Saturday, October 26, 2013

Some things.

We are slowly getting settled into our new place in Wisconsin. It's cold up here already, and it will still be another 2 weeks before our household goods shipment arrives from WA. Gotta love those government movers.

I have a lot on my heart lately, but not nearly enough time to write it out. So for now, a couple things I wanted to share.

I got certified to teach childbirth classes, and I finally have my website up and running. I'm trying to find a good balance in supporting all mothers and their babies, regardless of whether they lived or died. You can check out the website if you're interested. Or find me on facebook. Even if you aren't looking to have childbirth classes, I just like talking to people. I'm on facebook much more than here. (And I miss talking to yall!)

I also wrote a piece for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and it was featured at Modern Alternative Pregnancy. One of their regular contributors asked me to write in her place this month because she felt she couldn't do the subject justice. You can read it here if you'd like.

I need sleep. More coming soon.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


In August, I packed up all my worldly belongings and moved away from WA.

In September, I was officially separated from the Navy.

In October, we will eventually move out of the in-laws' spare bedroom to live in Wisconsin.

So many changes.

I'm not dealing well, to be honest.

I feel like I'm stuck.

Almost everything I own is locked up in storage on the other side of the country. I don't care about things. Not usually. But their things are locked up out there. Everything that I have that belonged to them. That had anything to do with them.

It's on that side, and I'm stuck over here on this side.

I feel silly. They're just things! Just pictures and paintings and blankets!

But I want them here with me. With us. In our own house. In our own space.


I need space.

I need things to do.

I need to stop being stuck.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A walk with Andy.

Life has been overwhelming lately. I needed to clear my head, so I drove out to the landing and parked at the top of the hill. I needed to walk it off, whatever it was that was wearing me down so heavily.  

There was a long dirt road leading to the water. It was dry and cracking from a summer with little rain. It was well-traveled, with grooves worn deep from the passing tractors. Dusty blackberry bushes lined one side; rows of beets and turnips stretched out along the other. 

The salt air drifted gently over the fields. I glanced down as a small white butterfly danced around my feet, around one and then around the other. I smiled, following its cheerful choreography with my eyes. 

Would you look at that sky?!

There was a familiar thickness to his accent; a heaviness as his hand grasped mine. 

Days like this are my favorite, ya know? 

He smiled at me, and he gently squeezed my hand. 

It had been six years since I last saw that smile. 

My mind started racing with all the things that have happened in those six years, all the things I wanted so badly to tell him about. Joining the Navy. Adventures at sea. Mountain climbing. Marriage. Divorce. Babies. Relationships. Leaving the Navy. 

Relationships and babies. That was why I was there that day, on that dusty road. A fragile relationship that's one more stupid argument from being over, and a baby that is turning one. A baby that is the reason behind leaving my job, leaving this state, leaving my comfort and stability for something more. A baby that is the lone survivor of three, a baby with a dead brother and a dead sister. 

My head started spinning. I couldn't breathe. I was shaking. I wanted so badly to talk to him, to tell him, but I couldn't find the words. I started to cry. 

He put his arm around me and laughed. Silly girl, just let it go. Just for today. Just walk with me. 

He smiled at me again. I never could say no to that smile.

And so we walked, his hand in mine, along that dusty road through the turnips and the beets. 

As we walked, all those things started melting away. It was like the last six year never happened. It was just my friend and me, together again, without a care in the world.

When we reached the end of the field, I stopped at the bench to take in the view and take some pictures of the flowers. I watched as another small white butterfly danced around my head for a couple seconds and then fluttered off into the blue sky. When I looked back, I was alone. 

Happy Birthday, Andy. Thanks for the walk. 

Monday, May 13, 2013


Marshall was screaming for milk.

Austin was screaming to go outside.

Bryan was complaining about wanting sex.

The cat was knocking over stuff in the kitchen.

...It's overwhelming in our house lately...

I noticed the day's mail was on the table.

Marshall started screaming just for the hell of it.

Austin started screaming because Marshall was screaming.

The cat moved to using my leg as a scratching post.

Dinner was almost done. Laundry still needed to be done.

Marshall needed a bath. Homework needed to be done.

I needed a break. A few minutes of silence. Of fresh air. Of nothing. Just a few minutes of nothing.

I flipped through the mail. Junk. Junk. Another book for class. More junk. A manila envelope. Medical Records, it said.

I'd been waiting for that one.

I'm getting out of the Navy in a couple months, and I have to start the separation physicals and VA evaluations. I need to make sure Emergency Room visits are documented properly. Most times, they aren't.

I held the envelope in my hands for a minute. I vividly remember every single visit to this hospital. I just wanted to skim through it, make sure all the right dates are in there.

I flipped through Marshall's allergic reaction. A pulled shoulder muscle. An intercostal injury in the ribs. A lab report. A miscarriage. An ultrasound. A radiology report.

The ultrasound that saw my baby alive, but surrounded by blood.

I have memorized every bit of that ultrasound, that report, that paper that said you're bleeding but we think every thing is okay so we are sending you home. I have read it to myself in my head over and over and over again throughout the past two years.

Spotting. No fluid leakage. US performed. Anterior placenta. No abnormalities.

I read it again, for old time's sake.

A single living intrauterine gestation. Breech position. Anterior placenta. 164 beats per minute. Blood clot measuring 1.8 x 1.0 x 2.0 cm. Normal amniotic fluid.

But wait. What's this? This isn't the report I remember reading. This isn't even the diagnosis I was given upon discharge.

A blood clot?

A blood clot with a location and a size?

A blood clot that I just happened upon by chance, two years later.

A blood clot that was never mentioned to me, that was never discussed with me, that was never written in any of the papers forwarded to my primary doctor, in my primary medical record.

A blood clot that, two days later, was most definitely involved in the premature birth and death of my son.

All I wanted was a few minutes of silence to pull myself together in all this chaos. Now all I can hear is silence. Shattering, deafening silence.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A first step.

During my pregnancy with Marshall, I posted periodically about how things were going. Mostly the emotional mess of having a baby after losing a baby kind of stuff. After his arrival, I posted periodically about the emotional mess of having a baby after losing a baby kind of stuff. 

But I've never written much about his birth. 

Birth scared me. 

There were so many things that were just waiting to go wrong. Structural issues with my uterus and cervix. Marshall not showing growth for a month. Pre-eclampsia during my last two weeks. Delivering in a military hospital that loves c-sections. History of hemorrhage. 

I had given birth to two babies. Both babies were alive, and then they died. 

Birth was the end of my pregnancy. Birth was the end of knowing Marshall was alive and well. Birth was the uncertainty, the moment when my baby would either be alive or die like his siblings. 

I was terrified. 

I had experienced so much trauma related to pregnancy, birth, and just hospitals in general. I was terrified of what would happen, what might go wrong. I was terrified of the induction the doctor wanted to do. I was terrified of any chance that I would have a c-section. I was terrified that I would walk away without a baby. 

I wanted a natural birth. I wanted to feel the pain. I wanted to feel my baby come into the world. I wanted to hurt, just like I had done with his sister and his brother. I knew my chances were a bit slim, especially in a surgery happy military hospital, but I was determined. 

I had prodromal labor for 3 weeks before Marshall finally showed up....the day before Doc wanted to induce. Contractions picked up at 10:30 PM, so I tried to take a nap until I couldn't take it anymore. My friend Ayla was training to become a doula, so she joined us at the hospital at 2:30 AM. I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia in the first hour. Back labor. Horrible, painful back labor. Marshall was...what did they call it....sunny side up? Fourteen hours later, I was laughing as they handed me my perfect, tiny little guy. He was breathing. He was alive, very much alive. He was perfect. (APGAR of 9!) 

And I did it all completely natural, completely drug free, completely in the moment, fully present in every painful contraction. Just like I wanted. 

My body had finally done what it was supposed to after failing me, failing my babies. It was a first step in forgiving myself, forgiving my body, for everything that had happened in the previous two years. It felt healing. 

One of the nurses commented that it was the first natural birth she had seen in that hospital in 10 years. 

I'm in a military town. Many of the women around here don't have family locally. Many of them endure pregnancy, and often birth, with their spouse deployed. Many of them don't know what to talk to their doctors about or what options they have. Many of them are walking in those same shoes, having a baby after losing a baby, and losing their minds in all the stress that entails. 

It hurts me to see how unsupported so many of these women are. 

I wanted to do something about it. 

In September, I will be a certified instructor for natural child birth classes. 

It's a first step in a completely different direction. It's a pretty big step for me. 

I'm also working to get Lilly's Dream back up and running. I had to put things away during my pregnancy because it was too much for me, especially after the nurse shooting me down when I talked to her about our memory boxes. I will have more time to develop the local resources, which I hope will help even more than the boxes. I'm anxious....but dive back in. 

I'm hoping to be around here more often. Four months was way too long. 

Marshall is doing great, by the way. He is 19 pounds, and he will be 8 months on Sunday. Can you believe that?! 

Sweet potatoes.

Discovering grass and flowers.

My friend Qi took this at our Easter picnic.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Something bigger.

Earlier this month, we passed the 2 year mark of the day that B was born and died. I took the week off work, and we went to the beach. A fun family vacation. Down time to relax and remember. To celebrate the little boy we love but only held for a short time.

But this is the Pacific Northwest.

We made it to the beach. And it was cold. And windy. And rained every day. It was absolutely miserable.

(I suppose that was fitting....)

I have just over 4 months left in the Navy.

I'm due to go back to sea duty. 5 years of sea duty and deployments. I just can't do it.

Someone told me that I'm being selfish and reckless with my family's future.

I've learned a lot over the last few years. About love. About family. About priorities. About what really matters. About following your heart. About trusting something bigger than you.

Everything in me, in my entire being, tells me to get out. That my family is more important than a deployment. That these youngest years are important to spend with my son, these years that I didn't get with his brother, these years that I may never get with another child.

If I wait 5 more years, there is a great possibility that I will never have another child, that Marshall will never have a little brother or sister.

My priorities have changed. My passions have changed. My direction has changed.

I'm feeling pulled to do something different, something bigger.

My heart is telling me to go, and I feel like I have to listen to it.

Big news coming soon.

(And by soon, I promise not 4 months, like last time. :-) )