A Note to my Monsters

“I get by with a little help from my friends..”

 

Dear Depression,

Some people describe you as nothingness, some as cold wilderness. I think you’re fire. I have always liked heat. Seeing as you haven’t left me my entire life, we’ve learned to get along. You taught me how to enjoy silence and how to enjoy being by myself. You taught me the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. You have put depth in my eyes and color into my heart. Honestly, more than any other monster I address here, you made me who I am. In that way I suppose I should thank you. There have been times in my life, this one included, that we have had more than an existence in each other’s worlds. Lately we have been white hot enemies. I strike at you one day – I go on a hike, I remember my meds, I drink enough water, and I muster enough courage to cook myself a meal or even when I just go out with friends. Those days I win. But then you strike back for three – I can’t leave my house except to go to work, I can’t sleep, cooking is too hard so I don’t eat. Those are the days you do, MDD. For the past 8 months or so.. You’ve had me. I’ve been a prisoner of war begging you and my God, or any other that might listen to please just help me sleep; help me move; help me breath. I tell certain people little items about you. The ones closest know the most, but nobody knows how many blows we’ve come to. No one knows that you have become imbedded in my skin, sinking in down to my bones. Our closest ties have stayed our own dirty little secret. But, Friday I decided to go grocery shopping. I had two panic attacks before I left, and one on my way, but I made it to Walmart at 1030 pm and got every single thing on my list. The next day I got out of bed, I cleaned my sheets and spent the day with my best friend. Yesterday I washed some more laundry and watched some cute little kids at my church. I even went to bed on time. Today.. Today I thought you were going to win. Today my little Q at work was holding me together with a smile and a Jack Johnson song. Then.. today I did the dishes. I. Did. The. Dishes. And I don’t mean a few in the sink, oh no. Because I hadn’t done my dishes in weeks. You’ve made my kitchen unusable and rotted, Depression. But today I did the dishes, I cleaned the counter, I bleached my stove, I swept, and then I cried about my victory while sitting on the floor. I won again today. Man, did I win today. You see there were times, so many that I thought for sure I would never win again. I thought for sure if I quit, if I hit the Ctrol+Alt+Del on my life, other lives would improve. I’ve lived through the tragedy of being left behind when you win, Depression. I know how devastating it can be to those “other lives.” But then I hear you say that I’m too loud or too quiet, too fat, too short, too uncoordinated, frumpy, undesirable, slow, too rash, an over-thinker, never enough, weak, undeserving. I’ve heard you put me down for so long.. But you only stop me if I stop fighting. You can slow me down, but never stop me. Today, I won. I slayed you right there in my kitchen. It smells like lemons and your defeat right now, and I get to sleep on clean sheets. I won tonight, and I’ll win tomorrow. I know that I have to live with you, but I want you to know I won’t ever give up.

Iwon1

 

 

 

Dear Anxiety,

You are relatively new. Before last year I could count on one hand the number of times I had encountered one of your attacks. If someone hadn’t ever felt your grip, they could mistake you for a heart attack. You turn my world into a cold, dark hole I’m falling through. You leave me heaving and gasping for air, drenched in sweat, usually on the floor of the nearest bathroom I could find. The weight you can put on a person’s chest never seizes to astound me. I’ve known about you, and how you work my whole life because you find enjoyment in plaguing the ones I love. I’ve seen their breath catch in their throat, unable to be set free. I’ve seen you knock them to their knees, sobbing uncontrollably. I’ve seen you make them sound like fools with their shuddering. I have held terrified, shaking bodies, neither of us quite sure what they are scared of.. I have cried as I watched you steal hope from bright situations.  “An animal for every letter,” I always say, “Ant eater, Bison, Cheetah, Dolphin..” I try to make them uncommon. Not like cat and dog, but more complex. You are distracted easily, Panic, at least some of the time.. Other times.. We who suffer, we sit. We reach out if we need to reach out. We call our best friends and just listen to their breath as they tell us we’re strong and can take a breath of our own. We pray it will be over soon, and quietly, tiredly rejoice when we leave. I fear your existence every day. I can cause your panic attacks while worrying about upcoming situations that might cause them. I often forgetting that we have made it through all of our biggest battles. We did that. Either on our own, or with a loved one. I made it through every battle, no matter how strong, no matter how long I had to fight; I have survived every war you have waged against me. You might knock me to my knees again, but I promise I’ll stand back up.

Panic

 

Dear Friends,

Thank you. I love you. I always will.

 

Carrie

“One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of. They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.” —Wishful Drinking, her 2008 memoir about her mental illness and prescription drug addiction

 

PS If you are interested in the artist responsible for the panic drawing, please check him out here –>#InkTober by Shawn Coss

 

 

Certified Hippy #Millennial

First, I’d like to start with this:

I, Holley Free, admit to complete guilt for being born after 1983 yet before 1996, thus sealing my fate as a millennial.

That’s right folks. I love beards, expensive IPA’s, hashtags, Bernie Sanders (okay, well actually I love Bernie), words like “bae” and “fleek,” and my cell phone is used mostly for putting my political views on social media. My music is too loud, my hair color is out of the realm of possible natural tones, “nerd” is a compliment, and yes, I have been to one of those “protest things.” I am the product of my generation. Now that I have that out of the way, I will not be accepting any criticism involving my age or generation after you read this post. You can disagree with me, I welcome that so long as you disagree because I may have made a mistake in my research and not in a “I’m butthurt, so you’re wrong,” sort of way. There were many people involved in these stories. I was one of the only millennials. Most millennials wouldn’t have the money to pick up, take leave, and join the fight for what they believe.

As much as I would love to explain to you all of the awesome things that come with my generation because I promise your dried up prejudiced uncle probably has it wrong, I’d like to just keep to one topic. This post is about the last of the clichés I listed, protests. Recently in this country we’ve seen all kinds of different protests. And despite any of your various views on any of them, I don’t think anyone can say that they haven’t made a difference, either in positive or negative way.

The first protest I experienced was one of the infamous President Elect Trump protests. I had watched them on the news and in my already heart broken state could not take the anxious energy bouncing off of all of those I saw in attendance on my TV screen. It was terrifying, but when I witnessed it in person.. I saw something completely different. It was beautiful. It can best be described in what I wrote the next day on Facebook, “…Yesterday I witnessed something magical. I watched a group of broken, sad, loving people holding up signs; not those “dump Trump” signs you see on TV, (though there were plenty at other protests, and I’ll get to that later) but these signs said “love trumps hate,” “I choose love,” there were LGBTQ flags, and so on. I’ve been asked many times how I feel about the protests going on around the nation by many people and I hadn’t made a decision until that point. I LOVE watching people stand up for their passion. I LOVE watching people standing together. I don’t condone violence. It breaks my heart, in truth. But I will defend their voices, the ones who come from a place of love, passion, fear, and the inability to allow injustice. At the end of the day, their fear either for themselves and their families or for strangers, as mine is, is from love. In that book that most people have in their house but don’t read as often as they should, you know, the Bible it says the greatest is love. And with that all being said, and to address those telling others to sit down and shut up (as I’ve been told) or to just conform to the new administration.. Well, to quote President Elect Trump, “Stop it.” Our fight just began. We will not and should not sit down and shut up. We won’t be silenced. We will stand up when, not if, ANYONE comes for our rights. We will reach out to each other. We will volunteer. We will talk to everyone. We will show love and a passion for equality. Don’t try to shut anyone down. And my friends, DO NOT BE SHUT DOWN. Love passionately and fearlessly. Love wins.”

Love wins, y’all. Every time, but only if you choose it and fight for it fearlessly. I decided while watching that protest, grinning like an idiot through my stream of tears that I would begin fighting even harder. More than taking double class load, more than writing politicians (most of whom won’t even open the letter let alone care), more than annoying all of my friends on social media. I wanted in that moment more than anything to get my hands dirty. I decided that if you believe in something, truly and completely, you show up.

Which leads me to the most “showing up” I’ve ever done. In early November I stumbled upon a page on Facebook with an application to attend the Dakota Access Pipeline protest (or #NoDAPL as you’ve probably seen it.) Now if you haven’t heard or paid attention to what’s been going on in North Dakota, here’s a short version recap:

A company by the name of Energy Transfer Partners decides to build a pipeline through an upper middle class “white” neighborhood, but realized that manmade equipment is just about as perfect as the person who built it so the pipeline can leak. They decide to reroute the pipeline. The Army Corps of Engineers alert the Standing Rock Sioux tribe of their plans in accordance to the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106.) The tribe requested three times to have tests done to assess the safety of their drinking water and to make sure that the pipeline would not be on sacred ground, but were never responded to. So they conclude, as it states in their public lawsuit, that it was “clear that the Corps is trying to circumvent the Section 106 process.” In December of 2015 the Army Corps of Engineers finally releases a statement both to the company building the pipeline and to the Tribal Historic Preservation Office on the reservation. The statement claims that, “the Standing Rock THPO had indicated to DAPL that the Lake Oahu site avoided impacts to tribally significant sites.” The problem there is, no, it doesn’t. And they leave out the assessment of the Lake Oahu, which is a main source for their drinking water. So they release an other in April after the Environmental Protection Agency, the US Department of Interior, and the ACHP (American Council on Historical Preservation) send critical letters asking for an other look (you can click the links if you’d like to read the letters that were sent). The statement in April claims that despite registering major concerns in the Section 106 evaluation process and stated misgivings from the ACHP, the Corps concludes the investigation, finding that no historic properties are affected. So to make a much longer story so incredibly short, in July the Corps issues the final fast-track permit needed to continue pipeline construction in the 200-odd sites across four states in question. By late August the company claimed in one of their hearings that the construction was already 48% complete. Both the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Energy Transfer Partners sue each other and the protesting grows to the hundreds, involving politicians like my main man, Bernie Sanders, and celebrities like Shailene Woodley, but then finally, the protest involved me too.

In November I’m doing my usual for one of my classes and scrolling through different news sources trying to find something to write 300 words about. That day the source I was using to find a story to write about  was UnicornRiot (if you haven’t heard of them before please check it out. They are awesome for unbias information and live feeds) when I see a group called “Veterans for Standing Rock” comment on something. So I go to their page and see an application to North Dakota. I didn’t even think, I just fill it out. Two weeks go by and I haven’t heard a thing, so I assume I’m not going until I get an email that I’ve been accepted and that I leave in 9 days. So at 2 am as I’m reading this email I leap into action I text my boss that I need to come over and talk to her and I start making lists of all the medical supplies and winter gear I’ll need. I was completely shocked and humbled by all of the people that gave money, medical supplies, blankets, coats, etc to me and the volunteers going with me. It was unreal. If you’re reading this and you helped make it possible for me to travel to North Dakota with any kind of donation or resource, I will never not be thankful for you. From the bottom of my heart thank you all so very much.

So on the Friday morning of the 2nd of December I hopped in a car with strangers (#sorrymom?) and drove to Cannon Ball North Dakota. Before I dive too far into the rest of this trip, everyone I talk about tried their best and I still highly respect them. Do I think that all of them had business going to the reservation or any clue what they were facing? Absolutely not. No one really knew what to expect, and some people roll with the punches better than others. When my team and I arrived in Cannon Ball on the 3rd it was the middle of the night. We ate some luke warm stew (that was still delicious. Those Natives know how to cook!) and went to sleep in a gym with close to if not more (just a guess) 200 vets. There were several moments during this trip where I was overwhelmed by human kindness. This was one of them. As I was laying there on the freezing gym floor listening to the snoring and groaning and the tremors of the vets with PTSD I was completely overwhelmed by the idea that we were all there for one reason. Every single one of us put our lives on hold, ignored the naysayers, and came together to protect what we knew in our hearts was basic human rights of people our country, the country everyone in this room signed up to die for, had already taken too much from. We came to defend, foreign and domestic. That first beautiful moment made being so scared worth it. The next morning I woke up and changed into the clothes I’d be wearing for the next 4 days. I wish I would have known that then, I would have chosen better. I had breakfast with everyone I had driven with, my team, and then loaded everything we had brought with us onto a charter bus with the group of vets coming from LA. Until this point we had all had set backs as a result to a lack of organization of the “Veterans for Standing Rock” group. All the set backs had just been small, simple fix issues. Until we got on this bus. We left Cannon ball around 10, then after the long drive to and close to 2 hours for all of our “leaders” to argue about which building we were supposed to be going to we found our way to Fort Yates Community Center for a briefing. This brief was exactly what I needed to stay above water for the trip to camp; a nice smudging and I was on my way. (Hashtag Hippy Millennial, right?)

Going into Oceti Sakowin there was miles of traffic, everyone coming from there held their fists high in support of our arrival. Finally a group of us from the bus decided to get out and march in. I had an other moment of beautify as I was marching in, probably grinning like an idiot. Just a little while down the road I could start to see teepees and tents, trailers, busses, and military tents, horses, and a huge campfire, the sacred fire, in the middle. It was beautiful. I just soaked it in. Kids like me, the ones who feel ten times more than normal people, we don’t get this often. We don’t get to not the only one standing up very often. There were thousands. Not only was I not the only one being passionate enough to take a stand, but there were thousand right there, freezing with me, to show that we would not ignore injustice. I can’t say that I can describe what that was like for me. But I can tell by the fact that everyone got kind of quiet and by the look on all of their faces that I was the only one feeling this, probably many like me, for the first time.

That night we did so much. I sat at a fire and ate a lot (honestly 4 servings..) of amazing Bison stew with fry bread and laughed at some jokes and stories the elders were telling. I unloaded two huge sections of the charter bus because I was the littlest one and could fit in there to dig things out and helped sort through to the different sites. I helped get cardboard for our tent and water for our camp site, walked around and talked to so many people with so many stories. I was in frozen heaven. We set plans, first thing the next day we were going to go get one of our team’s vehicles then we were going to march to the front lines. So we took our plans, God got a good laugh, and we fit five people into a four man tent with arguably too many little hand warmer packets and went to sleep. The next morning we set out on our first task in our plans: Find a ride to Eagle Butte to get the vehicle. So made the short trek to the Sacred Fire and found a ride with a group of people and made it half way, to Fort Yates, to help them sort through donations before we were going to find an other ride the other half of the way. Past tense, were, because that night myself and an other member were snowed in at a tiny warehouse there for nearly two nights. In that time a lot happened, we sorted through every donation. That took all of the first day. A beautiful moment all in itself because it took 25 people a whole day of WORK to get through all of the donations that were sent and there was an overwhelming amount of “love notes” explaining that they, who ever had sent the package, couldn’t be there but they support the mission. It was truly humbling to see how much was sent in. I can’t even explain it. I had patients, both of the human and the canine variety, and made friends, and had some struggles, but it was nothing compared to the time the rest of my team had back at camp.

When we were finally able to get in touch with our team they had been forced to evacuate. I’m unclear of the order in which any of these things happened, so I will try to sum up what I can remember them saying while their stories are still pending. (I will update when they send me their stories.) I know that they got to march to the front lines, that the tent and the surrounding camps were destroyed, the med tent was destroyed, and they were all in some other medical tent with too many other people (I can’t remember how many they told me.) My clothes and some of my belongings were lost (even after John went back to camp later and stayed to help for a month.) I think all of us came back with half the stuff we packed for the trip. They were cold and exhausted when we finally reunited, and I can’t say that I was any different.

We ate the best meal I think I have ever had in my life. That roast and mashed potatoes was the best thing I’ve ever eaten. Like OMG good. Then me and some others of my team went out, drank some Jack from the bottle, and came in a past out on the gym floor once again, the trip had come full circle.

After that there was just a long journey home. There were many pieces of this trip that were omitted just for the sake of the people involved, either me or other members of my team. A huge shout out to John and Sheena who left everything they touched better than they found it, myself included. I am so blessed to have you both as my friends, and I am truly sorry for your living room floor. 😉

In conclusion, I want to leave you with something that can regularly be heard from my friend mentioned just a second ago, John. Trust none of which you hear and only half of which you see. I have left you links and resources for information concerning the pipeline, (that by the way is still being illegally built) but I’m begging you read them and also read your own. Find Facebook groups with information coming straight out of the camps. If you need help finding them please just reach out. Go, bring everything you need to completely support yourself (shelter, firewood, tools, axes, knives, flashlights, medical supplies, etc) and see for yourself. If you go right now, they need people to help clean the abandoned camp sites out of the flood lands. Go and do good if you have the ability. See for yourself and make your own stories. Be well, loves.

THAT day

For 3 months its all I could think about.. October 27 (or close to it) was going to be the best day of my life. I spent every second after video calling one of my best friends to have her verify that, in fact, the test really was positive (yes, Karsen knew before Aaron. Sue me.) I thought about how amazing that one moment was going to be. I planned how it would happen – in true hippy fashion I wanted a raw, no medication, my playlist playing, and Aar right by my side delivery. I pictured her on Aaron’s bare chest every time I would lie my head there. I thought about what outfit she would wear-overalls, because I thought I knew she was a boy. I thought about how I would introduce her to her siblings (my dogs.) I thought about how everything would be different.. And, well, I wasn’t completely wrong, I guess.

Nearly six months later, everything is different. I have finished the classes I was taking then and started a new set instead of taking time off like I was supposed to. I started a healthier lifestyle, so I am 30 lb lighter instead of heavier. I have completely changed what I wanted to do with my life, I decided to be a midwife instead of a cardiothoracic nurse so that I can take part in other people’s best days. My marriage is different. Aaron and I look at each other in a completely different, more real sense. Aaron found out last month that he’s deploying in January, so we have even more changes ahead. Life has been crazy. It has been devastatingly beautiful and hauntingly miraculous, as life usually is. I have found my own little family here in California, and for the first time I feel I have truly found my home in the world. The past 6 months have been quite the adventure, but that day is still so profoundly bold when I look at the calendar.

This will probably be my last post just about this loss, so I’m just going to get this out there, I try not to be that person. I really don’t want to be a person so lost in their own despair that I forget the there is a future and life keeps going if only you let it. That’s not the kind of emotion I feel here. It’s much deeper. It’s as if large events in my life leave physical scars, but if you touch those scars all of the emotions from the event that caused it play back just as strong, all over again. Dates are those scars for me. I almost didn’t schedule the appointment where I found out I lost her because it was April 8, the day that her Uncle Riley died just four years before. But just two days after that, April 10, is a great day, because that’s the day I met Aar. I have all these different dates memorized because I never want to forget the memory behind them. October 27 isn’t a memory though. Pregnancies that end in miscarriage don’t have due dates. Those dates don’t scar, because they never really happened, so instead they stay as open wounds. From there you just have to do your best to keep them clean and covered. Those dates don’t bring up memories, they fester an ever present wound.

It’s been rough, the past week or so, knowing that I’m only a month away from the day that no longer means bringing a brand new perfect, screaming life into the world. I don’t know what I’m going to do that day.. I don’t know how I’ll feel. It’s a Thursday, so I’ll probably wake up, get dressed, go to work, and be with one of the loves of my life. I’ll call my mom on my way home and then maybe go on a run. I’ll take a bath that day, I love baths when I’m upset. I’ll go to bed early after thinking all night about how empty my house is. I won’t go crazy, and I won’t lose control of myself. The last six months were made for screaming at God from a bathtub, counting how far along I was supposed to be, and hating every pregnant woman I see in the grocery store just a little. I’ll probably delete the Facebook app off my phone for the day and cry all by myself in that bath. I’ll sleep that night next to the most amazing man though and he’ll hold me extra close, like he always does when we’re in pain, selflessly holding me together. That day will hurt, but it won’t kill me. My wound will not be infected. The next morning though, I’ll re-download my Facebook app (barely able to though, because I’ll be shaking from withdrawal), I’ll hold my head extra high, I will apologize one more time to God for screaming, I will vow to think less about my would be one day old child, and I will start smiling at those pregnant ladies in the grocery store. I’ll repeat over and over in my mind that I can merely will myself to heal, and crazy enough – it will work.

Two days after I start to heal myself, October 31st, is my favorite day of the year. I haven’t decided yet what I’ll be, or if I’ll even go all out like I usually do, but I can tell you one thing: my life will be the same. No matter how much it’s changed, it will be the same. That’s okay for now. In all of the screaming matches with God I’ve learned one thing; I don’t know anything. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do this, but I don’t know that I won’t be able to either. I don’t know when my life will finally be thrown into madness by the gift of some one completely perfect. I don’t know if that perfect little person or any of their siblings to come will be a gift from God, a stranger, or someone I’ve already met. I do know that God wrote it on my heart though. I know that when he made me, it was to be a mom. I’m looking up. I hope that maybe this period of my life and the amount of publication I gave to it can help someone in need of knowing they’re not alone. I’m going to keep this site up, but the articles will probably vary in topic from this point on. I experienced a great miracle before this terrible tragedy. I plan to hold onto that miracle moving forward.

And When the sun Comes Out..

You can’t build a house without a strong foundation, you can’t put a puzzle together using only the corner pieces, and you can’t determine fertility based off of only a few tests.

So here’s what we know for sure having all of our results in from the first round of testing:

  1. Our little girl had three genetic abnormalities. She had Turners Syndrome and an inversion of the 12th and 13th chromosomes.
  2. Aaron’s blood tests came back as perfect as he is.
  3. My blood tests came back perfect as well.

So no answers for sure on the subject of Aaron and I’s future offspring, but nothing is off the table. My doctor sounds the most positive she has in weeks, and my mind is once again focused on the possibility. They told us two weeks ago that “things aren’t looking good,” but the sun is coming out!.. and that’s when you get to see the rainbow.. At least that’s what we’re praying for. 🙂

Anyways, the next round of testing will be done by the geneticist and (fingers crossed, if everything goes right) these will be the last tests we need before being told we’re good to go forth and be fruitful!

 

Side note: I’m so glad I could finally put something positive on here..

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Faith and Anger

Hey Lord,

I know we haven’t talked in a while, or more accurately I know that I haven’t talked to you. You, however, have been loud and clear. I guess that I’ve just recently realized how mad I am. I am more mad than when this happened to my mom when I was eight. I’m more mad than when the world got darker and you called my Ri closer to you. I’m more mad than when everything was going perfectly right in the world and you shot me down by taking my grandpa home with you. I’m more mad than when I had to restart my whole life as my Air Force career was taken from me. I’m even more mad than when you called the others home. I’m so insanely mad at you! Why would you take her? She was loved. I was already singing to her and telling her about you. My husband, the man you gave just to me, loved her like I had never seen him love before. She would have been brought up to know you. I would have taught her everything I could and she would have taught me even more, I’m sure. That’s my little girl with you.. She had always been yours, but she was mine..

Every day as I’m scrolling through my Facebook more and more people are announcing healthy pregnancies and having beautiful children before bringing them into their shaky, unsteady worlds. Druggies are carrying full term. Beautiful, smart, unbroken children are being raised by the wrong people every day! Where is mine?! Why can’t I?! I know that I would be a better fit! And now that I started to heal I come to find that this may never be able to happen for us? This isn’t fair. It isn’t fair that you carve so painfully and so deeply into my heart to be a mom, to raise children up in your name, to love more deeply than the average, then take my babies. If you’re trying to build me up, I don’t think it’s working. I feel pretty weak right now. Weak and mad..

My anger has been so crippling the past few weeks, but something struck me in a new way today-you understand my pain, Lord. I know that you’ve felt worse. I know that you once made your son come to this cold, unforgiving world as an infant. I know that you watched him grow through all the wonderful stages of childhood until he was a man. I know that all the time you watched, you knew that when your son was 32 he would be killed by the people he came to save. I know that you sent your son to die for people like me, Lord, so that I could be forgiven when I turn around and point a  finger at you when times get rough. I know that we are all your children, and sometimes you lose us, and all because you gave us free will. I know that you understand my hurt, frustration, envy, and rage.

In the 23rd chapter of Psalms it says “The Lord is my shepard, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadows of death I will fear no evil, for you are there with me. Your rod and staff comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” I need a shepard now, Lord. I need you to restore my soul. I’m sorry I have spent the past month running away and avoiding you out of anger. I believe that through you nothing is impossible and in the words of my other mommy, Vicki, we believe in miracle babies. I believe there will be a rainbow at the end of this storm too. My cup is already overflowing. I am already so blessed.

Thanks for always stopping me before I wander too far away and for keeping me grounded. I’ll try to remember Romans 9:20. “On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it?” That wonderful man you made for me reminds me of this all the time. Thanks extra for him.

Love,

Your not so heavenly daughter..

Amen.

Trying to Keep my Faith in Rainbows

As a medical professional I’ve always hated when patients come to me and want their results, medication, consultation, or whatever they’re waiting on faster. Being on the other side right now though, I know I’m driving my doctors and nurses insane as the results from our strenuous testing slowly trickles in. You never know what you’ve got until it’s gone and you never know what you wish for until you have it, I guess.

Today I logged into my patient portal to find a message telling me that the genetic mutation we were scared of is more of a reality than ever. After talking to my wonderful Dr. Maayah I learned that they discovered a discrepancy in chromosomes 12 and 13 suggesting that there could be (granted we only have 2/3 of the equation without having Aaron’s karyotypes) a genetic abnormality that could diminish Aar and I’s chances of having a rainbow baby that is both of ours (genetically.)

We are being given a referral to a fantastic geneticist, and even though I love the idea of adopting and that’s always been something written on my heart, we are both just hoping and praying that his tests come back clear and there’s something they can do to help us. We’re still trying to keep the faith.

How an Infant Saves my Life

Everyday I wake up at six o’clock in the morning with a big smile on my face (though if you ask my husband he may let you know its a figurative smile because I hate mornings) because I get paid every day to do my favorite thing in the world. I get to spend time with a little 4 month old baby.

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My daily routine everyday is driving to work singing along to my favorite oldies, being greeted as I walk in the door to a big gummy smile, feeding a very excited baby, followed by a two hour snuggly nap. I spend most of my week days soaking in perfect little giggles, smiles, and his newest trick – spit bubbles. It’s not all perfect of course, about thirty minutes every day total I spend with him crying, pooping, or spitting up me. But I love it all. He’s so perfect to me..

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This perfect little boy will never know this one thing though: every day when he smiles at me, giggles at my faces, or chews on his own little foot he saves me. He is the reason I never fall too deep into thoughts of giving up hope. Every time he reaches out to me (something he did for the very first time today) a little piece of my heart feeling a little less broken. The best look in the entire world, the look that keeps me going isn’t a look he gives me though, or a look he gives any one else. The look that keeps me going is the look he gives his mom every time she walks into the room..

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We laugh with each other, his mom and I, and say that he just smiles that way because he sees his “food source,” but that one look reminds me why I’m going through this pain, and why I’ll risk that pain again eventually. It reminds me why being a parent is written so deeply on my heart and gives me a reason to keep fighting. My little “Q” will never have any idea what he does for me, but every single day he keeps me going. And well, if you get nothing else from this post at least you got to see the cutest baby in the entire world.. (yet..) 😉

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My Little Alien

Hey little one,

Your dad and I went out the other night and had so much fun, but I thought of you the whole time. I no longer cry every time I think about you. Mostly I just think about how big you’d be or what happens in the week I was supposed to be in with you. This week has been hard because most women start to feel their little one’s move this week. I was so looking forward to that first little wiggle.. I miss you so much. I miss talking to you in the car on my way to work. Singing to you every day to and from work was my favorite time of day. I know that you’re being taken care of by some one so much greater than me now and that you got to meet your siblings. One of the biggest things I was looking forward to was teaching you all about him, but now I guess I don’t have to.

I want you to know that I wish I could have protected you the way I wanted to. I know now that I didn’t have any control over what happened, but I find myself constantly bargaining to have some kind of control back, to have to ability to save you though its too late now.

Since I can’t teach you about Earth I want to teach you about heaven, so here are some things I think you’ll love t0 do. First there are some hugs you should pass out to your Grandma Cenita, Grandpa Great, and Uncle Riley. Never forget to take some time out to soak up some sun. You didn’t ever get the chance to find out, but down here it gets hard to find the time. I know you want for nothing there back with the one who gave you to me. Lastly though, don’t forget to look over your dad and I.

I can’t wait to meet you someday long from now, but until then I’ll miss you down here and love you from afar.

I love you so much and I always will,

Mommy

Take Care of Yourself

I know that most of my posts are about the emotions and stages of grief while dealing with a loss of pregnancy, but today I want to talk post about health and my last week of healing.

First I’d like to point out something very common in the sleeping patterns of someone mourning a loss. It can go one of two ways, there are people like me that have issue sleeping at all and then there are people like Aaron who want to sleep all the time. If you are like Aaron you have nothing to worry about. Exhaustion is totally normal when suffering a loss. If you are like me though then it is so important to try and remember how important it is for your body to heal and for your mental health to get enough sleep at night.

Secondly, listen to and take care of your body. If you are hungry – eat. Even if you don’t feel like it. Don’t try to exercise more than your body can handle. After my first D&C procedure I went back to working out too soon and caused myself a lot of unneeded pain. Exercise is great for releasing the endorphins you might be craving to help with loss and hormonal depression, but so does sunshine and walks. Don’t push yourself too hard. If you have an ache or pain that doesn’t seem right to you than call your doctor. Drink enough water so that your body can properly tell you what it needs.

Lastly, for your mental health, please remember all the stages of grief. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance are all important to a healthy grieving process. They don’t always have to happen in the “right” order and it’s even normal to repeat stages. Personally, I go through denial, anger, and acceptance multiple times. Acceptance and denial always happen hand in hand. For instance, when I eat shrimp and panic because of what it may do to my baby, I then have to remind myself right away that I no longer have a baby to protect by not eating shrimp. Followed by anger about the situation and the having to remind myself constantly. The reason this is all important to remember is because you need to give yourself and your partner a break as you go through this.

Anyways, I thought this was important because third time around this terrible situation and I still did everything wrong all over again. Please let yourself breath. Don’t push yourself too far. Give yourself some wiggle room and always take some time to say your prayers.

Guilt

In the days after each loss my google search history contained things like “can jumping cause miscarriage,” after realizing that I may have hopped to get something off of the top shelf at the grocery store or “foods linked to loss of pregnancy,” so that I could make sure that I hadn’t eaten anything on any of the lists I found. I went through everything I had done since the moment of conception.Each of those times I found a new way that it was my fault, I found a new way that I had caused this terrible thing to happen to Aaron and I. If I had only given in and gotten that test sooner, if I had taken a test before starting birth control, if I hadn’t had that half a coke that one time with dinner or remembered to take my prenatals those three days I forgot it, then maybe I’d still have my baby. I could only ever find one thing in common every time – me.

I know I’m not alone in this. My parents, having gone through this themselves were full of advise and comfort each time, and this time one of the first things my daddy said to Aaron was “She’s going to blame herself just like her mom did, just stay by her and hold her.” So why do we do it? When twenty-five percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage and nineteen percent of the adult population will experience this loss, most never getting an explanation, why do we turn around and blame ourselves?

For me it’s simple, every year nearly 4 million babies are born in the US. Considering that some of them are twins, we’ll just say that 3.5 million women became moms, either for the first time or they got to experience it all over again. That means, to me, that 3.5 women did it right. They obviously have something or did something right. They prayed differently, slept different, thought different, or did different activities. Those women did something amazing. They grew a human in nine months inside of themselves. How amazing.. And that’s why I always felt guilty. This is why I always turned to my husband and apologized a million times through tears. What do they have that I don’t?

Well, here’s what I never consider when I get to feeling guilty. Some of those women had their baby taken away after delivery because they failed a toxicity screening. Some of those women continued to drink heavily throughout their entire pregnancy. Some of those women ate all of the things on all of those “no-go” lists I now have memorized. Some women do everything right. They never had a sip of caffeine, they never ate junk food, they went on walks everyday, they took exactly the right prenatals and never ever forgot, they did everything right. They lost their baby. It doesn’t matter what you do. A million different things can go wrong in pregnancy.

I didn’t get much better about this until someone reached out to me and told me what had helped her to stop feeling this way. I’m sure if you’re reading this you’ve probably read my other posts. You know what I’ve been through and of my loss. You know how they happened, you know when and where and at what point in my life. When reading my post explaining each one did you ever stop and think, “This is her fault.” Did you at any point stop and blame me? You don’t blame other women for what they’ve been through, so why would you blame yourself? You don’t blame your friends, you shouldn’t blame yourself. Something awful happened to you and you shouldn’t have to go through this storm in your life believing it’s your fault. Remember it’s after the worst storms that the rainbow appears.

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