Rogers center watching the Blue Jays home opener, indulging in delicious food and rubbing elbows with some of the greats.
I'm thankful this mix-up was not critical but it was enough to make me recede. Let's just say, we are in the market for a new doctor because the way they handled it and the fact it happened in the first place, I will NOT let that happen to Bee again. Horrible, just horrible and I will be filing a complaint. Might not have been critical this time but who is to say it won't next time? Not on my watch.
Spring has sprung in our neck of the woods. In response, my anxiety has bubbled to the surface in regards to facing the park. Bee and I have been going to the park for a few weeks now. Sure it has been cold and icy and snowy but we like to get out, it's how we roll. The good part about it having been cold was not a lot of people go out so we have had the park to ourselves the last few weeks, just the way I prefer. However, in light that spring officially arrived and brought somewhat warmer weather, I face one of my greatest anxieties. Park moms. Bee and I run the risk of other moms being there with their children.
Some may say this isn't a bad idea and some may even look for this as a way to have an adult conversation outside of the home. But for me, I like to avoid it. Even if we have only been at the park 5 minutes, if another mom shows up with kids we bolt like a racing horse at the start of a race. We rush out of there, avoiding all eye contact and verbal contact as possible. See, I'm not the most social person, never really have been either, but these days, it's even worse.
Give me a park filled with bereaved moms and their kids and I will happily sit around and chat, but those "normal" moms make me anxious. I fear they will ask if Bee is my only child and I don't want to face having to answer that. I've never been one to make small talk, I hate it. Park moms do that, they ask about your children, they try to make small talk and I rather stick a knife in my eye. I rather rip my jugular vein out Rick style. I don't like it, it makes me so uncomfortable so park time will be limited. I will try to find the best possible time to go when there may not be anyone there because lord knows if someone shows up, even if I just put Bee in the swing, we're leaving.
As much as Bee loves the park, it's too hard for me right now. Until Stephen can join us, times will be limited and I feel horribly guilty for that. I see Bee and how she wants to interact with other children. It's a part of childhood, making friends, playing, being magical and I'm hindering it. I don't like to be around other moms with kids her age because ha, get this, it makes ME uncomfortable. I know I have to change, I know I have to do better by Bee. She deserves it, she deserves to play and be around kids her age and I can't let me inhibitions hold her back. I just need to find the right place and time and the park is not that place.
I've been having a really hard time lately, missing the boys, dealing with life, I just can't do it right now. I am fragile, I am vulnerable and I feel I've fallen back a step and can't talk about the boys without falling apart. I rather just avoid it all together.
But for Bee, I will find something. It is only fair to her and I don't want to be the reason she is socially awkward when she is older. Once I get my grief under control and the rest of the stress settled, I will find a way to fit in with the "normal" moms.
Spring is here, well it's suppose to be here. This winter has been BRUTAL! It has been never ending. Cabin fever has led to depression. We've attempted to go our for walks, but it's been too cold. We are avoiding being out in public to keep away from all the sickies. We are SO ready for the nice weather! I need to get out and walk, we have a Mexican vacation coming up soon.
Anxiety has also been out of control, it has been eating away at me. I think it literally has as I've had really bad acid reflux. Peppermint tea has been my best friend as have crackers. My mind wanders though, it goes to the bad places and causes me to think about the worst case scenarios. It really does not help that it's tax season (which is not going to end well for us because of government bullshit) and that it is now going on 6 months since I applied for an insurance claim, of which I was told it would take 30 days and now they are telling me June. I can't do much about it and I think that's what has me stressed the most. I also feel my case manage really screwed things up by not doing things how she was suppose to making things take even longer. I know I have no control over it and I know it probably will be June before I hear but it's very stressful.
Bee has been rocking though. She gets into EVERYTHING and climbs EVERYTHING. I told Stephen not to be surprised when I call and say I'm taking Bee to the ER. This morning she dropped her sippy cup on her toe and now its blue and black. It's just a matter of weeks before she breaks something. I spend all day saying Bee get down, Bee sit on your Bum, Bee becareful, Bee don't eat that and trying to show her things she can do instead. But, she is a girl after her own heart and does what she wants. I tend to let her do it if it isn't putting her in eminent danger. Kids falls, they get bumps and bruises and she loves to learn and get into things. She is a very spirited, strong willed child (much like I was) so I tend to let her Bee. I know I am raising her right because we attended a birthday party this weekend for her boyfriend and everyone kept saying what a strong, tough, beautiful, smart and kind little girl she is. They were able to see that in the two hours we were there and it means a lot to me to hear people say that, it shows me I am doing something right even when I feel I'm not. Lord knows I am so in love with that little girl though. Some days she is the only reason I make it through. She is my everything and she is just so awesome!
I will do right by her and make sure she has the best life. I will make sure we can provide for her so she can experience life (not talking material items but rather life experiences) I look forward to cooking/baking with her, camping, hiking, going to the new aquarium in Toronto , the science center, the zoo, so many wonderful places to experience life. Of course, there is Mexico but I doubt she'll remember any of it, we will however.
Other than that, things are going. Spring will be here soon, we will be packing for Mexico before we know it, hoping my anxiety can calm down, insurance will be approved, get into the program I am waiting for, gaw so much waiting around. Does everyone not know how impatient I am? I like to get stuff done asap not wait for months on end, it's really pushing my buttons!
Oh and the book, 70 pages done, just finishing typing up Ty's journals and then going through the 100's of journals I have from Jacob and Bee's pregnancy. Passed our info along to an editor and am nervously waiting to hear back from them.....
Beauty ready for her boyfriends party
At least for today anyways. I am well aware that even though today was sunny +7 and just gorgeous out, tomorrow is suppose to be -17 with a major snow storm. It's the beauty of where I live. But I plead for more days like today. Bee and I always get out for walks in this kind of weather and it is just so damn refreshing for the soul. The sun shines into my heart and warms it up. The sounds of the birds chirping rings in my ears and plays a sweet melody. The crisp cool air cleanses my lungs. After Fall, Spring is my favourite season. It brings a sense of new. It brings a sense of cleansing of the soul.
On days like today I feel relatively good. This kind of weather always puts me in a better mood. We walk, we walk miles while my mind meanders. I think about where we are, how we got there, where we are headed. I think about the tragic death of Ty and Jacob and the new life of Bee. I think about our struggles and how we can find a way out. I think about the fact that I need to work on writing my book but the writing has been so hard lately, not only that but I'm really enjoying working on my other blog (Baby's Nest) it's going places. I am challenging myself to learn HTML code, I am reaching out to companies, they are reaching out to me (this is always a great sign that people are paying attention to what I am doing). Things are being accomplished and I do see the direction we are suppose to go in.
Hep A vaccines have been scheduled, resort has been booked and our plane has been booked. Going to Mexico is now official, excuse me while I barf, and with it the anxiety continues to pile but on days like today, I feel okay with it. Perhaps maybe even slightly excited? It will truly be a huge challenge for me, a step to take in over coming my anxiety. It will always be there but I can control it. I just need to figure out how! I'm still in shock that every happened the way it did. But, because of it I am also secretly working on something else that I really hope comes together, if it does, it will be a HUGE step for the infant loss community.....and even if it doesn't, at least I am trying. Come on Mother Nature, bring me more Spring! It gives me motivation to get crap done.
When I logged onto Facebook this morning, the first headline I saw was "Matt Stajan on leave from Flames (Calgary NHL team) after tragic death of newborn son. Headlines like this hurt my head and my heart. It brings me back to those moments it happened to us the first time. Perhaps I am very sensitive right now because typing up my journal from after Ty died and going through my blog posts after Jacob died has been so emotional. Reading hospital records, it's all too much sometimes. Then I see headlines like the one above and my heart just aches. How I wish I could embrace his wife right now. Nothing can be said but tears can be shed and people can be held. It's about all you can do in this situation. Having been there twice, I know there is nothing I can say, I know there is nothing anyone wants to hear. People just want to cry, people want their children remembered.
After it initially happens, people do not care to see the light at the end of the tunnel because after a child dies, you surely feel like that will never happen. It eventually does but when you're so fresh from grief, when you just bury your child, when you can't find the reason to get out of bed or eat, all people want is their child. Sure, it's great that people drop off food because trust me, cooking is the last thing on their mind. Even better, buying a blanket or something and having it embroidered with their child's names. Donating in their child's name. They want people to acknowledge that their child was indeed just that, their child.
A lot of the headlines I read in regards to this used the words "tragic" and "parent's worst nightmare". They couldn't have used better words as it is truly a tragedy and a parents worst nightmare. I'm not naïve, I know babies die but when it happens to people who aren't celebrities, you don't hear about it. It's almost like you can tuck away the knowledge that babies die but then there are news headlines like this and it brings it out front. There is no hiding from perinatal and infant loss. We are among the millions, a group no one wants to belong to, no one wants to talk about, no one wants to acknowledge, but we are strong for eachother. We are there for eachother. I feel so close to some of the women I have met online after Ty and Jacob died. They get me, they get how it is. They have also lived the parents worst nightmare.
It just hurts my heart so much that yet another family has to go through burying their son and trying to keep themselves a float in the depths of their sorrow. I know it happens every day, quite a few times in a day, I just wish it could stop. I wish no family had to go through this, but if they do, I hope they know there is a world of help and support out there for them. They don't have to do this alone, nor do they have to feel isolated. I remember how horrible it felt being isolated, I don't want that for others. So for today, I will remember baby Emerson, though I do not know him or his parents, they are now the face of infant loss like so many of us.
Curious as to know where my state of mind currently is? I'm stressed over luggage. Yes luggage has me sick to my stomach, worried and stressed. Everything has been piling up lately and I feel guilty for even saying it because I know people in way worse situations but this is my life and luggage has me stressed.
I don't think it's generally the luggage, I think it is just a small part of a much bigger worry but the little things add up. It seems to be one thing after another and luggage had me today. Yup, luggage. I can't believe it either but the fact that I did not get what I was expecting (totally off from what I expected) it has thrown me for a doozie. I like to plan, I like to know exactly what to expect and when that doesn't happen, I lose my shit. Yes, easy fixes for these small problems but when there are so many and so close to when they need to be solved, I start to panic. I want to run away from it all but can't. I have to stand and wallow in it while digging myself out. I will dig myself out, I have no other choice but the anxiety eats away at me even for the small things. I don't feel I can handle it. If luggage can throw me off, that's scary. To know it could make me feel this way, it worries me. I seem to be getting off the path of healing and have taken a detour to a more stressed filled, anxious life. But, I sit and wait in limbo to be able to get the help I need. Can't afford acupuncture, still have no idea when I will get into the adult mental health program, can't afford to see the counselor on the side, rescue remedy is good for really bad days (I've only had to take it once this year but perhaps I need a bit more right now) the help is not there, the help I need is not currently on the horizon but I reuse to give up.
Bee keeps me going, she is my life. She gives me reason for everything. On days where my stomach and mind are dizzy with fear, she keeps my feet on the ground and my head up. Sure, I might barely be breathing, but we make it day by day. I'll figure it out eventually and hopefully I can figure out our luggage debacle. Lord knows I have to do that soon!
Things have been quiet over here these days, but it does not mean we aren't busy! In fact, I can barely keep my head up we are so busy. Between fighting with the insurance company, OHIP, planning our trip to Mexico, Bee getting teeth (or something that has made her very off) and getting my blog up and running, I've barely had time to write. Not to say I haven't been dealing with grief, I have, especially as of late for some reason.
Actually I know the reason. The other key part of me being busy is writing the book. It's bringing up so many emotions. It's bringing me back to those early days and all the feelings I had. I read my words and can't believe I wrote some of them. They are very hard to read. To know my mind was so far gone to even think some of the things I wrote, which I will not be putting in the book, it's way too personal. But it keeps me busy and it'll be nice to have all the details, while I can still remember most of them, in one place so when I am older I can re-read it and remember.
My other blog has also been keeping me quite busy. Since I am unable to work but need to find a source of income, I am affiliating with many stores and shops on my other blog. If you are an online shopper (Amazon, Zulily, Toms etc....) PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE hop on over to Baby's Nest (http://www.babysnest.ca/) and click on my affiliate links. They are on the home page, right side about half way down. PLEASE remember to use my affiliate links. When you use my affiliate links, a portion (commission %) comes to me and we really need the income. Not to say you have to buy things online, but if you do, please take a look at Baby's Nest and see if what you are looking for is there. I plan on adding a few more as well but for now, please make good use of the links. I'd say please again but it seems redundant.
In Bee news, shes wild and I love it. She truly is a mini me. I keep telling my mom things she is doing (climbing up things and being a daredevil) and my mom keeps saying it reminds her of someone else when they were young. Well played karma, well played! She had her first little fever, though the doctor said it wouldn't be classified as a "fever" but her temp was elevated. I didn't do much nor did I freak out because she still seemed okay. It went away in a few days but was replaced with incredibly fussy and clingy child, which is not how Bee normally is. That's when I decided to go to the doc to just make sure it wasn't an ear infection or anything. She checked out fine and after two nights of not sleeping (literally) she seems to be on the mend. I think it may be teeth but who knows these days!
We've started making plans for our Mexico trip so my stomach has been pretty off lately due to the stress. The worry is starting to pile even though I figured out some things that were making me nervous. The anxiety will probably continue to build up until the day we go. I think the next few weeks will be the calm before the storm. Time to hunker down and reduce all the other stressors as much as possible because this one is big.
Again, please remember to check Baby's Nest for my affiliate links. We could really use the little income it will provide us! Shopping online is better anyways. You don't have to get ready, you can do it while wearing your pajamas, having your morning coffee, eating breakfast, breastfeed, the possibilities are endless!
My little fashionista heading to lunch for grandmas birthday! Just because it is cold doesn't mean we cant dress fancy.
I have been working away on our book and the irony of the entry I am typing tonight. This was written shortly after Ty died. If I had only known that these words would come to life for us.
"one of the ladies at group said something that opened my eyes a bit and brought some relief to me. Since Ty was stillborn we didn't get to spend anytime with him and I was very envious of people who had even a day with their babies but after hearing her story, I don't really feel that anymore. Her son was born with a birth defect. They had two days with him but during those two days they had to sit by so helpless and watch their son suffer and die. I can't even fathom having to sit helplessly as my child was dying and suffering. I am thankful Ty and us didn't have to suffer that experience. Ty only ever knew love, he never suffered and I would much rather know that he never suffered then to have a day with him but have him suffer. I don't feel so envious anymore that we didn't get anytime with him because I know he never suffered and all he knew was love and happiness. Of course, I still wish we did have the time with him but if it meant he would suffer, I'm okay with the fact that we didn't. I just really miss him. I had so many dreams and hopes for him that I wont get to experience."
1. The irony that I even wrote that and not even 10 months later we would be in that exact position, it astonishes me.
2. Why did I feel the need to compare my loss? It's something I seemed to do in the beginning, I have since learned that is ridiculous. I don't compare anymore. Any baby dying, whether stillborn, neonatal or even young child. It sucks, it all sucks it all hurts, it all leaves us feeling so helpless and I now know that.
3. I can now fathom how horrific it is to go through sitting by your child's side and helplessly watching them die. Knowing that Jacob suffered, that he felt pain. I can only pray that he also felt love and comfort.
4. This is such a shit stick. Honestly, being a baby loss mama is no path I wish for anyone to take. I wish no parents had to make decisions or watch their children die. Do you know how hard it is to tell the doctor to pull your very loved and very wanted child from life support? To sit there and have him take his last "breathe" in your arms. To hold your dead child lovingly all night because you know come morning he will be placed in a little black box to be taken to his forever home. It all sucks so much but I never, not even for a second, would I ever change not having the boys. Our 9 months with Ty and our 9 months and 2 days with Jacob were worth living for. As hard as it was and as helpless as I felt, I am thankful I had the time with my boys as I did.
This journal, re-typing t has brought so many emotions and it's not easy to write about this stuff but I do find it healing. You know what else I find healing? This little cherub, my sunshine, my life.....and yes she went through an entire box of Kleenex. It's kind of her thing.
I know I don't talk too much about Bee here but that's because I don't want her whole life exposed to the world. I am very protective of her, but she taught me something tonight. If you know me, it's no secret that you know Bee is not a decent sleeper. I'm lucky if I get two 20 minute naps from her a day. At night she goes to bed at 6:00 and sleeps until about 5:30am (use to be 6:30 but now she's an early riser) Even though she sleeps a good 12 hours, she is still up every 2-3 hours and sometimes I'm lucky and get a 4 hour stretch in. The thing is, I tend not to complain about it though. I joke when others tell me their babies sleep well and I tell them to have their kids talk to Bee, but in all honesty, I don't mind getting up at night with her. Tonight just proved to me why I feel that way. She was starting to get fussy and I normally go in and feed her or give her the soother but I was busy and couldn't get right to her. As I walked in over to her crib she was still laying down and she settled herself back to sleep. All I could do was stand there and cry.
This, that very moment is why I don't mind getting up with her because I know one day, and quite possibly soon, she won't need me to settle her back down. Right now I need her as much as she needs me. I need her to need me. Yes Bee not sleeping does make me tired but I love nothing more than our morning and afternoon naps together. Snuggling in bed laying beside my sweet miracle, just taking in her awe, smelling her sweet smell, feeling her sticky peanut butter fingers. I waited so long for moments like these and I know they will be gone in a matter of time, as she showed me tonight. It's a scary thought to know one day she won't need me as much. I know from my mother daughter relationship with my mom that a daughter always needs her mother, but it becomes less as the daughter grows. I fear those days, I cling to my sleepless nights because I need it. Without Bee I don't know who I am. I was in limbo for so long being a grieving mother but now she is here, now she needs me and I need her. She is helping me define who I am and who I want to become. I'll be the cardigan mom, the mom who makes forts, the mom who bakes with her daughter, lays on the hammock and sips lemonade, I'll be the mom who embarrasses her with my quirky dance moves, I'll be the mom who she can always run to, turn to, cry with, hug tight. She may need me less and less as she gets older but I will always need her.
She has truly given me my life back. She is helping me find me. She is helping me find the mom I want to be. So many thoughts and ideas and events to look forward to but for now, I'll take my sleepless nights and hold Bee close, nuzzled and sucking at my breast because she needs it and I do too. I know these mid night snuggles are something to treasure and cherish because they will be gone in the blink of an eye.
I've seen it, you've seen it. Its the forgotten group. Pregnancy and infant loss is a forgotten group. It is excluded from the public eye. It is excluded from media. It is excluded from being given "celebrity" status. I watch enough TV (not much but enough) to know that babies dying is a taboo subject. It is my life's mission to change that and I will as I've already started. But the thing is, the group I belong to is often forgotten.
I won't say which one, but there is a very well known talk show host, known for being funny , on mid afternoon. Now, I'm not pointing her out as every talk show I have seen does not touch this subject, with the exception of The Doctors (thank you). On this talk show and many others, they give away lots of things to well deserving people.
Are we not deserving people? Do we not also go through hell and back? Except, we never get to live a normal life again. We are forever changed. It takes a toll on us financially. Funerals and medical bills are not cheap. We are unable to work due to the mental anguish of having buried a child.
Celebrities pair up and help give baby showers to moms in the military whose husbands are deployed. Where are the baby showers for the hundreds of moms going through another pregnancy scared shitless that their baby may die? Don't we deserve to help them celebrate (given most women probably avoid showers but there are some who would welcome them)
You see commericals, you have people coming to your door, there is a huge push to fundraise for all these other causes but when it comes to pregnancy and infant loss, people avoid it like the plague.
We are like the kids who get picked last to be on a team because no body wants us to be on their team. You always hear about cancer, heart attacks, strokes, tumours, military etc, but why do you never hear about infant loss? Why are we shut out from the world?
Please know that I am by NO means saying these aren't important causes because they truly are as well, all I'm saying is that there is a group just as deserving being left out. By all means, I support all these other causes but don't we deserve to be supported too?
I already feel so alone and secluded and when the media, celebrities and other well known people choose to ignore our "group" it hurts. Not going to lie, it hurts.
Another thing that hurts? Writing! I'm working on our book and right now I am typing all my journal entries from after Ty died. There are some heavy days to get through. But, it also allows me to see how far I have come, even more, how far Stephen and I have come as a couple. I've had a few good laughs too, one of my journal entries was me being worried about Stephens heart because he ate a lot of candy and hamburgers. He still does that lol. But, there also the parts of me feeling like a failure, of me feeling like Stephen didn't love me and the toll it took on our relationship. I can't write everything in the book, it is far to deep and personal but I am trying to write most things down.
I'm also trying to get to bed at a decent time since little miss has made 5am her new wake up time. Can't say I mind though because morning naps for both of us are pretty nice. By the way, if anyone reading this who lives in London (Ontario) has a glider chair they no longer need, please let me know. We are in desperate need of a new one and can't afford to buy one. Speaking of not being able to afford to buy one, It's been 4 months now since I applied for benefits. They told me I'd know within a month....talk about stressed to the max! I loathe insurance companies, I really really do. I guess my case manager, whom I'm still trying to get switched, messed up how things were done and has prolonged this even more. See, like I always say, it's one thing after another. It never ends for us! I'm really hoping that the book will do well, though it won't be out until Fall at the earliest! Until another day.....
Oh and if you need a dose of cuteness, here you go! She truly is the light in my life. I decided we needed matching grey infinity scarves, little kids in infinity scarves are almost too cute to handle. I just love the innocence I captured in this picture.
One clear indication that I need to get into a counseling program soon, the flashbacks are happening more often. They have been everywhere lately. the other day I was standing in line at Old Navy waiting to return a dress for Bee. The lady infront of me was clearly pregnant and if that wasn't a clue, she was buying maternity clothes. She looked so happy and innocent. She looked so excited to be buying clothes to cover her ever growing baby bump and it brought me back to when I was buying maternity clothes while pregnant with Ty.
I was once a happy, innocent, excited pregnant lady too. I once loved having to buy maternity clothes for my growing baby bump. I once giddily took clothes off the maternity rack and gave them a thorough look over, wondering how they would show my baby bump off to the world. But as I stood there in line, remembering the innocence, the tears began to sting my eyes. I was no longer that lady. I was far from that lady. I was jealous and enraged that my innocence had been ripped from my heart. I started to get teary eyed as I stood in line. I had to stop thinking about it, I just had to.
My mind would not let me. It took me to buying maternity clothes while pregnant with Jacob. I remember how I had to put on the most fake smile and act I could because to tell the cashier, or have the pregnant woman behind you hear that the baby you are carrying will die, it's not something I felt comfortable doing. I wanted those other pregnant women to hold onto their innocence. I remember buying maternity clothes to try and hide my belly so no one would ask. I looked at clothes wondering how horrible they would make me look. I had lost all self confidence and still struggle with that to this day. Buying clothes only to hide the inevitable.
Then, I thought about maternity clothes while pregnant with Bee. Having gone through two full term pregnancies, I popped and showed quite early with Bee. Again, I wanted to hide my belly for as long as possible but I got fat. I got large all over. I could not bring myself to buy more maternity clothes though. I couldn't venture back into one of those stores. Thankfully, I was able to borrow and that solved that problem.
There was also the other night. Stephen let Milo come sleep with us, which we have stopped doing because he keeps us up a lot and I'm already up a lot with Bee. But, for that night we let Milo in and Milo assumed his old position, right in between us. As he lay there between us it brought me back to being pregnant with Ty. Milo use to sleep between us all the time and when I was pregnant with Ty, he would snuggle up next to my belly.
And the Olympics, oh the Olympics. Last time the winter Olympics were on, we found out we were pregnant with Ty. It's hard to watch them, remembering how last time we were so innocent. It stings.
While taking Bee to the doctors today, I walked past a place I had gotten an ultrasound done while pregnant with Jacob. It had only been a few weeks since we had learned about Jacobs diagnosis and I was in to get my kidneys scanned. The tech decided to scan the baby and proceeded to ask me if I had been in for my 18 week ultrasound yet and I said yes. She then proceeded to ask of they said anything and I broke down in tears telling her what we knew. Walking by that office today brought back the tears.
The reminders are just EVERYWHERE right now. I know it doesn't help I haven't bee to counseling or acupuncture, but we cant afford it right now. I know it doesn't help that the weather has been horrible and I have a severe case of cabin fever. I know it doesn't help that Bee has been out of sorts and there have been some long days and nights. It just all adds up. I am thankful I realized I have a gluten intolerance because since cutting gluten out of my diet, I have felt a ton better! Not only emotionally but physically. I'm not as foggy brained or tired. Its a start....
I seem to have a case of writers block. I don't know what is causing it but it is most cettainly there. It' not that I don't have things to write about, it's just when I start writing about something, things change. For example, this is the last blog post I was writing:
Things have been happening around here lately. I don't know what or why or how but they are a changing!
I have been busy working away on Baby's Nest. It's my other blog which offers reviews and giveaways (free products) and has a list of resources for Eco-friendly products for babies, toddlers and children. Check it out and like us on Facebook! http://www.babysnest.ca/
For those who don't know I live in the artic tundra. Well, it sure feels like the artic tundra with this "polar vortex" we've had for the last three months straight. The cold has been more bitter than ever before. The amount of snow has exceeded records (aka there's been a shit ton of snow). The wind has been howling more than a wolf at a full moon and the ice, oh the ice that has made me slip numerous times. It's been BRUTAL this winter! Yes I live in Canada where it snows and is cold, but this winter has been something else. Due to the polar vortex that will not leave, Bee and I have been pretty cabin bound. Also, the flu is running rampant so we are trying to cut down our exposure and only go out for necessities. I have been unable to go for walks. I have been unable to continues to lose weight. I was doing so well last year. I had lost all Bee and Jacobs pregnancy weight and was about to work on Ty's when BAM, mother nature let loose and hasn't stopped since. I was stuck with no where to go. My husband
I also feel I am starting to realize I am capable of doing more than I thought I could. I'm beginning to push myself, albeit very slowly, but I am working on things. My ultimate goal is to be able to leave Bee with someone I trust other than my mom or Stephen. It may take a year of two but I will get there through all my hard work and efforts. One big step I am taking is singing us up for a mom and child program. It may not sound like a big step, but it is. I have avoided being around other non bereaved mothers as of yet. But, I know for Bee's sake, she needs to be around other kids and in different settings. It broke my heart when we were out the other day at a store and she was playing with another little girl. I know she needs it so I will push myself to do my best.
But in a matter of days, I was knocked back down. It always seems when I start to get somewhere in life, bam, I'm knocked back down. Time and time again, Things were going well but got hard very quickly. It was one thing after another and has been ever since. There has been some personal family issues that have been tough to deal with. Then I found out the place I go for acupuncture, the only place I afford and acupuncture really helps my PTSD, it's closing. So now I will be left without the treatment I need.
Then there is my 30th birthday, which will get a post all of it's own. We are also still waiting to hear about my LTD decision, a decision I was told I would know by December 1st but now it could take a few more months, which financially has taken a toll on us. In the meantime, I am looking for things I can do from home and working on the book.
Then there are the "moments" that have been catching me off guard. For example, the other night at dinner I was cleaning up Bee's mess. It was all over the floor, which I don't mind, she is learning to self feed so I know it'll be messy. But we were having a conversation and I was asking her who made such a mess and she was blaming the cat and BAM, just like that, it hit me. She shouldbe be balmimg the cat, she should be blaming one of her older brothers.
Or, I was taking a bubble bath and as I looked down at my stomach, I closed my eyes. In that moment I was taken back to right after Ty died. I remember taking a bath after Ty died. My womb was empty, it's hard to describe how empty a womb can feel but it was such a painful feeling. I started to cry. I will never forget how empty, not only physically but emotionally, I felt after Ty died. Being in the bath and seeing my stomach reminded me of that.
I also came across the journal I started writing after Ty died. Now, it does have some gold in it to add to the book but reading what I wrote is tearing me up inside. I can pinpoint those feelings, I remember exactly how I felt and it's bringing up so much for me. It may be good to bring it all up and deal with it but it's a lot. It's tough to read some of my words, in a sense I still feel the same way that I did back then.
Add on the not feeling well. A few weeks back I did a carb cleanse. I was doubtful but it went amazing. I lost a bit of weight but the energy I had, oh the energy! I imagine its the kind 5 year olds are filled with. I stopped after a week and went back to eating carbs. I got sick and have not been feeling well ever since. I have been increasingly dizzy, lethargic, nauseous etc, almost like I have the fly but I don't. I decided to go back on the carb cleanse a few days ago and lasted two days but this time, I have not introduced any gluten back into my diet. I have also started taking iron (I am known to be anemic and I haven't taken my iron supplements lately, high dizziness!) but I'm also wondering if my lovely thyroid is out of whack again. Whatever it is, no gluten, more iron etc seem to be helping me feel a bit better. I have been able to get a lot done around the house.
I started a few DIY projects, finished a few and others are just waiting to be finished. It's very hard to find organic materials, especially pillow stuffing! But, I also decided that since we will be where we are a few more years (unless we win the lottery which requires buying tickets which we don't so a few more years it is) we have to make this house work for us. I am purging a lot of what we have that we really don't need. It's not a lot but it gives us the space we need. We will need to invest in a good set of dresser drawers or another wardrobe and a few other things (BBQ, outdoor furniture set, glider w/ottoman ((you all remember my love for the one we have, well it's falling apart anyways)) nightstands so I can make Bee a mini kitchen and tool bench ((I don't gender stereotype, my girl gets a kitchen and a tool bench)) and so many other things. I hope with the change in diet, prayers that the weather stops being so shitty, supplements and everything else I can find the energy to tackle this year. I need to get organized, I NEED to find work from home ((still looking for suggestions if you have any, may start selling a few sewing things on here perhaps??)) get myself in healthy condition, get this house in tip top shape and live. So many trips coming up this summer to look forward to and I need to stop letting the fear ruin my excitement. I don't want to like in anxiety anymore. I don't want to cry and get sick to my stomach when I think about things others enjoy. I don't want to burden my family anymore with not doing things because I am scared. I want to live, I need to live and it starts by finding work I can do from home! I mean, after all, can't live if we can't pay the bills.
Bet you all know how excited I am about looking for work I can do from home right now, you all remember how much I enjoyed looking for a new job last time?
Today I turn 30. When you look at it, it's just a number but it's a number I have been dreading. It's time for a new chapter in life and as I leave the 20's behind I can't help but think of where I was 10 years ago, or even 5 years ago. I had just moved back to Ontario by myself. I was ready to start my life. I had a list of goals set and looking over those goals today made me realize, my life is vastly different from what I had planned. Most of the things on my list cannot be crossed off. The things I had intended to do before I was 30 kind of took a back seat. Give, two of the big goals, getting married and starting a family, have been completed, it still left a lot to be desired. I don't own my own house and we're not close to that either. I don't have a strong career, I mean I don't even have a career at this point. I never thought I'd want to be a stay at home mom but it's what's important to me now but where does that leave me as far as a career? I don't know. I need to find a way to bring in an income but more importantly, I need to do it while still being a mom first and foremost and a wife to of course.
I'm saddened by the fact that so many things went unaccomplished. It just shows how much my life has changed. It's not that I can't work on them (buying a house, finding a career, getting healthy, which I am in the process of doing) it's just, these were all suppose to happen by now and they haven't.
At the same time, my husband who is awesome, reminded me, when I pointed out that my life may be 1/3 over, The first 1/3 wasn't anything special. As he said, I learned to poop on the potty, feed myself, make my way through school, had a few relationships, got settled and started a family. He says the real fun starts now. I guess I can see his point, I see his optimism but it still is a tough cookie to chew. I find it hard to set goals these days because of setting so many and not getting close. As I stared at the list I felt a hole in my heart. I know it will never be filled, even if I do accomplish all the goals on my list in the next few years.
When I see the list, I see the old me, the old life I wanted. There wasn't pain, there wasn't agony, there wasn't tragedy. There weren't two children buried, there wasn't PTSD, it was simple, it was clean.
As I jump into the 30's (not literally, I woke up barfing oh the joy) I think about what I want to do and what I want to accomplish before I am 40 because when I turn 40, I don't want to feel any regret. I don't want to miss out or not achieve goals. So when I sit down to write my goals, this time, no matter hell or high water, they will be accomplished. I don't plan on taking it easy either. I am going to set some pretty big tasks ahead and hopefully, I can get them all accomplished well before I turn 40.
Goodbye 20's, you have served me well. You saw me enter and exit University as a certified teacher. You saw me end a 10 year relationship with my boyfriend. You saw mw venture out on my own and move back to Ontario. You saw me give a shot at online dating. You saw me meet the man of my dreams and marry him. You saw me become a mother, not once, not twice but three times. You took away my innocence, you ripped my of my simple life. You instilled heartache and tragedy amongst my heart. You built me to be a stronger, more resilient, more determined person. You brought me to faith, only to rip it away but you did one thing right. You ended on the perfect note. My amazingly smart, beautiful miracle little girl whom I adore with all my heart and being.
Hello 30's. Get ready for another bumpy ride as we make our way into purchasing our own home, expanding out family, taking many vacations and trips. As we grow as a couple and as parents. As I get healthy and make changes in our lives to make us all healthy. As I work on finding a career path I enjoy. As I work on keeping up my blogs. As I work on writing my first book. As I work on enjoying the now an trying very hard to not let fear dictate my life. As I work on fighting my PTSD to not let it dictate my life. I want to dictate my life, I don't want to live in fear. I don't want to always be anxious. I want to feel freedom and I know it's a long road ahead of a lot of work but it has to be done. I want my 30's to be the best days of my life.
I just wish I could have rung it in on not such a sick note.
I've always been a fan of The Biggest Loser. It's the only reality show I watch because I feel it isn't all about drama (though the last few seasons have had a lot of drama, this season did not). The last episode was the makeover episode. I found myself quite emotional. Here were all these people who had struggles in their lives and to see them change and become self confident was hard. They talked about losing themselves and how they started to see their old selves now that they had lost so much weight. They talked about feeling self confident and happy and felt a great sense of self worth. They talked about their second chance and how much it meant to them. They said they looked in the mirror and liked what they saw. They started to see who they use to be. It was all too much for me to handle. I'm happy for them but I'm also envious. As a baby loss parent no matter what I do in my life, I will never feel the same way. Some may say my second chance came when Phoebe was born and perhaps I see it that way too. But, there is a difference. My second chance doesn't come with self confidence. It doesn't come with the feeling of self worth or such happiness. It doesn't come with the ability to look in the mirror and like what you see. I still avoid the mirror as much as I can because even though I do feel I am in a better place, I still see how much I have aged. I still see the hurt, the pain, the heartache, the sorrow. I still see a woman struggling to become something, anything besides a mother in grief.
My second chance doesn't bring back the innocence , it doesn't bring back the old me. I continue to have to define the new me as the old me will never come back. I have seen the unthinkable, twice. I have been through the unthinkable, twice. I have buried a child, twice. I have gone to places that were dark and some days I still go there. Even though I feel Bee has given me a second chance at life, I'm envious that I still struggle wit self confidence, self worth, pure joy and happiness. I'm envious that I look so aged, I'm envious that when I look in the mirror I can't smile (I hate my smile and hope I can fix it this year, finances provided) I can't look at myself and feel much. I only see when I look into my daughters eyes. Through her I see the me that I currently am. I see the me that I want to become and maybe one day, down the road quite a bit, I will look in the mirror and like what I see. But as a baby loss parent, I will never get back the old me.
It is tough sometimes to see people who go through events in their lives and come out stronger and better than before. In a sense I do feel that way, but those people don't also have to carry the heavy burden of grief. They shed it with the weight lost. I will never shed my grief. I may have a second chance, but I have forever lost my innocence and it overwhelmed me quite a bit to see people so happy and having their lives back. I feel as a baby loss parent, that time will never come for me.
I know this blog has been a long time coming and you are all hanging on by the seat of your pants to hear about it but I don't even know where to begin! For anyone who missed my previous posts, I had posted an "I Am Strong" story on Birth Without Fear's Facebook page, let's just say a lot of people read it. It kind of went viral. Over 725,000 people read it and over 60,000 people commented. Plus, you know, 250,000 people also thought it was worth sharing. I mean how cool is that? Ty and Jacob ROCK! So any who, a few days after it went viral I received an e-mail from a producer at The Doctors TV show (it's a talk show based out of the US). They liked our story so much that they wanted to fly us out to California to appear on the show.
For anyone who missed my previous posts, I don't fly. I don't travel, I don't do well when my schedule is churned about. My PTSD has run my life for a few years now and I was quite comfortable with that. However, I am passionate about infant loss, I want to spread the word and my husband so there was no way we could turn down the trip. All the plans were made and finalized and on October 2nd our California trip began.
Let's start with the air plane. Well first, we barely made our flight. We were delayed in traffic for about 45 minutes which still would have given us 1.15 to get to our plane but US customs had quite the line. We were hustle and bustle and as we were running down to our terminal (I think thats what there called) we heard our names over the speakers, last call for Nelles. Our running was not dramatic like it is in the movies, it was more of a moving quickly. My adrenaline was so out of whack with so many things going on I didn't have time to process anything. Let's just say my stomach did not have the same problem, it was processing very well. We made it to our terminal and checked in in the nick of time, literally. They told us we were the last people to board and takeoff was in 10 minutes, talk about almost missing our flight! But I kind of like that we were so close because I was in such a hurry I didn't have time to process anything. We got Bee set in her car seat in her plane seat and we buckled in and it was time to take off. I mean it was that quick. I nearly fainted on takeoff, I'm sure I tuned all sorts of not so good colours and almost broke Stephens hand.
We made it safely into the air (spoiler alert, we made it safely on all our plane trips) and the 5 hour flight began. Bee was really good on the way there. There weren't a lot of people on board and we had all three seats for us. I watched the Great Gatsby to pass some time and nursed Bee quite a bit. We snacked, she slept, I took a lot of pictures and looked out the window as much as I could. Our world truly is breathtaking. I may have been terrified of the plane but my eyes were seeing something so pure, something so amazing. I could not stop looking at the amazement as we flew over state after state.
I'm just going to say this too, I HATE turbulence! It would be so much better flying without it. Our landing was a bit rough, we hit quite a few pockets of air, dropped significant feet quickly (to the point of almost tossing my cookies, think roller-coaster drop) and I forgot how nerve wracking hitting the pavement and stopping at high speeds can be. But we landed, safely.
Our driver was not there so we had to wait a little bit. Once we were picked up we headed off to our pre-interview shoot. We got there at one and was told we would be done by three. Well, six oclock rolled around and we had just finished wrapping up. The only part of the trip I did not like was Wednesday afternoon. We waited for lunch to be picked up, ate lunch and then had to get bee settled in another room where she would be quiet. Well if you know my Bee you know her and quiet do not go in the same sentence together so began the 6 hours of brutal taping. She was beside herself unless she could see us but then she was talking and they couldn't have her on tape so we had to keep trying different things. But ultimately, she was exhausted, I don't blame her I was too. It was her bedtime and we hadn't even begun taping really. It was not going well and I just wanted to say, thats it we are done she needs to get to the hotel and go to bed but I couldnt. We had to finish the interview while my poor girl screamed mama and dada and fighted sleep. We were able to get our interview done but it took a long time and many tears (from all of us). We waited for our driver to get us and we were off to the hotel.
Now when we were making plans, we chose the Hilton over The Roosevelt because we wanted to be in a more family friendly area then party central. I thought we were going to the Hilton Garden Inn which was an okay hotel but when we pulled up, we were at the Hilton Universal. Man it was AMAZING! Beautiful. We checked in and headed up to our room. May I add it was the 18th floor...I do not like heights. I refused to go near the window until the second day where I over came my fear and leaned against the window. Our view was truly amazing. It was breathtaking to wake up to each day. We ordered room service, out Bee to bed and headed to bed shortly after our dinner came. I miss room service. I miss being able to pick up the phone, order food and have it be there and the food at the hotel was incredibly delicious!
We woke up Thursday, ordered breakfast and got ready while we waited for it to come. We decided to rent a car that day and head out to Santa Monica. The drive was amazing, the sites were breathtaking and we made it with just a regular old map and my brains! We arrived at the Santa Monica pier and spent a few hours there. We made sure to put our feet in the ocean, as cold as it was just to say we have. We ate the best veggie burger I have had at pierburgers (fast food place on the pier) walked up and down the pier, walked a bit around Santa Monica and just stood on the beach in awe of where we were.
I became quite overwhelmed with emotion as we stood on the beach. I closed my eyes and just let the breeze run through my hair and the sun shine on my skin. I could not believe we were here. Standing in Santa Monica California. I couldnt believe it, I was amazed at what Ty and Jacob were doing and where it is leading us too. I most certainly had some tears and on we went. We didn't have to return the car until 6 so we drove back down Sunset Blvd and Santa Monica Blvd (route 66) and took some detours up the very winding Hollywood hills roads. We decided to head to the Griffith Observatory. Again, long winding drive up and the views were astonishing. We just had to stand and take it all in.
Around 5 we took the car back and they dropped us back off at the hotel. We ordered room service, put Bee to bed and both fell asleep quite quickly again.
Friday we woke up, ordered breakfast, got ready and waited to be picked up to head to the show. I woke up with a horrible headache, this one was relentless. I was ubber ill and not with it. Our driver came and off we went. We arrived through the back entrance of Paramount so no fancy gates for us. We were escorted to our dressing room, which was just a pretty plain dressing room. They do have nice ones but those are for the people with names and money! Lots of people came in, I was sent for hair and makeup as was Stephen. We got dressed, I nursed Bee while she got a nap in before the taping and at around 9:30 we headed down for our segment.
I lied, there was only other part I did not like nor did I feel comfortable with at all. They were to bring us out first and leave Bee backstage with a welfare worker until we came to get her. They thankfully let us mic up backstage but then we had to leave. My nerves were shot, not about the show I was not nervous about that at all but about leaving Bee. All I could think about was her, what if they tried to kidnap her, what if she got so upset she choked but I just kept going. It all happened so very quickly. They brought us out before the cameras were rolling, we said Hi to everyone and yes Travis is just as handsome in real life as he is on TV and yes he really is that tall. They had us sit , aired a clip from our taking then asked us a few questions, brought Bee out and we were done. It went by so quickly. We went backupstairs, got dressed and were off. I still had a ragging headache so we went back to the hotel and I laid down for a bit. Once I felt a bit better (thanks to my husband) I took off all the makeup ( I don't like makeup and I don't like how heavy it feels on my face) and decided to head to Universal City Walk. It's just a little area of shops and restaurants by Universal Studios. We considered going into Universal Studios but not for the price. We walked around, picked up a few souvenirs for Bee, some candy and ate lunch at a Brazilian all you can eat meat buffet. It was yet again, delicious. All the food we ate was so yummy. We walked around a bit more then headed back the hotel. We put Bee to bed, watched some shows, ordered dinner and headed to bed.
We didn't have any set plans for Saturday but woke up and decided to rent a car again and head down to Long Beach to go to the aquarium. It was a nice drive, not very busy and we were there in no time. We parked and headed into the aquarium. It was a lot of fun, we got to pet sharks and sting ray and see all sorts of fish. They also had penguins and seals a ton of jellyfish, which you could touch but I opted not too. I'm glad we were there early because it got busy quite quickly. We left and headed out for lunch at PF Changs. Stephen has always wanted to go to one so we went. The food was yes again, delicious. We still had a bit of time left so we got ice cream and headed out to the lighthouse. We sat on the hill for a little while just taking everything in. We knew our time was closing in but neither of us wanted to leave. We packed everything up, drove back to the hotel, ordered dinner and put Bee to bed as we laid down to sleep the last night in California.
We woke up, got ready, waited for our driver and we were off to the airport. I was in tears as I really did not want to leave. It was so beautiful out there and having no responsibilities was a nice break. Room service, drivers, all inclusive, it was nice for the short time we had it.
We arrived at the air port with plenty of time. We checked in, grabbed some snacks and had to wait to board the plane this time (and we were in the last group) Our plane took off over the ocean, which at first had me concerned we were on the wrong plane going over seas but thats just the way the planes exit at LAX. We were headed home.
Reality didn't take long to slap us back in the face, 2 hours into our flight Stephen cracked his tooth in half, an unexpected cost and quite a bit of pain for both of us.
It really was an experience of a lifetime and I am so thankful we had this opportunity. Though I do not feel we did much justice for infant loss, we did shatter the silence. I also pushed so many boundaries I have been hiding from. I still hate flying but I know now that I can do it. But we are back home and things are back to the way they were. We are still struggling and continue to. It was a nice break while we had it but reality was even happier to see us come back.
I really hope we can head back out there one day, it was such a beautiful place and we had such an amazing time.
My anxiety has been pretty intense the last three months. It has been in overload gear. So many thoughts running through my mind, so many terrifying thoughts. I've been struggling to keep them at bay but tonight I broke.
I broke to the point I don't know how to fix it. I can't pinpoint exactly what is wrong or why I feel this way (one of my reoccurring problems) perhaps it's because I feel completely unsupported in the way I am choosing to raise MY daughter. Perhaps it's the judgement from others in regards to the way I am doing things for MY daughter. My ideas, values and morals I want MY daughter to have are criticized because people don't raise THEIR children that way. No matter what way I choose to raise MY daughter, it's in her best interest. It's in her very best interest. Just because other parents don't raise THEIR children like I raise Bee does not mean their way is wrong and my way is right. It just simply means, it's different. We all do what is best for our children and sometimes that may be different. I just get so tired of the judgement and backlash when I decide to post an opinion on a subject related to raising Bee. I feel I am scrutinized and unsupported in how I want Bee to grow up. Just because people don't raise their kids that way, or because they don't understand, it doesn't give them the right to harass me about my decision. Let me raise Bee how I want to. I have her very best interest in mind constantly and make my decisions based off of my daughter and her needs and what I believe.
Perhaps its because I am tired of not getting the treatment I need due to politics or finances. I want to get better, that always has been my goal for the last 3 years. It's hard when you get passed around to different people and never get anywhere. You start out, get comfortable then you have to change and start all over. I'm really hoping the EMDR programs I am trying to get into will go well. I'm hoping it will finally be what I need. I have no idea how long it will take to get in and I am unable to bring Bee so I have to work on finding childcare for her which is a HUGE stressor. But, I have to do it.
Perhaps it's because I am tired of being tired. Bee still gets up every two hours at night. I have tried a bunch of different solutions but I just think she's not a good sleeper. I refuse to do CIO as I do not want her under that kind of emotional stress. It's just not for our family. She gets very upset during the day if I am away from her and not attending to her and she doesn't stop crying (just ask my parents who watched her for an hour and she cried the entire time) so I don't want this option to happen at night and be up all night with an emotionally distressed child. I'm not saying that happens to every child, it just does for Bee. I am trying new things all the time and we'll see how things go. But, at this point, I'm just accepting the fact that she is not a decent sleeper and that's fine by me, as long as I can get some sleep somehow.
Perhaps it's the constant reminders of the boys being dead. I don't know why it is hitting me so hard lately but there have been a lot of tears. I have felt so sad, so angry, so irritable, so hopeless. I cant listen to music without crying, I can't see brothers and sisters without crying, I don't want to leave the house due to my fears of catching the bugs going around nor do I really care to go out because I am a homebody and would prefer to stay in the comfort of my own home. I know it's not ideal and Bee needs to get out and explore the world, which is why I am taking a HUGE step an signing us up for a mom and child class. I see the way she interacts with other kids and she needs it. I can't let me inhibitions limit her life experiences. I think it's also a good step forward for us. I'm not ready to leave her but at least we are getting out of the house together and exploring the world.
Perhaps it's because this year we have a ton of traveling to do and I'm already exhausted thinking about it. We have our trip to Mexico (which I REALLY do not want to go on, so many fears, worries, stress, anxiety, vaccines, no vaccines, tummy bugs, safety, you name it, I've thought it) Stephens cousin is getting married, my cousin is getting married, my dad turns 60, friends want us to visit their cottage.....and all I care to do is sleep! It makes me dizzy and nauseous thinking about all of our travel. Oh and finding good travel bags is posing to be hard. Well, I should say, travel bags we can afford that fit what we need. When we flew out to LA, going through the airport lugging everything around was a bit cumbersome. I learned my lesson, I saw how others did it and now we need to invest in new equipment; so if anyone knows where to get a steal of a deal on luggage, let me know! We're looking for an upright with 4 wheels that we can push, not pull. Two large bags and two carry-ons.
Perhaps it's because I have so much to do for Baby's Nest that it is getting a bit overwhelming. I have a list of 200 companies I want to contact about going reviews and giveaway but I cant contact them all at once, I have to do them in batches and I have to formulate a really great email so companies will take me up on my offer.
Perhaps it's because we have a book that needs to be written so publishers can see a rough draft late spring early fall. I have no motivation to write most days. But, when I do find the motivation I can usually get 4 pages out in a day.
Perhaps it's because we have a lot to do around the house. Our Kijiji ad pile is adding up. It's taken over Bee's room and I have yet to get more pictures and post it online. Plus, I dislike Kijiji but it's worth a try to sell things on there first to get a bit more money. We also have all our decorations that need to go back up in the attic, which requires Stephen borrowing the ladder from work which is harder than it sounds. I need to get up in the attic one day too, go through everything and get rid of a lot of stuff.
Perhaps it's because some days I feel I don't belong to any group. I've never really cared to belong to a group but lately I've felt isolated. Sometimes I feel I don't even fit in with our bereaved group. Having gone through not one but two losses has completely destroyed me and for years I have been trying to build my self back up but have yet to succeed. I have a lot to work on this year, mainly for me. I need to become me. I need to know what I like and what I want and go for it. I need to get healthy and find ways to get more energy. I need motivation to get things done. I need to rediscover who I am and build upon that. I need to look at the woman in the mirror and for once, just for once, see life and not death. I have yet to see it, I hate mirrors. All I see is a sad, old woman who has little life left. I don't want to live like that anymore.
Perhaps its because, as much as I love our apartment, it's not our home. I want our forever home. I want to know that my hydro wont be turned off because my landlord forgot to pay the bill (3 months in a row). I want to be able to call a chimney specialist and have him come close the chimney completely so we're not all freezing in the living room. I want to be able to paint a mural on Bee's wall for her to grow up seeing. I want a place I can garden so I know where my veggies are coming from.
Perhaps its because I am terrified to raise a girl. How can I raise a strong, confident, independent young lady when I have such self hate. How can I show my daughter she is beautiful when I stand on the scale every day and say I am fat. I can't let my daughter see me like this. She deserves to only know beauty and love.
It has just all been so overwhelming and continues to be. I know we need to work on things, but it's hard right now. The biggest things is not having someone I trust to watch Bee. It limits a lot of what I can do and I don't have an out because I have yet to let go of the past and can't because I'm not getting the help I need. I've lost all faith, I don't care to attend church anymore because I don't feel it fits in my life at this point. I have lost hope, things continue to be a struggle for us and I just want a break.
I am just so incredibly humbled and thankful that Bee is in my life. That girl can make me smile even on the worst days. her curiosity, kindness, caring, kisses, hugs, eye pokes, farts in the face, spaghetti down your shirt etc are the happy moments of my life. She keeps me going and she gives me motivation to work on all the other shit.
On that note, it is bedtime. Here's to hoping we don't have a repeat of last night (up from 11-2 crying inconsolably)....
As I sit here and write this, it was one year ago today at this exact time that I began pushing. We were within minutes of meeting our miracle baby but I was still afraid she would die. Obviously we know she didn't, but I can't help taking a minute to reflect on where we were.
As we prepared for Bee's 1st birthday I was a bit nervous. A lot of other baby loss mamas mentioned how hard their rainbows first birthdays were. I could totally understand why that may be the case, I mean it's another first our angels didn't get. Its another milestone we never experienced before and we all know how hard those can be.
If I've learned anything it's that the first year of an infants life is hard as is. Parenting is exhausting, it's emotional, its frustrating. It has its trials and tribulations, but on top of all of that, I grieved. I grieved immensely everytime we hit another milestone. Every time a holiday passed and we finally celebrated. I thought when we prepare to celebrate for her birthday, it would be the same. But truth be told, it wasn't. I felt the need to really celebrate the fact that Bee was a whole year old. We survived the first year. Yes, we didn't get a first birthday with Ty or Jacob and yes, every other first we had with Bee we didn't get with the boys was very emotional. But her birthday was different. Perhaps it's because the firsts are officially over. Given, I know there will be more "firsts" but holidays and other big things have passed. Perhaps now it will be easier, perhaps this year my grief will lighten a bit.
I truly did not feel sad today. I felt nothing but happiness and love. I spent the day with my little girl, like I do every day, but today was her day! We got out of the house (we've had some horrible cabin fever) did some shopping (bought her some new nursing bras) and I took her to lunch. She got to pick, she chose East Side Marios since she loves pasta and sitting there with her, I couldn't help but smile. This first, this birthday of hers is truly reason to celebrate and I don't in the slightest sense feel saddened that the boys aren't here or that we missed this with them.
It surprised me a bit to have this reaction, knowing how tough things have been recently I thought surely I'd be a mess. But I wasn't. Even though everyone was trying to destroy my day and crappy things kept happening, my little girl kept me going. I hope she enjoyed her day, I'm sure those teeth coming in and the chili from last night didn't help (she had 6 poops today, sorry bit I had to tell them) so she was a bit off, but the thing about Bee is that she is incredibly resilient. Watching her shows me the innocence I lost. I'm obsessed with my daughter, she is the perfect, tiny little human being. She is so kind, loving, friendly, sociable, beautiful and my god is she ever smart.
So here is to our last year. We made it. We survived and perhaps this year won't be as emotional. Today I celebrated, today I not only celebrated my dearest Bee but I celebrated that fact that for the first time in maybe ever, I didn't feel sad for the boys. Today wasn't about them, it was about Bee and I'm thankful I was able to handle that pretty well. Maybe I'll even say it's a step forward..........
Stephen and I were talking on New Years about our goals for 2014. We don't really set "resolutions" because as most know, those never stick. Instead, we plan out goals for that year. Truthfully, we haven't really made plans the last three years but this year, for 2014 we decided our goals would be about us. Not only as a couple but as individuals as well. 2010 was all about Ty. We found out shortly into 2010 that we were going to be parents so our goals focused around Ty and our pregnancy. But then Ty died and we were left lost and struggling.
2011 came, again, we found out shortly into 2011 that we were yet again pregnant so that year became all about Jacob. When we found out about Jacob's diagnosis, everything seemed irrelevant and all we cared about was doing whatever we could for him. But then Jacob died and I hit rock bottom with no clear way out.
2012 came and we decided to try and get back on our feet. Having had the boys die only 11 months apart, it was a lot for us and we knew we needed some time to get our heads straight and our feet back on the ground. All we planned on was surviving. Our goal was to survive life. Mid way through the year, we found out we were expecting again and everything became about that pregnancy. Nothing else mattered, nothing else was important. For the third time, we put everything else on hold. 2012 became about Bee.
2013 then showed up and we were blessed with our miracle. Of course 2013 was all about Bee. It was about us becoming a family, us learning how to parent, us dealing with the trials and tribulations of parenthood and grief combined in one. Nothing mattered but Bee so again, anything else was put on the back burner.
That brings us to 2014. Bee is here, alive and doing well. We are finally starting to get some clear head space, so what do we want? We want time for us as a couple. We've never really had us time. We've never really established an us because we were pregnant 7 months after meeting. Then Ty and Jacob died and we dealt with that. Now Bee is here and we had to figure all of that our. So we want to become an us. We want to do things for us. Not only as a couple though because the last few years have changed us as people and we need to figure out who we are and what we believe in. We need to figure out where we want to go in life and how to help support each other as individuals. We need to establish an identity and we have to figure out what we may want that to be. We decided on our birthdays this year we'd treat ourselves. We would get a few things we want, pick where we want to eat, pick what dessert we want, it will be about us. My birthday is coming up and I already have plans for me.
A lot of people may think it sounds selfish for us to be thinking about us but we never have and I think it's just as important in a family relationship to have an identity. You have to take care of you to add your part to the family. You have to know who you are and what you believe in to help build your family identity but after all we have been through, we are lost. So this year it is about us. We will define ourselves as individuals and as a couple. We have a lot of work a head of us but it's time we start working on it. So here is to getting to know who we are, inside and out.
As I sit here and think back on 2013, I am happy that I finally get to write a year review filled with such wonderful things. I think most of you can guess what the biggest addition and best thing to ever happen to us was......BEE!!!! Surprised? No, I know you aren't. Hands down, that little girl has been the, I can't even really find the words to describe how amazing she is. She has truly given us our life back. We still have cloudy days but so many days are now filled with sun. She has changed us, she has helped us grow, she has given me a kind of love I never knew was imaginable. She just rocks.
Secondly, I set out to do something big for the boys Birthdays this year. I planned on raising money to donate to World Vision between September 5th and October 15th (their birthdays) We were blessed to be able to donate 2 goats, 1 sheep, 2 hens and a rooster, 2 piglets and 10 fruit trees.
However, as big as that was, Ty and Jacob had something else up their sleeve. As I sit and write this, I am still dealing with viral post #2. It wasn't as big as the first one, but it was still pretty big. When I posted my story on Birth Without Fear, I did it really for me. I never in a million years imagine it would have went viral. As of today, my post has over 850,000 likes, 250,000 shares and 76,000 comments. Our video has over 250,000 views and I have thousands of messages (of which I am still trying to read through) .
Thanks to our story going viral, we got to experience the trip of a lifetime. We were contacted by the producers at The Doctors TV Show who wanted to fly us out to California to appear on the show. The trip was simply amazing. As scared, terrified and horrified at the thought of flying was, I am glad I forced myself to get on that plane because we needed it. We needed to be away with no responsibilities for a few days. California was beautiful, it was overwhelmingly refreshing. Bee adjusted to the time change well, as did we. She pretty much rocked the entire vacation just hanging in her Mei Tai. We indulged in some delicious food, saw some amazing sights and had a great time filming our episode of The Doctors and meeting everyone there. It was also very neat to see our episode air on the TV. Still feels like it didn't happen but the memories and pictures are there. We'd like to go back.
Thanks to the Doctors TV show, we also received a 5 night 6 day stay in Riviera Maya at a 5 diamond resort. We plan on taking our trip either in the spring or fall.
After working hard for a year and a half, Stephen also received a much deserved promotion. He went from being an assistant to a property manager. He loves his job and does so well at it. I am very proud of him and all his hard work to provide for this family.
Then there was the onslaught of beautiful Rainbow babies being born starting with Bee and ending with Miss C. In total there were 7 rainbow babies born this year from our most recent bereaved families group. All arrived healthy and are doing well. We were blessed to become godparents to little mister A.
We officially celebrated a year in our new apartment. It was truly a much needed move and we are so happy in our new home. Not only does it feel like a home but it has a washer and dryer, no mouse issues, it has heat and no deadly stairs! Plus the added bonus of being in an amazing location and a dishwasher. I have become quite fond of our neighbourhood and discovered some yummy local markets close to us.
I've also been able to lose most of the baby weight. I have conquered Bee's and Jacobs and have a bit left over from Ty. I didn't force myself to do anything I didn't want to, just watched what I ate and got out for almost daily walks with Bee (which right now winter sucks so it's been hard)
As blessed as we have been, we've had our struggles as well. I was officially diagnosed with PTSD and GAD in July. I have been trying to get on the path of healing but have found it very difficult until we took matters into our own hands. But, due to limited finances, we had to discontinue that and now I wait to get in to see a specialist but it will take time (I love free health care, but it does come at the cost of time sometimes).
I did however, discover acupuncture which has been a blessing. It truly helps my PTSD and GAD and allows me to keep them under control. This is one thing I have to keep up and thankfully, I found a place that pay is based on what you can afford so I will be able to continue my much needed treatments. I do highly recommend acupuncture to anyone who has anxiety. I hate needles but I was willing to try anything and now I simply am addicted to it.
Due to my inconsistency in care, at the present time I am unable to return to work. I am thankful my husband understood that I could not return and though we are now going to be on one income come January (and scrambling to figure out how to make ends meet) we know it will work because we will make it work, somehow. We've survived the last three years and we'll survive the next three years.
Only have one major hiccup for this year, Id say it was an amazing year. Stephen and I have decided that 2014 will be about us, not only as a couple but as individuals. I'm excited to see what 2014 brings, I just hope it doesn't bring homelessness with it.
Happy New Year to you and yours from me and mine