Our Rainbow of Hope

It has been a long, tough year for our family. One full of tremendous loss and heartbreak.

One year ago today we lost our 14 week pregnancy with baby Miles. The trauma of that event echoed yet again last March when we lost our 8 week pregnancy with baby Boo.

And just as we were getting to our feet and attempting to get to some kind of new normalcy and acceptance we were rocked by the loss of my Grandmother Rose, my FIL Larry and my Grandfather Verlin, all gone within 6 weeks of one another.

To say the last 12 months have been difficult is an understatement. It has been a constant lesson in how to accept and manage grief while getting up every morning, putting one foot in front of the other and moving on. A lesson in living in the moment while acknowledging the accumulative pain of the days before.

But get up every day I have. Staying strong and positive for these two amazing girls that we are fortunate enough to be responsible for.

And there have been wonderful moments throughout the past year.

Our first family trip to Disney World with Grandma Linda and Auntie Kylara.

Finally buying our family cottages in Oscoda and spending nearly a month on Lake Huron, relaxing and enjoying family time.

Starting two new schools this fall and having two children in love with school and learning.

And now, the most joyful experience yet, becoming pregnant again.

That’s right. PREGNANT. AGAIN.

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I’m 12 weeks along now, and this past Wednesday we had our first appointment with our midwife Audra (also the midwife who caught Isora and carried for us during both Miles’ and Boo’s pregnancies). And while we went into the appointment very guarded in our optimism, we were absolutely blessed with the most amazing experience. A immediate, loud and reassuringly steady heartbeat.

It was the moment we have been waiting for. The moment we knew that this little life was in fact the rainbow we’ve been waiting for. It was the moment we knew that it was time to tell the world.

The moment that our rainbow is materializing and growing stronger and more vibrant.

For those that haven’t heard the term, a Rainbow Baby is a baby born after the pain, or storm, of a loss. The saying goes “After every storm, there is a rainbow of hope” and this baby is indeed our great hope.

It was a real struggle for me to decide whether or not to share this information right away or to wait until now. Our families have known since the beginning but we haven’t told everyone yet because in a way it felt right to hold this little flame of hope ourselves and nurture it within our family.

Hearing the heartbeat and knowing that such a good rate, between the 140’s and 150’s, was just what we needed for our guarded optimism to stop cowering in fear about what has happened and stand up and walk into what could be.

This pregnancy has been quite rough. In reality, being pregnant for 9 of the last 15 months has, in and of itself, been horrible. Being nauseous and exhausted for three months now, again, has really taken its toll. And every time someone has said “Well being sick is a good sign” I have to bite my tongue from saying what bullshit that Old Wive’s Tale is, since I’ve been this sick every time, regardless of the outcome.

It’s been hard to express how awful I’ve been feeling without sounding like a constant complainer. But in all honesty, I have only recently felt well enough to be up and around for more than an hour at a time. Previously if I wasn’t laying down I would have been beyond sick and in tears from not feeling well.

And maybe the cruelest aversion of all? I absolutely cannot stand bacon. The smell, the texture, the sight, even the thought of bacon makes me retch. Can you believe it? It’s completely bizarre.

Doing housework or cooking, when its all you can do to stand up with vomiting, has been all but non-existent. Resorting to watching an incredible amount of Netflix and Disney Junior on Isora’s afternoons home alone with me. There are weeks were I haven’t been to the grocery store or put away the laundry because I’m simply not able.

But you know what? This is what it is for right now.

Don’t feel bad for me, or for the rest of my little family. Michael is more than pulling his fair share of the load and the kids are perfectly fine and beside themselves with excitement at the prospect of a new little brother or sister arriving next spring.

And the most exciting part, beyond getting close to my second trimester and potentially putting the nausea behind me?

Thanks to the marvels of modern technology and DNA testing we will know the gender of this little one very VERY soon. And my bestie Leslie is receiving the results and helping to plan a gender reveal party, something we’ve never done, but being as this will be our last baby, we figured why not celebrate every last aspect of this pregnancy, right?

So while today is a day we will never forget, and some tears may still be shed for the lives and potential that was lost, today I want to also be thankful and happy about the little one that potential of what is to come.

I’m BAAACCCCKKKK!

It has been an incredible, stressful and occasionally heartbreaking few months here in Bacon Land. But now that the dust has largely settled I am happy to announce my return and recommitment to this humble forum with a whole new focus and energy.

So what have we been up since last we updated?

Isora turned 2.

Cedella has blossomed into a Teenager/Hot Lava Girl/Best Buddy/Heart Sister (all her own terms for herself. Thanks a lot Preschool. lol)

We lost our sweet furry daughter/sister/friend Kira. Our hearts are still a bit broken but we will always remember her soft cuddly love.

*NOTE – I wrote something about her but didn’t have the heart to publish it at the time. I will publish it this weekend. 

We’ve had countless playdates and adventures with our awesome Lansing friends and family.

Oh yea…we bought our first (and hopefully) last home.

What?! Want me to say that again?

WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!!

We have been looking for a home to call our own since moving to Lansing nearly five years ago. I think we’ve looked at somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 homes in the past few years. Gone to at least four or five lenders. But for one reason or another it has never been the right time. But we made due with renting and living in two awesome homes over the past five years.

So when we started looking again in January it didn’t really seem real. And though I have been an obsessive Zillow.com and Realtor.com stalker, I guess it didn’t really sink in that we were serious this time. But then we were Pre-Approved. And then we were working with the lovely Emily Lott. And then we were making Forever Home Wish Lists. And then we were really Looking At Houses. And then we were Falling In Love with one house or another. And then we Struck Gold and found the house that was literally just sitting there waiting for us.

And then, for our 5th wedding anniversary we put in an offer.

And now…after two grueling weeks of car loads, countless trailer loads, purging, sorting, packing, wrapping, schlepping, sleeping on the floor, eating take-out for weeks cause we didn’t have our dishes moved yet, wearing the same few shirts and pants cause they were already covered in paint, lifting, dragging, sweating, cursing, painting, cleaning and unpacking…

We. Are. Home.

Here’s a few pics of the house in it’s BEFORE state (please note the snow on the ground in April in Michigan. SMH).

Our hideously yellow, Fixer-Upper, quad-level, midcentury modern house in the woods (which is also one block from the Capital Area District Libraries Okemos Branch and 5 minutes away from Target. Score.)

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And now for some really exciting news. My sister Tracey and I have pretty much always been HGTV obsessed. My Mom can attest to my adamant desire for red carpeting and an all black and white room as a teenager. I thought it was the height of interior design chic. I mean, come on, it WAS the 90’s folks.

But with this obsession (and our love of all things Design Blog and that we will both be home owners this year) we have decided to create a new blog called “2 Sisters 2 Houses” to detail all our efforts to transform our houses into our Homes. There will be plenty of DIY stuff, how-to tutorials, lots of cool design things were are currently lusting after and paint. Loads and loads of paint. And I can’t wait to start showing you all the work we’ve already done! Stay tuned…

Don’t fear though. Babies & Bacon and these two beauties aren’t going anywhere. We just took a quick break. Plenty of Cedella and Isora being cute (like this one taken on our first night in our new house while we all camped out on the floor)

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and exploring their new big backyard to come…IMG_6282

If you need more Bacon in the meanwhile you can follow me on Instagram @mrseyebrowz where I post ridiculously cute pictures of the girls as often as possible. Love to you all and glad to be back!

 

Struggling to the Surface

It’s been a really rough couple of months folks. We have been stressed and sad and broken down. Between the terrifying threes that Cedella is exhibiting, Isora’s Curious George phase and Michael going off his medications, I am one over-worked and stressed out mama.

This year on our 4th wedding anniversary Michael went missing for 12 hours after posting some very freaky and scary stuff on his Facebook page. In order to protect his privacy I won’t go into detail about what happened, but I will say that I was terrified that I was never going to see him again and that I was going to have to tell my girls that their dad was gone. It was one of the most difficult nights of our life together. Thankfully he made it home dazed but injured.

Things had been slowly degrading for a month or so before that day, including several freak-outs leading to Isora’s first birthday. We were just hanging on by threads and trying our hardest not to bite each other’s head off during every waking moment.

The hardest things is that I feel like I’m just treading water over here. Not really getting anything done. Not really working on anything of my own. It’s all I can do to keep the girls clean, dressed, fed and engaged every single day. Let alone all the stuff that has to be done around the house. The dishes. The laundry. Grocery shopping. Pay bills.

It’s all I can do to crawl into bed every night. No blogging. No phone calls. No photo editing. Just exhaustion and more work.

Michael is working to get himself back in better mental health. But with the stress of his job and the stress he creates for himself by dwelling on negativity it just seems like he takes two steps forward and three steps back.

I am trying, really truly trying, to be supportive and helpful and to keep my complaints and frustrations to myself. But then something happens to really upset me, be it the way he’s speaking with Cedella, or the way he’s speaking about himself, and I let it all out. And it’s not pretty folks.

These days have been made all the more difficult by Cedella’s Terrifying Threes. She is challenging nearly every second of every day. Her sweet and silly temperament is seen in rare glimpses and in one-on-one situations. When the 4 of us are together she is the Wildest Beast of them all.

She is pushing and hitting her sister. Punching and hitting me. Arguing and screaming at her dad.

And the saddest thing is that I know why this normal three year old moodiness is so intense in her.

Ella the Sponge is absorbing all the negative energy and strife which surrounds her and is directed at her. It crushes me to know that during this hard time, this time when she needs our love and patience the most, we are constantly angry, frustrated and irritated with her, and all while praising Isora’s latest milestone or funny moment.

I feel for my sweet Monk, I do. And I’m trying to keep in mind how much she’s struggling, how much she’s hurting, but it’s so HARD. Especially when I feel like I’m doing all the parenting on my own.

But there is light on the surface of the water and I’m beginning to kick and claw my way up to take a breath of fresh air.

School is out in E. Lansing so the students are leaving town and business is going into summer calm mode. Which is perfect for Michael since he worked three 17 hour days in a row this past week. How he didn’t go postal is anyone’s guess…

And tomorrow we are getting in the car and hitting the road and heading out East to Cape Cod to visit with good friends and to take some much needed time away from the madness here at home.

I know that this is only a short phase in a long life, but it has taken it’s toll. I am a tired, tired mama. I’m in need of some help and a break. Hopefully this trip is just what we need to get back on track.

There is one thing I know for sure though — mental health issues should not ever be ignored, put off or minimized, because mental health issues are no joke. The more we, as a family, as a society, as a world, pretend that depression, anxiety or psychosis are not serious health issues, the more devastating problems the human family will experience.

Just like we would expect and encourage someone diagnosed with cancer to seek the best treatment possible and to take their medication and continually check-in with their doctor, we should encourage this type of behavior from loved ones with mental health disorders. Perhaps in families like ours if we talked more about these issues there would be less conflict, less miscommunication, more love and more understanding.

We must get beyond the idea that depression is something that someone can just turn-off by ‘thinking differently’ or being ‘thankful for the good things they have’. That is simply impossible for someone who has a mental health issue. Their brains function differently from ‘normal’ brains. Instead of insisting they handle things the way you or I would handle them, we need to try to be open to helping people find what works for them.

By really listening and opening our hearts with love and compassion we can connect to someone who really needs it, whether they’re 3 or 35 or 70. Maybe, just maybe, build a bigger and more loving family and community. Give someone you love a hug today, won’t you?

Also we need plenty of good vibes and thoughts as we embark on a 14-hour road trip…here’s hoping we all survive!!