Call me Crazy

About four months in, I felt like a shell of myself. I finally posted on the Facebook forum for vertigo. I listed all my symptoms, asking if anyone else shared similar ones. Two girls commented that it sounded very similar to what they experienced when they first started developing a condition called “POTS”. I looked it up on the internet (I know, I know). The main symptom was a high pulse rate and low blood pressure. Specifically, a pulse rate that goes up 30 beats or more when standing. My blood pressure has always been low and it has never been a concern, so at first I wasn’t that worried. As I read more symptoms, I started freaking out. I felt like they were describing every symptom I have had since I was a teenager. I’ve worn multiple heart monitors throughout my life because I get something called, PVC’s. From what I understand, it’s a skipped beat from stress or caffeine. Lots of people get them, but not everyone feels them. I do. These are also very common with people who have POTS. Other symptoms included: lightheadedness in the shower or heat, unable to tolerate large meals, bowel issues, and dizziness. Although they do not know the cause, it usually develops after or during pregnancy, after a traumatic event, severe blood loss or surgery. Ok, so that terrified me! Every one of these things happened to me just months before this all started.  These people usually go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed because its a new condition that doctors are just beginning to understand. No cure, but fluids and a high salt diet help most. Of course, I knew I would be the 20% that were completely bed ridden. 

 At this point, I knew my doctor already felt I was crazy and I was starting to wonder if I agreed with her. So, when they asked if I could see the physicians assistant instead, I was more than happy to. I didn’t tell her about my google diagnosis. No need to show all my crazy cards right up front. Plus, the last time she had seen me I was in her office with the flu and a heart rate of 200, which landed me in the hospital, and a miscarriage. I didn’t want her thinking I was “depressed”. They checked my heart rate like they always do and I asked if I could stand. It went from 80 to 140! I knew then, I did in fact have this condition. I said nothing though. I didn’t even tell her it went up. She asked for my reason of being there and I said I wanted to see a cardiologist. She practically held my hand when she said, “at what point do you stop seeing specialists?” I was taken back. I had only seen the ENT at this point. She then began to talk about all I have been through and being depressed is to be expected. I started crying out of frustration and said I’m depressed I can’t be left alone, that I don’t feel good, that I can’t take care of my child. I’m not depressed about anything else. I can’t afford all of these medical bills. Does she think I want to do all of this? I just want to feel normal. She prescribed me Zoloft, which I had no intention of ever taking and she gave me the referral I wanted. I asked how long to get in. She said it usually takes a while but there is a new cardiologist trying to build up a patient base and he is getting people in rather quickly. That is, if I didn’t mind he was younger. Not only did I not care, this made me excited. Someone who  would be up on all of the new things. He may actually know what POTS is! She said, “you will like him, and he is from Fenton.”

A week later, I was feeling my absolute  worst. I was crying all day. I was missing work. I had little to no contact with friends and family and rarely left my house. One day, my friend Shawn called me and I became hysterical. I sobbed on the phone, barely putting words together. She drove two hours to be with me and I told her everything I was going through. Every time she went to leave, I would start panicking and crying. She then called my friend Lauren who is a therapist and it ended up being an intervention of sorts. At this point, I was barely leaving the house, so neither of these girls knew what was happening in my life. I think they were surprised to see me in the condition I was in. It felt good to unload all of what was happening over the last few months on them. I knew how crazy  I sounded. I knew I  looked like a hypochondriac. They both were so understanding though. At this point Todd was home from work and explaining to them just how bad I had become. You know, just in case they didn’t pick up on it from my crying fits and completely disheveled appearance.  When I told Lauren about my upcoming appointment with the cardiologist she had said, “what would be the best outcome of this appointment for you?” At this point I was spiraling and believing no doctors and no diagnosis. I knew what she was implying. I had said, “if he knows what POTS is, I will be happy. If he knows, and he either says I have this or I don’t , that will give me a lot of relief.” I wondered if I believed what I was telling her. Would I feel that way or was I convinced otherwise regardless of what he had to say?

The day I was scheduled to see the cardiologist, I was feeling better than I had in months. I even thought about canceling but I knew better.  As I sat in the room, I thought to myself, “do I tell him about my “google diagnosis?” I thought “no”, just tell him how you have been feeling and see if he comes to it on his own. They took my vitals, which were the best they have ever been, of course. I then waited patiently to see the doctor. I would like to think I’m a good judge of character. I usually get a feel for someone right away.  The doctor walked in and  shook my hand, introducing himself. He exuded kindness and enthusiasm and I felt comfortable with him right away. I told him every symptom I had over the last few months, but left out my google search. I planned on giving the short version but realized quickly he wasn’t interrupting me or trying to cut off my rant… so I kept going. When I finished I almost laughed at myself. It’s funny how crazy you can sound when your explaining something out loud to someone else.  He smiled and then told me I was not crazy at all but that I may be dehydrated. I guess constant “bathroom” visits  can cause this along with lowering your potassium and a high heart rate is an indication of dehydration. He recognized my last name and knew all about Nash. He excitedly talked about what an amazing thing we have done in his honor.  It was then that I felt I could really unleash my crazy. This man would never make me feel worse. I could tell I could be open with him without judgment. I wasn’t going to get any peace until I knew for sure. I grimaced and said, while looking at the floor, “that because of my high heart rate and low blood pressure, I was confident he was going to tell me I had some rare heart condition.” He then said, “like POTS?” I smiled and said yes, and I am so glad you know what it is. He laughed and said the full name that I am not even going to try and spell here. He replied confidently that he did not think I had this condition. I knew I had to drive it home and I shamefully said that I had googled it. He laughed and said, “Dr. Google”. I don’t know why I trusted him, but I did. Maybe it was the time that he spent with me or that no matter how much crazy I was sharing with him, he always seemed to listen without judgement. Or it could have been the overwhelming feeling that Nash was with me in that room that day…He scheduled a follow up appointment in a couple of weeks and I was on my way.

Over the next couple days I cried every second. Todd could not leave the house. I was afraid to walk, run, climb stairs. I was so dizzy I was running into walls, and I was ridiculously thin. I remember at my lowest telling Todd, “maybe it would be better if I wasn’t here. This is not the mother I want Crue to remember.” Todd had finally had enough and took me to the doctors himself. He said “you have got to do something.” She looked at Todd and back at me, crying as usual. She then said, “I think you should take her to U of M, the psych ER.” I was so exhausted, so frustrated, so desperate, that I didn’t even put up a fight. That day would begin my week long stay on the psych ward. A week that would cause a great deal of soul searching and show just how devoted  a husband can truly be.

Does God Hate Me

Not long after Todd and I decided we were done having children, we decided we were not. Seeing Crue at the playground with other kids, or playing with his cousins, really pulled at our heart strings. We have come so far. We have been through so much. For what? To just give up?  We decided we would try again in June. We had a wedding coming up and a concert and we would wait until those had past. We were excited to add to our family and put all of our hard times in the past.

Unfortunately, I woke up in the middle of June, dizzy. Not world spinning dizzy, but what I would call drunk dizzy, like my equilibrium was off. This was a 24/7 thing. At first it was just annoying. I could barely do anything without feeling off. Try having a busy two year old that runs constantly and every time you look in a different direction you feel like you are going to puke. Three weeks in, let’s just say I started having bathroom problems and let you take it from there. I was really starting to worry something may be seriously wrong with me. Why wasn’t this going away? So, I  made my first of many doctors appointments that came in the MONTHS to follow. My doctor had no idea. She said dizziness can be caused by so many things. She gave me a referral to the ENT. I couldn’t get in for three months! I was hoping in three months, whatever this was would be gone. I was wrong. It continued to get worse. I was down almost 20 pounds at this time. I couldn’t eat and everything I ate ran through me. My anxiety about what was wrong was through the roof! Also, a constant stress was my desire to try again for another baby. It was already months since the time we had originally decided to try again. I am 37 years old and that weighed heavily on my mind. Not to mention the baby we miscarried had downs, something that is said to be higher with older mothers. Every day I would wake up hoping I felt different. Usually ten minutes after I would wake up, the dizziness would set in, followed by a trip to the bathroom. This completely ran my life. There were two things that made it drastically worse; TV and my phone. So, watching TV, social media, and even writing was off limits. So, all I could do was sit in misery feeling guilty about the son I can’t even play with. If you have not experienced vertigo you can not understand how completely debilitating it can be…and if you have had vertigo, i know your reading this with complete sympathy.

The day before my ENT appointment, I was at dinner with my friend Kasey. I had a long day at work, so I wasn’t surprised when I started feeling really dizzy at dinner. I had to take breaks in talking to gain my composure, and finally, I felt like I was going to pass out. Kasey asked if she could take me to the hospital. I kept saying “no, this will pass’. I have been dealing with this for months. That is when My hands started going numb and we decided the ER may be a good idea. I found out shortly after that my potassium wasn’t just low, but scary low. My EKG was bad, but the doctor thought it was due to my potassium. They kept me overnight, giving me potassium and doing a stress test the next day. All I kept thinking is that tomorrow was my appointment with the ENT, the one I waited three months to see! Luckily, they got me out in time and I went straight to my appointment. The ENT did a quick look in my ears and said, “since you were just in the hospital for your potassium, I think your electrolytes are off and that’s what is causing the dizziness”. He drew more blood and said, “I’ll see you again in three months”. I was so upset. Three more months!! I didn’t know if I could keep doing this.  The other part of me was optimistic for the first time. Could it be this easy? I prayed it would be.

A few days later, I woke up and  I was clammy, sweaty, lightheaded, and it felt like my blood sugar was low, but eating did not help. Then, the bathroom, lets just say, many trips. I told Todd I needed to go to the ER.  I felt so terrible, like I could barely stay conscious. I had the window down so the air would blow on me and all I kept thinking was, this is it. This is how I’m going to die. Crue was in the backseat saying, “Momma, Momma! You no feel good?” I started crying. Not only can I not give him a brother or a a sister, I’m going to die and leave him motherless. I was yelling at Todd at the top of my lungs to drive faster. When I got there, a young lady wobbled back on a hurt ankle. They informed me I would have to wait. Now, this is the first indication I knew I was going crazy. I started yelling at the front desk lady (so not my character). I said, “that girl hurt her ankle! I, on the other hand am dying and you want me to wait in the lobby!”  I have worked in the hospital for years and have so much respect for medical professionals and what they deal with on a daily basis. I’ve personally seen how bad it can get. Here I am being one of those people. I saw the eyes rolling, the annoyed looks, and I just sat there, feeling terrible and upset that no one was getting how awful I felt. The blood pressure cuff barely filled when it gave a reading of 80/45. I thought, “yes, finally they will see I’m on the verge of death. Instead, they  sent me back to a room where the doctor told me I was having a panic attack. Now, Todd had tried to get me to take meds for years now, but I never felt I needed them. I despise taking medication. Although I did not agree I was having a panic attack, I asked for medication.  Anything that could help at this point, I was willing to do.  I felt defeated. Something was seriously wrong with me and they are telling me it is basically all in my head.  They sent me home with Xanax and I took it, immediately. For four hours, my dizziness was completely gone. These little pills were amazing!! I had heard how addicting they were, so I kept myself in check. I only allowed myself to have one daily and only if I was at my absolute worst.

Almost four months in, I managed to get on Facebook and say something about this vertigo, or whatever it was. I was frustrated and wanted to see what people had to say. Todd’s cousin, Jamie, messaged me and added me to a vertigo support group which ended up being a good and bad thing. As I read through posts, I started seeing a lot of these people had vitamin deficiencies. Things that were an easy fix, but there were also many who have had this for twenty years or more. It was discouraging. 

My friend managed to get me into her ENT office, so I wouldn’t have to wait another three months. He told me he felt I was having silent migraines. I wanted to cry. All the women on the Facebook forum who had this, said they just had to live with it unless you are lucky enough to find your triggers. He recommended magnesium and quiting all caffeine. He also recommended an MRI. He was fairly confident it would show nothing, but anytime there is dizziness and extremity numbness you should rule out a brain tumor or MS. He again stated he thought it would show nothing, but it would be therapeutic for me. So, another medical professional who thinks I’m crazy. I was thankful for the MRI. At this point, I had googled just about everything. I know, I know, not smart. I was convinced it would prove to everyone, for once, that I am not crazy and that I, in fact, have something seriously wrong with me. Well, the MRI showed nothing and I found myself being somewhat relieved and also stressed that I still didn’t know what was causing all of this.

So, this is where I really go downhill. My dizziness was so bad I could barely stand in the shower. My heart was racing, just going up a flight of stairs. I was now down 30 pounds (almost my weight in high school). These clammy moments where I felt lightheaded were happening on the regular and I no longer felt safe taking care of Crue by myself.  Every time Todd left for work, I would cry. What if something happened when he was gone? What if I passed out and Crue got out of the house? I could not be away from Todd for a second!! I was losing it. He stayed home with me more days then I have ever seen him stay home. He also left work early every time I called him crying that I felt horrible. When he could no longer miss work, I went to Todd’s family’s house so I wouldn’t be alone and they could help me take care  of Crue. I would just sit there and cry. I didn’t care what anyone thought anymore. I could no longer fake being ok. Something was wrong with me. Would I always feel this way? I cried, knowing my family and Todd’s could play with Crue, and all I could do was lay on the couch.  I was taking up to three Xanax a day, just to function.  I was also seeing my doctor weekly and really felt like I may in fact be going crazy! At this point, she had prescribed me migraine medication and checked my blood for everything under the sun. I can’t tell you what it feels like to know something is wrong and doctors not only have no idea, but think you are just depressed. No doubt I have a label. I have lost a child and had a miscarriage recently. Depression was the label that fit best. I wasn’t depressed though. I was excited to try again. I was at my highest when all of this started. I felt misunderstood, frustrated and sad. I thought to myself, “does God hate me?”  All I wanted was  to have a family. Why must one person deal with so much? I started looking at my life as a whole and all I have been through. My mother leaving when I was small, my dads death when I was 24. The loss of Nash. A second trimester miscarriage with my third, only to become sick when I was ready to finally try again. Yep, God hated me. I was convinced. I must have been a horrible person in some previous life to deserve all of this. I unpacked all my emotional garbage and threw the biggest pitty party this world has ever seen.

Boy Mom

The day of our induction, they asked us if we would like genetic testing done on our baby. They warned us that it would be expensive, but may give us answers as to why we lost the baby. Not only would it give us these answers, but we would find out the gender as well.  We didn’t care about the cost; we just wanted to know. After all, Todd and I were on the brink of deciding if our family was complete. We needed all the information possible before we made that very difficult decision.

I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t think of Nash. What if there was something wrong with him, something they didn’t catch, something Crue may have as well…like some sort of genetic heart condition?  Waiting for those results was excruciating. At that point, we felt we may be done having kids, but we wanted to make that decision for ourselves, not because of some condition or genetic error Todd and I might have that forced our hand.

A couple of weeks later, our doctor called and left a voicemail to call back. I am terrible with my phone, and didn’t check my messages until the day after when she called again. It wasn’t like her or her office to be so persistent. I knew they must have the results. Driving to the office that day, I was filled with anxiety. I told Todd to go to work because I know working and staying busy helps him. There was no reason for both of us to be there. I regretted that decision as soon as I hit the waiting room. I wanted him there. I wanted to be comforted by the only other human on this planet going through exactly what I was going through at that very moment. I wasn’t sure what I was so nervous about. What was I hoping to hear? What was a good result? It reminded me of getting the call that Nash’s autopsy was in. Not nearly the same level of anxiousness, but similar in the feeling that we may be getting life changing news.

I tried to read the faces of the ladies that worked there. Did they know what news I was about to get? Did they seem sad for me? As I was escorted to the operatory by Loraine, a nurse I have grown to love over these last couple years of baby making, I searched her face for reassurance. She told me she was retiring and we talked about work. After she had taken my vitals and was walking out…I felt that familiar lump in my throat and manged to get out, “Loraine, i’m a little nervous about this.” I tried to smile through my cracked voice, and she smiled back and said, “It’s going to be just fine.” As I sat there alone, my stomach started to turn and my hands became sweaty. I was fidgeting nervously when I heard that familiar knock at the door as Dr. Hardas entered. We made a little small talk and then she went right into what birth control I was considering. My mind went immediately dark places…birth control?!?! She is going to tell me not to have any more children? Maybe I have cancer? I mean, I thought of every scenario, both rational and irrational. She then said she was pleased that we did in fact get a result. She said that because the baby had no heartbeat for so long before I delivered, she wasn’t sure they would be able to get any information at all. She smiled and said, “it was a boy.”

I bit my lower lip and tried my hardest to fight back tears as I pictured my boys. I braced myself for what I was going to hear next. She then said, “He had Down Syndrome”. It took some time to process what she said and my feelings about it. This news hurt for a couple of reasons. One, because I could picture a little boy with Down Syndrome, and just that image made me happy and sad all at once. Todd and I had always said it would never be a question, we would have a baby with Down Syndrome and love him/her wholeheartedly. We have both been around these children, and even joked years ago that the world would be a better place if we all could bottle their happiness and love of life. I imagined a happy little boy with that familiar smile and my tears began to flow.  It felt as if in that moment I had met him in my mind. The other sadness was more of a guilty feeling because I did have some relief.  I know that not all children with Down Syndrome live long lives. Todd and I would have most likely buried another child, and I just don’t think we could have beared that. I also have friends who have children with Down Syndrome, and lets face it, its hard. These children have medical issues and go through multiple surgeries. I felt like what should have happened, naturally did, and it made me sad that I felt that way. The doctor was relieved to tell us the flu did not cause it. She saw how guilty Todd felt for giving me the flu, and she was happy to give him some relief from that burden he was carrying.

As soon as I got to my car, I started bawling. I don’t know if it was because I had been trying to hold back my tears for the last hour or what? I just remember telling myself, get to the car before you lose it. As soon as I shut the door behind me  I was hiccup crying.  I called Todd to tell him. As I told him, his reply was “aww” and then silence. I knew what that “aww” meant. He was picturing the same little boy I was, the boy we would have loved. I remember saying through tears that I wasn’t sure why I was so upset. We chatted for a while and then I hung up.

Over the last few months, Todd and I have talked a lot about our family. These were emotionally heavy and draining conversations. Todd and I always envisioned having a family with more than one child. We both have siblings that we adore, and we wanted that for Crue. However, we didn’t know at the beginning of our journey what we would have to endure to get that. Our whole marriage has been about creating the family we wanted. The first four years we spent trying to get pregnant and and dealing with the yo-yo of emotions that comes with fertility issues. Once pregnant, we thought those problems were over. Sure, we were having children later in life, but there was still plenty of time to have a couple and not be too far over the age we had wanted to be. Having Nash was everything we dreamed. We were on an all time high, just to lose him five short months later. I remember thinking what if we never get pregnant again? Four years it took for him, we don’t have four more years.

Crue, however, had a plan of his own. He came so quickly and filled our broken hearts with so much love. The anxiety caused by the thought of losing him during the first year of his life was brutal. It wasn’t until he was almost two when we felt truly happy. In the past were our fertility problems, in the past was the loss of our baby, in the past was the worry of Crue falling asleep and never waking up. We were ready. We were calm for the first time in a long time. Here comes baby number three, the baby that would complete our family. Then came the miscarriage, the hospital bills, the emotional and physical toll. We were right back where we started, anxious, scared, and sad. We have spent our whole marriage trying to do what comes so naturally to most, having a family. We want to be happy. We want to enjoy what we have. Everyone who knows me will tell you I always wanted three boys, that was my ideal family. Something about being the only girl of the house seemed sweet. I envisioned little boys covered in dirt, with skinned knees and ball caps. I could imagine teenage boys raiding my fridge and picking on me the way there father does. I have ALWAYS adored little boys….they simply melt my heart. In the end God gave me that, just not the way I planned. Three boys, two of which are angels. Our family is complete, it wasn’t what we had pictured when we started on this journey but in life, is it ever what you pictured? I know when I am older and I tell people about these past seven years of my life, the first years of my marriage, I will smile and cry reflecting on my boys and all Todd and I went through to have them. Pictures of what could have been will always plague my mind. I will envision myself the “boy mom” I always wanted to be. I think every mother, no matter her circumstances, has a hard time saying she is done, and that is no different for me. I have shed many tears over these last few years, and I’m ready to be happy and try to heal. As hard as it is to say it out loud, My family is complete…and if for some reason God decides differently, I’ll be over the moon to hold another rainbow in my arms.

Triggers

Anyone who has lost a loved one can tell you they have certain things happen in their day to day that trigger a memory of their loved one. It could be a song, a smell, or even  a glance at a familiar looking stranger. I not only have triggers that remind me of Nash, but specific triggers that remind me of the day he died or the obstacles I faced after his death. For instance seeing Facebook posts of other children born at the same time as Nash. I find these pictures to be excruciating at times. Todd says he shares this trigger. Part of the pain is jealousy, no other way to say it. I’m jealous they got to watch their babies grow and I didn’t. The random selection of the universe to choose my Nash. The other part is knowing exactly what Nash should be doing but is not. Seeing these kids starting pre-school or their moms welcoming their second children and seeing their firstborn hold them….it’s not an easy thing to see and not have some sort of emotion. Even pictures of babies that hit their 6 month mark make me think to myself, what the fuck did I do wrong?  Another big trigger for me is Seeing little boys with their big brothers.  I tend to stare at them and wonder what  it would be like if Nash were here, and how amazing it would be to see Crue and him playing together. Every one of my brothers and sisters has more than one child. On a daily basis I find myself  jealous, angry, even mad at them. Another reason holidays suck! Some triggers can be as insignificant as the  smell of baby puke if, you want to know the truth.

I could go on and on listing triggers. They are everywhere and hit me like a ton of bricks at the most random of times. I’m finding that with time I’m handling them better. Whether its avoiding them altogether or stopping my brain from letting myself get to upset once they happen, I truly have adapted to the role of a bereaved parent. That was until our miscarriage. This has been the trigger of all triggers!!! The actual  loss of pregnancy has been a small blip on the radar compared to all of the Nash triggers it has created. The condolences, the pictures of expecting mothers on Facebook, the empty feeling of going home without a child. I think I have cried everyday since the miscarriage, not because of the loss necessarily, but because of Nash….. if that makes sense. I miss him. God, do I miss him. 

I’m also dealing with anxiety and depression. These things are not new to me but I feel I have control over them to an extent. However, this  last month I have absolutely no control on stopping panic attacks once they start. I can no longer brush things off my shoulders, like I have learned to do over the last two years. It feels as if  all the time and effort I have spent getting to a good place means absolutely nothing now.  My anxiety is through the roof. My  biggest fear………….. is that Crue is going to die. Think about it. He is the only living child I have out of three, of course something is going to happen to him. I am obviously doomed. I think we have established that bad things happen, and they happen to me. I think about his death so much that I can actually throw myself into a full on panic attack. I have problems sleeping…I have seen doctors because of my irregular heartbeat (caused by stress). It gets so bad at night that it takes my breath away. The lack of sleep has caused me to have restless legs.  My hair has started falling out again and my irritability is at an all time high!  I am basically a wreck of a person. My mind  drifts to the darkest of places once im finally laying down for the night. It feels as if something is going to happen and I need to be diligent in making sure, that when they do,  nothing that I could have done could  have prevented it. Todd and I have been through so much, but the loss of crue would be the end of us, of life….just the thought of it happening is killing me a little everyday. Like I said before, I thought I got a pass after Nash died…now I know I didn’t. That if anything, something will happen because that seems to be the norm. I’m trying hard to dig myself out of these thoughts, this hole I feel buried in, but it’s getting harder and harder everyday. The only thing that actually helps is Crue…he is my lifeline. That’s why the thought of losing him is crushing me. Just thinking of it brings me right back to the day we lost Nash…Crue himself has become a trigger.

 

The Ugly Truth

Before I start this blog entry I want to warn you that I’m going to be brutally  honest about my miscarriage experience. That means I’m going to be talking about blood, a lot of it. I’m going to be talking about female body parts and a fetus. If this is too much for you, or you feel it’s in bad taste, quit reading here. When I lost Nash and began writing, I had more women write me about their miscarriages than anything else. They usually  said something along the lines of, “I know it’s not what you went through,” or “I know I can’t  understand you, but.” I feel I owe it to these women to tell this story with as much transparency as I can.

Let me just start by saying I’m appalled and embarrassed to be a 37 year old female who knew very little about miscarriages. I think most of my embarrassment is becasue half the women I know have had them and that includes my sisters and best friends. Not until I found out my babies’ heart stopped beating did they tell me their stories. Stories they consider the worst time of their life. So, if this was the worst time of their life and these people are close to me, how am I just hearing these stories now? I’ll tell you why. As a society, we are told miscarriages happen and they happen often. This is a fetus, not a baby; therefore, it shouldn’t be sad. Oh, and if it’s in the first trimester, it doesn’t even count. To a lot of people it’s like the equivalent of a hangnail. We are even told not to share our pregnancy news until we are in our second trimester. Why? Because our chances of losing them are high, so why tell people and go through telling them you lost the “fetus”. I’ll tell you why!! The minute those pink lines appear on a pregnancy stick, you are a mother. The excitement, the planning, and everything that goes into the joy of knowing you will bring a baby into this world is palpable at this time more than any other. A lot of woman who have miscarriages never carry one child to term, but have miscarried on several occasions. I can’t think of a woman more deserving of the title mother than one who has put her health and fear on the back burner just to have the chance to have a baby of their own.

When I thought of a miscarriage, I thought of a cramping and some bleeding. Yep, that’s what I thought. I think like all women, the fear of finding blood in your underwear was an ongoing fear until you reach that pivotal second trimester. I remember looking frequently and breathing a sigh of relief that nothing was there. Yes men, us women do that. If your wife is pregnant, ask her. She will tell you she has checked  her underwear for blood on more than one occasion. So, imagine if one day she finds it….alone. Women do this at home all the time. They go from being excited at the thought of becoming a mother, to blood in their underwear. What’s worse is that they are told not to talk about it. That although it’s sad, they can try again. Or, at least it’s early. Are these things true? Absolutely. Does it make their loss less heartbreaking? No! They have the right to go through the grieving process. We should be embarrassed as a society that we don’t let them have that. That we make them feel like it’s nothing and a weird thing to even grieve.

I had my miscarriage at 15 weeks. That means I was in my second trimester. What this means to me now, is there is no safe zone. I did what most women do and shared my news once I got past that pivotal mark. I held my excitement in for twelve excruciating weeks before I shared. In the end, it didn’t matter anyway.  Did it hurt more to tell people I lost the baby? No, it helped to have support. It helped to know people knew we were experiencing a loss.

For a week, I walked around knowing my baby was gone, but still carrying it. It’s a strange and emotional time. Every time I would take my shirt off, Crue would point to my belly and yell baby. I tried hard to quit rubbing my belly, but couldn’t. I drank caffeine and took medicine I wouldn’t normally, knowing the baby was gone. It was hard to tell my mind something my body hadn’t gone through yet. Emotionally, I was in a good place compared to most I think. I’ve been through the worst tragedy of my life. Once you have lost a child, it’s hard to trump that. If I had an overwhelming emotion, it was anger. To be frank, I was pissed off we were going through this. I grieved the loss of the pregnancy more than the baby, if that makes sense.

The morning I woke to be induced, I was irritable, moody, angry and quiet.  I could barely look at Todd. For some reason that morning, more than any other time, Crue could not quit talking about the baby. Even Todd thought it was strange because we hadn’t talked about it in front of him. When we pulled into my in-laws to drop Crue off, he gave me a hug and I started crying. He calls me baby since I have been pregnant and as I handed him off to his dad, he said, “bye bye baby”. I broke down in tears.

Arriving in the labor and delivery ward was emotional. You can hear newborns crying and most people are walking through the hallways happy, with flowers and balloons. The room we had was like any other delivery room, equipped with a bed for baby. I looked at the erase board in front of me. It had my name, followed by Todd’s under support person. Boy did that have a whole new meaning today. The objective/goal was pain control. My bed was lined with those paper pads and as I put my gown on in the bathroom, they had it fully stocked with pads, washcloths, towels, and those beautiful mesh underwear. To say I was freaked out was the understatement of the century. It was like in those mafia movies where they have the room lined with tarps  right before they shoot someone, you know to make the cleanup easier.

Our nurse’s name was Amy and she was a complete godsend for us that day. I asked her every question I  could think of. Knowledge was power and I wanted to know exactly what to expect. First question, “am I going to bleed a lot?” Second question, “what will you do with the baby?” Third question, “is this going to be like labor?” Fourth question, “when will I know it’s time to push?” This would be my first vaginal  birth. I had contracted with both boys so I knew what labor felt like, but I had never actually pushed a baby out. She said the bleeding would be like a heavy period and would mostly follow the babies arrival. She explained because I was a week out, that my body may have already started taking care of the fetus and she wasn’t sure what to tell me to expect. She said it would feel like labor,but because the baby was small, I would only have to dilate so much. I explained that we didn’t want our baby to go to medical waste. It’s weird because I felt embarrassed, like all those cliches tell you that you should. I felt embarrassed calling it a baby. I felt embarrassed caring where it went. I felt wrong asking if we could see it. The luxury of going through a tragedy like we did with Nash , if there is one, is that I have learned screw what everyone else thinks. We have to do what’s going to help us most. We have to live with our choices. I explained we wanted to see the baby, but if for some reason she felt we may not want to, I would have her describe it before she let us look so I could make a better decision. 

A resident came in and gave me  medication orally and vaginally. She said you will most likely feel something in the next hour and in three hours we will check your dilation. I was  told if I felt pressure before then,  to ring for the nurse. To me, taking the medication felt like having a forced abortion. I wanted this baby, so willing myself to take medication to get it out of me was emotional and scary. Hours went by and nothing. I was preparing myself that this may take a while. Right before they were to come in and give me more medication, (so about three hours later), I started to cramp. At first it wasn’t bad, nothing I couldn’t handle. It was quickly getting worse and although I could handle it, I remembered what many women who had went through this told me. Take the meds! Don’t make yourself go through anything unnecessary. I looked at Amy and said I wanted something for pain. So glad I asked, because in those ten minutes everything happened so fast. I was having full on contractions and I felt a pop. The doctor checked and informed me my water broke. All I could do was cry. Todd was there holding my hand the whole time and kissing my forehead. The nurse put some pain meds through my IV and this is where I became loopy and found out that pain meds make me completely inappropriate. I felt water come out in a rush. It’s a scary feeling to know your about to give birth to your baby five months too early. I didn’t want this to happen and part of your mind wants you to try and stop it. I was absolutely afraid to push. Without doing anything, I felt more water rush out of me, not knowing at the time it wasn’t water anymore, but a great deal of blood. The room started to spin and I got sweaty and felt like I was going to pass out. I figured it was the pain meds. I needed to focus on something else. I looked at Todd and asked him how he was doing. He looked worried, but answered, ‘fine’ and asked how I was. This is where the drugged me started talking. I said, ” you know, just over here rockin this miscarriage.” It was then I heard a lot of laughing and Amy letting me know I was her favorite patient. When I looked around the room it was then I realized every nurse on that hall appeared to be in my room. I heard them call my doctor over the loud speaker and thought to myself she was coming to deliver the baby. I mean, that’s what the doctor usually comes in for. Meanwhile, Amy was changing out my pad and every time I rolled over for her to put a new one under me, I felt more  “water” pouring out of me. That’s what it felt like, water. There was a ten minute period where they could not keep the pad under me for more than two seconds. Than Dr. Hardas walked in and I saw what I thought was a concerned look. Dr. Hardas is a very sweet, soft spoken, petite woman, who also has this motherly nature about her. She had a way of delivering bad news  where you were almost confused if she actually said  what she said. I remember with Nash, my biggest fear being a c-section. She walked in after 28 hours of labor and with almost a childlike chuckle in her voice, but also a motherly tone. She said, “Shelly it’s time for a c-section.” Almost like, lets quit playing around honey. In my current situation, my biggest fear was surgery. I had never been put  under for anything and I was anxious to say the least. She walked in and said we are taking her for a D&C. She than did an exam and I felt her pull the baby out. The nurses were working frantically and Amy looked at me and said, “Shelly the baby looks like a baby…would you like to see it?” She than put  a blanket over my chest and laid the baby on top. Looking at the baby, so small it could fit in the palm of my hand, I was instantly brought to tears. The baby had arms, legs,a mouth, a nose, eyes, and feet. It was different than my feelings with Nash. With Nash, I was not just devastated for him. I was devastated for my loss. I was completely grief stricken and could barely breathe. I can barely put feelings into words.  With this baby I couldn’t help but feel anything but bad for it. I felt badly I couldn’t carry it to term. I felt bad that my body failed it. I felt bad that it will never take one breath on this earth. They started taking pictures and the nurse asked Todd if he wanted to hold the baby and he quickly answered no. She then went on to explain he would never have this chance again. I stopped her right away. When Nash  died it felt so good to hold him that all I wanted was for Todd to have that feeling. I practically forced him to hold Nash and it’s my one regret. It did not help him. It made it worse. He didn’t want to remember him that way. He didn’t want to hold him after he was gone. I told the nurse he has been through this and knows what he needs. It was then I felt the room start spinning again. I felt Amy strap on the blood pressure cuff and soon after I felt the head of my bed being put down and nurses talking in the background. I then heard Dr. Hardas say, “lets go now! Are they ready for us?!” Previously, working at a hospital is a blessing and a curse. I know the head of your bed being put down means low blood pressure. Although Amie was being very reassuring, I could here the whispering of others in the background. Words like a lot of blood, loss of consciousness.Todd kept switching wash cloths on and off my face and feeding me ice chips. I could no longer keep my eyes open. I heard Amy kneel down beside me. She had promised to be honest and she was. She said, “Shelly, we are concerned about the amount of blood you are losing. I’m going to put some medication in your IV to try and stop it.” She saw me start to panic and told me to take a deep breath in and let it out. She then commended Todd on being an amazing support person for me. I felt the urge to push, but at this point was afraid to. Dr. Hardas said, “if you think you can try.” She was doing an exam during and I saw her glove covered in blood and more “water” rush out of me. She said, “No. We are taking you to surgery.” I’m an anxious person. So, at this point I know they are worried about the bleeding, giving me drugs to stop it, and there seems to be an urgency to getting me to surgery. With my string of bad luck and my anxious mind, I was truly worried this was it. This is how I was going to go.  I looked at Dr. Hardas who I trust whole heartedly and and said, “you look worrried.” She replied, “no”. I than said, “I’m nervous about surgery. Am I going to wake up?” She said, “yes” and I said “ok let’s go.”

I was confused becasue I was told the blood was more of a concern once the baby was out and you deliver the placenta. Dr hardas said that is correct but you have bled so much before that point we can’t risk it. Before I knew it I was being wheeled down the hall and to the surgery center. The anesthesiologist said I’m sorry today is not going as planned. I said, ” with everything that has happened today, you actually scare me the most.” I could tell the nurses and doctors were more calm now that I was almost in surgery. At this point I was feeling pain, the urge to push and fighting to stay awake. I felt todd kiss my forehead and tell me goodbye and I didn’t even have the energy to reply. I felt them move me to the bed and I felt one arm being strapped  down and a nurse putting an oxygen mask on me. The anesthesiologist whispered in my ear, your about to fall aslee….that was that. I woke up three hours later so ecstatic to be alive I started yelling, “margaritas for everybody!” 

As they wheeled me into recovery I kept looking for todd. It’s funny becasue I know he can do nothing medically for me, yet I feel safer with him in the room. I asked the nurse if someone had talked to him, I knew he would be worried. She said, “yes.” Then I heard her say one unit of blood, donor W607. I looked up and saw I was getting blood and all I could think was, ‘thank you W1607’.My temp was quite low, so they kept putting warm blankets on me and after what seemed like forever, they wheeled me in the hall. I was hoping to see Todd, but no. Then I was wheeled in my room where I knew he would be, but he still wasn’t. I found out later Dr. Hardas could not find him in the waiting room. My poor husband sat for three hours with no updates on my condition. Dr. Hardas ended up calling me she felt so bad she didn’t get a chance to speak to either of us. Thankfully, my sister-in-law, Caroline came up to the hospital and sat with Todd. I can only imagine what he was going through.

Amy was very doting, helpful and attentive. My night nurse was what I like to call a short cut nurse. Most people don’t appreciate a short cut nurse, but at night time they are a blessing. What I mean by short cut is, they bring you three full glasses of water at once to get you through the night. They turn your IV down so you don’t have to pee every ten seconds. They also unplug your IV and give you a short tutorial on how to get your own ass to the bathroom and back without ringing. I saw her once the entire shift and slept the best I ever have in a hospital.

I can honestly say Todd and I are doing extremely well emotionally. We have had our big loss and everything fails in comparison. I will say this, had I not been through what I have,this would have been the most traumatic experience of my life. To know women do this all the time is heartbreaking. I think people would be surprised how many women they know that have not only been through this, but have done it multiple times. I for one think it’s time to break the silence and stigmas that go with having a miscarriage. If you share this post and want to break the silence regarding your own angels, let us know how many you are a mother to. I am a proud momma of three❤

The unthinkable 

When I got sick with the flu, I felt like death. I had never really had the flu before so I wasn’t sure if I was being the biggest baby in the world, or if what I was feeling was out of the norm. I woke Wednesday morning and could barely stand. When I stood up, I got instantly hot and sweaty and felt I was going to pass out. I had been up all night because of how crappy I was feeling and just figured I may need some sleep,but when you have an almost two year old, that’s not going to happen. I had never taken Any medication with either of my boys, but I didn’t think I could get through this and care for Crue without something. I called the doctor and she got me in right away. As soon as I was in the doctors office, my symptoms went from bad to  worse and I could barely walk without falling. They quickly put a monitor on me to check my oxygen, which was good, but every time I stood or sat up, my heart rate would jump to 160. They kept me there for quite some time. My influenza test came back positive, but they were more concerned about my heartrate and how it was affecting the baby. They called  Dr. Hardas and decided to send me to the hospital. I had to actually call Todd for a ride because they wouldn’t let me drive. We dropped Crue off at my in-laws and away we went.

One of my husband’s best friends,Dave who is a nurse at the hospital, and his wife Rachel, who is a doctor there, made sure to get us back right away. They were actually waiting at the hospital door the day Nash was brought in. They had assembled the best doctors and nurses they could for his arrival, and to this day, I’m so grateful knowing he not only had amazing people working on him, but two people there that loved him and would be with him until we could be there ourselves. To say these two are special to us is an understatement. We are even godparents to their son Cal.

As they got me in a room, I started feeling better. Not good, but better. Rachel started asking me questions and took out the heart monitor to listen to the baby.  It didn’t take long, but she heard a quick heartbeat resembling the baby’s and I felt immediate relief. I think between the chaos and how fast my heartbeat already was, she took out a bedside ultrasound  to check as well. She could not find the heartbeat, but assured me  the machine was not the best and she would send me to an OB where they could do a more thorough one. You would think I would be freaking out at this point, but I wasn’t. The machine did look old and I was confident they found the heartbeat with the monitor. I was actually excited to go to OB and hear the little tyke. They gave me fluids and I was feeling terrible, off and on. My resting heartrate was 100, but if I even sneezed it would go to 140. Rachel was concerned and told me they would be keeping me overnight to monitor my heartrate. I was actually relieved  because I kept feeling like I was going to pass out and it was a scary feeling. By the time ultrasound finally got me back, I was feeling awful. I was having shortness of breath. I was so tired from not sleeping that  I could barely keep my eyes open and to top it off, I felt sweaty, hot, achy, and the feeling of passing out kept coming and going.

When the lady started  the ultrasound, I was  so tired I barely looked. Until she smiled and said, “look the babies hands are crossed in front of its face.” Todd laughed and said, “I don’t know how you can tell, looks like a monkey to me.” I yelled at him and said, “stop it! it’s adorable! Then she pointed out the face, eyes, and such. She didn’t let us hear a heartbeat, which was strange, but told us the baby was just the right size for 15 weeks. I felt reassured.

Todd felt so reassured that he actually left for our tax appointment and said he would hurry back. He knew I was in good hands with Rachel and Dave. As they carted me back to my room, I saw Rachel behind the desk looking at the ultrasound pictures. I can’t explain what it feels like to know someone who loves you is going above and beyond to make sure everything is ok. Once I was back in the ER room, my heartrate started to spike and Rachel popped in to check on me. She asked if ultrasound said anything to me and I explained what they had told us. She asked where Todd was and I had told her that he had just left. She looked concerned. She leaned back against the counter and softly said, “Shelly, they didn’t find a heartbeat.” I stared at her not quite understanding and my monitor started beeping because my heartrate went up again. It continued to beep as she explained further. She said Dr. Hardas and her resident were in the building but would be down to talk to me soon. Tears started coming out of my eyes and Rachel leaned in and grabbed my hand and said, “I’m so sorry Shelly.” At that moment I knew for sure, the baby was gone. I messaged Todd and he was in such shock he headed back my way immediately. While he was gone, a very nice, warm younger  doctor from OB came in. Dr. Hardas was in surgery and she came to talk to me until Dr. Hardas could see me herself. As she started to talk, I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore. She said how sorry she was and how this is the hardest part of her job. Between my shortness of breath and sobbing, all I could think about was what if they’re wrong. I asked her,  “is there anyway they can look again?” Of course she said she would and she pulled the bedside ultrasound out and looked. She showed me the belly and pointed to where the heart was and explained the no fluttering. She left it there for a while just to make sure. She then explained that this was not an ideal situation for a number of reasons. My low immune system due to the flu, the chance of infection. She would have to consult with my doctor and see what the next steps were. Todd walked in and hugged me. The doctor explained more and than left us alone. I just looked at Todd crying and said, “never again. I can’t do this ever again.” I saw Dr. Hardas walking our way through a crack in the curtain and she was teary eyed herself. She explained they would give me Tamiflu and once I was no longer infectious, they would give me medication to induce me. She apologized and explained that sometimes they don’t know why these things happen, but that they would be running tests to make sure it’s nothing genetic.

Even though I was exhausted, I couldn’t sleep a wink. When the resident  came in at noon the next day I was alone. Todd had just left to check on our dogs and Crue. He left my side twice during this whole experience and both times turned out to be the worst timing ever. It was the same resident as the day before and I was thankful for that. I was surprised when she said they were recommending to the doctor that  I be sent home. She felt I would be more comfortable there and now that my heart rate was down I was only really being kept there for flu medication. She explaiend becasue of how far along I was and I was showing no signs of infection they were confident they could wait until the flu was gone and bring me back. She was very sweet and explained everything to me. She said they would bring me back in five days and give me medication to dilate me and induce labor. That it wouldn’t be as bad as regular labor, but that I would have severe cramping and such. She also said they would be able to give me pain medication to make the process easier. She explained it could be a lengthy stay and so I was to come back Tuesday morning to ensure I could leave the next day. I asked her questions mainly about what to expect and if we kept the baby. I felt strange asking but I truly wanted to know if they were just going to throw it away. She went on further to explain I was right at the line of wanting the fetus or not, burying it or not. That at 20 weeks, almost all women want the baby. At 15 weeks it just depends on the parents. I couldn t believe this was happening. I started to cry and she placed her hand on my leg and said, “I’m not sure why these things always happen to the nicest people.”

For some reason I thought after Nash I was going to get a pass for the rest of my life – that  no more difficult things would be thrown at me or at least traumatic things. I felt almost in a safe bubble. Boy was I naïve. So now it’s a waiting game. I’m at home taking medication and feeling better. I’m very anxious and nervous about the days ahead and what’s  to come. I find myself confused, angry, sad, and numb to be honest. I want to scream out to the universe, “MERCY!!!!! FOR CHRISTS SAKE MERCY!!! I CAN’T TAKE  ANY MORE!!! I CAN’T HANDLE ANYMORE!!!  Who gets the flu and finds out they are also having a second trimester miscarriage…what the hell did I do wrong in life? When did I become the person bad things happen to?”

It’s coming wether we are ready or not. So,here we are at another difficult “bump” in the road. It’s crazy when I think about the starting of a family, it’s supposed to be the best time of your life. For Todd and I, it has proved to be the opposite. This is a hard time, a difficult one, full of pain and sadness. Who knew wanting a family would bring us down such a dark road. When I got home and looked at Crue I understood why though. That no matter how hard it is to have a family, it means everything. It’s worth everything.

The plague

I’m one of those people, that although I know you can lose a baby after the first trimester, I knew it was rare in comparison. Something about hitting that 14 week mark makes you want to do cartwheels and sing from the roof tops. I think many pregnant women  can tell you they breathe a little easier knowing they are past that mark, and I was no different.

I have a Doppler at home that Todd had given me when I was pregnant with Nash. I have loved it for all my pregnancies up until  this one. It had given me so much peace of mind in the past. It became part of my daily routine  to wake up, shower and listen to the boys. With this baby however, it’s filled me with a lot of anxiety. I could hear the boys around 9 weeks and with this one, nothing. When I went to my 10 week check up, I told on myself.  With shame in my voice  I told dr hardas I had a Doppler at home (I guess they frown on that) she didn’t however, she actually smiled and said , “that’s good.” I told her my concern, that I hadn’t heard the heartbeat yet. She assured me it was still very early. She then  placed the monitor to my belly and within ten seconds there it was. It was amazing. It’s funny how that sound never gets old. I went home with a huge weight off my shoulders and a reminder that I am not a doctor. 

Through the next couple weeks I tried again and still nothing. I tried to remain calm but it made me extremely nervous. I wanted that peace of mind, that reassurance that all was well. I messaged my cousin Christina several times about it and she had googled and found that sometimes due to scar tissue from previous c-sections it could be harder to find. She also encouraged me to call the doctor if I was that worried. I really didn’t want to walk down that road of shame again. To call the office and say that I couldn’t find the baby on the Doppler that my husband probably purchased on amazon, just to hear the doctor find it seconds later. I told myself, I have had no cramping, nothing unusual other than that,  so I’m sure the baby is  fine. Around 14 weeks  I started to feel those occasional flutters which gave me even more reassurance. 

 My 16 week appt was in a couple days and I told myself I would just wait until then.  Of course my family got hit with the flu and the appointment I had been waiting for I had to cancel. I had never been this sick in my life!! I knew it would be bad.  I had already seen Todd and Crue go through it. Todd got so sick I was worried he may even need to see a doctor. Of course being the guy he is he refused. I had heard how hard the flu could  be on someone who is pregnant and I couldn’t imagine being sicker than Todd  was. I tried to disinfect everything in the house on a daily sometimes hourly basis. I wouldn’t even let todd Lay near me….but when your sick baby pushes his little snotty face against your cheek so he can fall sleep or wants a kiss, it’s hard to say no. I knew the flu was coming and it didn’t dissappoint. 

The decision 

Deciding to have Crue was not much of a decision at all. We went by our gut, our emotions. No conversation needed, just a silent understanding and a longing to have the family we once had. It wasn’t until we became pregnant that  we actually thought about what we truly got ourselves into. Yes, we would be a family again, have another child to love, but we were also about to face our greatest fear. The first 8 months of Crue’s life were  the most stressful and hardest days of my life. The constant fear that if I slept he would die when I wasnt watching him. That ten minutes of panic,  three times a night, where I would wake and reach for him to feel his chest rise and then panic until it finally did. It was not only hard on me, but it was hard on our marriage. Any child is an adjustment and can create conflict, but when you are in constant fear of losing them you tend to disregard your spouse completely so that all of your attention can go where it’s needed most, keeping your child alive. Todd and I always wanted at least two kids. When we had Nash, Todd wasn’t so sure anymore. He loved giving all of his attention to one child. I absolutely know we would have had at least one more if he was still here. I couldn’t live with myself if he didn’t have a sibling.

Once Crue was born, Todd was absolutely positive he was done.  Like I said, the beginning of his life was stressful. When you start actually living again, taking breaths, being able to leave him with someone else, it’s hard to want to start over. To go through that panic for another year of your life. We went from severe and absolute grief, to panic and anxiety that it would happen again. We are finally in a better place, a happier one. Why would we put ourselves through another year of that? I thought a lot about the future. I think about Crue playing alone and the guilt I would feel knowing he has a brother, but is now an only child. I thought about him saying one day that he wished he had someone, and how those words would tear my heart apart. I’m 37, so my clock is not only ticking, it feels like it’s attached to a nuclear missle with ten seconds left. I knew I wanted another and I wanted one sooner than later. Todd on the other hand, took some persuading. Eventually, he came around and I thank God that he did. For me, it was one of the hardest struggles of our marriage. I knew I would resent him if we didn’t have another. I was already preparing myself for his decision, and it may not be the one I wanted. When we decided to try again, Todd’s heart changed completely. He was the most excited I had ever seen him. Not long after trying, we found out we were pregnant again!!! This baby is different. We are excited, happy, positive…I’m not as  anxious like I was with the other two. Maybe because it’s my third. Once you’ve done it a couple times you become more relaxed. Sometimes I even forget I’m pregnant. Crue doesn’t quite know what’s going on. Although I have shared there is a baby in my belly he believes everyone, including himself ,has a baby in their belly. He does kiss my belly on occasion, telling it “night, night” or informing me that the baby is sleeping. It’s been a fun and exciting time. Something about having a healthy child beside you and watching your belly grow makes you feel proud knowing that your family will soon be complete. We will be done after this baby and I find myself sad knowing this is my last pregnancy. I’m trying to take it all in and soak up everything and enjoy every second. We have worked hard and been through so much to get here and no day is taken for granted. Soon there will be four of us and knowing Crue will be a brother to someone, like he was always meant to be, makes my heart swell. I’m finding your heart, no matter how broken, can expand to make more room for what’s to come. So here is to welcoming baby number three!!  Can’t wait to meet you❤

Growing pains

Every parent can vouch for the fact that their baby grows up too fast. I feel that with Crue, I see it, and I fight myself internally trying to grasp at any way to keep him little forever. This past 18 months has been for me emotionally what a heart transplant would be for someone who is about to die without it. It’s a different love, with all its complexities, than what I had for Nash. Nash, being my first child, made me feel shock and awe that I created a life, that I was a momma. It was the first time I felt completely unselfish and loved deeper than I could have ever imagined. Deeper than my love for Todd, deeper than my love for my parents, my siblings, my friends. Nash showed me that as much as I thought I knew love, I didn’t.

I knew the moment I set eyes on him that I would gladly walk in front of a speeding car to save him. When I lost him…all of that love had nowhere to go. I felt stuck, numb, and alone. To go from such a miracle in my life, to my biggest despair, is something I still wrestle with today. When Crue came along, my love for him started out guarded and fearful. I was so afraid of losing him that I found myself torn between doing everything in my power to keep him safe, and trying not to connect to avoid one day being heartbroken again. I am no longer torn. I love this little boy more than life itself. He is like oxygen to me.

My healing Crue is my ultimate life support. He not only gives me something to pour all of that love into, but also he shows me on a daily basis that I only got a glimpse of just how much a child can love their momma and a momma can love their child. Don’t get me wrong I love Nash equally, but I’m experiencing so many firsts with Crue and am just now realizing it’s the tip of the iceberg of what lies ahead of me. It makes me unbelievably sad that I will never know what that incredible love I had for Nash would blossom into, who he would become and what kind of relationship we would have had. I can only imagine with the amount of love I had and still have for him would have become.

With Crue, I’m watching my love and admiration grow for him and with him. He is at that age where he can actually reciprocate the love I have for him.  When I pick him up from his babysitter’s house, he runs to me with arms open wide, screaming, “momma, momma.” When he throws his arms around my neck and kisses me so many times we both start laughing, when he cries every time I’m not in his view…well, it’s an amazing feeling. Being his momma continues to shower its blessings down on me like rain. I truly believe the only thing that can mend a broken heart is an amazing love. Crue has not just put a band-aid over my very fractured heart, but mended it with all his natural goodness. There are days when I am so unbelievably happy I have a hard time holding it in. To have that feeling again, it’s nothing short of a miracle, and I thank Crue everyday.

I feel guilty because every month he somehow becomes sweeter and more adorable and I find myself wishing him to stay small. Then I think of Nash, and that abrupt stop in time. I have to remind myself that I do want him to get bigger, that as much as it hurts to watch him grow, it’s been a gift to have. I know more than most just how precious life is. That your perfectly healthy child can be here one minute and gone the next. The panic that can instill in you is indescribable. I know with each day my love for Crue will continue to grow…I’m learning to be thankful for that and trust in God that everything will be okay.

Just yesterday, Crue pointed to a picture of himself when he was about eight-months-old and said, “Baby”. I got teary eyed and said, “You.” He giggled, stomped his foot and said, “Momma, baby.” It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that he is no longer a baby. That he is growing into a little boy. I want to hold on to him and slow down the process, savor every minute and take it all in. I’m also eager for him to grow older and be able to watch him grow into the young man I know I will be proud to call my son. Because of everything I’ve been through every kiss is savored, every age is a blessing, every day is a gift. My little light, my healing Crue, my second chance, my miracle. As much as I cry for his brother I smile for him. As much as It makes me sad to watch him grow, I’m overwhelmingly happy to know he will. 

Social media

All of the political views posted lately have me reflecting on my love/hate relationship with social media.  I remember not being able to go on Facebook for days when Nash first died . I knew there would be apology after apology, and I didn’t want what happened to be real. I didn’t want to face that I was now that person, that mother, that family that tragedy struck…I didn’t want to see the posts we’ve all seen a thousand times, but this time on my page. On the other hand, I wanted to see them. I wanted to know my friends and family knew…I wanted the reassurance that I was loved and that Nash was loved.

I remember the first day I got on and saw 99+ notifications and over 100 friend requests, not to mention countless private messages. I spent an entire day going through them. I cried, but I also found solace in the fact that so many people cared…that they were going through some of the emotions with us, the disbelief, the anger, the sadness. It was like having 1000 best friends on hand at all times. It became my sounding board. The place I went to to vent, not for attention, but to know I could express my feelings without judgement. That’s where the ugly side of social media can rear its ugly face. With the good, there is always bad. When you put yourself out there, a few sour apples will always try to ruin the pie.

It never bothered me before Nash. If you don’t like me, block me, it’s that simple, but some people can’t just leave well enough alone. I first started receiving bad messages the day I posted the picture of Nash and I at the hospital. A girl sent me a message saying she didn’t think it was in good taste to share pictures of your dead baby on Facebook. How it’s attention seeking and disgusting, that she would report me or other mothers for sharing such disgusting pictures and to let my baby just Rest In Peace. Another private message explained safe sleep and how to protect my next baby (mind you, this was before anyone even knew how or where he died). It went on to say that most baby deaths are preventable if I abide by the recommended guidelines.

I also saw happy posts from friends who had posted earlier about how sad they were for me. Minutes later, they were posting how they were at the best concert of their life. Reality struck that although they are sad for me, it’s fleeting. They are not living my pain, and I can’t expect them to.  I remember deactivating my account immediately. Those few messages wrecked me. How powerful some people are when behind a keyboard. How knowledgeable someone is when they see something online. How cruel some people can be to a grieving mother they have never even met. I didn’t care if I ever got on Facebook again!!!

It was in that time that I realized I wanted to write my story. I wanted no speculation or misinterpreting anything when it came to Nash. I also wanted to share my story to all who had been so compassionate to my family. Who wished their condolences and never once asked what happened, no matter how much they wanted to know. I wanted those people to know, not to wonder, not to hear rumors. I wanted them to know straight from me how I was doing and what had happened to my family. When I activated my account again, it was to share my blog posts. I didn’t plan on reading anything, just sharing. I couldn’t help it though, I read the comments, and the encouragement I got was overwhelming.

Soon after that, Nash day exploded as well, and I saw the positivism social media can spread in the matter of minutes. Over 10,000 people reading what I wrote . Thousands of acts of kindness being spread…it was amazing. Social media has been good to me, to say the least!  Do I still get bad messages? Unfortunately, yes. Just recently, a friend told me that I’m avoiding dealing with Nash’s death by writing, changing my profile picture to Nash every ninth, and still throwing him a birthday party. She said it was out of love that she was telling me this, that I needed to move on and these things weren’t letting me.

If there is a any positive that has come out of Nash’s passing, when it comes to me personally and how I deal with things, it’s that I have developed tough skin. I no longer care if I’m sharing to much, if my friends may think I’m attention seeking or dwelling. When you lose a child, things like that become trivial in the grand scheme of things. It’s not on my radar of importance. I don’t ask people to like me or what I share. I don’t ask them to  like what I have to say.  As easy as it is to belittle or judge me, it’s even easier for me to hit the delete or block button.

After the election, social media has become a war zone of its own, and I find myself holding back from many posts and caving on others. I’ve seen both sides of the spectrum. I’ve seen hate fill my feed in seconds, and I have seen kindness do the same. There truly cannot be one without the other. The same friends who are posting some of the most negative comments I have ever seen have also posted some of the most positive, on days when I needed them most. Sometimes I have to take a deep breath, remind myself that these are in fact my friends, and hold back the judgement that they have so graciously held back from me. Just like the world, social media can be a dark place and a good place to be, it just depends in how you choose to see it. Is your glass half full or half empty? Are these your friends or the enemies? Do you choose hate or choose kindness? I know what I choose, do you 😉