Our family

Our family

Friday, December 27, 2013

Max's little sister!

 Max and Oliver are big brothers! Our sweet little Madeline Alana finally arrived on November 25th, she weighed 9lbs 10oz and was 20.5 inches long. We both had a bit of a rough start, she was admitted to the NICU with low blood sugar and spent 8 days there, during which I ended up dealing with postpartum hypertension again. Now we are finally both home and healthy and settling in.
Oliver is ecstatic with 'his baby'! He calls her Baby Madeline, which sounds like Baby Melon when he says it...lol, a memory for her baby book.
These first few weeks home have broken open the grief all over again. All of these firsts that we never got to have with Max and how she looks so much like he did. I'm struggling with so many emotions, from being so happy and totally infatuated with her to guilt and anger and frustration about why her and not Max. Why does she get to be here and not him? There is simply no answer to that question that will ever satisfy me.
As if it's not difficult enough adding a family member and adjusting with a new baby, but to throw in all of this grief and guilt and anger... What a mess!
We feel so very blessed to have our two sweet babes here, but what we wouldn't give to have all three of our children in our arms.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Come on baby Madeline!

I'm actually sitting here having mild contractions, but this has been happening off and on for almost a week now. While I'm only 38 weeks now, this false labour is making me crazy... I wish it would just start or stop already. Also, I'm very anxious to meet this baby and have her safely in my arms. This anxiety is pretty normal I guess, I thought that things would be better after the ultrasound and knowing that the baby seems healthy... It did help a bit, but I'm very aware of all sorts of things that could go wrong and I don't know that that worry will ever go away. Somehow I feel like being able to hold her and see her will help, but I know that I'll still worry. As it is I worry myself sick about Oliver... Andrew often tells me I can't keep him in bubble wrap forever!
Anyways, I've been talking to Maddy and telling her to hurry up... Today I thought I'd try Max, so I told him to tell his little sister to come out and meet us. Maybe that's why she's being so stubborn, she's hanging out with him...

Friday, October 25, 2013

Before and After

I think I will always think of my life as Before and After Max, especially the date of his diagnosis and the date of his birth and death. When I look back these are some of the most truly defining moments for us as a family. There is the general history of us, dating, our marriage, becoming parents, all normal and wonderful things and while I may have thought that these were life defining at the time....now they pale in comparison to the solid line drawn in my mind of Before and After.
Max's diagnosis and death forever changed my view of the world, in a way that I'm still learning about today. It's one thing to see terrible things happen in others' lives, to know that it's possible, but to still feel like those horrible things can't happen to us or any of my loved ones.
Slowly but surely life has settled into a new normal for us, but that defining line is drawn in my mind.... If someone talks about a past event or even if I look back a pictures of us, my immediate thought is that was either Before or After... The loss of our precious Max was truly the loss of innocence.

Happy 1st Birthday in heaven Baby Max!

 We had a beautiful celebration for Max's birthday at the baby memorial wall where we had his name added last spring. It's such a pretty place in the cemetery and we love to visit there often. We brought balloons to do a balloon release and everyone wrote a special message to send to him in heaven. The kids especially loved doing this and the party was truly started when some balloons got stuck in the trees. Oliver loved all the antics to get the balloons unstuck and then demanded that we get more stuck and do it again! We also brought cupcakes that my nieces helped to decorate for Max and they were a big hit too. Thanks to everyone who helped us celebrate!
This was really a day of mixed emotions for me. I didn't want the celebration to be sad and I'm so glad that it really was a joyful gathering of family and friends. However, the days leading up to it were difficult and so full of memories of labour starting, the waiting and worrying and the precious little time we had with him. It was so hard to believe it had been a year, somedays it still feels like yesterday...

 Instead of pictures of a one year old, I will share pictures of the celebration and some of the beautiful gifts we got as memorials. 

Happy Birthday little Max, hope our wishes found you in heaven.
Love always,

Friday, August 16, 2013

Two boys and one girl

I thought I'd write about this as it has come up a few times recently for myself and a few others that I know.
I am and always will be a mother of two boys and one girl, that is how I think of myself. I have three children, one of them is no longer with me but I will always be his mother.
I know that most people just don't mention or don't want to bring Max up for fear of upsetting me. Don't worry, you won't. If I cry when you mention him, thank you for the opportunity to remember him. I won't ever forget that I have two sons, he is never far from my mind.
If you think I seem to be having a good day and you don't want to remind me...don't worry, it's not like I ever forget, even for a second, I'm just getting better at life again. And if I do cry, it wasn't you who made me, it was the loss of my child...and maybe I really needed to cry today.
I just want to clear this up, and I think I speak for many when I say that we appreciate remembrance of our children and will always think of ourselves as their mothers, whether they are here or not. Someone who has lost their only child is still a parent, likewise I will always think of myself as a mother of three.
I know that this is a touchy subject for many who have lost children, especially babies. When someone asks how many kids you have and how old they are....what do you say? Sometimes we go into detail (and people are sorry they asked), sometimes we don't, but we never forget. Sometimes filling out forms is awkward, there isn't always space or need for lengthy explanation....but we will never forget our child who is no longer with us.
Please don't feel like you shouldn't remember my child or mention him to me, he was and always will be a part of my life. His brief life meant as much to me as the lives of my other children, we just didn't have enough time together. It is what it is, denying that I ever had him will not change the fact that I lost my son. I choose to honour his memory instead.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Happy, healthy rainbow baby!

The D-day ultrasound went off without a hitch! Of course the technician couldn't tell us anything herself but by how quickly she was done scanning, I was pretty reassured that things were ok. The doctor and resident came in a little while later, went over everything again and explained that the baby looked perfect. She even rescanned the diaphragm to show us that everything was in place (I couldn't really make any if it out). Then she asked if we wanted to know the sex, which we did. We wanted to know absolutely everything, if they could tell me hair and eye colour too that would have been great! So she scanned a little more and settled on a picture, then pointed out that those were little girl parts! This picture was as clear as a bell to me. Such good and happy news about our rainbow baby, what a blessing! This mama's full of mixed emotions right now, very bittersweet.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Happy Canada Day!

July first, the eve of the big D-day ultrasound (as I've come to call it) and Happy Canada Day! As we enjoyed the beautiful weather today, hanging laundry on the line and lamenting that this is one of the last times for that with the move coming up, I was also remembering the day we moved in here. July first six years ago, we will move out after having lived here for six years and 15 days - give or take.
I can't help but to think how innocent and naive we were six years ago, those six years have been some of the best and worst of our lives. I think people often say that line, but most likely don't mean it as seriously as we do.
Anyways, we decided to stay close to home and pack and try to stay cool as our way of celebrating Canada Day. I've also been having a really tough time with the rapidly approaching ultrasound. It's been easy enough to put out of my mind, since there was nothing I could do about it, but now....it's driving me crazy. My nerves are very much on edge.
We went to an outdoor pool this evening for a quick dip and while I waited for Oliver and Andrew at the bottom of the water slide I had one of those moments where the grief hits you like a ton of bricks.  I thought, if things go badly tomorrow I know that the world will go on, but now I also know how empty things will feel.  This move to the new house, with the extra bedroom that I've started planning for the baby....it will all happen, but it will feel so...useless and empty. I know that feeling, I know about having to take those steps forward even when it feels like your world is crumbling around you....I know that I will get through it if I have to again, but I pray that God won't send us there again and that He won't put another baby through this.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


So we decided to list our house and look into moving. 'We're in no rush. Price it a little high' we told him... and it sold the very first day. Thankfully we found the house we wanted and managed to get it. We move in about a month! This all happened in the last two weeks, talk about a distraction.
So converging on us is July 10th: Oliver's birthday, moving day and 20 weeks pregnant (which means the ultrasound to rule out CDH). I should be fairly distracted in the coming weeks and have certainly had much less time to sit and worry about the odds, the chances and whatever else could go wrong. A blessing in disguise, I guess you could call it.
We are very much looking forward to the new house and Oliver's birthday. There is lots to plan and do, shopping for new appliances and window treatments and planning a birthday party. Oliver is excitedly awaiting his John Deere digger that he's picked out for his birthday, but we told him it will be there when we get to the new house. Tonight he decided he didn't want to sleep here anymore, he just wants to go to the new house and see his tractor! I think tomorrow we will have to make a count down calendar to help him understand the time frame...might help mommy too!
Busy, busy, busy....

Paddling up the river Denial...

I can't pretend anymore.... I've taken every kind of pregnancy test available and today the doctor confirmed it. For a little longer I think I'll live in denial, reality is too scary to ponder. To protect my heart (and sanity) I will continue as if nothing has changed. There may be a rainbow on the way, but I can't see it clearly yet.
Wow, I wrote that almost 3 months ago.... I'm pretty much over living in denial, my pants don't fit and the other day not only did I feel the baby move, I felt it from the outside. Ya, I guess I'm pregnant.
Some days it's still a little too fresh, too much of a reminder of Max, so denial is helpful...I may weave in and out of denial until the very end, who knows. The fact is it's a defense mechanism, it's too difficult to allow myself to be very hopeful. While I know that the odds are in our favor that everything will go well, to a parent who's lost an infant... giving them above 99% odds of a positive outcome seems like the reverse. That less than 1% chance is so gapingly huge, we know...we've been in it and now have so many friends who have too.
There are still a few weeks before they can rule out CDH and the waiting is torturous. I'm also all too aware of all the other things that can go wrong, having met so many people who've lost babies. It's no longer just our hurdle to get over, but also everyone else's as well.
Denial was helping me to protect myself from becoming attached to the idea that we might actually get to have a baby that we get to bring home and watch grow up.... and also from the guilt associated with wanting that, because it won't be Max. What a mixed bag of emotions!
I am finding that I'm more open to the idea, I wouldn't say excited, but certainly attached to the baby...with an awareness that nothing is forever, not our lives or our children's. Once again I leave myself and my child in HIS hands and pray that this child has a chance at life.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Well we're into May now... Sheesh time flies. We passed our first first...the anniversary of Max's diagnosis was April 26th. I'll never forget that day. I was scanning through Facebook posts of complaints about how ugly the weather was and thought about how nice it was the year before. What a beautiful sunny day it was, I went to my early morning appointment in sandals and capris and left my sweater at home. I was so excited to find out the baby's sex and had absolutely no idea that anything could be wrong. I'll never look at life through those rose coloured glasses again.
The other day I caught myself thinking it has been six months since Max was born, then I realized it's actually been almost nine. Almost nine months, he's been gone for almost as long as we had him. Wow!
I don't know when I stopped paying attention to the passage of time, I guess it got too painful to think about. I still don't like to think about it. It means it's been longer and longer since I've held him and it will still be such a long time until I can again. I will forever wait to see his face again.
We released balloons for him with the family on Mother's Day weekend. We really liked writing him notes and sending them to heaven. It's something we will do on his angelversary too, another first anniversary that's coming much too quickly.

Monday, March 25, 2013


Today I am looking through the pictures from the day Max was born and as I'm sitting here crying all over the computer the phone rings, it's the genetic counselor wanting to book an appointment. I'm trying to compose myself and tell her that we'd like to meet with them and discuss their findings (even thought I'm sure there isn't any new news), but they'll give us an idea of chances of having another child with CDH. She starts telling me how sorry she is for my loss and asking me if I've been doing ok and saying how she knows that anniversaries of certain dates can be difficult and even just getting a phone call about this can be difficult. What are the chances that she calls and wants to talk about this just as I'm bawling all over the place? Seriously!
Anyways, I feel like we failed him as parents. That's what I was thinking, looking at the pictures. Why couldn't he have been healthy? I don't even ask what did I do that caused this because I know that I can't find an answer, but I'm his mom... I was supposed to be able to bring him into this world safely and I was supposed to be able to kiss all his boo boos and make everything ok. I couldn't fix him, nothing I could do could make him better. I'm so sorry baby Max, I'm so sorry mommy couldn't make you better. That is probably the worst feeling a parent could ever have.
Some days it makes me hate the world. Anyone watch Grey's Anatomy? Some days I think I would be like Meredtih Grey if I were to have another baby, absolutely no faith in my own ability to carry and grow a healthy child. I have a hostile uterus. 

Monday, March 4, 2013

All you can do is try

Wow, it's March already...time flies. I can't believe how quickly this winter is passing. I was so worried that these would be horribly dark days, I really thought that this would push me over the edge into postpartum depression. I suppose, given my circumstances, it wouldn't be a huge shock if it happened. I do feel depressed sometimes, but nothing like I felt after Oliver was born, thank goodness. I look back now and think it's almost comical that I was such a mess after he was born because I wanted to be happy and I was so immediately in love with him, I had every reason to not be depressed then and absolutely every reason to be depressed now.... Then again, I know that that was a true depression, nothing I did helped and there was no way out. I needed medication and I hated that.
I hate that people start to assume that if I talk about being upset or depressed now, that I might need medication.... I have bad days, it's normal. I'm grieving, that is healthy. I don't want to medicate myself so that I'm numb to the feelings. I do enough myself, just trying to stay so busy so that I don't have too much time to think.
I did decide to go back to school, just one class at a time. I'm going to work towards finishing my education degree. It may take me until I'm forty, but at least I'm doing something. I'm also really enjoying the class I'm taking right now.
I have Oliver in swimming lessons and I'm working two nights a week and Saturdays. I am busy enough that some days I feel like I can't see straight, that's how I like it. Hence the semi monthly entries, if I'm lucky....
Anyways, on top of everything it's time to think about trying again, if we are going to have another baby. While I sometimes feel like after everything we've been through, we could take on the world, then again...maybe not. Maybe I should be happy with what we have and not ask for anything more. Maybe I'm just a coward, maybe I can't do it all. Lord knows, I've been knocked down a few times..... Maybe I'll leave it in His hands.

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Funny Valentines

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day! We had a very busy day of friends, playdates and coffee for Mama and we served heart-shaped cookies that Oliver helped decorate! Andrew stopped by on his lunch break to deliver me a beautiful bouquet of flowers (I'm surprised he braved the playdate hoopla).

I am working at being positive and feeling better, being more active and looking forward to spring. The sixth month mark is approaching and the discussion on trying again has begun.... I have really mixed feelings here.
I suppose I thought I would be more apprehensive or anxious, but I am just completely settled with the notion that I have no control....so what's the point? I am letting go of the wheel (as if I was ever truly steering). Que sera sera.

On another note, I feel very blessed to have my little Oliver in my life. While he sometimes (often) has me tearing my hair out, he is the sweetest little boy there ever was! Tonight we were snuggled on the couch, watching Madagascar and eating grapes and he jumped up and said, "Olvee so happy, wuv my Mama Dada!". Heart melting, Mama loves you too!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mama be sad!

Life is getting very busy again, I guess that explains the random monthly posts we're getting down to. Sometimes I think that busy is great because it keeps me from being too mopey, I like to be too busy to feel sorry for myself. And sometimes it just catches up with me. You can't run away from the grief, it's there. I am finding that if I'm too busy to give myself time to be sad for a while, if I keep pushing it down....it comes up.
I'm in one of those phases, the last few days it has really been catching up with me. Oliver has been reminding me of Max a lot. Tonight he pointed to some pictures we have framed on the wall and said, "That's mama's baby, be sad" and we said yes, that it was baby Max and that he was sleeping. He said, "He'll wake up soon. Gotta find him mama, he's gone!" We explained that he was in Heaven and that we'd find him some day.
Yeah, two year olds don't really know what's going on, right? Well, he summed that up pretty quickly.
I guess I'm glad that he's getting an understanding of his brother, I don't want him to find out in some shocking way when he's twelve but it's difficult to know how to explain things to a toddler.
We had another experience in the fall at an immunization clinic where he wanted to see a couple's baby and we kept bringing him away (they didn't seem too warm to the idea of a sticky two year old near their new baby), finally he was yelling, "See baby Max!" Awkward.... We left soon after, trying to explain to him that that wasn't baby Max.
Maybe there is a book I can read to him....Lord knows I've found out lately that there are books about all sorts of things you wouldn't expect.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Merry Christmas Baby Max!

Happy four months in heaven Baby Max.
I can't believe it's been four months, feels like a lifetime and it also feels like just yesterday that I held you.
I really missed you over the holidays. Daddy and I made ice candles for you and we are still keeping them lit. I love every little reminder of you, even somthing as simple as a candle.
I kept telling myself that Christmas was just another day....but it was a special day and no matter how many times I tell myself that God had other plans for you, I had plans too...
You should have been with us, Oliver should have a little brother and daddy and I should be having sleepless nights with you. You should be here, smiling and rolling over and delighting us with your little personality and the wonder of who you'll be.
Instead I prayed that you had a good Christmas in heaven and that our loved ones that went before were holding you and loving you. I imagine you growing up in heaven instead of here and I hope that the Grandpas and Grandmas there are taking good care of you.
Merry Christmas
Love you lots,