Thursday, September 27, 2012

Does anyone know?

Can someone please enlighten me as to how to stop following someone else's blog. I know it's possible. I've even done it before but my brain got tucked away for the winter.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Okay on the outside, broken on the inside.

I went to a breakfast with the church women this morning. I allowed them a glimpse into my broken heart during prayer time.

As I drove away I kinda regretted the things I said and the things I left unsaid. I am becoming increasingly aware that if I really share my brokenness with people that are not bereaved parents, I appear slightly nuts.

Why can't Em step forward, move forward, from this trauma? But how can I step forward when stepping forward leaves my little girl behind me? I have heard of other bereaved parents who have, over time, managed to move forward by keeping the love and leaving the pain. One day I will too. Carry the love with me always and leave the pain. But, right now, the pain is so intertwined with the love that I just can't untangle it.

I have been severely hurt by someone in our church and, while it was a relief to me that this person wasn't at the breakfast this morning, the whole experience has made me hesitant and a little afraid to share my heartbreak with my church. I drove home regretting letting others see the pain that is in me. Regretting some of the things I said and wishing I had said other things. Lighter things that would have effectively hidden  some of the rawness of the hurt and the brokenness.

I know that most of the time I look okay to people now. I usually keep my tears confined to the shower, or the car, or a select few trusted friends. A good way to describe how I am right now is mostly okay on the outside and broken on the inside.

How many people walk around every day okay on the outside and broken on the inside?

Do you?

Thursday, September 20, 2012


It appears I have surprised a few people with my statement about being pregnant in my last post. So for those of you who missed it I would really appreciate it if you read the post below because it details my mixed emotions and the trepidation I have about this little one more than just a simple announcement does.

Here's the link.

Thank you dear readers.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy? Birthday

Today I turn 35 years old. I am officially AMA. Advanced Maternal Age. And I'm pregnant. Hmmm...

Last year my birthday came 35 days after Eva died. I told my husband I wanted nothing to do on my birthday. I wanted no Happy Birthday. No cake. No present. No recognition whatsoever and nobody better utter the word Happy Birthday to me because there was no way my birthday could ever be happy again.

This year my mom bought us tickets to Stuart McLean and the vinyl cafe (the show isn't actually till the end of October, so that's nice). I still feel strange about Happy Birthday. This is not a happy time of year. These are the 2 months that Eva did not share with us. And the terrible grief of last year leaves an indelible mark on everything.

But I let Mike take me out for supper last night. To the Taj. The same restaurant we ate at for my birthday 2 years ago. I was hugely pregnant with Eva. In a way these two months are the two months we lived without Eva. But they are also the two months that I was very pregnant and anticipating her arrival. The little girl I had always hoped for.

Today we had birthday apple pie for breakfast. We put one candle in for each one of my children and, at Samuel's insistence, one for me too. My children are my richest gifts and blessings. Each child, and I, blew one out. Two were left burning. One for Eva and one for Hope. Samuel blew out Eva's and Vincent blew out Hope's. Samuel laid claim to Eva's candle for years to come. He sure loves his little sister.

I don't know how my birthday will change in the years to come. But I have a feeling it will always be kind of sad. It just falls smack dab in between Eva's death and her birthday. I'm glad the day is finally here because now it's almost over for another year again.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Emotional b.s

I have a problem.

My daughter died.

I hate that my daughter died.

But I also hate the fallout that has happened because she died.

I hate the emotional b.s I'm put through because of her death.

I hate that it took the death of my child to smear the paint off the pretty picture I had painted of some people.

I'm glad I know the truth. But it's hard, you know. Hard to deal with more emotional crap.

And so that this post isn't comletely negative I also want to say that I'm grateful to those friends who have seen me through the worst year of my life. Those friends who have given me mercy and grace and persevered in holding onto a friendship with me even though it involved crying every time we saw one another. Those friends who haven't dropped me like a hot potato, only to re-appear after a year thinking that I'm the same person I was 13 months ago.

Thank you dear ones. I'm so thankful for the gifts of friendship, tears, mercy and grace that you have given me.

Saturday, September 15, 2012


Because I can't physically cry 24 hours a day.

Because missing you is so intense sometimes, and softer othertimes.

Because I can't hold you like I want to every single day.

Because the 15th is extra special and extra painful.

Because you were born on the 15th and we were so happy to have a girl.

Because you died on the 15th and we were so shocked and devastated to lose our girl.

Because you are something sad that happened to us last year, to almost everyone else.

Because you are missed every single day by us.

Because your absence is so painfully obvious to me.

Because you would be 23 months old today.

Because I know you would be saying words now like mama and dada.

Because my heart is broken with grief over losing you.

Because I can see joy in the leaves changing colour this year.

Because you once breathed the same air I breathed.

Because now you breathe the air of Heaven.

Because you will always be my little girl.

Because of all these things and so so so much more I am going to quietly do something happy on the 15th. I am also allowing myself the luxury of thinking of you more on the 15th. Letting you into my thoughts more because the 15th is a sacred day to us. The 15th is Eva's Day.

Today, for me, for you, for us, I indulged in the luxury of joy by going to an antique auction with Oma. We didn't buy anything but we looked around at all the neat old stuff. We also enjoyed the leaves turning beautiful colours.

And this evening we went down and watered your trees. The maple is all sorts of beautiful reds right now. Gleaming in the crisp fall air.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Welcome Home

When we were driving home on Sunday night it was raining but I could tell there was sun up ahead. And reading metaphors into everything these days I thought about how we were driving from the storm into the sun. How the storm was behind us and the sun was coming.

And then I thought that this storm will never end. I can heal as much as possible. I can give my pain to Jesus. I can go to as many parties for dead kids as there are. I can hang out with other bereaved parents. But Eva will always be dead. Sometimes I think, well, hasn't she been dead long enough? Can I have her back now? But it is never to be. Until the day I die, my little sweetie is seperated from me. And that storm will always be with me, no matter how many sunny days lie ahead.

The rain ended about half a mile before we turned onto our road. We drove up our road and turned into our driveway where the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen greeted us. It started behind our house and ended on the highway. We could see both ends of it and it was a double rainbow. It felt to us that Eva was saying 'Welcome Home'.

And one day she will welcome us Home once again, and on that day the storm will really be behind us and sunny days will truly loom.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A party for dead kids.

And we're home.

Home from a really emotional weekend.

When Eva got sick we had 2 encounters with paediatricians. Paediatrician #1 (Dr F) saw us and told us to increase Eva's iron intake and to come back in a month ( He was going on vacation). 2 weeks later she was in PICU. I had booked a follow-up appointment for sometime in August after she got sick and got better but before she died. When the doctor's office called me to confirm her appointment the following day (by that time she had died) I told them she had died so we wouldn't be needing the appointment. The girl on the phone gasped and said sorry and hung up. I never heard a peep from that paeds office ever, ever again. I am actually still livid  a little angry that they never even sent a card or bothered to acknowledge her death at all.

Paediatrician #2 (Dr M) saw Eva a few times in the city. Stopped in at her bedside every weekday morning to make sure I understood her care. Hugged me and kissed my daughter. Called us several weeks after her funeral and made an appointment with us to go over her autopsy and to make sure we understood it all. He has a 'wall of angels' in his office of all the patients he has had over the years who have died (he only sees high-risk kids ,therefore, many die). The contrast between Dr F and Dr M is like night and day. Dr M is above and beyond while Dr F is below and below.

Dr M has a heart of gold. He cares about his kids and he cares about their families, like no one I have ever met. Dr M's partner still sees our healthy boys and it's re-assuring to have a doctor we can trust. Dr C is not Dr M but she was hand-picked by Dr M to follow in his footsteps and, while the shoes are giant she is gifted in filling them.

During the summer we received an invitation to Dr M's home for Sept 8th. A Spiritual Gathering for remembering our beloved, dead children. I didn't know what to expect but it was amazing to say the least. To be at a party where not only is no one surprised when we talk about our dead children, we are expected to talk about our dead children. Where everyone has a dead child. There was also child-care available for living children. It was just simply amazing. Truly amazing.

Everyone had a chance to light a candle for their child and to talk about him or her while a photo was on the overhead projector. It was so healing to be in a room full of bereaved parents. A room filled with many, many tears. Laughter too, and the spirits of so many children. I think I used up a whole box of tissues while I was there. And there was a teepee where we could write messages to our children, or whatever we wanted. There was a dance presentation and a release of butterflies as well as doves. I just couldn't believe it. It was intense and overwhelming and beautiful. And I am thankful. Thankful we found Dr M who cares about the Life and the Death of his kids.

A friend of Dr M said to him one day that only he would throw a party for dead kids. And it was. It was a party. A very personal party of tears and of joy. Of remembering the children everyone seems to want us to forget (or at least to stuff away in the sock drawer).

Dr M knows what he`s doing...

A party for dead say.  How odd... Yes! A party for dead kids.

Friday, September 7, 2012

At Ronald McDonald House again.

Yesterday we drove into the city.

I will likely never be able to do that drive without memories of my girl flooding me.

We shopped for toys for the magic room at Ronald McDonald House. We checked into our hotel and I took the big boys swimming.

No one looking at us could tell that a part of our family was missing, ashes at home on the bookshelf.

And this morning we took the kids to the paediatrician. Being in that office was very hard. I felt like I was skating on thin ice and my tears were right below the surface. About halfway through our time there the ice broke and Samuel asked me why my face was getting red. And moments later I could not hold the tears back any further.

Afterwards we went to RMH and had lunch and just spent some time here. I feel so close to Eva at the House. She spent so much happy time here. She collapsed in the bathtub here. Attempted resuscitation was done on the floor in the front hall here. Our life changed forever here.

And now here we are with our three boys, little J, a little Hope, and dreams of Eva. Treasured memories of the missing girl in our family.

While we were here a woman who works at the House came up to me and said she was so happy to see us visit. She said she will never forget our Eva. She was so happy all the time. She said Eva was one of her favourites. And when I went to the back office to give her this blog address she showed me Evas bookmark that she keeps in her office. I cannot begin to explain how meaningful it was to me that someone whose name I could not remember, but now will never forget, remembered Eva so well.

We put up our tree on the donation wall here. And we brought our toys to the magic room. And we gave them the money from Evas Ride. And we left a piece of our heart here.

And tonight I am meeting up with a mama whose baby went to Heaven only 6 weeks after Eva did. We will share coffee and tears. I am glad we are meeting at night so the darkness will obscure our tears. And onlookers will not notice the two mamas crying in the corner.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

some days...


Some days I just miss you more. Some days my heart aches for you more than other days. Every day I long to hold you but some days the missing is much worse.

Today, my dear, is one of those days. And I would do anything my dear just to hold you now.

I love you so much my darling,

Your mama.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A Tale of Two Heartbeats.

I'm telling you now this will be a long post. So if you want to go grab a cup of coffee for the read, go ahead.

In February 2011, when Eva was an apparently healthy 4 month old, Mike and I decided that we were permanently done with having children. We thought we knew best and that the future held 3 handsome sons, 1 beautiful daughter and  might possibly include Mike's niece as another precious daughter, through adoption.

In June 2011 our beautiful Eva got very sick, very fast and we seemed to lose both girls at once. Eva to the PICU and little J back to foster care.  Death was on our doorstep throughout the summer of 2011. I never felt certain that my girl was going to be ok. In August it seemed that Death had retreated and was no longer knocking on our door.

We came home and rejoiced in our beautiful, breathing daughter.  And what a blessing she is. Death, however, was no longer knocking at our door. We thought he had retreated to the world of 'other people'. Instead Death came into our house and made himself at home. He settled in for the long haul and on August 15th 2011 he took our precious daughter from us.

On August 15th 2011 our little girl's heart beat normally for the last time at 8:30pm, in the bathtub as she smiled at her daddy. Her official time of death is 9:15 but her last true heartbeat before her heart ruptured was at 8:30pm, in her daddy's hands.

When Eva's heart stopped beating my world crumbled and I felt so completely hopeless. I wanted something to hope for. I wanted another baby. Nobody could ever replace Eva. Nobody. But babyhood seemed to have been snatched out of my arms so suddenly and violently that I was sent reeling. I was still nursing Eva when she died and the next weeks were also painful as I worked to stop the flow of the milk that I had spent so long trying to keep flowing throughout Eva's stay in the PICU.  I had been looking forward to growing out of babyhood. Looked forward to selling the exersaucer and other big 'baby items' at a garage sale. But, oh, when babyhood was snatched from my arms, I longed to hold Hope. Longed to feel the weight of a baby in my arms. I couldn't hold anyone else's baby without crying desperately. Looked with envious eyes at other baby girls and held close the clothes of my dead daughter.

When Eva went to Heaven I suddenly understood so much more clearly the sanctity, value and eternity of Life. Eva was dead. I could no longer hold her physically, although I longed to do it more than anything in the world.  But, Eva was still my daughter. She would always be my daughter and that would never, ever change. She is there in Heaven. She is still my daughter. Only she is in Heaven. Her being in Heaven and me being here on earth doesn't change the fact that she is my daughter. Always and forever, she is my daughter. And I long for the day that I will hold her close to me again.

For months I couldn't reconcile in my mind the fact that we had a daughter whose name meant  'Breath of Life' who died so young. How was this possible? And I wanted to be pregnant. I wanted a little Hope in my belly when everything seemed so hopeless around me. And we couldn't. And we never could again. All because of a permanent decision that we made back in February 2011. Back when we thought we could see the future and all the good things it held for us.

And then, in January 2012, we changed the course of our lives once again. We reversed a permanent decision. And I hoped and prayed for another heartbeat in our lives. And I thought the meaning of Eva's name would be fulfilled in siblings that would never have had life had our little 'Breath of Life' never lived and died. Had her heart never stopped beating. And the weeks passed, and the months passed and every month was hopeless once again. Almost more so because we had the possibility of Hope. And as the months passed, it seemed that God had taken everything from us.

We used to take our fertility so for granted that we thought we would just cut it off and throw it in the garbage. How stupid. If there was one thing I regretted it was that permanent decision we made back in February 2011. We did our absolute best with Eva. We advocated for her. We prayed for her. We fought for her. We loved her. We held her. We slept with her. I pumped milk for hours and hours and hours in the PICU for her. But our fertility, and the hope of life for any other children. That, we threw in the garbage, like so much detritus. The lives of our future children were of no value to us.

And Eva changed our hearts. Sweet little Eva with her sparkling eyes and glowing smile. She changed our hearts and they will never beat the same again.  How terribly sad that Eva died. And I will forever mourn the loss of my beautiful, sparkly baby. But, oh , how much sadder the loss of the children that we couldn't have because we put no value on their lives. And I grieved for those children too, and the loss of Hope.

And then one fine day in July 2012 Eva's name was fulfilled and, all of a sudden, there was a little Hope in my belly. The third week of July was strange for me, as I absorbed the fact that maybe, just maybe, there would be another heartbeat in our family. Could it really be? Was it true? And my heart beat a little faster as I thought about it.

And then I woke up in August and my heart wrenched and I missed Eva afresh with every breath I took and having Hope took me off one rollercoaster and put me on another. And then my best friend lost her baby, Caleb, at 14 weeks gestation. And I grieved for him. I knew how my friend was hurting and I ate Tear Soup with her as she had eaten of my batch of Tear Soup last August. And then my mom had chest pains and I was certain she was going to die, because that is what I expect of August. And then another friend lost her sweet son, Uriah, at 20 weeks. And then a mama I met at a garage sale told me of her Sweet Baby Kane that she lost in June at 18.5 weeks. And then Mike's aunt died. And then I learned of another loss of a baby in our church at 10 weeks. And then another loss from someone else at 8 weeks. This last baby had a very close EDD to our little Hope. All this in the terrible month of August, when I am reliving the weather and the moments of Eva's last days with us and then the terrible, terribleness of the early black hole of pain and grief over losing my sweet daughter.

And I thought, it seems so hopeless. We will never have another living baby in our family. And then I went to have an ultrasound and I saw that little flickering heartbeat at 169bpm on the screen and I thought that, whatever happens, Eva's name has been fulfilled. There is New Life because Eva lived and died. There is Hope. And each Life is a miracle and a blessing and fully deserving to be celebrated and we want to celebrate the Life and the heartbeat of our little Hope. Because there are no guarantees and we don't know what the future holds. And so we celebrate the Hope that we have and while we hope and pray for the outcome of a living baby with ten toes and ten fingers and a strong heart that beats and beats and beats much longer than my heart and Mike's, we also celebrate the fact that Hope exists at all. And we thank God for the gift of Life.

And still I couldn't share Hope with you in the month of August, but today is September and September feels like it can have Hope in it. September feels better and Vincent announced at a gathering yesterday that there is 'a baby in my mommy's belly'. And soon we will tell our church family. And they will congratulate us and I will quiver a little when they do because this heartbeat would not have been without the loss of our Sweet Eva's heartbeat. And my heart aches for Eva still...