Friday, 18 April 2014

Grief-stricken

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My hands are shaky as I type this and my eyes are swollen from hours of crying. I have no idea how to even start and I've debated back and forth about if or how I was even going to write about what we've been going through since yesterday. It's incredibly personal. It's incredibly difficult. It's incredibly heartbreaking. But I've come to the conclusion that I need to write this. I need to write it for me. I need to write it for every other parent who has gone through this and who feels alone. Or for every other parent who feels like no one understands. I just need to write it.

We lost our baby.

I can't even breathe right now.

My head is pounding and my eyes are burning from sobbing for so long. My body is exhausted and our hearts are absolutely broken. Shattered.

Here is our story.

I came out of the bathroom at school yesterday shaking, wiping my tears away, trying to get myself together before I stepped back into my classroom full of my kindergarten kids. The blood had started at that moment and my heart immediately started to crumble.

I all of a sudden found myself hiding out with my cell phone in a quiet room in the school, sobbing to my mom, Terry and my sister as they frantically tried to get a hold of our doctor and set up an appointment for me before the end of the day. I felt like I was in a dream. Watching this happening to someone else. Pretending that it wasn't real.

As I hung up the phone I wiped away my tear streaked face, dabbed some powder around my eyes to cover up the evidence, took a deep breath and walked back to class. Because life moves on when 24 little children are waiting for you. As we walked down to the gym together for an assembly, a little four year old hand clutching mine with every tiny step that she took I could feel the cramping coming on and I felt my body starting to tremble.

This isn't happening, I kept telling myself.

I had had bleeding before with Carter's pregnancy and I now have a beautifully healthy boy, so I tried to convince myself that we would be so lucky once again. But as I sat watching the assembly, a little girl snuggled up in my lap, I knew that something just wasn't right.

As my stomach started to sink and I could feel my body cramping and starting the terrible process, the little girl snuggled up so tightly on my lap leaned over to me, unaware that in that very moment my heart was actually shattering, and she whispered "I love you so much". 

Tears welled up in my eyes as I hugged her and rocked her back and forth.

From a little girl who has been through more tragedy and unimaginable treatment from others than any child should ever have to endure, she needed me in that moment, but what she didn't realize is that I needed her even more.

I left school shortly after that and all of a sudden Terry and I were sitting in our doctors office, telling him about what had happened, holding back our tears, willing him to tell us that we'd be okay...that our baby would be okay.

His eyes told us otherwise.

We left the office with paperwork in our hands, sending us for blood work and an ultrasound. Terry and I didn't speak. We held hands, walking in a daze out to our car. It felt like the world was spinning--everything out of control. Every step that I took was heavy. Every breath that I took was deep. Everything felt different.

As my name was called and I walked into the ultrasound room my heart was pounding and my mouth was dry...I could barely breathe.

I laid down and watched as the cool gel was placed on my belly and I looked up at the ceiling, begging God to please save us. Save our family. Save our baby. Please don't take this from us. Tears streamed down my face with every aching moment of silence in that room. Each click from her computer key echoed throughout the room as I prayed and prayed and prayed.

Then she broke the silence..."I'll go get your husband", she told me. And I was all of a sudden alone in that dark room.

I sat up immediately and looked at the screen that she had hidden from me and stared at it intently, trying to figure out what she had found. I saw a sac--the same beautiful sac that we had seen only weeks before where our baby's heartbeat fluttered so perfectly and that tiny baby was so...well, perfect.

She walked into the room with Terry, and I laid back down. Terry stood beside me as she turned the screen towards us. I could barely breathe. My entire body felt heavy and I wanted to run. Run away from this moment. Run away from what she was about to tell me. Run away from the pain that I knew was coming. I just wanted to run.

She looked at both of us and the words "There has been a demise" came out of her mouth.

I crumbled as she pointed to the screen. I couldn't stand the pain. It was too much to endure. It was too much for any human being to bare. I looked over at Terry as tears filled his eyes.

"I'm so sorry" she said, "I'm so very sorry".

We walked out of that building, hand in hand, in complete silence, in a horrible, exhausting daze...and with the slam of the car doors behind us we sobbed. We held each other and sobbed. There were no words. Just uncontrollable tears. The world was closing in on us as we sat in that car and the grief took hold of us. A grief that I had never felt before. A grief so deep that it's indescribable. Because losing a child is like nothing else.

"I need to go to mom and dad's house", I said once I finally caught my breath.

And all of a sudden we were pulling up to their house, getting out of the car and falling into their arms.
My dad literally had to hold me up as I wept like I have never wept before--every inch of my body wanted to fall to the floor in grief, but he held me up...and we all cried. Sobbed. The grief was too much.

"Why is this happening to us??" I kept crying. "Terry losing his job is more than we can handle right now--but why did we have to lose our baby too?".

All within two weeks of each other.

Mya came over to me gently "Why are you crying mommy?" she said.
I didn't know what to say. How do you even begin to tell a three year old that her baby sister/brother is no longer with us? How do you even begin to tell her that her own dreams of being a big sister again are also shattered? She was so excited about this baby. No one prepares you for these moments in parenting. No one prepares you for a broken heart.

"Mommy's just really sad Mya", I said slowly..."because we were just at the doctors office and he told us that our baby unfortunately isn't with us anymore. The baby died and is now in Heaven"...and I froze...not knowing what to do or say next.

"No mommy, I want that baby to be in your belly. I want to take that baby home", she said as she wrapped her arms around my neck and nuzzled into my chest.

"I know, I know...I want that too", I said carefully, "But it's okay because that baby is in Heaven with God now. God is holding our baby and rocking our baby and taking such good care of him/her. I'm so sad that we can't have our baby here with us too. I'm so so sad too Mya", I said.

And we all cried.

I held Mya as I put the phone up to my ear to call Jen and Jeff.

"Hello?" she said.

And I sobbed. I just sobbed. Uncontrollable tears that took my breath away.

And she cried. The two of us not even saying a word--because she knew without the words. She knew that our world was crumbling at our feet and all that she could do was feel the grief with us. We all felt it.

Terry and I went to bed last night with swollen, burning eyes. We stayed at mom and dad's house and held each other in bed as we wept together, holding each other until there were no tears left. Until our bodies gave out and the dark began to tell us to rest.

I laid in bed absolutely exhausted, but willing the morning to come. I couldn't sleep as flashbacks of that ultrasound screen haunted me and as my body continued to cramp, torturing me with the reality that the loss was happening. Terrified to even step into the bathroom because I didn't want to be faced with what I might see. Dark grief tortured me all night long. And when I finally heard Carter's cries from his crib in the room next to us that morning and I heard my mom's footsteps into his room to get him I curled over to Terry and cried, because a new day was here...which meant that a new grief was emerging once again.


Erica xo 
    




     

 










Tuesday, 15 April 2014

A secret angel

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An angel was on our front porch today.

I have no idea who it was.

I have no idea when they came by.

I have no idea how we ended up being the lucky recipients of such a wonderfully thoughtful gift.

But, this is what showed up in our mailbox today...


An anonymous angel dropped this off. An angel who knew that Mya loves to see her name on the mail in our mailbox and an angel who knew that with everything going on right now, this would absolutely make our day.


Not only did this person write a beautiful little poem, but they also gave us a $100 gift card--and purposely didn't sign their name.



So of course I wept. I stood there, as Terry read the poem to me, tears streaming down my face...because it was just one of the kindest gestures ever. And then of course I called everyone in my family and told them about this amazing random act of kindness, because I just couldn't believe it.


That little line at the end "Just have a little faith, things will work out in the end" is what got me the most. I'll re-read that little line daily--because it's what I need to hear, since it's what I forget the most. So thank you.


Who is this anonymous angel?? I'd love to know so that I can give you a great big hug and let you know that you absolutely made our day. We're so grateful. We're so incredibly grateful.

Thank you a million times over to our secret mailbox angel.
You've reminded us of all of the good in the world--which is something that we all need to be reminded of sometimes.

Thank you again, whoever this generous and kind person is.
You are truly an angel. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Erica xo  

Saturday, 12 April 2014

A little ray of light--purposely found

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First of all, I need to start by telling you how incredibly grateful and overwhelmed Terry and I are from the outpouring of support, love, suggestions and leads that you have all given us over this past week. Thank you, thank you, thank you. We appreciate it more than we can ever really express. Somehow when you have friends, family and even strangers offering their support, it feels like there is a tiny light at the end of the tunnel--one that might bring us back from the stress, shock and fear that we're feeling right now. So thank you.

Terry and I woke up absolutely exhausted this morning. Exhausted from the mental and emotional drain that a job loss brings but also exhausted from a night where a little girl woke up at 1:00am and didn't fall back to sleep until 3:00am...and where a mom and dad didn't fall back to sleep until hours after that--just in time to be woken up by a little boy who had had a beautiful sleep and who was ready to start his day. This is not a typical night for us thankfully, and we may never really know why kids have these strange nights where they wake up and simply can't go back to sleep--but they leave parents exhausted and wondering how they'll make it through the entire day without falling over.

So we hatched a plan. A plan that would ensure a day of fun, a day of joy, a day where we could forget for just a moment about our reality and just enjoy our kids. A day where our kids joy would translate into our joy--and a day where you don't have time to remember how tired you are, because you're too busy creating memories. A day where you can forget about jobs and resumes and interviews for just a moment--because you're too busy watching your kids simply enjoy life, which also reminds you that this is what life is really all about.

Mya learned how to ride a two-wheeler today.
No training wheels.
Just the wind at her back and a smile on her face.


It was pure joy--for everyone. 

And her brother? Well whatever his sister is doing, he wants to do too--and although he sometimes forgets that he's only just over a year old, and his sister has two years on him, he follows her every lead. So he hopped on his bike today too, and tried with all of his might to keep up with both Mya and Oliver as they flew past him.
 



And a little more let's just forget about our worries and have some fun today thrown into the day? Well, we took the kids to the park--and took over all of the swings, all at once.



So with cousin love...

 

and a day purposely filled with activities and moments which were guaranteed to bring smiles to the faces of everyone, it's easy to be reminded of all of the good stuff that's still sneaking into each and every day.


And yes, there will still be stress--of course there is still a lot of stress. A lot of worries. A lot of fears. A lot of unknowns. A few breakdowns at my parents house. But if you take your camera with you and look through the lens trying to find the good--it will always be there.

We found a lot today.

Thank you again for all of your support and please continue to keep us posted if you hear of any leads. We'd really appreciate it.

Happy weekend everyone.

Erica xo



Tuesday, 8 April 2014

F%$# my life

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Pardon my French, but they're three little words that have been said more than a few times since yesterday--and Terry and I don't swear really...ever.

Sometimes it feels like life is handing you the best of the best--and other times it feels like life is throwing you into the gutter over and over again. I'm a little (okay, a lot) emotional right now--so maybe it's not the best time to write a blog post that hundreds and hundreds of people are going to read--some friends, some strangers...but this is life, and I feel like if there's any time to scream out for help it's right now.

I opened my front door yesterday afternoon to find Terry standing there, pale in the face, tears in his eyes.

His company (yes the new one that we were so excited about only a year ago) had to make cuts and Terry was one of the ones on the receiving end--he got laid off.

We've been through this before--where thousands and thousands of people were laid off from his last company and where the people who were left behind were going into work every day on pins and needles, just waiting for their turn to get walked down the hallway into 'the room'. There's barely anyone left at that company who we even know anymore--which means that thousands and thousands of families have felt and are still feeling the weight of this type of difficult decision that companies are forced to make. His director from his last company, who loved Terry and who would fight tooth and nail for him since he knew that Terry had made such a big impact on his department, once told him that his job as a director would keep him up at night. That having to look people in the eye and tell them that their job no longer exists because of things happening in the company that they have no control over is one of the most difficult things to do--and I believe it. I wouldn't wish that job on anyone.

So now we sit here, pregnant...with two little ones...mortgage payments, paying over $2200 a month in daycare fees--and yes, with savings thankfully...but with a package of only 2 weeks of Terry's pay (which is actually more generous than they even needed to be apparently). But all I see is that in 13 days, Terry has no more income coming in AT ALL. Nothing.

So we're in a panic. Our world has been turned upside down. Our basement is stacked high with packed boxes, ready to put our house on the market the moment that we find a new home to fit us all once the baby comes--but our house hunt has now come to a complete stop. Because we have 13 days to find Terry a job. It makes me feel sick to my stomach just thinking about it.

My family showed up at our front door last night, arms full of presents--dad holding a case of Terry's favourite beer, and a ginormous gift bag full of all of our favourite treats--because when your loved ones are crying, you might not be able to make it better, but you can certainly fill their tummies with beer and treats--which makes anyone feel better in that very moment at least.

But they didn't only come with treats--they came with a plan.
They came with a plan for our children. A plan that will allow us to pull our kids out of daycare a few days a week, and be cared for by their Nana and Aunt Jen in order to save a ridiculous amount of money on daycare costs. Then we'll pull them out completely when mom retires in May so that we're not paying a dime. They may not be able to show up with a job for Terry--but when you're sitting there holding the hand of your husband as tears stream down your face your family knows without even asking that you're both sitting there thinking about your kids.

So life has hit us hard--it certainly has. Life is anything but beautiful right now. I need to change the title of my blog. Seriously. I haven't cried this much in a long time and watching your husband suffer is even worse.

I know that in a few weeks I might be able to see the silver lining...and I'll remind myself of how so lucky we are in other ways--because I logically know that we're SO fortunate in so many other ways, and others have it worse..there will always be others who have it worse. But right now all that I can see is what is happening right in front of me.

So I'm holding up a huge sign right now that reads "PLEASE HELP!". Asking for help for others is easy--but asking for yourself is something that I don't usually like to do. But we need it right now. We really need it. We have 13 days. I'm about to vomit.

Terry has worked in buying/purchasing roles over the years and service assurance/service delivery roles. He'd also be open to trying something new. So please, please ask the people at your companies if they are hiring. Please ask your husbands. Ask your wives. Ask anyone.

I can't even begin to tell you how much we would appreciate it.

Thank you, from our entire family.

Erica xo










Saturday, 5 April 2014

Nausea and little ones

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I knew that I was pregnant before I even took the test.

The nausea started I swear the moment that I even thought of being pregnant. So I knew. I just knew.

Intense nausea, pregnancy, and me seem to just go hand in hand for some reason. The kind of nausea where you really feel like you can't make it through the day, let alone the next hour--let alone the next minute. Where you feel like the world is spinning and you're on the verge of running for a bucket literally every moment of the day...ALL day long...for 9 months straight. The kind of nausea where your OB looks at your case and prescribes the same anti-nausea medication that cancer patients undergoing chemo are prescribed (which is thankfully also safe for pregnant women to take)...because the nausea is THAT bad. I was starting to feel somewhat sorry for myself for the first few weeks this time 'round. Wondering why it's always this way for me with each pregnancy. Wondering why I have to suffer through debilitating nausea that literally leads me to be bedridden, as it did especially with my first pregnancy. Wishing so badly that I could be that beautifully glowing pregnant woman who happily rubs her belly and says "I feel great!" whenever anyone asks how she is feeling. But instead I'm sucking on hard candies, trying to keep the nausea down, smiling through the knots in my stomach, trying to pretend that I don't feel as rotten as I really do, because if I think about it it only makes it worse. Looking at Mya and Carter as they crawl up my leg, wanting every ounce of my energy and attention, and smiling at my 24 kindergarten kids each day as I pretend that I'm not about to fall over.

I was lying in bed one night a few weeks ago, as the room was spinning around me, and I decided to finally just let it be. To let my body do this. To let my mind accept it. To stop trying to fight it and stop obsessing about trying to make it better. To let my body take on this incredible experience of growing a baby as it always has--to be sick. To let the nausea take over as it always has, because that's what my body needs to do in order to create this little miracle growing inside of me. To be grateful for the nausea instead of feeling sorry for myself, because with every wave of nausea that comes over me I know that that little baby is still growing...I know that he/she is still there.

So now every time that I start to feel that wave of nausea rising up in my throat again I quietly feel grateful for it. Every day as I hang over the toilet, while calling out every few minutes "Mommy's okay...don't worry...mommy's just fine!" as Terry ushers two worried little children away from me, I remind myself that it's worth it in the end. And as I clean myself up, slap on some blush to cover up the green hue covering my cheeks and head downstairs to finish getting the kids and myself ready for work, I put a smile on and try to pretend that that whole scene didn't just happen---because life has to go on.

And when life has to go on regardless, I've learned a few tricks to survive those really tough days. Those days when all that I want to do is lay down--but I can't, because a one year old and a three year old need every ounce of me...and I don't want to miss a moment of them. So, whether it's nausea, the flu, a headache or any other day when you just feel rotten (and you still have little ones to look after)...here are a few things that I do to get through it so that my kids still feel like I'm with them, but I'm really (somewhat) resting.    

Here are just a few:

 1) Baths during the day.

But not just any normal bath. Shaving cream baths.
Because if you give kids some cheap dollar store shaving cream, it provides endless amounts of fun and it means that you can just sit there, and breathe, and enjoy.



Not to mention that I promised this little boy when he was only a few months old that he could one day get in on the shaving cream fun--so now he's all over it.


2) Nap when they nap.
I realize that this is nearly impossible for most people to do since there are always a million other things that we could be doing during this one and only quiet time during the day--but I remind myself that it really is necessary when you're feeling crummy. So I try.


3) Take them through a car wash. 
This is brilliant, because it's incredibly entertaining for them, they're super quiet during the whole process since they're so mesmerized by the whole experience...and I can just sit there. I wish I was rich enough to take them through these things multiple times a day, every day. It's so relaxing. 


4) TV isn't always a bad thing. Thomas the Train is sometimes my saving grace. That one little half hour is sometimes all that I need to just lay down on the couch and get myself together again. Thank you Thomas--thank you.


5) Bake with them.
It doesn't necessarily make the nausea go away, but it's a good distraction from feeling miserable and it takes your mind off of your twisting stomach when you have two little ones 'helping' you. And the bonus? You get an oven full of treats in the end.


These are gluten-free treats that I made for my mother-in-law for her birthday...and they were delicious. If you want the recipe, this is the one that I used.



6) Get outside.
The cool air helps with the nausea and when you give each of these guys a doll and stroller to push they're all of a sudden completely entertained, while I get to just casually walk beside them and breathe in the cool air until my stomach starts to settle. It works every time.



So, with all of this said, I'm off to bed since my computer screen is starting to spin as I type this very moment. But I'll take it--because it means that this little baby is growing, and I can't ask for anything better than that.

P.S. Thanks for all of the wonderfully kind words and messages of congratulations that you have sent us--we can't even begin to tell you how much we appreciate it. We're beyond thrilled--nausea and all.

Erica xo
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