Saints at the Classroom Door

One of my children starts kindergarten this week.  Am I ready to launch him into the vast world of elementary school by himself!?  Yes, I do realize there is only one classroom per grade, but still…

This milestone is a significant one.  I fully expect to be one of ‘those’ moms, crying in the car after drop off.  We’ll see.  I made sure the box of tissue in the car wasn’t empty and will have my sunglasses ready.

I think gradual entry is just as much for our children as it is for us.  As first time kindergarten parents, we need to ease in.  Tomorrow, I’m scheduled to leave him in the classroom for a short time, “don’t worry, I won’t be long and will pick you up again.”  I asked him tonight if he was ok with me dropping him off and my confident five year old ended up being the one to reassure me. “It’s ok mommy, I like my new school.  You can leave me at kindergarten ‘for longer’.  I know my teachers now, they are all so nice!  I won’t act silly.”

Three years ago, Keaton, should have been the first one in the family to start kindergarten.  I remember it was a wistful week for me, seeing the proud “1st day of kindergarten!” pictures and posts on social media – especially the families who were in the same prenatal class as we were.  Our babies were born within weeks of one another and Keaton was the only one who didn’t make it.

Driving to work, I was keenly aware of passing the children on their way to school as I slowed down cautiously – below the 30 km speed limit – just to be extra safe.  This is what I would have wanted drivers to do had my child been the one walking hand-in-hand with me, excited to go to kindergarten at his new school.

This article called, “The Ghost At The Classroom Door” was shared by another infant loss mom on Facebook today and I thought it was fitting; although I like to use the term “saint” instead.  I’m sure our little saints love to accompany their siblings when they go to school…it is a comforting thought.

I love and miss you my sweet babies, pray your brother has a great time in kindergarten and enjoy that time together as I’m sure you will.

Forever Yours,

Mama xoxo

Post Partum Depression Seminar

You are not Alone!  Coping Strategies for Baby Blues/Post Partum Depression & Anxiety

April 4th, 2017 from 7 PM – 9:00 PM 

Post-Partum-Depression-photo

Presented ByDiana Ayres, M.A., Registered Clinical Counsellor and Donna L. Crombie, Elizabeth Minister

Location:  St. Nicholas Church, 20675 87 Ave., Langley, BC

Will you be giving birth in the next few months?

Have you given birth recently?

Do you sometimes feel anxious or think you might be depressed or worry your spouse might be?

Have you suffered through infant loss and are pregnant again or recently had a baby?

Feeling lonely and need of support?

Post partum depression can greatly affect couples and their families.  Feelings being of worried, anxious or depressed are more common than we think.  Diana and Donna are new moms and would like to create more awareness about this important topic.

This seminar will go over signs and symptoms of perinatal and post partum anxiety and depression.  Diana will discuss ways to cope, gain support and thrive and Donna will share her story about infant loss and having subsequent children.

Pregnant couples, new parents, supporters and family members are encouraged to attend.  All are welcome!

Cost:  By donation

To register or for more info: 604.931.7211 - denisboyd.com

Struggling with Faith & Infertility

This story named “Chloe” is too beautiful not to share and when I listened to this couple speak, it reminded me of when my husband and I struggled with fertility issues ourselves.  It is a moving account of how God can work in mysterious ways.  In retrospect, He may give us strong signs to lead us.  I know for myself, I didn’t recognize that all the while, He was pointing us in a certain direction and all I needed to do was trust and follow.

Trust and follow.  Hard to do when you are angry and hurting, I know…

There may be times when we feel God has completely abandoned us, yet these may be the exact moments when He is fully there to cradle us in His loving arms of mercy.  We were once in this place of wanting a child and having to wait, and wait and wait. Our faith was shaken. It was when I finally said, “Your will be done, if we weren’t meant to be biological parents, even though it has been my childhood dream, then so be it”…

Shortly after, we became pregnant with Keaton.  Our beloved son’s life here on earth was all too brief and my faith was shattered. We waited again and prayed for our second son, holding our breath and wondering at times.  Our precious little one did arrive and is here in our arms and he is such a joy.

We are now pregnant with our third blessing, a little girl whose name we chose 25 years ago. We are so grateful for all our children. I’m thinking of those who are struggling with infertility, you are in my prayers.

Why Miscarriage Matters…

*** Pregnancy mentioned

A friend sent this blog post called “Why miscarriage matters when you are pro-life“, it is well worth a read.  After we conceived the 2nd time, we were fearful as there was a chance that I might have an ectopic pregnancy.  After losing Keaton and trying for so many years to conceive again, we were overjoyed when we found out that we were going to have another child.  But we were also scared.

At the time, I was on a waiting list for surgery to unblock my fallopian tubes.  A few months prior, I was told one of my tubes was completely blocked and the other was virtually the same, so it was a nice surprise that we were able to get pregnant.  Because of the blockages, the risk was that our 2nd miracle baby wasn’t going to be developing in my uterus and we were going to lose this little one too.

I contacted the Perinatologist who monitored us during our 1st pregnancy with Keaton as he was well aware of our situation.  Unfortunately, we were told we would have to wait to find out.  The earliest he could tell via ultrasound whether or not the baby was developing in the right place was 6-7 weeks gestation.

For the next month, I was on the edge of grief.  It was unnerving.  I waited in frustration – praying, happy at times and thankful; trying to be hopeful, yet I was anxious, angry and sad too.  ”Dear God, just tell me already!”…I so wanted the date of our ultrasound to come quickly, but dreaded the days leading up to it and felt so sick inside.

The moment I found out we were pregnant, I became attached.  How could I not?  Yes, part of me wanted to protect my heart from being broken yet again, but the other part reminded me that I was indeed a mother to this baby too.  No matter how young, no matter how small, my reason for being was to love and protect my children the best way possible. It would have been a hard fall.

The day finally came and driving to the hospital I couldn’t help but think “today I will find out if my baby will live or die”.  If I was having an ectopic pregnancy, I had to prepare myself for emergency surgery.  It was one thing to mentally prepare for having to go in for surgery, it was another to mentally prepare to say good bye to someone I had quickly grown to love so dearly.

I can’t describe the relief I felt when the Dr. showed me at 7 WEEKS, the ultrasound image of our baby on the screen.  The Dr. reassured me that this little one was developing in my uterus where s/he was supposed to be.  At that moment, peace settled in and gave me a chance to take a deep breath, something I had not done for weeks.

Once I heard confirmation that my baby was being given an opportunity to live, I could not take my eyes off the screen.  All I could see was this tiny heart beating steadily in front of me.  I was in awe of this wonderful blessing.  Another life was growing inside of me and for now, he or she was going to be ok!

I will be honest, the rest of my pregnancy did bring about a lot of stress and anxiety.  How long would this baby be able to stay?  What if…?  Would I be able to see my newborn open his/her eyes and hear the sweetest coo I so longed to hear?  Would I be able to bring this little person home?  Thankfully, Keaton’s baby brother is now 18 months old and safe in our arms.  I still shake my head at times that he is actually here.  It has been quite the journey.

Indeed, I do believe that every life has value.  Before I lost Keaton and before his little brother came along, I didn’t realize the impact that perinatal loss had on families.  This is why it has been so important for me to bring Elizabeth Ministry to our area, to help support other bereaved families and also create awareness to others.  If you are reading this and feel the same way, contact me if you think you might want to start up a chapter at your Parish.

To my precious baby boys, I loved you the moment I knew you existed.  Thank you Rachel for sharing your story, my prayers are with you.

Happy 4th Birthday Keaton!

Today is Keaton’s 4th birthday.  4years is hard to fathom.  He would be considered a little boy by now, learning to be more independent and attending pre-school.  At 4 yrs. of age he would no longer be a toddler and certainly not an infant – but Keaton will always be my “baby”.  In my heart, he will remain my newborn until I cross over that threshold into eternity. 

In heaven, I imagine picking him up as a new infant and living happily-ever-after.  And the beauty of it all is that there won’t ever be an ending.  We’d simply wait for each family member to arrive and have a huge family party/reunion.    

For Keaton’s 3rd birthday last year, we ordered custom-made birthday cakes and made a surprise announcement to our family that Keaton was going to be a big brother. 

Oh how I wish I could close my eyes, blow out the candles and have Keaton with us again.  This year, his little brother, now 4 1/2 months old, is in our arms and with us to celebrate Keaton’s special day….

January 16, 2013

Dearest Keaton,

Happy Birthday son!  You are 4 years old now and we long to see what you must look like.  Your papa and I miss you so much.  Thank you for watching over your little brother…he arrived safe and sound and looked just like you did when you were born. 

As we celebrate your 4th birthday, please send us lots of hugs and kisses.  We think of you all the time and can just imagine the kind of parties you must have in heaven.  Give everyone up there our love. 

Love you always sweetheart,

Mama, Papa and your baby brother 

xoxoxo

 

Rescuing Hug

*** Pregnancy mentioned
 

This is a beautiful article called The Rescuing Hug that features a photo of premature twins who were born 12 weeks early…a must read! 

This hits home for me because our little guy is due in less than 12 weeks.  Sending prayers to all those who are also pregnant.  Especially after a loss, it can be a challenge not to worry about the life that we are carrying within. 

Praying for the safe arrival of our babies, may God send guardian angels to watch over us all.

…And Then Came The Rain

*** NOTE: Subsequent pregnancy mentioned

I haven’t written for awhile and I apologize.  It is Good Friday and Lent is coming to end.  Soon, we will be rejoicing in the season of Easter.  Earlier this afternoon there were many clouds overhead, but the sky was blue and the sun was out.  As I sat looking out my kitchen window at the evergreen trees and sipping some tea, I thought to myself, “hmm, there might not be rain this year for Good Friday”.  I felt a twinge of disappointment. 

Ever since I could remember, it always seemed to rain for at least a little while on Good Friday.  This is not surprising here on the Wet  - I mean West – Coast.  For some reason, rain on Good Friday doesn’t upset me.  There should be grey skies and rain on Good Friday, it is only fitting. 

Not more than 10 minutes later, with the sun stilling shining, droplets of rain began to gently splatter.   “…And then came the rain” I said smiling to myself.  The streams sparkled and looked like tiny diamonds, streaming down quickly and lasting for only a few minutes.  I felt refreshed and renewed.  “There must be a rainbow somewhere” I said out loud.  What a sweet gift God sent to us I thought looking down at my hand which was resting comfortably on my belly. 

I never did see a rainbow, but as I write this, I realize that the rainbow God sent is living and growing inside my womb – our *rainbow babyI’m happy to announce that we are pregnant with our 2nd miracle; Keaton being our 1st .

For the past three years, I struggled with the possibility that our 1st son might be our only miracle, but thankfully, God had other plans.  It has been hard to believe after so many years of praying and wanting another baby, that he or she has been conceived and is actually here.  We’re almost half-way through our pregnancy and due in September.    

If you have been in our position and have had a loss and then became pregnant again, you can likely relate to how I feel.  I can’t wait to hold this baby in our arms and raise our child, but at the same time, I can’t help but be nervous too.  I am doing my best to live in the moment and appreciate each day that we have with our little one - it can be tough some days.

There are moments I am completely elated.   I have gladly welcomed the nausea, the food restrictions, growing out of my clothes and even the slightest ache or strain in my legs or lower back.  The distant memory of being pregnant the first time and happily anticipating the arrival of our 1st baby was stuffed in the back of my mind for so long; I am allowing myself to remember these moments with him because they also brought much joy to our lives. 

There are also times however, when the anxiety creeps in and awful flashbacks of three years ago jump out and take hold of me – rushing to the hospital feeling something was wrong – watching the faces of the nurses as they searched for my baby’s heartbeat over and over again – being rushed into the birthing room as I was about to deliver while fully aware that my child needed help – birthing our baby and seeing the grave look on my husband’s face – images of the Dr. shaking her head indicating that our child did not make it – the overwhelming  feeling of disbelief and awe when my newborn baby was placed in my arms, limp and lifeless – the unrecognizable howl of anguish that bellowed from deep within my being – and the pain I felt when we had to let our baby go. 

Then the storm raged.  I can only think about these things for so long… 

How did we manage to survive the death of our son at the beginning?  How have we come so far since then?  What do people do when they get pregnant again, how do they cope?  These questions have been swirling around for the last three years.    

As I walked into Church today, the sun was bright, the sky was blue and some Parishioners were strolling in with short sleeves.  I basked in the warmth of the sunrays before stepping inside.  People that I know asked how I was doing,  how the pregnancy was going and gave me warm supportive hugs.  I am grateful for the prayers we have been receiving from our friends, family and Parish community.   

In the middle of the service, as Father began his Homily, it started to rain.  It wasn’t the happy rain cloud that showered outside my window earlier today.  It was a storm cloud that demanded our attention, pelting hard rain on the roof.  Off in the distance, there was rolling thunder.  I looked up through the high windows of the Church and noticed the sky had darkened, turning grey and mournful.  I didn’t dread the short-lived storm, I was thankful for it.  We were remembering the day that Jesus died for us on the cross and I am so grateful for that gift.  Oh, how He must have suffered…

During Mass this solemn day, I rubbed my tummy as I felt light “love” kicks within me.  I also thought about Keaton and what he was doing, because he is never far from my thoughts.  There are so many mixed feelings to contend with… but I’m learning to appreciate that the brighter moments in life can be appreciated more now that I have lived through some of the darkest storms I wish to ever experience. 

Thank you Jesus for the suffering and death you endured so that we your children, may have the chance to live.  The people at that time of His death, didn’t realize that they were on the brink of a glorious miracle and the greatest gift that God had for all of us.  He sacrificed His only beloved Son, and no one else would have done the same.   

So what will happen to this blog?  It will evolve, grow and develop as I do.  At this point, I’m not sure how I will structure the posts.  I want to be sensitive to families who are deeply grieving the death of their little one, yet still serve the ones who have a loss, and also have had a subsequent pregnancy/children.   Both sets of families need support and I ask for your prayers for discernment and faith that I can provide resources for those who need them.

*A baby who is conceived and/or born after the death of an older sibling. 

A definition that resonates with me:

“Rainbow Baby” is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy and hope.

 If anyone can inform me of the original author, please let me know.  Thanks!