COVID-19 and pause…

Things had gotten real busy real fast for us in February. Mike quit smoking and in doing so caused himself to go into withdrawal.

Los Angeles

We still we pretty unsettled back and forth from LA county to San Diego county attempting to find the right fit for us to stay the long haul.

Uncertainty started to kick in, Lea’s birthday was creeping up and people were discussing Corona Virus as the grocery stores in southern California were starting to empty way before anywhere else.

The TPs wing it completely… Family Vacation part 2

We spent the night in Cleveland and woke up. Thank goodness for Google because it informed me that Perkin’s was near by. Never ate there before but it would be our first meal on our first full day in the US.

Our first hotel stop Cleveland
Perkins
She found wifi…

Everyone was so lovely and we needed to head on the road. So we did.

The Transformers were following us.

After informing a lot of people we were on the road heading West from where we would be there were a ton of different routes we could have taken. But we were in Ohio so I felt I needed to see a friend I met online so long ago pregnant with my first set of kids and she had a window to see us.

Bathroom pit stop Statue.

So Columbus was our next destination. The drive seemed long which wasn’t good because we somehow needed to get in as much miles in a day as we could with 4 daughters in tow.

Traffic getting into Columbus
Leaving Columbus

We were being realistic. We were looking to at least wanted to get our 2500 miles in in less than a week. Ambitious yes, but we never shied from a challenge.

Ohio says Goodbye

And with Columbus checked off our check list we hit the road and made our way out of Ohio

We are on a Family Adventure… another one!

About 3 years ago we got on a plane to an unknown world to my daughters. Last month we started again.We decided wildly to take Canadian Thanksgiving as an opening to start an adventure and drive across the United States. We said by to my mom and headed, she held back tears but then we were off.It took us over 4 hours to cross the border into the United States, not because the border was crazy busy but because Toronto shut down one its major arteries called the Gardiner Expressway.The idea of crossing was crazy mostly for me who had been denied entry for unknown reasons previously. I had a lot of feelings about it. I was hurt and scarred by the whole thing, it has made me feel uncomfortable to cross back into the US, a place I love and feel like home.We made it across with ease because we should easily cross. And with our 4 girls we didn’t even have a plan because we weren’t sure if we’d be able to cross. But here we went. So what was our trajectory? Well we couldn’t be in the US and not head to California. So LA was the goal.We headed west towards the border and landed in Cleveland for the night.Part 1…

Why can’t you be bored?

You know being a mom is this dirty word sometimes.

It’s a weird situation, calling someone a mom comes with a lot of imagery in our heads. Everyone has a vision of what the perfect mom looks like. Add social media to the mix and moms have so many roles imposed on them.

But you know what you never see… where are the bored moms?

I love boredom… boredom is so “Fantastic” when my girls come running into the room to save them from their boredom I emphatically say:

Boredom is the beginning of creativity.

Because when you are so bored with the tasks or feel like that around you is mundane you will finally come to the creative place your inner spirit needs to go to grow.

But boredom is shamed if you are a mom. Moms are never allowed to be bored. People will shun you and question your validity in parenting if you uttered the words: “I am bored.” Some parts of parenting is extremely boring. I hated pumping it was so dreadful I hated it so much so I wouldn’t do it. Cleaning the house can be boring. Making dinner every night can get boring.

Why do we have to pretend we love all parts of being a parent. I love being a mom, I love talking and spending time getting to know my girls further. But having to say every night, ok get ready for bed, did you brush your teeth, wash your face, go peepee? gets horribly boring.

I have become so incredibly bored with the mundane that I am patiently waiting for the creative to kick in. To find ways to enjoy as much with my kids, dating my husband or even alone… I am filling the days for us as a unit while also encouraging my girls to figure out how to cope with their boredom.

So I am going to say it out loud for all us moms who are in this place right now. I AM BORED… and I am allowed to be.

Boobs… the story of a love lost.

Let me get the first part of my chest (excuse the obvious pun) but I had a breast reduction.

I got a Breast reduction in Toronto in 2017. I got it because I really hated my breasts. I hated my breasts for what they did to my neck which no longer had a curve, what they did to my shoulders as I compensated for years for their girth, for how I never fitted into proper clothing.

I remember my family joking at my 7 year old body which had started to develop, I had breasts as long as I could remember. I was synonymous for my boobs. They were me. They had been part of me forever and I finally came to term to say Goodbye to them.

In high school, they got me a lot of attention. They were huge and everyone commented on them. Girls found them overwhelming and would make snide comments like can’t you put those away, boys would ask for a little more. I won’t lie I was popular with the boys.

I was never shy about my boobs and may have even played them up. Hey you all are going to talk about them, so I am going to flaunt them in your faces. Girls who complained about them being too big, needing to be covered only spurred me further to be annoying.

And then I got pregnant. I remember listening to women explain how much their boobs changed with pregnancy and post baby. Mine did not. 4 babies, a little saggier than they were when I was 15, they were any smaller. They were being lifted into a size DDD/E because well there was also the reality that one was way larger than the other. But the truth is at 24, I worked at a Chiropractor clinic, when the lead chiropractor said my shoulders will never come back if I never dealt with my frontal weight. I remember my GP saying tell me when you will stop having babies and we will work on getting the surgery required.

2014 my last baby was born and so the reality of it was time to fix me became important to me. I made the conscious effort to go under the knife for an elective surgery. I heard about all the horrid possibilities, like losing my nipples to necrosis. But I was steadfast… my children scared… even second guessing the choice because who would I be without my boobs.

And then I woke up. With far less pain than I imagined… the weight was lifted off my chest. It was surreal. Strapped in like a mummy, daughters confused and looking at my feet from the top of my body with joy. And the rest is history.

How do you love yourself?

meI had written a post about the world strong for today, … I did.

I started writing it about how I hated being called the word strong because I just wasn’t. I felt that I never lived up to that term that some had called me recently. And the word had been thrown in my direction since losing our baby.

And so for my blog post I looked up the definition of strong…

All these words like indestructible, solid, tough and resilient came up, and I can promise physically I don’t see those words reflecting back in the mirror at me.

But as I sat to think about it, I have been all those words personally… NOT physically.

Why did it take me to start writing a post about the term strong to finally see myself as a word others use to describe me so often? Why did I not want to believe people when they said it? Why did I waver at the idea that this was my truth? And most of all why didn’t I love myself enough to believe I was strong?

Parenting has taught me a lot about myself that I don’t like… not in a bad way, but in a very looking at myself differently and seeing why I haven’t always been so good to myself. I think I associated the word tough as a shield, a force that didn’t allow people in… a good friend of mine had said that my husband and I use to seem too intimidating in our motorcycle leathers riding throughout Toronto like badasses… and this idea always made me laugh because I see myself as this bubbly fun, pink loving girly girl. But I wasn’t giving that off.

Clearly from the last few posts you can obviously see that I am not afraid to speak my truth, but some how I haven’t been living my truth, maybe I was in my tight black pants in my leather jacket was protecting the pink loving bubbly girl. Maybe I was holding on to that bubbly girl in my head because I never wanted to be the harsh strong badass I was becoming, maybe I just wasn’t prepared to love myself enough to see it either way… but I was sending off signals and wasn’t owning my own truth.

But now I have daughters and I am a great mom, yeah I will own that one… I let my girls walk around my home owning 100% of who they are, sometimes I ask them if their current opinion is doing them any good… and maybe coming to this laptop today was the Universe asking me is my current opinion of myself doing me any good.

What is so wrong with being strong, anyways, Angie??  

You know this blog has been a place for me to speak my truth. Many times in the years that I wrote it was about the puff pieces, the ones that made people just see a product or make them laugh. But I never wanted to ruffle the feathers, or make waves in a stagnant water. But I am coming to learn I am the Thunder people say I am… and it’s ok. I just need to know when to start becoming loud. I don’t need to be quiet, I definitely don’t need to be quiet because it makes others uncomfortable… at least that is definitely not a lesson I teach my kids.

I tell them to talk, and express opinions, to debate me if they feel confident to do so, also to read the hell out of the rooms and situations they are in because I didn’t just have children, I birthed future adults and they need to get ready to love themselves when I won’t be in the room.  I need to love myself like I teach them to do for themselves. I need to never apologize for who I am… I always seem to need to explain my strong opinions, my view points, my positions. In honour of loving myself, and honouring my word this year of WORTH, I will accept myself, love myself and be ok with the fact that others might not love me and that will be ok because I will love myself enough for all of them.

How to write… (Thank you!)

So, I have been struggling on what to write!?!?!?

I won’t lie, I have been a little mentally unable to come up with something cool and inspiring, my phone died a slow death and a bunch of pictures and videos I had were lost.

I spent a good amount of time coming to grips with my new reality, I have been loved with affection and presents from people who showed great love towards me and baby Titan, but I also have felt people have been afraid to talk to me. Keeping their happy news to themselves not to seem insensitive. But it made me lonely!

In healing from my stillbirth it made me lonely, there is so much processing of the sad when you know it’s time to smile and focus on the happy, I went on my Facebook and saw a couple girlfriends gave birth, and mostly birth of sons, who while gorgeous a ting of jealousy kicked in. Not because I needed a son, but because now I knew I had one, and now I don’t

But their joy is so gorgeous, these beautiful babies wrapped in those white blankets with the pink and blue stripes. And I am so happy to those ladies who are maybe only having their second child in the attempt to build their own little families. I want to share in that joy… it’s so lovely. SOOOO LOVELY.

It’s not a brave face, I want to move on, I will never get my chance with Titan again and I am as ok as I think I could ever be. I am still physically dealing with my birth but my brain is telling me:

Go love life again.”

I have had an interesting couple of years where I haven’t felt like I could be as happy or as excited as I wanted to get, but I turned a leaf, my mantra is about just wanting to go and dream all the dreams I can dream up again. I no longer want to be sad about anything, not even my greatest loss. I lived through it but I want to live with it as a badge of what was. I had plans, great little mommy of a newborn plans, they might have seem crazy to some but they were my plans and I was going to make this little nuggets life fun and happy. Now I am not. And that needs to be ok, I need to change my plans but in doing so, making plans that make me and my older babies happy.

I am NOT walking on eggshells, I don’t want you to be either around me, I am on an adventure as a Mom now who has experienced it all, life and loss. And this is my new adventure.

I felt like I would feel guilty about no longer talking about my baby loss, but I don’t know if I will ever write about it again, but as of now I am going to try and write about other adventures we are unfolding.

So thank you for seeing me, reading my word, and loving me in ways I haven’t felt in a while… but I need to be more for my girls and myself. So here is to more.

Thank you!

Delivering when there is no baby.

I am sitting here in the maternity ward as we speak. Striped out of my clothes like all the other times I came to birth my girls. In a room that I am pretty sure I birthed one of my daughters previously.

Husband is in the lounger beside me and we can hear a new born crying in another room. It’s gut wrenching. I want to run to that room and hold that baby. Tell that mom her blessing made it. It’s a miracle.

They’ve put meds inside of me to weaken my cervix. And we now wait… she thinks I will unfortunately be here 8 hours til my cervix has fully let go….

And then it took me 3 days to come here and finish this story.

My best friend messaged me as I was writing and while she said I am thinking of you do you need anything; I typed do you think you could come here.

Here we were the 3 of us, Mike sitting now on the window ledge, Cindy my best friend and I journeying into the abyss that I learned was called Birthing a still birth. 4 hours came and went and I needed another dose. To be honest the whole thing was so insane, it had become comical. Our nurse kept saying vaginally wrong which annoyed and entertained us feverishly. We laughed more than any other person in the ward.

My doctor told us she purposefully put us in the more quiet room on the floor, we could hear the newborns whimper which hurt. I couldn’t tell you which room it was coming from or who the parents were; but I can promise you I uttered the words to my husband: that I would happily go to pick up that baby if the mother didn’t want to.

The aches from the meds progressed, it was strange not at all like the past few times, the pains were dull and long, eventually I got some Ibuprofen. All the nurses and the doctor laughed at me because I didn’t want anything stronger.  Then just before we did the 3rd set of the meds, I was in enough pain to ask to be put on some Percocet. The pain a bit more annoying. Continue reading “Delivering when there is no baby.”

Mourning and Miscarriages.

I had this fun post about the new season and the new year that some cultures celebrate… but then tragedy struck our family.

We had our 20 week prenatal appointment, not much was thought to happen, we’d go and hear the heartbeat, talk about the dreaded glucose test and I waited to chat with her before I called in my 19 week ultrasound.

I went and waited my turn patiently got on the scale, 2 pounds up from the last 4 weeks, makes sense the girls were home for March Break so we were eating way more junk, staying up late watching movies and just being goofballs around the house. We chatted, I said is my belly huge, because everyone keeps saying it looks huge, she measured and said not at all… this is where it should be at this point. So she took out the audio monitor after doing my blood pressure. And she couldn’t find anything, we talked about how I hadn’t felt any movement yet, she said not a huge deal since I had scar tissue and by placenta had landed anteriorly (which I didn’t know what a thing til she checked my last Ultrasound)… and we couldn’t hear baby. She said man this baby won’t stay still… even told me to stop talking to see if baby would calm down.

Nothing much happened, she said listen can you just go for a ultrasound down the hall I just want a heartbeat confirmation. She didn’t seem much worried at all… why would she be, I was feeling fine, growing fine and I have 4 normal pregnancies before yesterday. 2 hours after being squeezed into an ultrasound, a tech saw me. She looked around put a ton of gel on my tummy and said I just need to call in the radiologist to confirm findings with you. He came in… stoic looking and said any bleeding, I said no. I looked at him and said:

“Just tell me, do you see a heartbeat, I’ll be fine.

He responded:

“I am sorry we don’t see a heartbeat.

I didn’t miss a beat, I had a follow up question like a robot who had never dealt with trauma and said:

“Ok, can you give a size measurement and I can figure out when?”

He obliged and continued with some more imagery and measured the baby’s femur. He seemed sad. I guess he didn’t feel like seeing a dead baby inside a human either yesterday. He measured and measured and said:

“I’m getting a 17 week measurement.”

I thanked him for being so open and honest with me. The tech had to take some more pictures to send to my OB, so I sat there as she finished the work she did. She was at a loss for words, I said: – do you see this often? Her response was: -Not often this far along.

I wiped myself off and walked out to the waiting room which luckily my husband had returned to because he had to grab our girls from school and drop them off at my mom’s since we weren’t too sure how soon my ultrasound would occur and I nodded No to him. He looked perplexed, I said No heartbeat, and walked out of the room.

Doctor was in clinic all day, I walked back into her office and I got to see her next, not sure if I got bumped ahead of the line, all I remember was leaving her office it was full, I wanted to keep it together, all these beautifully pregnant women in there waiting to talk about their babies, didn’t need to see the face of a woman who just found out she is pregnant still with a baby with no heart beat.

You want to know how hard it is to talk to your OB, the OB who has been the doctor to walk you through all your pregnancies, who helped force all your babies out because they were happy to stay in my womb for so long, my doctor called my womb club med. She joked at my Uterus genetic numbers, and said come on you still have a uterus of a 17 year old. She looked at me like, oh good, everything ok… and I nodded NO for the second time in less than 5 minutes. I didn’t want to utter words. I didn’t want to say it out loud, I just wanted people to know without me having to say it.

We walked into the room, discussed, I said:

Can you go in and just take it out of me?

She quickly responded:

No, you are too far along, baby has dense bones, and will need to be birthed.

Those might be the ugliest words ever said to me. I, who has a very hard time birthing, my body who doesn’t enjoy participating in my births will have to coax it to participate in a birth of a baby I will never get to hold in my arms, I will never get to bring home, I will never get to share with my girls.

I left with an appointment, an appointment to birth my dead baby. Like WTF? That’s a thing, it’s a thing some women have to do. Like we don’t deal with enough shit, add this to the list of things. This was my reality… this is what I will begin to process for the next 24 hours. Like somehow anyone can prepare to wrap around their heads on this matter.

It’s shit, it’s shit watching your husband become bewildered, it’s really shit watching your 11 year old and 10 year old just ball and ball. And feeling, well ok, you have to be strong for them, they need you now. I jump into that roll easily, always have. ME mourn, me feel sad, me feel an emotion other than just get it done; Rarely. But man I should. But I feel NUMB. I say that, because my tummy is in knots, my head aches and I feel absent of tears, because I feel like I am on the outside walking my body through this time. I want to punch someone, I want to kick myself, I want to hurt and I want to yell at myself for hurting.

Who am I to complain about miscarrying, I have 4 beautiful healthy children at home, safe, educated, smiling, loved. Why should I be lucky enough to have never lost a child in womb? Why would those be my cards? Others go a lifetime with never making one successful live birth, others have miscarriages between children.

But here I am still carrying a baby in my womb, with no heartbeat, I feel I have lost my heartbeat in the process. I feel like baby took my heartbeat with it. I may have been spoiled, but today I feel loss.

 

 

We are growing.

So by now many people are privy to the idea that our family is having a baby. Now lots of people have babies, not many already have 4 not so small babies at home when it happens.

We were a settled family of 6, we had 4 girls, a nice round number my husband use to say, as the many Chinese old ladies in my mother’s retirement building have informed me is a very lucky endeavor, 4 girls. We assumed that this was all it was going to be for us and we were happy. No boys, 4 beautiful girls who keep us on our toes.

And then like that SURPRISE.

Continue reading “We are growing.”