Battle of Verdun

Oh hey! It’s been awhile. Sorry I’ve fallen off the face of the earth, this four kid thing is no joke. Our baby was born in January, I broke my hand in February (Happy Valentines day!), surgery two days following cause I did a stellar job. March we found out the damage to our house from our water dams were so bad we had to move out for up to 8 weeks. We lived in a two bedroom basement suite with 6 people and a dog, plus the 7 people upstairs, their visiting family and the two dogs they had. It was nuts. We moved home in May which was nice but honestly? I missed the community of having another mom within steps – and even if it was a nut house comedy show in both our spaces at least we could commiserate with each other on the front lawn for five seconds before returning to battle.
But back to regular home life and routine. Then June we found out we would need to do more surgery for Middle C. This time on her right foot. Same procedure, including the serial casting (We tried so hard to talk them out of it, but at least we talked them down from 8 weeks to 4). The serial casts start this Friday. I’m so overwhelmed. Still. Again. Who knows when one thing starts and the other stops. Maybe it’s just a circle of overwhelming-ness. I don’t know.

And tomorrow. Well tomorrow is big too. Tomorrow I turn 30. A whole new decade. LEVEL 30. I read this thing that said if we said implied we level up instead of age, it sounds so much cooler and people might actually appreciate getting older. I love it. I’m never aging. Just levelling up.

Anyway, to go along with my birthday I got back on the flow wagon. Womanhood. Crimson flower. Period train. My punishment for not being pregnant. And lucky me – I get to ride this thing out until blessed menopause since we aren’t having anymore kids. Not that I want more kids, but let me tell you the little break from this was pretty sensational. Because here’s the thing: it sucks. It’s not as painful as it was after we had little man. But let me tell you, its overweight. Like for sure the heaviest you’ve ever seen. For the sake of a few reading this who may not want all the details I will spare you… But tell me there’s a way to fix this!! I CANNOT be stuck with this heavy foe forever. NO. I won’t. Someone send help. Is magnesium actually a thing? Answers please. I’d appreciate it.

In other news (for those of you who made it past the gore above), Middle C has been scheduled for her surgery – pray for us October 11… and before, and after.

And school starts Sept 4. How? Where did summer go? And three of our four are in some form of school. Whether it’s regular schooling or preschool – which is just mind boggling to me that they are already that old. How did it happen so fast?

Baby Peach is doing amazing things. Somehow the kid is not even 8 months and already crawling (I admit when she started I pushed her over the first few times… gently). And my kids had told me she had been pulling herself up to stand in her crib, but I hadn’t witnessed it myself until today. This is my baby. Our last. And she is determined to rush babyhood. It’s so amazing to watch and so so sad for my heart at the same time.

Well, sorry it’s been so long and the update was nearly bullet point – with the battle of Verdun planted right in the middle there… Thanks for hanging in with me. Hope you’re all doing well and are prepared for school (have you seen that School start website where you can click two buttons and have all your school shopping done? Saved my butt this year… last year I was for sure the hot mess mom… not that the website has changed that. But right now I’m feeling WAY more on top of it than last year. Don’t ask me how I feel next week though. I plead the fifth).

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Air BnB

Hey guys!! So it’s been awhile. I’ve been busy just enjoying the beautiful weather and my children.

We still aren’t home yet, but we have been living in this phenomenal air Bnb the last few weeks and I’m loving it! Made lifelong friends, found the worlds best babysitter (back off, she’s mine!) and found a little piece of country paradise in the middle of the city. Also living every moms dream! House of our own, but support of another mom and friend on the same property. Also, chickens (fresh eggs) and a few dogs (I LOVE dogs!), a couple pigs (hilarious creatures) and a frequent moose momma who visits and occasionally brings her baby! I’ve carried because this feels like how life is supposed to be. Moms need community especially when raising tiny people. As nice as it will be to be home I’m not looking forward to leaving this place. Lucky for me they need a house sitter for July… I signed up.

And it’s an air bnb so if you know anyone who needs a place to stay – I’ll hook you up!! Coolest family, awesome location and who doesn’t want to see a moose?! F33D4C79-8B83-4DEE-92EE-381C43A2187BF10E71CA-36C7-44CF-AE99-0115A9F0B0262CA94472-311F-4B6B-BD01-CA025085D1C4

There’s more…

Our family has been through a lot in the last year and a half. More than most families might deal with in a lifetime.

November 12, 2016 our dog collapsed and had to be put down. He had a blood cancer that made his heart work way too hard and it killed him. We got our dog after we lost our first baby – he held so much hope and love and was exactly what I needed during that horrible time. It was devastating to say goodbye.

November 19, 2016 I found out we were pregnant with Elouise – she passed away January 26, 2017.

December 26, 2017 we brought home a puppy! Gus Gus.

January 30, 2017 I had surgery because my body was holding onto my pregnancy even though my baby had died. They needed to get her out so I wouldn’t get sick. I lost a ton of blood and ended up being very weak and recovery took more than 6 weeks.

May 2017, Mother’s Day we planted our apple tree in memory of Aaron and Elouise – the babies waiting to meet us in heaven.

May 2017, sometime after Mother’s Day, we found out we were pregnant again.

May 30, 2017 Middle C had surgery on her left foot after weeks of serial casting.

July 2017 she got her cast off and we were fitted for a AFO brace (which she still wears at night)

January 10, 2018 Peaches joined our family!

February 14, 2018 I broke my hand. Did I blog about that? It was horrible. Definitely could have been worse, but I broke a metacarpal and needed surgery. A brand new baby, a broken hand…

March 14, 2018 After we started a case file for our house with insurance we found out we needed to move out during the repair process.

March 22, 2018 I was called and asked if we could be out of the house that day. The turn around from the filing of the claim to the start date was insane. Extremely overwhelming!

April 13, 2018. We are still out of the house – I plan to touch base with the contractor on Monday. And Middle C just had another appointment with her foot doc. He wants to do another invasive surgery but this time on her right foot. We have to meet with a panel of doctors again so they can come up with the best plan for her – but Andrew and I don’t want to put her through the serial casting again. It was so hard to watch her struggle and we are already two months behind where we were last year – she had started the serial casting in March – so if we start now she will basically miss her entire summer. I don’t want to – I can’t do that to her. So I’m hoping and praying they let us just do the surgery and that they fit us in as soon as possible.

I’m also praying we get our house back soon. As stressful as it can be to be out of the house, we have a pretty amazing rental and the repairs being done to our house includes some improvements that almost make it worth it. So we are trying to stay positive and have good attitudes. But we desperately need positive thoughts and prayers, support and encouragement. We will need plenty of play dates, possibly help with meals again (AGAIN! Gah!) and sanity savers like coffee, wine and good friends.

It isn’t easy to feel like you’re constantly needing help – so we want to make sure we show our gratitude and appreciation for everyone who has offered to help and been available to us! Thank you. And we are sorry to still be needing help – again. We would love this to end – we would love to be helping instead of needing help. Someday. Hopefully soon.

 

Gratitude

It’s been quite a year. From last year this time until now we have needed a lot of help. Losing a baby, surgery complications, surgery for Middle C, then having a baby this year and breaking my hand… it’s been eventful. And I’m so grateful to the people who step up and show up and help. It’s surprising sometimes who is there for you. It’s not always the person you’d think. And when these people help I want a tangible way to show how grateful I am.

I want to be someone who is thoughtful and kind. And I also want to be good at giving gifts. Gratitude gifts, yes. But also Christmas, birthday, just because etc. I know the best gifts are the gifts that take thought and intention. What are some of the best gifts you’ve received? What are some gifts you’ve given that you were proud of? Are gift cards less personal?

Broken

So on Wednesday morning I broke my hand. I went to look for a boot I was convinced my dog had snuck to the yard, and slid down the icy stairs, tried to break my fall and ended up breaking my hand. My dominant hand.

Having a new baby, three other kids and now a broken hand is already proving a challenge. And I’ve had my husband around since it happened.

Everything is harder, takes longer and is awkward. I’m even typing this left handed, so it’s taking twice as long.

Pray for us through this chaos. And I’m not opposed to any help! This afternoon I needed my sister in law to braid my hair (Thanks, Lisa!)

this is humbling. Especially because I’m so aware that Middle C has put up with stuff like this pretty much her whole life and rarely complains. I’m trying to be more like her. She’s inspiring. And she’s been a huge help and so empathetic. I hope I can be half as kind as my daughter.

Thats all for now. My fingers hurt.

 

After the rainbow

Hey guys! Sorry it’s been awhile (do i start all my posts that way?) I’ve been struggling. I have so many things I want to talk about but I think I feel like I’m not allowed to have a hard time. I’m supposed to be grateful now that my rainbow is here and healthy. Why should someone like me still be struggling? I mean besides the obvious new baby struggles. Like we don’t sleep. I think it’s a good night when I get a solid 2 hours at a time because that’s an improvement from my usual 30 minutes between feeds before midnight. This baby LOVES cuddles and loves to cluster feed. She thinks it’s party time from 2-4am and by the time I get her back down and fall asleep I get about an hour before the other kids are awake and we need to start our day. Yeah. New baby is lovely, yes she has stolen my sleep. And my heart. And yes it’s an adjustment. I can handle all that. What I struggle with is a lot of people seem to think that since my rainbow baby is here I should have moved on from missing Elouise. That I don’t need to think about her and Aaron anymore. And it bothers me.

Why is it that if I still miss my angels it’s taken as ungratefulness for my rainbow? Why is miscarriage watered down? Like it’s less of a loss than late term pregnancy, stillbirth or infancy loss? Why do people think that any of those losses shouldn’t be grieved the same way as if you lose a parent or other significant person later on life? If my mother had died the verbiage changes from “loss” to “death”. Why? Why is it when you’re pregnant and your care provider asks you how many pregnancies you’ve had they say “6 pregnancies but 4th baby”? Like the other two were puppies?! No. I have been pregnant 6 times. And have 6, count them 6 babies. Two just never got to breathe air. Two never got to be in my arms, I never got to kiss them or tell them how much I wanted to watch them grow up. I never got to see their smile or know what colour their eyes were. I never got to hear their laughter or stroke their little hands. No, my loss isn’t less than someone else’s death. I lost two babies and I missed out on everything.

I missed being awake through the night, crying in frustration because I was so tired. I missed struggling to nurse them because there’s a learning curve with each baby. I missed watching their little hands grasp at my shirt while they suckled at my breast. I missed hearing their little cries and grunts. I missed watching those babies grow into toddlers, their first steps, their first word. Would Aaron have said “mama” first? Elouise for sure would have been a daddy’s girl. I missed kissing their scrapes and tender feelings. I missed getting to know them. I MISSED ALL OF IT! And yet my “loss” is something I should be over now because I have a rainbow.

When I talk about Elouise, please please listen. Love me through it. DO NOT think I need to be reminded of my silver linings or that I should count my blessings. If she had been 4 when she died and I was reminiscing about mannerisms or memories you wouldn’t say those things. Just because I didn’t have memories of a breathing child doesn’t make her less real to me. I didn’t just lose a pregnancy. I lost my babies. They died. And I never got to hold them in my arms. Don’t dehumanize them just because they hadn’t been born, and don’t think I’m not over the moon grateful for this blessing I do have. But looking at her makes Elouise and Aaron even more real. Watching my little girl, Peaches, makes me wonder if she looks anything like her sister would have. So don’t hear ungratefulness when I talk about my angels. Know my heart is overflowing with gratitude, but that I will always wonder and miss my other kids too.

Peaches

Guess what? We had our baby. A little over a week ago I was complaining because I felt “off” and agitated. I kept getting woken through the night with contractions but they weren’t often enough or strong enough to call my birthing team yet. I was getting frustrated and discouraged. Impatient. Which was challenging because we still haven’t even hit our due date. Peaches was due January 26, 2018. I started contracting around week 24 because of a condition they called “irritable uterus”. I was diagnosed with this condition during my pregnancy with Middle C but didn’t struggle with it quite so much during my pregnancy with Little man. So I assumed (bad idea) that it wouldn’t be so bad this time.

I know time waters down our memories but I’m fairly certain my contractions throughout my pregnancy were worse this time. On January 9 I was up every hour through the night because contractions were waking me from my sleep. I was tired and cranky. Praying either the contractions would stop until labour was actually starting or that this baby would come out really soon. I was also desperate that when she came out she would be healthy.

Man, did Jesus ever come through for me! Peaches made her debut January 10 at 10:40pm.

I was still contracting and getting more and more unsettled so around 5pm on January 10 I started a bath. Baths are supposed to be a good way to determine if your labour is starting or if the contractions are more like Braxton Hicks or false labour.

So im in a nice warm bath, trying to relax. Contractions aren’t strong but they were coming fairly consistently on an average of 4 mins apart. So I started texting my support team to put everyone on alert and I called my midwife because if this wasn’t labour I felt like something was wrong.

My midwife showed up within half an hour and checked my progress. We were already dilated to 5cms and the contractions had picked up since we talked on the phone. The midwife said we should go, of course child care hadn’t been called in yet so she grabbed my bag and instructed Andrew to meet us at the hospital when he had someone to watch the kids.

We arrived at the hospital a little after 6:30pm, got all the paperwork and blood work done and got our room around 7. Andrew and the doula showed up within minutes of each other. I remember the doula lacing up her sneakers and we headed to do stairs. I was dilating quickly and contractions were getting harder but I wasn’t thinning much so we wanted to encourage my body to pick things up a bit.

Every time I’ve been in labour there comes a point where I need my water broken. If we didn’t I would likely labour for hours or days on the cusp of transition simply because I make very strong encal sacks. Which is great for keeping baby healthy (and also that I’ve never had to worry about being surprised by my water breaking in public). So finally when my doula said I either needed to do another round of stairs (we climbed 4 flights multiple times) or let the midwife break my water I knew I had no choice. My legs were getting shaky, and I still had the hard part to do to get the baby out. But originally I had planned for a water birth so the water would keep me buoyant, which would make labouring and positions a bit easier. Unfortunately we weren’t able to use the pool because our hospital only has one pool room and it was needed by someone else. So a dry birth made me nervous because I knew it was going to hurt more and take more energy. But I also knew I couldn’t do stairs all night. So I whined a bit and let them break my water.

Transition sucks you guys. And for sure I used a stronger word. It’s a natural response for us to run away from pain, so when your body is racked with constant anguish generally you don’t sink into it, you fight and cry and almost crawl away. My doula was amazing, she kept coaching me through how to let the contractions get my baby out and stop fighting them. When I was exhausted and over it they reminded me that meant we were almost done. Sure enough with the next contraction my body began to push – it was like it took control of itself and just went for it. I don’t know exactly how long I pushed for or how many pushes but I do know the whole process from my water breaking until she was born was only 35 minutes.

Peaches emerged tiny, pink and screaming. She made it known immediately that she was ready for life and healthy. She passed her APGAR scores with 100% first try and started nursing right away. She’s a fighter. And she’s such a doll.

When we decided we wanted a midwife hospital birth we knew that we also wanted early discharge. The midwives make sure you’re okay to go home by making you jump through hoops (not literally… could you imagine?).

Peaches had to be a certain weight ✔️

She had to have at least 80-90 for score✔️

I had to be able to use the washroom and walk there myself ✔️

I had to eat something ✔️

I couldn’t bleed too much after birth. Now this was the one we were most concerned about after making sure our baby was healthy. After each delivery previously I tended to be a bleeder. So this time we had taken precautions and I had an IV lock put in when we had arrived to the hospital. The midwives pushed two types of meds to help reduce bleed time and I was hooked up to a bag for a little under an hour. Whatever they did worked because I didn’t hemorrhage, not even close! ✔️

So we jumped through the hoops and then, unless we were uncomfortable with going home (it was -40 with the windchill that night) we were allowed to leave. Andrew and I knew we would get a better quality sleep and he had been up since 4am, it was now near 2am the following morning. So off we went.

Peaches is 9 days old now and doing amazing. She’s fit into our lives like the missing puzzle piece and we are so grateful she’s here.

And now that she’s here it’s like my heart can heal. I’ll always think of Aaron and Elouise, but they are safe up in heaven and someday I will get to hold them and meet them too. Until then I will cherish the four I have here on earth!

 

 

Tick Tock…

Wow. This regular blogging thing is proving more and more difficult. When I started I had planned to write at least once a week. To recap and vent, to share the ups and downs of regular life. To meditate on my week and share where I found my glitter… if any. Sometimes when we don’t look for it, we can’t find any. It’s hard to be mindful and intentional to look for those little bits of glitter each day, isn’t it?

Well I’m back. And I can’t promise how often I’ll be blogging in the future. I will be around for sure, but as we near the due date for our new babe I realize life will just become even more insane and I have a lot more to juggle. Forgive me if the blog takes an even further back seat.

All that to say, it’s been wild. Our family has been busy finding new routine, adjusting to the crazy cold snap (we all knew it was coming, but whoa, my body was refusing that adjustment for a little while. December was so balmy, almost spring like until the week of Christmas).

This year Andrew and I had set aside two days, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to spend just with our little family. We knew by creating this boundary it may cause some overlap with extended family time, which made it really hard. But I’m so grateful we stuck to our guns and protected the time we needed to focus on the meaning of Christmas and our own growing family. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season and jumping from place to place, usually on someone else’s schedule, usually affecting our children. And then we expect our kids to behave and be grateful when they’re overtired, overstimulated and over sugared. I get overwhelmed at Christmas – and somehow I expect my children to be on their best behaviour, without a break in-between…. So this year I provided that break, for all our sakes and WOW. We actually love each other, we actually enjoyed EVERY SINGLE DAY of celebrating Christmas. Usually at this point I’m a stressed out mess finding myself thinking (or saying) “Thank GOD that’s over.” and I hated that I felt that way about Christmas. So we made a “sanity protection bubble” of time, and I’m sticking to it every year because it just made us slow down and enjoy each other. My kids could play with the toys they got before getting even more. We sat. We read. We cuddled. We slept. And I’m fully ready and excited for New Years (even though I didn’t make any plans and am now scrambling because I was afraid I’d be burnt out like every other year… so if you have something going on… let me know?)

A few other things have happened since I’ve written last. We went to see Middle C’s doc in the middle of December. In the past I’ve always found we’re told “typically this happens at this point” and I plan for that change, I look forward to the progress and expect it on the time frame the average child would anticipate it. And I’m often disappointed. So I’ve learned to expect no change, anticipate “disappointment” so that if they actually mean what they said and we get to progress it’s a pleasant surprise. And that’s exactly what happened this last time!! I was shocked. Middle C’s left foot is looking so good she only has to wear her AFO brace at bedtime now. WHAT?! We still have to make an appointment after Easter to follow up and take another look at progress (this is a lifetime check-in she will basically have to do until she’s fully grown, and possibly even longer). And the doc did mention he wasn’t seeing her right foot flex quite as much as he’d like so come spring we will be discussing the possibility of doing surgeries on that side as well… but for now we will celebrate the small freedom we do have. And be so grateful winter boots fit and we don’t have to pack the brace everywhere we go! So that’s definitely a [pretty large] chunk of glitter.

Middle C was also accepted into a pre k program and we have subsidy because of all her medical things. Glitter!! It’s SO HARD to find positives to having physical issues, but this is definitely one of them. Having an AMAZING pre k program available to us and completely paid for. We switched her from a preschool program at a local rec centre where she was the awkward big kid (have you ever seen Miranda Hart? She plays Chummy in Call the Midwife… well my daughter is not larger for her age, but when you’re five in a group closer to 3 you look like Chummy towering over the others). Now she’s in a group who are all closer to her age, she’s learned how to write the letters in her name and we are working on the challenge of recognizing the difference between blue and green and other school type things. We are SO excited for her!

I’m also 4 weeks (ish) away from meeting Elouise’s little sister. Today, one year ago we announced that we were expecting Elouise. Today one year ago I got many congratulations and in roughly four weeks from today, a year ago, I found out I lost that sweet girl, and her lifeless body had to be removed from my own to prevent any infection or complications. This year we anticipate meeting her sibling. And I’m nervous. It’s been strange having a pregnancy after loss, especially that we made our loss and process so public. It’s been interesting (and painful) to hear how people assumed that because I now house a healthy, live baby that Elouise’s death means less. Or that I’m “over it” because of a new pregnancy. It’s been challenging having so many dates overlap in bizarre ways. It really messes with my head and I’m still so scared. I find if there are moments when I don’t feel Peaches moving I start to panic. I dream about miscarriage/still birth or early infant loss at least twice a week. I over analyze every activity, drink, snack, lotion etc because I don’t want to bring harm or have any reason to blame myself if something were to go wrong. Even now. I’ve been struggling with some infections – which isn’t uncommon for me during pregnancy – which cause a lot of contractions. Some that are so strong they wake me from sleep. Contractions freak me out. They mess with my calm and again I find I over analyze. Sometimes I want it to be real, for labour to start so I can hold my baby. But logic wins and I remember how terrifying it was when Little Man was born at 37 weeks and I truly didn’t think I was bringing him home. They say girls are tougher, they fight harder and generally don’t struggle as much with prematurity or NICU stays, but I still would have to jump that hurdle if we did have this baby early. So we wait, I breathe through the contractions, use the bathroom, always check for blood and can usually calm down. But I am anxious to meet her.

People ask if I’m excited. Yes. I’m excited. I’m excited that we’ve made it this far. I’m excited that I can feel her move. I’m excited that if nothing horrible happens she is viable and would have a good chance to do well even if she came early. I’m excited to meet her. To see what colour her hair is, if she has any. I’m excited to not be pregnant anymore. My body hurts. I’ve been pregnant pretty much for 13 months. But instead of excited I feel mostly nervous. Anxious. Scared. Like I wish I could fast forward, but also rewind. Pause. Life isn’t easy. Everyone experiences suffering. And we fall into the trap of comparing our suffering to others. And somehow we miss the point. If we stop looking at how their suffering HAS to be easier than ours, or how dare the currently pregnant lady still complain about missing her miscarried baby – when other moms struggle with miscarriage and aren’t pregnant, or are dealing with infertility…. If we start looking for the little specks of glitter we are blessed with in our own lives, even amongst the suffering and encourage others to do the same (I am NOT suggesting you minimize their pain and suffering. Listen to them, let them grieve and encourage them to not become bitter… they have to find their own glitter). Inspire people because of your story. Because even though you are going through suffering, you refuse to let it beat you, you find your glitter. And be real.

There’s a difference between grief and bitterness. There’s a difference between pasting on a smile and saying you’re fine – when you’re not, and finding glitter – even though you aren’t fine. I didn’t share my darkest moments and darkest thoughts with absolutely everyone – Andrew held that role. And I couldn’t ask for a better partner. He never judged me, never condemned me. He has me, he supports me and he steps up when I’m feeling beaten down. He doesn’t tell me to get over the loss of Elouise and start being grateful for Peaches. It’s not that simple. Everything is different. Find your person, or people. Let them inspire you to find your glitter.

Reality

I have the most forgetful mind. I don’t think I’ve ever in my life been as forgetful as I am now. I know it has something to do with pregnancy hormones. Probably also that I race around after 3 kids, remembering all their things and needing to remind them of things every fifteen seconds. I know the forgetfulness also has something to do with how tired I am. My brain is sluggish and weak compared to what my usual normal. I keep thinking, “maybe this is how I am now.” Like after we lost Elouise and my personality changed. I remember that moment, that shift. I remember talking with Andrew about it. I remember him saying that if I felt certain traits leaving – traits I found weren’t my favourite, he suggested I let them go. Don’t fight to get them back. Fight for the things that I wanted. The things that mattered.

What matters?

When you have a major event happen in your life, whether it be happy or sad, they tend to affect us. Sometimes it’s life altering. In my case I think that’s true. When my sweet Elouise was taken, first when I learned her heart had stopped and she would never breathe the same air as me, and then again when the surgeon had to remove her lifeless body from my own… I changed. Like something in me actually broke. And instead of collecting all the shattered pieces I only searched for and repaired the ones that mattered.

I’m different. My mom saw it first I think. Makes sense. She gave birth to me, raised me, watched me become the woman I was. She watched me break. Watched my heartache. And then watched as I never returned to who I was before. I remember Mom asking me if I was okay. A lot. She gently suggested I see a therapist because she was concerned I maybe depressed. It was then that I realized my changes, my shift, wasn’t just obvious to me. Others could see it too.

It wasn’t until I started journeying through my current pregnancy that I realized just how much things affect me. The things that matter seem to matter so much more, and things that don’t slip my mind – where my mind was a steel trap before.

My pregnancy this time, with Elouise’s baby sister, has been weird. In most ways it’s been one of the easiest pregnancies I’ve had. In other ways it’s been the hardest by a long shot. For the first two trimesters I found myself fighting fear and doubt. I was in denial, and because it had been so easy physically until 28 weeks there wasn’t much in the way of my doubt. When I was diagnosed with a pelvic disorder (symphasis pubis dysfunction) at the 28 week mark that pain and the ligament pain combined with this little babe’s constant movement started forcing me to acknowledge this pregnancy was a real thing. The denial wouldn’t protect my heart at all if something horrible were to happen, so I told myself to get on board. “Act normal”. Well what does that look like after you’ve been through something life altering?

How do you act normal?

What is normal?

I still don’t know.

But what I do know is yesterday I saw a picture on Pinterest of a tiny baby laying in her crib. She looked so small in that space and my heart warmed. I also felt that tear glob settle into my throat. I want that. I want to have my baby. I want to see her in her room, in her crib, to hold her. I want to place thousands of kisses all over her. I think I’m finally settling into reality.

I am going to have a baby.

We are going to have a baby!!

No matter how much pain I struggle with because of this pregnancy, I feel like I’m okay because I started to exhale again. I think I’m letting go of that constantly “on edge” feeling. Like something is going to go wrong any minute.

I’m okay.

I’m going to have a baby.

Disappointment vs bitterness

Someone once encouraged me that it was inspiring to see how I was working to get better instead of allowing myself to become bitter. After losing a child or suffering disappointments in life I think we do have that choice. I don’t think it’s easy to constantly make the decision to be better, to let the struggles, disappointments and heartbreaks of our lives have purpose.

When we lost Elouise I was destroyed. There were four days between the time we found out her heart had stopped and when my surgery was scheduled to help my body end our pregnancy. Those four days I was a shell. I functioned only because I have three kids who still need me. But I was hollow. Artificial. There was a point when I was attempting to make my freshly washed bed and I remember crawling under the pile of blankets and sheets and sobbing. I remember Andrew couldn’t find me for an hour. I remember the deep, agonizing sorrow. The same sorrow I felt when we lost our first baby, Aaron.

Somehow, though, this time I also felt even more betrayed. I’ve read so many articles where women are angry at their own bodies. I remember feeling that when I miscarried Aaron. What was wrong with me? Would it always be this way? My body can get pregnant, but could it stay pregnant? I remember feeling that insecurity. But after Elouise… I knew I could have kids. I knew she could have made it. But her heart stopped. Why? And the worst betrayal was my body didn’t notice when she died. Her heart stopped three weeks before the horrible viability ultrasound. Three whole weeks. My body lied to me. How can our bodies lie? But mine did. My baby bump really showed at 12.5 weeks. A week and a half after Elouise had passed on. I had been a living morgue for over three weeks by the time my OBGYN removed my baby. Ended my pregnancy. And then my body betrayed me again and I lost so much blood. It was supposed to be a simple procedure that took only 20 minutes. And I was in surgery for over two hours because of how much I bled. And then instead of being able to go home and grieve I was made to stay in hospital… in the paediatric wing, no less.

So yeah, I could have been bitter. I have every excuse to have allowed myself down that road. Maybe I was bitter. But maybe it was just grief and disappointment. How do you know? How do you know if you’re bitter or just disappointed?

Do you want to know what I think? (If you don’t, go ahead and close this blog down because I’m going to tell you anyway). I think disappointment is the direct reaction to a situation. The job you wanted hired or promoted someone else, your favourite coffee is out of stock, book club cancelled, your spouse is late coming home from work, Canada post stopped leaving parcels at the door and now you have to pack the kids up and head back out in the snow to pick up the items from the post office. Disappointment.

Bitterness is allowing those disappointments to start leaking into your mentality. Bitterness fills your brain. It lasts longer than that frustrated moment. It’s infiltrating your thoughts, your actions and your words. It’s affecting your relationships and causing hurts.

Bitterness has a way of stealing beauty. I am still horribly disappointed that I have to wait until heaven to meet two of my sweet babies. But I’ve stopped asking “Why”. I am still knocked sideways sometimes. Like on October 15, when my city had a candle lighting ceremony in memory of the babies gone too soon. I desperately wanted to go. But I didn’t. Because I’m pregnant. To be pregnant again after loss really complicates a lot of things. I felt that my condition could hurt someone else. That seeing my swelling belly would cause someone else pain. So I stayed home. I didn’t honour my own desire, because I worried about how I would be accepted or perceived. And it hurt. So in trying to prevent hurt for someone else I hurt myself. It’s a strange place. Confusing. But I feel like my heart wasn’t hard in that moment.

Choosing between allowing bitterness or gentleness, getting better, is a daily choice for me. Some days I slip. Some days I’m hurt. But most of the time I think I choose to be better.