Trying to Find Our “Normal”

While I don’t actually anticipate we’ll find any semblance of normal anytime soon, the search has begun. Sort of. More realistically, we need to find it.

I’m trying really hard to do the best I can do for my body and soul. I’m resting often, crying lots, talking about my struggle (you may have noticed that one) and letting myself grieve to the fullest. I’m surfacing when I have to, trying to be more present, and trying to reach out to others, even just in teeny tiny ways. I’m trying, though, guys. I want to do give myself the best chance of recovery, whatever that looks like, without sinking too deep.

What I’m calling “normal” right now is just the ability to deal with reality, and right now, that is SCHOOL! Dekker starts school full time next week. Its SO SOON! I’m honestly really excited for it. Not because Dekker will be gone, but because he is so excited! For the first half of summer, he really didn’t even look back at school. He didn’t miss anyone or anything, and he was just thrilled to be home. But he’s recently gotten a bit twitchy, much more energetic, and he’s been talking about his friends. He is so ready to go back!

His first week at school will just be a bit of an adjustment process for everyone, but won’t be too terribly busy beyond school itself. The next week is SLAMMED full, with Laela starting preschool!! She is SO excited to go, and I don’t anticipate many nerves or tears when I drop her off. She is so happy to go, and I know she’ll have a total blast 🙂 Both she and Dekker got a solid refresh yesterday afternoon.

Laela’s FIRST haircut!! (Thats a whole other story! 😂)

All of this being said, with all the positivity of whats to come, I can barely sort out which way is up without even adding school. My brain is still so foggy, and I want so badly to be dependable and reliable, but I’m positive I’m going to miss something.

With having just lost our beautiful Jamin, I feel so in over my head as it is, and now I have to reintegrate into the routine of school, and even that has changed! Dekker will be in full time this year, and Laela will be in preschool two days a week for just a short chunk of time. Co-op preschool comes with additional commitments, which I know about and accept, but it all feels huge currently. With this, I have some extra doctors appointments coming up soon, for obvious reasons, and beyond that, we also have important things in our life like friendships and our family who we want to put effort and love into as well. I’m not certain how I’m going to keep track of everything.

I feel like navigating JUST our loss is a big job on its own. And I feel like JUST navigating the re-entry into the school year is a big job, too. And I currently feel somewhat unprepared for even a single big job, being at possibly my weakest point. Possibly my breaking point. I’m not sure I’m strong enough for this next part, but I have to learn. I have to be able to put one foot in front of the other.

It is SO convenient that Brady has had a quieter season of work in the recent past. While its never fun to go through a slump, they always seem to come at exactly the right time. God clearly knows.

Having Jamin: The Details (Part 2)

Today’s post will once again be detailed and perhaps would fall into the “TMI” category, so feel free to read, but please oh please don’t get after me if you find it all too graphic or upsetting. Its important for me to write this kind of thing out. I’m resisting adding pictures of him in here, to be respectful of the audience, but I’m not leaving out the information. So read on with caution, or just don’t read on. I’ll reiterate that I am NOT offended if you don’t want to read these posts. They are upsetting and sad, trust me, I know.

*****

I left off yesterday right when I got my first dose of medication. It was actually placed right near my cervix, which was a bit silly, actually. The medicine can be placed internally, or swallowed, or left to dissolve in the inside of my cheek. Its my understanding that its just the dosage that changes, but the effect is the same. When I took the medication at home, I just swallowed it like a normal tablet. Somehow, though, lines got crossed and whoever ordered the medication was under the impression that I was already bleeding and that my miscarriage had “started” (Oh it had “started” all right, being that the baby had already passed away and all…) It didn’t really matter to me, though, how I got the medication. It was already ordered, and it wasn’t worth the fight to make it more comfortable for the ten seconds it took to take it. I just wanted it done. So, we did it up, and somehow, both my mom and I managed to squeeze in a few more hours of sleep.

The OB that was on through the night was not my OB, but another wonderful woman who was so warm and caring. If it hasn’t been made clear, there was not ONE person who made me feel like I was just some routine, standard miscarriage patient number whatever. Everyone who we encountered apologized and spoke for a minute or two about how unjust it was to lose a baby, and how they really acknowledged our grief. No one cut me off when I’ve cry or blubber or rant. I was given all the room I needed to talk through things and ask for anything I wanted. They even hung a sign on my door that made me feel so safe and cared for. The care I received was unreal. I remember even one time, hearing the woman in the next room starting to really feel her labour, and she was crying and moaning, and just a minute or two after that started, my nurse came in and basically apologized that we had to hear these things, and see if there was anything she could do in that moment. Like, I’m not kidding, they kept CLOSE tabs on me. It was pretty amazing.

During the night, I rang the nurses station once, and my nurse came very quickly. I told her right away that I wasn’t in pain or cramping or really anything remarkable, but that I had a wicked headache. Technically, I believe a headache is something they consider to be a red flag in my case, or maybe in the general case of labour, but my nurse was wonderful, and totally understood that my day had been huge and a headache was pretty much inevitable. She brought me some pain meds, a couple of warm blankets, and a heated IV bag. Did you guys know about those things? They’re strong like a hot water bottle! She encouraged me to tuck it under my neck or head or wherever was comfortable, and my headache was gone in decently good time. I snuggled it beside me afterwards, and it helped me fall asleep.

When the morning came, so did the night OB. She asked all the questions you’d expect. No, I wasn’t bleeding. No, I wasn’t cramping. Yes, I had peed, and there was nothing exciting in it. For all intents and purposes, I had nothing exciting to offer. She checked my cervix and the thing was still rock hard, closed, no change whatsoever. So once again, I consented to a dose of medicine. No big deal anymore, at that point. I was feeling quite numb.

***** Its going to get graphic right away here. You’ve been warned <3

Roughly ten minutes later, at 6:38 am, with zero warning, my water broke. I still cry when I think of it, because I totally panicked, and I wish I hadn’t. I had no idea my water was about to break, and the moment it happened, I thought “blood” and I panicked. I jumped out of bed and raced to the bathroom, asking my mom to ring the nurses. I thought for sure I was about to bleed out. You’d think I’d know the feeling of water breaking by now, but I didn’t. I panicked. I’m still so embarrassed by that. But regardless of regret or not, thats what happened. I ran to the bathroom, pulled down my humungous hilarious hospital underwear, and out he came. He fell into the little catch-all “hat” that was waiting in the toilet for me. I sat unmoving and waited anxiously. My nurse came rushing in and I remember saying “I think it happened. I think I had the baby.” She came into the bathroom and very calmly advised me to stand up if I could. I did, and she led me from the bathroom. There was really no time lost there, yet somehow, my bed was completely refreshed, and towels were laid over the mess I made on the floor from running to the bathroom, etc. She helped me get back to bed and and set me up, once again, with warm blankets. There was a lot going on in those moments, but I remember on one hand, my nurse and a couple of other people noting that I wasn’t bleeding at all yet. On the other hand, I remember seeing someone walk out with the the toilet hat containing my baby’s body. Really, that person walked out with my number one priority. Just moments later, my OB came in (I guess she had traded the night OB at that point) and informed me gently that the baby’s placenta hadn’t come out with his body. She said they were going to give my body time to deliver it on its own, being that I was barely bleeding at all, but that if it took much more than an hour, we’d have to go in for a follow up D&C. I knew this was a possibility, so I said that was fine. There was an enormous IV already in my arm, just waiting to be needed, whether for meds, blood, saline, etc. Before my OB left, I asked her when I could see my baby, and she said she’d find out for me right away. It was just a few minutes later than they brought him in for me, all wrapped up in a soft cloth. My mom and I shared a big cry as we held him and examined his little face. We prayed together, and kept crying. Once he was finally in my hands to stay, I called Brady and told him that his baby was born. We made it a quick conversation so he could get out to see us. Thankfully, Jerilee had left her phone on for us all night, and was easy to get a hold of so early. She headed to our house right away, and Brady basically tapped her in and drove to us as fast as he could.

I’ll be straight up here and say the next hour was unbelievably painful. I had no physical pain whatsoever when left alone, but to aid my body in delivering the placenta, I was given a uterine massage every 10-15 minutes. If you’ve gone through this, you know exactly what I’m talking about. You don’t forget those things. If you haven’t experienced one, simply put, a nurse would come in and massage my lower abdomen hard, digging in as deeply as possible, in an effort to push my placenta and whatever else out of my body. It is not only gross, but amazingly painful. Everything is already so tender and irritated, having just delivered a baby, but then to have SO MUCH shoved out of it constantly was almost too much. Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand the procedure, and I see the value in it. I would never say no to having it done, because I believe that it is necessary. But it was so so painful for me 🙁 It was made slightly better by the fact that I was able to hold my baby boy the whole time. In between my uterine massages, we were left alone, for the most part. At one point, a couple of nurses came in and said they had tried to bring our baby in so quickly that they hadn’t had a chance to check for the gender. We all gathered around, and sure enough, we had a baby BOY!! It was so exciting to finally know! I had been waiting. Not too long after we found that out, Brady arrived <3 My mom stuck around for a while, but we couldn’t convince her to stay very long. She wanted to give us room to just be the three of us, so we finally released her into the wild, lol, and let her go home. What an amazing gift it was to have her stay with me in the hospital. Mom, I could NOT have done any of it without you!! <3

After an hour of uterine massage, and what felt like POUNDS of blood but no placenta, I figured the inevitable was a D&C. I was prepared for it. I was so finished with the pain of the massages, and so ready to be done and home. My OB came in and informed me that, since I still wasn’t bleeding “too much” and things appeared to be under control, she wanted to wait just a liiiiittle bit longer to give the placenta a chance to come out on its own. And once again, with that, I was frustrated with the plans changing, and having to accept and come to terms with one plan and then going a new route. But clearly NONE of our plans were playing out as we had thought, so I tried hard to just roll with it. My nurse finished her shift and we met the nurse that would see us through the rest of the day and eventually discharge us.

Maybe two or three uterine massages later, it finally happened. She pulled the puppy pee pad out from under me and exclaimed “I think this is it!” She called the resident and a couple of other people in and they all huddled around my weird blood pile in the bathroom. I heard whooping, and had to laugh. The resident on that morning was so great, and seemed to have the perfect radar for just how positive she could be without being insensitive. She came out of my bathroom and celebrated with me. “You did it! Thats exactly what we needed! Great job!” Let’s be real, that was nothing I had done, but it was nice to see some small success. Small victories, right?

When my OB resurfaced, she checked over all the goodies that has been shoved out of my body, and said the placenta appeared to be in one piece, which is very encouraging. The fact that it came out the way it did, with no pulling, was very hopeful that nothing would be left on the inside that didn’t belong. I was informed that, of course there is always the possibility of a surprise, but at that point, everyone was feeling more confident, and they told me I could eat breakfast.

So I did. My sister had sent me a Starbucks gift card overnight (Yay for a hospital that has a Starbucks, and a sister who understands her sisters needs <3 ) so Brady went down and got me a latte and himself a coffee. We traded off, and Brady held our beautiful baby while I ate something and tried to regroup a little.

I have to say of our nurse that morning, she was so good to us. My favourite thing was how normal she made us feel. She’d come in to check my vitals so often, and each time, she’d take a peek at the baby, say how sweet he was, ask if we had named him, etc. It didn’t feel taboo. It was less about the fact that our baby had died and more about the fact that we had just had a baby. I don’t know if that makes sense, but it felt great to be able to talk about him just normally, like the part of our family that he is. I loved that. But besides that, she was making a clear point to be sensitive, and only one time she told us that we should let her know anytime we were ready to talk about our options of the aftercare of our baby, but that there was NO pressure and NO rush. And we felt it. No pressure, and no rush. Only time and sensitivity. Everyone there knew this was our one chance to hold our baby. They got it.

After several hours of holding our baby, we could tell it was almost time for him to go. His little body just wasn’t ready for earth, and while it was such a precious time for us to spend with him, we also know, as Christians, that our baby was already in heaven. His body was SO special, but it was simply flesh. We took a good handful of pictures, knowing full well that we’d regret it if we didn’t. I don’t expect I’ll ever forget his face, but just in case, I didn’t want to risk it. He is a family member, and incredibly valuable. We sat together, the three of us, and prayed. We told God we didn’t even know how to pray or what to pray for, but we thanked Him for holding our baby, and for loving him so well. We prayed for strength, and peace, and a lot of things that we’re still actively praying for today. We cried hard, but found the tiniest shred of peace, which is probably the most we could ask for at that time. When we felt ready, we buzzed for our nurse, and told her we were ready to learn our options. Lucky for her, we had already sort of decided the route we wanted to take, so when we brought the pamphlets and such, we did a quick scan of them and knew right away which one we would choose. She gave us another chunk of time to say our last goodbyes, and we finally decided it was time for him to go.

I handed him to her, and she took him so gently and carefully from my hands, making sure to readjust his little blanket around him. Never a single ounce of disrespect. She asked if there was anything last minute that we needed, and we said no. Out she walked with our baby, leaving Brady and I to weep together until we physically couldn’t anymore. It was SO awful, but we knew it was time, and felt peace in that decision.

For those who want to know, Brady and I chose the option of hospital organized cremation, which means we gave our Jamin to the hospital to send to a nearby crematorium. Rather than having a full internment and having his ashes dispersed in their little garden that is just specially for children, we opted to have his ashes held for us to come retrieve. Brady and I both felt that, if his ashes were to be anywhere, they should be with us. So, once again, please respect our decision, even if you think you would have chosen differently.

In the time between giving her our baby and getting to leave, we saw our nurse a number of times. She was so professional, but surprised me at one point by offering up a personal story. On her way out of our room, she turned around at the last minute and told me she had a miscarriage once. She was quick to say that she knew our situations were different, but I told her losing a baby is hard no matter when it happened, and I urged her to continue. She cried a little as she reminisced about how difficult it was, even though it was early. She talked about how, the moment you find out your pregnant, you plan your life with that baby. You see everything with a little baby added to the mix. Your whole life changes in that beautiful blink of an eye. And then losing that baby. Its so helpless and life altering, regardless of when it happens. We agreed, and had a little cry together, and then she left my room. That short conversation was over in an instance but it made everything just that much more personal. If you know me, I respect professionalism, but I LOVE when the professionals loosen up a little and get just a little more personal. Its SO special to me, so obviously, this encounter was also very special to me.

It took longer to be released than we expected, which isn’t really uncommon. I didn’t put it all in here, because I don’t remember when it all happened, but I had SO much blood taken from me, and between giving our baby away to our nurse and going home, I was supposed to have yet another blood test before I could go home. So. Much. Blood. After a couple of hours of waiting, someone finally came to take my blood. We then waited at least another hour for the results that would hopefully allow us to go home. When our nurse came in to give us results, she looked so upset. She told us that the man who had taken my blood had under-filled the tube, and I would have to wait AGAIN. I didn’t complain or throw a fit over it, but I was obviously annoyed. I was SO ready to go home. Everything was done, I was alive and bleeding the “right” amount, we had had our time with our baby, then given him up, and now we just wanted to leave already!  I didn’t say any of these things, of course, but our nurse seemed more annoyed than I was, even. She offered up that she was just going to call my OB, and when she did return, she basically admitted that she went to bat for us and our OB agreed to release us without this last blood test. I was SO appreciative of that. She knew how exhausted and finished we were, and waiting around for another couple of hours just for another blood test when every single one up to that point had been fine was just a waste of time. So we thanked her profusely, she took my vitals one last time, and then told us I could get dressed and pack up our stuff.

We checked in at the nurses station once all was gathered and we were ready to leave, just to let her know we were officially leaving. She wished us the best, and we said the same. Being the awkward person I am, I started to say something along the lines of “See you again soon” but it felt pretty dumb to even think that way, so I cut it off and instead said “See you maybe someday down the road.” She followed my awkwardness up by telling me she really hoped so, and that she thought we would be back there all in good time. It was a good encouraging hopeful comment that stayed with me. Maybe it was just lip service, maybe not. She seemed pretty genuine to me, and I appreciated that.

*****

We haven’t seen another medical professional since that day, but there are a lot more appointments coming up in the near future. September is going to be a fairly crazy month, but its all very important. I’m assuming, if you read this far, you’re not too put off by this kind of talk, so hopefully the blogs about my upcoming appointments won’t be too off-putting for too many people. I’ll keep rocking the disclaimers.

I appreciate the love and concern you’ve all put into me by reading and keeping up with our family. As I’ve said, I’m an open book. I’m willing to talk about pretty much everything, so if you have a question that feels taboo, please feel free to ask. If I left out the information on here, I probably just forgot. You guys know I’m not a private person at all. Don’t be afraid to ask. We want to talk about our baby, and that includes the difficult stuff, because while this story is gut wrenchingly sad (for us, anyway) it is the birth story of our Jamin.

Having Jamin: The Details (Part 1)

It has been two weeks since we found out that our baby wasn’t going to join us earthside after all. I feel like I’ve had enough time to absorb what all went down, and while I’m not in any way done processing it, I really want to share more details on our hospital stay, everyone I encountered, and how that long day actually played out. I know this post won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, and thats fine. I’m not offended if you read, or don’t read, or never ever read and have no idea what’s going on in our lives. This is still important to us. I want to remember the details.

*****

My day began at my doctors office for my routine 16 week prenatal appointment. It was a good appointment, all things considered. I hadn’t brought the family, and we had taken a good chunk of time to discuss some important things. We had made a plan to better my sleep, and we had talked about some nervous feelings I was having. My doctor expected me to be somewhat anxious, thanks to my previous loss this year. When I was pregnant with Theo, I had no indication there was any problem, but the one hang up I had was that I couldn’t feel my bump. You’ve all been through this with me. When we found out he was gone, it was hard to shake off that I had been right, and that there was a problem. This time around, I was trying to ignore the tiny little issues, but one thing I was having trouble shaking off was that my hair never really stopped shedding. When you’re pregnant, certain hormones make it so your hair grows in super thick and lush and you don’t lose even close to as much as you would otherwise. And my hair just kept on shedding, making me worry about hormones and deficiencies. I was right the last time, so it was hard to see past it this time. You get it. We were able to talk through it though, and decided more likely I was incredibly stressed out (true) and was maybe to the point of losing my hair :/ Not an unbelievable explanation, unfortunately. When it came time to listen for the baby’s heartbeat, as you know, she wasn’t able to find it. After a long effort, she asked if she could do an internal check and see if she could judge the baby’s position in my body from that. I consented, and she quickly discovered that my uterus was tilted waaay far back, which would be an easy explanation for why we couldn’t find the baby, if it was tucked way far back behind my pubic bone. We agreed, though, for reassurance, we would call for an ultrasound in the next day or two. I left with almost no concern, fairly confident all was well.

I called my ultrasound place as soon as I was in my van and they got me an appointment for early that afternoon.

You may remember that Brady was sick that day. I went to Walmart right after my appointment to grab some meds and Gatorade before going home. Brady took a break once I was home and I got the kids lunch. I called my mom and told her what had happened, and she offered to join me at my ultrasound. I weighed my options and thought about asking her to go be at my house with the big kids while the little ones napped, so Brady could have a nap. But I selfishly agreed to have her along with me. I couldn’t imagine being alone if my scan suddenly did go wrong.

This turned out to be the best decision I could have made. My tech came out to the desk before she even knew I was there, and greeted me by name. We all went back together and she tilted the screen more towards her than to me, which isn’t common. It was very quiet in there. All too familiar. Now that I’ve been through enough of the sad, scary ultrasounds, I know a little bit more. When the color on the screen changed a certain way, I knew it was basically the last resort search for life. Life that wasn’t there. A very quick sweep over to each ovary and she put the wand back in its little cup holder. I could feel my heartbeat in my stomach, and I tried to ask as casually as possible, “Doesn’t look good, hey?” My poor tech could barely lift her head and meet my eyes. She apologized, but said that no, it wasn’t good. My mom and I started crying, and our tech passed over a box of Kleenex. I asked her how far along the baby was, and she told me 14-3. A full two weeks ago. And then she asked if she could hug me! I sat up and hugged her. She cried with us. She told me she felt like I was family, and she was so hoping for our family. She knew how badly we wanted this to work, having seen us through our loss in January. She gave us some pictures and told us to take our time. She stayed with us. I started to spout and speculate after a while. She stopped me and aaaaall on her own, she offered up that she believes that these little souls are with the Lord in heaven. Now that is a ballsy move for a health care provider, I’d say. Especially since she wasn’t even supposed to really tell us our baby had died. But I appreciated it SO MUCH, because somehow, I think she knew that we felt the same way. She was so warm and safe and loving, which is what we really needed in the moment. I love her.

She sent my mom and I directly back to the doctor, where I was supposed to get the official “news” and report and everything else. It was a bit frustrating because the radiologist called my doctor but the front desk didn’t get the memo, so I kind of had to push my way in and no one seemed to know why I was there or what I wanted. Thank goodness, after a while, Dr. Guselle came into our room and we had the big talk. She was pretty surprised, as neither of us were really concerned at all that morning at our appointment. We talked options, but she told me it wasn’t as safe to just go home and try to do it on my own based on how far along I was. She asked if I’d consent to a D&C, and honestly, guys, I didn’t even miss a beat before saying I would. At that point, I just wanted it done. I was SO hurt, and SO upset, and with my miscarriage in January, it had taken so long doing it at home, even with medication that was supposed to make it happen. I said yes, sure, do a D&C, I want to go home. I wanted to see my husband and my kids. There was a lot of back and forth around whether to do things that day or the next. I wanted to see Brady so badly, but he was sick. But he was also supposed to work the next day. But would he even be better enough to work tomorrow? Or to come to the hospital? There was so much unknown. Dr. Guselle called and came back with the news that today was preferable, and we agreed to go. She sent the radiologists report along with me, and the name of which doctor I was to see, with instructions to go through RUH emerg. So we went.

Just arriving in the ER was one of the worst parts of the whole thing for me. I walked up to the front desk and someone asked me what I was there for. I told her I was there for a D&C, and was supposed to see this particular doctor. She seemed puzzled, and asked me to repeat what I needed. “A D&C,” I said. She got a bit louder and repeated “Here? A D&C? You’re sure, a D&C??” It seems so small, but for me, in that moment, she may as well have shouted it through a bullhorn. I kept myself composed, but very firmly said yes, and that my doctor had sent me. Someone was suddenly beside her who clearly knew I was coming, and they had us sit and wait for a minute before someone much more sensitive and in the know registered me. I was put in a sketchy little alcove with a bed and told to put on a gown and wait. It was there that we met the woman who will now be my OB. She was so sweet and understanding, and didn’t rush me at all. She took a bunch of info from me, and read the report I had brought along. She then informed me that, unfortunately, the baby was too big for a D&C. She said there are hospitals that have all the right equipment to do a D&C at this point, or even later, but that Saskatoon does not. She said my only real option was to do what I did last time, but instead of taking pills and having the baby at home, alone, I would do it monitored in the hospital. I told her that it had taken so long last time, but she assured me that I’d get more doses of medication than I was given at home, and while it could take a couple of days, it shouldn’t take as long as it took last time. And really, it was my only safe option. So I agreed. Shortly after our meeting, I was sent to an area to basically wait for a bed to open up for me. It was a bit of a sketchy place that I lovingly referred to as a holding cell, but it worked. My mom and I were left alone for the most part, except for someone bringing me some warm blankets. They also let me eat, which I greatly appreciated. It had been a while and I was needing some strength. We lurked there for a while, and I admit, I was feeling pretty impatient. It felt like it was the middle of the night, even thought it definitely wasn’t, but it was dark in there, and had been such a long day already. I was SO sad and discouraged, and I so badly wanted things to just start. After what felt like hours and hours, someone came with a wheelchair, and she, my mom, and I made our way up to the antepartum ward. It was the most fitting place, but I admit, I was very nervous to be on a ward with so many labouring women. VERY nervous.

Turns out, my nerves about little things were unnecessary. I was greeted by the charge nurse, and she was, once again, so sensitive and understanding and warm. I was given my own room, and my own bathroom, which isn’t actually all too common in that ward. The nurse gave me a rundown of where everything was, and basically the nitty gritty of what our next steps would be. She told me that, if there was time, they’d try to get me up to delivery to have my baby, but if not, they would be more than capable to care for me right there. I was so shot at that point, and I just stood in front of her and cried through her information. She wasn’t far behind, though. I’m sure we were quite a sight, myself pouring with tears, her trying to keep her own tears from running down her cheeks, me encouraging her to keep going, that we were going to be ok, etc. She finally got out all that she was trying to say, and said she hoped we could get my meds in and started soon. I agreed. But about a half hour later, she was off her shift and we met our nurse who we’d go through the night with. She was also wonderful. Everyone was, really.

My mom eventually ran home to gather some things for the night, for herself and for me. Brady packed me up a backpack full of all kinds of comfy clothes, entertainment, treats, etc., since we had no idea how long I’d be staying. While she was gone, Jerilee came to hang out with me. I wasn’t in the best state to be alone, and Jerilee brought some love and laughs and normalcy, which was wonderful and so so needed. She also brought me some stuff to do, which was so thoughtful and necessary. I had company all evening. But eventually, it was time to go to bed.

My mom and I lay in the dark, her on her little mattress on the floor and me in my bed, chatting. It felt like a sleepover, or camp, or something else much more fun than what we were actually doing. But it passed some time, and we did eventually sleep, which I’m not sure either of us expected. Its always a toss up in hard situations, I find, because I was SO tired but SO anxious and upset. Sleep is unpredictable. But it happened. And right around midnight, a doctor finally came in. She checked my cervix, which was hard and closed and not at all ready to have a baby, and gave me my first dose of medication. Somehow, we went back to sleep.

*****

Thats where I’m going to leave it for today. I know that seems mean. I promise, its not supposed to be an cliffhanger of sorts, to entice you to read the rest tomorrow. In fact, tomorrow’s post will likely be far sadder. But I’m so very long winded, I think I’ve spouted enough for one day. Please still like me, even if you don’t agree with all of our decisions <3

Operation Brady and Hailey Hang Out

Jerilee offered Brady and I a date night this week, and we took her up on it yesterday. It was SO generous, and felt like a good chance to refresh together a little bit. I halfway planned it, but Brady reminded me that we always used to come up with the right thing to do on the fly. So we made a dinner reservation but nothing else concrete.

I got the buzzed side of my hair touched up around noon, which turned out to be perfectly timed, because my hair looked all nice and fresh for our date. Not like fresh fresh, but done, haha! I went home after my appointment and did my makeup. I was nervous to do my face up, honestly. The last time I put on makeup was 12 days ago, I spent the day crying it off, and I haven’t reapplied it, because I’ve spent a lot of time crying these days. But I risked it, and it was so fun to be reminded how much I enjoy doing makeup! It felt like a treat.

Jerilee arrived around 3:00 and Brady and I took off just a few minutes later. We ran some errands first, which sounds lame, but was actually good. We picked up the few things Dekker still needed for school, some vitamins for myself, some jeans for Laela, etc. We did the few things that weren’t pressing but weren’t ideal to do with the kids. We took our time, held hands, changed plans when we wanted, and relaxed.

For supper, we went to the Keg, which we almost never ever do. Its SUCH a treat to go there! We went one week before we were married, and we went there for a date when I was pregnant with Rowan. Our server was nice, and efficient, and we both ordered a bacon wrapped blue cheese filet with a twice baked potato and asparagus. The only difference was that he drank a Stella and I drank sangria. Yes, one small pro of not being pregnant anymore is that I can drink alcohol. I love a good red sangria, but I’d give that up forever if it made any difference.

Our food was amazing, and we opted for a walk by the river afterwards. An old standby of our younger dating years. We didn’t make it too far before we ran into an outdoor dance class. We didn’t join, but we sat and watched and rested. My body is embarrassingly tired these days, and I hated feeling that way on our date. But the rest was nice, and entertaining.

We had thought we’d stop by the ice cream bus by the river and get dessert, but we decided to go big instead, and go for yet another old standby from our younger dating years. We drove back across the city to Moxie’s for a white chocolate brownie. We sat on the patio and enjoyed our dessert and coffee, all the while making fun of the music playing. It was good laugh, and reminisce, and heckle a little. It felt good to feel just a little bit more normal than we have in a while.

Operation Brady and Hailey Hang Out has commenced. We need to date more. Not because our marriage is falling apart, or because we can’t stand our kids, or anything like that. We just need to refresh sometimes, just us, together. Especially during these times of sorrow and frustration and just SO much emotion, we are limping through the days and crashing in the evenings, and we need those times to refresh, however long or short they end up being. I think it needs to jump up on the priority list. We have another errand that we need to run one day soon, and we need to run it together, without the kids. Maybe next week I’ll fish around for a babysitter to come sit in my house for an hour after the kids go down. I just need to start looking around and asking and accepting people’s offers. Time to accept some change, I think. Good changes.

Our Last Lake Day of 2017: In Photos

As promised, here are pictures from yesterday’s day at the lake! We took close to 200 but I narrowed them down to 40-ish. If you don’t have the “Layout” app, its worth looking at. Just a very simple app that combines your pictures and makes it a touch easier to share more pictures in less space 😉 Its all a lie, basically. But it works in my favor, so I use it. Aaaaanyway…

First! A shoutout to my husband, who took it upon himself to pull out his phone and take pictures. He doesn’t often think of it, which is fine because I’m usually pretty on top of it. But I was not yesterday, and he jumped on it. Thank you, Brady <3

There’s so rarely a picture of the photographer, so there you have it!

Now, forgive me in advance. I’m going to try to post these pictures in order, but airdropping them onto my laptop mixed them up viciously, and then loading them onto my wordpress account stirred them up further, so I make no promises. I’m doing my best!

First, this is everyone getting ready to leave. It was a bit overcast and windy, hence the hoodies, but they were super happy to get on the road! Seriously, I recommend everyone road trip with my kids. They’re super cute travel buddies.

Our first stop was the playground. We brought beach toys and swimwear but it was SO windy down by the water, that hoodies went on and came off with the sun. There was no loss there, though. Our kids LOVE the big playground at the lake!

At one point, Laela went down this slide no problem, her feet hit the ground, and she completely barrelled forward. She landed directly on her face, literally juuust scraping the top of her nose and her top lip. Her knees were both white and scratched, and the front of her hoodie was grey. She was SO upset, and had a big long cry. I could not convince her to go down again, but minutes later, she did it all by herself. I understand not wanting an audience when doing something that makes you nervous. I was so proud of her for being so brave.

This is Rowan and his new friend, Emma. On one hand, I wish I had a closer picture of them, but on another hand, she’s not my kid so this is probably best. She was SO sweet to him. He insists she was the best part of Waskesiu yesterday, without hesitation. He told her his name was Toby, though, haha! Weirdo.

While the big kids played, Brady and I hung with Solly at a bench, so he could play in the sand and shuffle around us. He was in his element in the sun and the wind.

He really couldn’t have been happier. 💙

When the kids started to wander towards the water, Brady went with them and got some amazing modelicious pictures of them. I tried to narrow the pictures down to a reasonable amount, but its a shame because there were SO many beautiful ones from his phone. But alas, I chose the favorites and that’ll just have to work.

My new favorite picture of Dekker!! <3

Laela was being all sneaky and bailed on the group, but she has a good daddy.

I went to the water once everyone else had tired of it, but I wasn’t alone for long.

Once we finally cold-heartedly broke of Rowan’s date with Emma, we headed to the restaurant for lunch. It was a yummy win. Everyone was happy to sit and rest and eat. Some of them were suuuper sweaty…

And sunscreeny!

Found this gem in my onion rings 🙂 Can’t leave it out!

Ice cream happened directly after lunch. I wasn’t sure if that was a good idea, because our kids have pretty good self control, and they won’t usually wolf down dessert if they don’t have room for it. But they had eaten well, and almost everyone finished their ice cream! Not Rowan, but he doesn’t usually go for sweets, so it wasn’t too surprising. Plus, his ice cream was apparently supposed to taste like Superman, so I can see that might’ve been off-putting. It was lovely to watch every single kid in our family offer every single family member a taste of their ice cream! 🍨

Ro preferred to rub the ice cream on his face or through his hair. But hey, to each their own.

We took another short walk after lunch, and made a special spot in the sand for Jamin. I wish we had taken a bit more time and made it a bit more clear, but the reality of life with children is that sometimes the timeline is just a bit short, and thats ok. Still felt nice.

Solly was getting super hyper and teasing his daddy, trying to wiggle down and wanting to go. So we went.

We attempted to take a couple of family pictures on our way out. None of them were quite perfect, though a couple “turned out” in their own way. 😉

The day at the lake was good for my heart, and seemingly for the hearts of my family as well. We’re all trying. We sure love each other a heck of a lot.

I hope you all enjoy a day today that brings some refreshment to you and those you love.

A Change of Scenery

We decided officially yesterday to pack up our kids and take a special family trip back to Waskesiu, just for the day. I know I couldn’t have survived a much longer day away than that, but I knew that the fresh lake air would be good for my soul. Plus, the big playground and the ice cream would make my kids so so happy. We didn’t tell the kids about our plan, but they picked up on the upcoming surprise, and sure enough, when we got them up this morning, they had figured out that we were going to the lake. Buncha smarties.

We picked up breakfast on the way out of town, and had the nicest drive up to the lake. No one complained or asked about timelines. We expect some of that, but were pleasantly surprised that the kids seemed completely content to just sit this morning and watch the world go by. When we finally turned off the highway and towards the park, Dekker recognized the corner and got everyone excited that we were almost there. They were so happy!

Being that its literally the last week before school starts up again, I expected a fairly packed place, with everyone getting in their last taste of the lake. Once again, we were pleasantly surprised when it was so nice and quiet. Brady and I could easily sit down while Solly shuffled around the bench, and watch the other three run around the playground. Eventually Brady walked with the kids to the water’s edge and they tossed rocks into the waves. They did that for SO long. I could’ve joined, but I sat with Solly and just took that break. After a while, the kids made it back to the playground and I wandered my way to the water. I sat for a bit, just listening to the waves that the strong winds were producing. I doodled the names of my little angel boys in the sand, and then had a good cry as they washed away. I knew it was bound to happen, but I wasn’t ready, which kind of makes sense. I wasn’t ready ten days ago either.

We finally left the playground and headed for lunch around 1:00 ish. A sweet little girl had befriended Rowan and was giving him an AMAZING amount of attention, hauling him in and out of the little kid swings, taking him from play structure to play structure, back to the swings, all the while with her hand on his back or pointing him in the right direction. She was so good to him, and he was not convinced when it was time to go. When he did give in, he came over and told me all about Emma, who “swinged” him. He loved her. It was a definite high point.

We went to one of the restaurants for lunch, and because it was clear we wouldn’t be in town into the evening, we went straight from lunch to ice cream, which the kids were more than thrilled about. They all picked the brightest, most obnoxious ice cream they could find. Solly, who would not buy into my chocolate peanut butter ice cream during our vacation earlier this month, he loved my NY cherry cheesecake ice cream. Brady rolled with a double scoop of dutch chocolate. A win for everyone, for sure.

We ventured out for a short walk after our treat, and found a place to take a family selfie. I’m not sure why that was so important to me, but I felt like we needed a fresh picture of us, just as we are, where we are. The funny face ones turned out the best, but you probably guessed that already. The photos are taking simply forever to load up here, so I’ll save those for tomorrow. Might even put one as a new blog header. I keep waiting to change it when we can add another baby to it, but that just keeps not happening, and we need a new picture so badly.

Instead of waiting for the kids to melt into a puddle of overtired tears, we decided to leave mid-afternoon. We knew they would all sleep on the way home, and if we could make that happen earlier in the day than riiight before bedtime, it would work out better in the long run. So we did. They slept a chunk of the way home, but not too much, and they’re now having some light snacks for supper before they’ll go to bed, not too much later than their usual bedtime.

I’m calling today a great success. I got to sit and breathe, sometimes alone and sometimes with a loving family member or two. The kids got to run and be around lots of happy, playful people. We got to drive and listen to music and just rest. Brady and I got to hold hands. It was refreshing.

We have so many beautiful pictures, but I’ll try to upload a post of pictures in the next day or two. The kids just love it there so much. I swear, if it wasn’t so close to school starting up, we’d probably try to book another short vacation there all together. But home is good too. <3 I’m so thankful for the home and community we have.

My Body Still Thinks I’m Pregnant

In a lot of ways, my pregnancy disappeared so quickly, but in others, my body can’t seem to figure out that I am no longer pregnant. You’d think if anyone knew that information, my body should really be at the top of the list. It was the one who was housing my son, and delivered my son, and is now completely without a baby in its womb.

What it is not empty of, however, is pregnancy hormones. I haven’t done any blood work or anything yet, but I know for a fact that I still have hcg in my body. It goes down fairly slowly, in my experience. As in, I would definitely still get a positive response if I took a pregnancy test. So because of these things, my body is still quite determined that its pregnant. And that is terribly frustrating.

Yesterday evening, a delicious supper once again walked through our door right at 5:00, and we enjoyed pulled pork on a bun, probably the best coleslaw I’ve ever had, and even a side dish of macaroni for the kids who might not be completely sold on the pulled pork. A very thoughtful meal. We ate together as a family, and everyone ate lots of everything. I realized halfway through the meal, though, that I had been sitting cross legged. This is not uncommon for me at all. Its just how I prefer to sit. But MY GOODNESS, my legs were in SO much pain! It took less than a second to realize that it was hurting where it always hurts in the way of pregnancy pelvic pain. Basically right between my legs and my pubic bone. So so sore. As soon as I made the connection, I put my legs down straight and changed my posture, but it was too late. I just couldn’t shake that awful sore feeling, that my legs weren’t quite attached where they should be. Because my emotions are wrecked these days, I couldn’t just blow past it and be a little sore. I mentioned to Brady how I was feeling, and while we were talking about it, Dekker got up from his seat at the table. He’s been getting up from the table mid-meal a lot recently, and we’re having to remind him to sit tight until the meal is done, but he came over to my chair and held out his hand. I asked what he needed, and he just put his sneaky face on and wouldn’t tell me. I pressed a little, because at this point, I had no idea if he was wanting something, like another bun or a high five or something else. There was just no way to know. He finally pointed up to our room.

Brady told me to take him up on his offer, so I took Dekker’s hand and he led me up to my room. Once we were inside, he snuck ahead of me and pulled back my blankets. I climbed in and he tucked me in, no word of a lie. He stood beside me and rubbed my hand for a millisecond before giving me a kiss and bolting back downstairs. In that millisecond, I asked him how he got so good at taking care of people. Mid-run from our room, he said “I’m just copying what you do for me!”

So I bawled. Because he’s amazing. I make sure to tell him often enough that he doesn’t have to take care of me. That I’m his mommy and its my job to take care of him, and I’m happy to do it! That he doesn’t have to grow up too fast. But its just in his nature, and I think that’s amazing.

Dekker’s softness was the high point of the evening, as my body went into spasm in the last hour or so that I was awake, and I could barely move my legs. It was so so painful. When will my body realize that I sadly have no more need to carry hcg, and my tendons can start to tighten back up? There are so many reminders floating around our house, and I do want to remember, but feeling physical pain is really the worst way to remember what we’ve so recently been through. I want to remember Jamin because Rowan is SO in love with the teddy that they gave us at the hospital. I want to remember Jamin because all three big kids pray for their little papoose every day. I want to remember Jamin because of our ultrasound pictures on the fridge and our baby pictures on my phone. I want to remember Jamin because my heart loves our little children so so much. But seriously, excruciating pain of the pelvis can take a hike anytime. Also, if my boobs would stop leaking, that would be great, too. Thats been one of the hardest things to ignore. My body should know by now.

It wasn’t my best night, but I slept. I was folding laundry in my room while the kids were eating breakfast, and I overheard Laela and Dekker talking about God. “I love God!” Laela said with conviction. From there, they started singing. Now, I don’t know the song they were singing, whether its a real song or they were just making something up, but Laela finished it off with “Jesus is with meeee…I think.” I’m going to have to try and boost her confidence in that statement, but I love that they are clearly thinking a lot about Jesus these days. Maybe thats the beautiful thing that is going to come from our losses. Our kids will draw closer to God, and dig deeper into what salvation means. I’m definitely praying for that. Feel free to join me.

Bravery That Doesn’t Last

I was feeling a bit stronger this morning, and I talked to Brady about making a short trip into the city. I figured the shaved side of my head could use a retouch, plus we could buy the couple of things we don’t yet have for Dekker’s upcoming year of school. Just a small, pressure-free trip. I psyched myself up to call the salon about a short hair appointment, and it turned out, my girl isn’t in today. No problem, I’ll just get in touch with her another day. But I hung up the call and cried. I am so easily drained and disappointed these days. So as you can probably guess, we didn’t end up going in.

Instead of going out, I tried to take a rest in my room, but that changed for the better, actually. Brady recently got an idea in his head of how we could move our room around. Right now, some change feels good, so I supported the idea. While I lay on the bed, Brady moved around the brackets on our curtain rod and replaced our curtains with prettier ones I bought off of Facebook. He then dragged our headboard and bed around (while I lay on it) and moved it to a different wall, vacuuming underneath everything as he went. The whole time this was going on, the kids played around our feet, hid in the closet, teased Solly with blankets, and scattered the floor with toys. Rowan brought me the stuffed toys that usually sit on my dresser in honour of the little boys we lost, and I could lay contentedly on the bed, snuggling the soft little stuffies while watching my beautiful children run and play and giggle. It was pretty lovely, honestly. A nice moment in a weirdly unreasonably exhausting morning.

Since then, Brady has vacuumed the whole house, and done a bunch of dishes. We have received hot suppers every night this week, and we have our last official planned supper arriving tonight. What an amazing gift, right? We are SO fortunate in SO many ways.

Brady is taking the big kids outside for a little bit, and the little boys are napping. I’m tucked into my bed now, doing a bit of research, and trying to organize my life. Its all so up in the air, and I feel so foggy and uncertain. These breaks are part of what’s keeping me alive right now. And currently, my break is in my nicely rearranged room 🙂 A small victory of sorts.

Meeting Milestones and Adding Light to Dark Places

Yesterday was such a heavy day. It was a strange realization, actually. I felt so so sad about so many things yesterday, and as a result, I was dozing off by 9:30pm. Its amazing how much your emotions affect your physical health! Big day.

I slept like a rock. Brady and I watched a bit of tv before we surfaced and got the kids up. We’re trying for a “normal” day today, so we’re at my parents. Brady is working on the deck and I’m hanging out with my mom and the kids. Let’s be real. My mom is pretty much entertaining the kids while I’m resting and being lazy. But its not an ordinary day. For a lot of obvious reasons, the days aren’t ordinary right now, but we had a really exciting positive today!

Solly tried walking for the first time ever this morning! He’s great at standing and flapping and celebrating and being suuuper cute, but today, he stood next to me, and took three super confident steps before sitting back down. And then he just looked up at me and smiled with that little scrunchy nose, so proud of himself. I celebrated like crazy, and tried to recreate his new trick for a video, but I’m sure you can guess how that went.

Even so, it was SUCH a bright spot in my morning. Way to go, Solly! Thanks for doing something awesome and making it easy to find a positive thing to write about and focus on this morning. You are easily one of the best babies. Top six, easy. <3

Dekker at the Dentist

So, confession time. We did not take Dekker to the dentist before kindergarten like we were supposed to. Everyone is supposed to take their kid in before they start school, and we did not. Dekker was in such a state of fear still at that age, and after thinking a lot about it, we thought rather than do a “gentle” first appointment and coming back a few months later for the real thing, we would just give him time to age and gain confidence. We know him pretty well, and this was just better, even though its not the popular recommended choice.

With the new school year creeping up, I kept thinking “Yikes! We have to take this kid to the dentist!” I was in a great groove of planning and organizing the last few weeks of summer when everything fell apart last week. Its been one week. At this exact time last week, we were with our doctor for the second time that day, talking about the steps we needed to take next after finding out our baby had died. Again. Its been a completely devastating week, obviously, and anything beyond getting out of bed to pee takes serious effort. Even that does sometimes. I was starting to feel pretty hopeless about Dekker heading to school, and all the things we need to do before that happens. And then Brady offered to make the call and book him a dentist appointment. The thought of going into a new situation with him where he might be scared makes me feel so nervous, because I’m just not strong right now, and I don’t know what I’d do if he panicked. Lucky for us, Brady is home for the next few days at least, and he was happy to take Dekker. So the appointment was booked for Thursday afternoon – today.

I had a VERY difficult morning, if we’re being honest. I never know how much to talk about on here, on this subject, but I’ll say that more reminders keep popping up of our beautiful Jamin, and I’m struggling with feeling angry with my body. But I’m trying to roll with the punches and be as graceful with this whole thing as possible. Its not especially graceful at all, but I’m keeping my expectations pretty low.

When I did finally drag myself downstairs, I asked Dekker how he was feeling about the dentist. I suggested, “Are you excited?” He said “No, because actually I’m frightened.” Frightened!! We had a good chat about it and I tried to encourage him to ask lots of questions if he’s nervous, and to ask for breaks if he needs them. I told him that things might feel funny or taste funny, but that the people who he met would likely tell him everything they were going to do before they did anything. He seemed ok, even though he insisted that he was scared.

The three other kids napped today, so I did the same and hung out in bed, resting my body and mind. I was SO happy to hear about Dekker’s appointment when they got out!

Ready?

Dekker loves the dentist.

He was nervous at first, of the cleaning, but they suggested he just lay on Brady. So they stacked the boys up on the chair and got started. He didn’t cry or fuss or fight. He giggled his way through the little buzzing brush, the water hose, and the suction hose. When his cleaning was done, Brady slipped off the chair and Dekker was more than comfortable in the chair on his own. From there, he had x-rays, that he cooperated with perfectly, and then he met the dentist to have his teeth checked and counted and whatever else. Apparently, he has the exact right number of teeth as expected, plus three of his 6 year old molars are surfacing. They mentioned that his teeth are pretty tight together, so he should be flossing (seriously, has anyone NOT been told they should floss??) and BEST of all, he has NO cavities!! That felt like a huge win, and a relief. Not that kids who get cavities aren’t cared for, I’m definitely not putting ANYONE down, but neither Brady or I had ever had a cavity before adulthood, and I’m hoping our kids have a similar experience. I wondered if I’d kick myself for not taking him last year if he needed a lot of extra dental work. But nope! Dekker’s teeth are straight, they fit his mouth, they’re coming in at the right time, and so far, they’re healthy. I’m so so thankful!

Thats his fake posed smile, lol! His actual bite is pretty ideal. Just a bit of an overbite.

The boys are on their way home now, and the nappers are starting to wake up. Its been a nice quiet afternoon alone, but I’m so happy my littles all slept well, and that my oldest actually enjoyed the dentist and had a good experience.

Its been a successful day on these home fronts. As for me, its been a struggle. We are one week out from having our baby son, and I’m in a strange place of looking for urns online and crying until my nose is peeling, and being too tired to cry anymore and trying to be productive around the house. We are being so well cared for, though, for which I couldn’t be more grateful. I have yet to have to prepare food, and I know for a fact that supper is coming for the next few days at least. We’ve been gifted with many treats, coffees, flowers, meals, etc.

We KNOW that people are thinking of us, praying for us, and sorrowing with us, and while I’m sad to bring people to sorrow, it is an interesting level of wonderful to know that people care about us and were anticipating our new son as much as we were. Thank you, once again, for all your love <3