Perspective

Perspective: Life after loss

Perspective is a funny thing. I’d give anything to not have the perspective I do, but at the same time I find myself thankful for it.
After losing my daughter in 2017 and then my daddy in 2018, my world will never be the same. I will never be the same. I’ve been rocked to my absolute core. But I have learned what matters, and maybe more importantly, what doesn’t.
I have completely let go of other people’s thoughts and opinions on what is right for me and for my family. I no longer have the headspace to let others occupy it. And let me tell you, that is a freedom I never thought I would have. People will tell you all the time, about things big and small, “you have to do this in order to do that”, but it turns out, you don’t. You can make decisions and plans that don’t make sense to other people. And you don’t have to answer to anyone except those that you choose to.
I’ve reached a point where I have so much joy, yet I still experience a lot of grief. Grief is never really over. It comes in waves that are sometimes easy to stand in, and sometimes knock the wind out of you. Sometimes the same size wave can have a different effect on you, depending on how steady your footing is at that moment. Grief and sadness AND joy and contentment can coexist. And they do. I am overwhelmed by all of them sometimes. Other times, they all coexist harmoniously. And all of the time, it’s okay to feel them all.
I only surround myself with people who love with their whole hearts. It makes relationships harder and more work, but it makes those connections so much more worth it. These people love me and my family in ways that I could have never expected or asked for, but they just do it, and I couldn’t be more grateful. We have truly seen each other through the good , the bad, and the ugly.
I hope you can have this kind of perspective shift going into this new year. I pray that unimaginable pain is not necessary in order for you to find it. Make your life look the way YOU want it to, work your ass of to make it so, and don’t let anyone stop you. 💛
Happy New Year 🎉

10-9-2017

Not our plan.

People say a lot of stupid things when your baby dies. A LOT. They don’t mean to, their intentions aren’t negative, they just don’t know what to say, so inevitably they open their mouth just to fill the void. I’m here to tell you, if you don’t know what to say, sometimes it’s better to say nothing.
I have been surrounded by love and support over the last 5 1/2 months. There are numerous people who I have relied on so heavily, and I am tremendously thankful for that. I talk about Nola every day. She fills my mind and heart in very much the same way your living children do. It’s not that I don’t want to talk about her, I am happy to.
But don’t tell me this was God’s plan. I honestly don’t care if you believe it is. No parent who loses their child is comforted by those words. They don’t help when your picking out an urn or receiving your child’s death certificate. They are not a source of comfort. They feel like a punch to the gut, every single time.
Don’t tell me “you can try again”. I know you mean well, but this implies that we tried and failed. We didn’t fail. We had a perfect baby, she died because of a tragic accident that no one could have prevented. There was no reason for it. You can ask me if we plan on expanding our family, or if we are planning on having another child? Just don’t act like Nola didn’t exist. Also, the answer to this is yes, we can’t wait for our Nola to have siblings, and there’s a nursery ready for them.
You know something that did really touch me? A colleague told me that she googled what to say and do around me. Because she didn’t know. That was huge! She asked me about Nola’s birth info and what she looked like. It was incredible.
At the end of the day, I’m putting one foot in front of the other. But just like any other parent, I am constantly thinking about my girl. So please don’t be afraid to bring her up, for fear of upsetting me (and that may happen) because I can promise you I don’t go 10 minutes without her on my mind. 💗

7-5-2017

How are you?

I’ve developed a hatred for the greeting. It’s just what we say, we honestly don’t even think about it, and half the time we don’t care about the answer. Not to mean that we don’t care about the person and how they’re doing, but we truly use “how are you?” as a greeting.
I’m fine. I’m broken. I’m still in a million pieces. I’ll never be the same. I’m still a mom without her kid. I still just lost her. I’ll never feel like my heart is completely full again. Some days I can hardly force myself out of bed. Some days I actually don’t cry.
I know that we will feel joy again. I know that our arms will be full. I know that our hearts will grow again with each of Nola’s siblings. But her piece of our hearts will always be hers.
So, 9 out of 10 times, I’ll just say “oh, I’m good, I’m alright.” And then the day can move on. Until probably 10 minutes later, someone walks in, “Hey! How are you?”

Supposed to be

It was 4-21-2017.

It was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. I was about to meet my little girl. But really we should rewind and start from the beginning.

Daniel and I struggled to get pregnant. It was an endless cycle of disappointment. I suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. We had been told that it may not happen, but we kept trying. Until last July, when I couldn’t take it anymore, the tests, the anticipation, the two week wait, over and over again. You see, when you have PCOS, you’re cycles already aren’t regular. Hell, sometimes you don’t even ovulate. So tracking is a nightmare to begin with. And then, you’re late, and you take a test, and you fail. AGAIN. You should buy stock in pregnancy tests, because your cabinet has at least 5 of them all the time. So one day last July, sitting in our driveway with tears streaming down my face, I told him, “I can’t do it anymore! It’s breaking me.” I couldn’t handle the disappointment anymore. And we decided right there, to adopt. We would meet with an adoption counselor in the fall. It wasn’t the first time we had talked about adoption, but at this point it was decided. Done.

And then – end of August, faint line. I was late, so I took a test (really just because I had so many lying around). It was positive! You could barely see it, but it was there. I didn’t believe my own eyes, so I took it to Daniel. He saw it too. Barely. I took another one the next day, it was a little bit more clear. And then I got a digital test, and there it was, clearly, “Pregnant 2-3 weeks”. I took it outside to show Daniel and we cried, right there in the driveway.

I had a relatively textbook pregnancy. Everything was good. Don’t get me wrong, I was sick and I ached, and I swelled from being on my feet, and the heartburn, oh the heartburn. But I was PREGNANT, I didn’t care about any of that. It had finally happened for us. Actually, my body functioned better in some ways pregnant. My PCOS makes my body not process sugar correctly (or sometimes at all), and with PCOS being hormonal, the hormones of pregnancy actually helped that. Meaning I only gained 14 lbs, but before you get too jealous of that, PCOS is the main reason I’m nearly 100 lbs overweight to begin with, so there’s that.

On December 23rd, we finally get to find out that we’re having a girl. Our sweet perfect little girl. We tell our families over Christmas and everyone is over the moon. She was the first grandchild on both sides. The first great-grandchild on all sides. She was so loved and so spoiled.

So, back to the day our world stopped along with her heart. I’m up at 7 am, and if you know me well, you know that doesn’t happen often. My contractions are steady, uncomfortable, but not painful. Daniel is getting in the shower, waiting on the word from me on whether to call in to work. He gets out and I tell him to make the call. We take our time, getting things together, I take a shower and get ready. We don’t believe it’s really happening, I’m still not in pain, so we’re half convinced that they’re going to check me at the hospital and then send me home. We get to the hospital, and they start checking me. The nurse checks me with a heart rate monitor and does an ultrasound. She can’t find a heartbeat. I had a doctors appointment 2 days before. Heart rate was 158. Everything was perfect. Until it wasn’t. The hospitalist came in and confirmed that our precious Nola Gail, was gone. And then, the kicker, the thing no one thinks about, I had to deliver. You’re supposed to get a prize for delivering, a crying baby. That’s what is supposed to happen. But not for us, not this time. My doctor arrived before they even got us into a room. She sat down beside me and held me. And we cried.

They did everything they could to make it not the worst day of our lives. I had wonderful nurses who were only assigned to me. They were by our side constantly. I was induced and given an epidural. The plan was to deliver naturally, but in this situation, that plan was out the window. Because the plan, is to get to take your baby home, and that’s not what we were getting. I labored for over 12 hours. I threw up 5 times. I pushed for 45 minutes. I delivered a perfect 7 lb 11 oz baby girl. My baby girl. My nurse was a super hero. My doctor was a super hero. My husband was a super hero. I am a super hero. It was terrifying. It was breathtaking. And somehow it was still magical. She was magical. Full head of dark hair, button nose that was a combination of mine and her daddy’s, full lips, and my blue eyes. Perfect from head to toe.

She was wrapped in her cord. There was nothing anyone could have done. She wasn’t ours to keep, but she was (and is) ours to love. That sweet little girl gave us so much. She made our hearts soar and grow. She made her daddy and I parents, and she made us love each other even more. But above all of that. She gave us hope. Hope for the future, hope for her future little brothers and sisters. Hope in knowing that it is possible. She is our hope. And we will carry that hope and her with us everyday.