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.

Ok but Not Ok: Life in the Aftermath of Two Miscarriages

It’s been 6 weeks since Baby Boo went to the stars. And while the pain of loss is not as sharp as those first few weeks I am still in a state of grief that is hard to explain.

So many people ask “How are you?” or “Are you ok?” or even “How’s life?”

I try to be honest without being a downer, cause no one likes a complainer, but really, how does one answer a question like that?

Usually to an acquaintance or stranger I say “I’m doing alright, just taking a while to recover physically”. That’s enough information to satisfy those that are just being polite but anyone asking such a basic question probably won’t feel comfortable hearing the real answer. And that’s fine, I know that not everyone is living with this grief or sadness, and I certainly don’t expect everyone to be in this grief space with me.

But to those that know and ask “How are you, really?” or “How is your heart?” or better yet “I know this month is going to be hard for you, if you want to talk, I’m here.” Those folks? They get the real answer.

I’m alive but I’m not sure that I’m ok. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m not.

I’m still very sad. I miss the babies I’ll never know. But more than that, I’m angry, so very very angry. It’s an angry that I can’t tamp down or cool off from deep inside my heart. So much pain and unknown and blame stemming from my own body that I feel has turned on me, has become unreliable and frail. My poor girls are the ones that get the brunt of the angry, more often than not, and it’s just not ok. And the puppy. Oh the puppy. Perhaps the timing of getting a puppy in the middle of this rage wasn’t very good. I know he’s a puppy but man. He pushes every single button.

I don’t know how else to go through this grief without trudging through the anger.

There are just so many “What Could Have Been” scenarios and questions linger in my mind every day. It feels like all we planned, all our future, is in this state of suspension, on hold, waiting for the next shoe to drop.

As if all that we waited for, wanted, hoped for, has been lost and we are hesitantly rebuilding on shaky ground.

It’s May. We were supposed to be bringing Miles into the world in May. Not that I could forget, but I received a letter from DHS about reporting my baby’s birth as soon as it occurs. No really. That happened. Think there’s a withdrawal form that states “My Baby Died, You Heartless Assholes?” But apparently it’s my job, not the physician’s job to alert Medicaid of my losses.

And then there are the thoughts that I should be safely half way through the second trimester with Boo. But my womb has been emptied, time and again, and Boo is fading from memory, too soon to have been more than wishful thinking.

I’m not sure what’s worse. Knowing that this month I should have been having a baby, knowing this month I should still be pregnant or knowing that I am not pregnant nor will I be anytime soon. It just all sucks.

And there are so many babies these days. So. Many. Babies. It feels like all of my friends are either pregnant or just had babies. I love them all. I really do. But every time I hold a baby that’s not mine it’s all I can do to not break down sobbing. WHY ISN’T THIS MY BABY I’M HOLDING?

Some days are just so overwhelming that life is just hard. I know I’m not alone in that thought. But the sadness and anger take hold some days and it’s just…impossible.

But I’m still here.

I’m alive.

Working on being well.

Struggling. But trying.

And I’ll never stop trying.

I owe it to myself. I owe it to my girls. I owe it to Michael.

I owe it to all of you that have been there, have sent flowers, have send food, have given hugs, books, cards and art.

I owe it to Miles and Boo and my other babies in the stars.

So next week, we’re going to Disney World. First time for Michael, Cedella, Isora AND my youngest sister Kylara. I will make the best of it. We will have a good time in the “Happiest Place on Earth.”

And I will continue to put one foot in front of the other and move forward, even if I’m wiping tears off my face, because that’s all I know how to do in the face of grief.

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The gorgeous flowers we received. From L to R, from the managers at Goldfish Swim School, Robyn and Jen F. They were so very very lovely and filled my heart with your thoughts every time I looked at them. Thank you.

 

This beautiful little piece of art, from my beautiful friend Kate, is called 'In The  Stars'. Oh my heart. This is so perfect.

This beautiful piece of art, from my beautiful friend Kate, is called ‘In The Stars’. Oh my heart. This is so perfect.

 

A Look Back at 2014: Part 2

We’re taking on the second half of 2014 in this post. In case you missed it HERE is the link to my post from yesterday…

In effort to counteract such sadness and to welcome the hope and promise of the year ahead let’s look at some pictures. Cause pictures always make me feel better. And if you don’t already you really should follow me on Instagram @mrseyebrowz. Because I post there way more frequently than here. Also…pictures of Iz sleeping in all manner of weird spots and positions on a regular basis.

JULY – Tracey and me. First we saw The Wailers (yes, Bob Marley’s band) at this year’s Common Ground music festival and then we had the absolute pleasure of watching The Violent Femmes perform the entirety of their first album, first to back. This was an adolescent dream come true for us. We sang along with every single word of every single song. LOVE.
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When we go to Chicago for vacation, we know people. Like our buddies Kennedy and Chase who met us at the Shedd Aquarium for some fun times! Their faces in this picture. I die. IMG_6582
These four minis had an awesome time tearing up the Shedd. IMG_6599
Clearly, Isora was NOT impressed with the crying baby next to us OR the dolphin show. IMG_5433
The coolest thing EVER. We got to pet Stingrays. We loved this park of Shedd. IMG_5453
Such a fun day at the Lincoln Park Zoo with André and Merissa. They showed us a great time in Chicago. IMG_6632
AUGUST – Nothing like having a few friends over to remind us of how awesome our new backyard is. And by a few friends I mean a thousand mosquitoes. They made a meal out of poor Izzie’s face when she spent over two hours playing in the sand box. Clearly it didn’t even phase her. Look at that smile. IMG_6669
That one time when Isora passed out in the car and we brought her into Culver’s and she slept the whole time we ate.
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The Kitty Ear Krew. Merissa bought these Kitty ears for Cedella. And she has rarely taken them off since. Then it became a thing. We wear Kitty ears on Wednesdays. IMG_6841
This is totally MY type of situation. Nah mean?IMG_6857
Me and my girls. Relaxing up north in Tawas having the best ice cream ever. IMG_6858
Up North. On Lake Huron. Fire circle. Grandma Linda’s natural habitat. Love this picture. IMG_5735
At Dinosaur Gardens. Where we always act like complete idiots. I cry with laughter every time I see this. IMG_5819
I’m obsessed with this picture. And this is why I love Lake Huron. It’s wide open beach. Very few people. A whole lotta sand.
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This summer’s trip to Oscoda was just us girls. Memories. Made. IMG_5864
SEPTEMBER – First day of Junior Kindergarten to be precise. The look of pride on her face is just everything.
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Cedella and her absolute BFF Anna. Don’t they suddenly look so old?IMG_6024
Hanging out at the Michigan State Homecoming parade. Go Green!! Go White!! IMG_6065
This is what Izzie does while Ella is at school. Sleeps in weird places. It’s a glamorous life. IMG_7003
This may be my favorite photo of the year. This one Tuesday in September it was super hot and me and my besties Leslie and Nicole and all of our 6 girls piled into the cars and drove out to the beach at Holland State Park for the day. It was SO good. And not long after this picture, like days, me and Nicole found out we were pregnant. And almost a month after this picture Leslie found out she was pregnant. A little bittersweet but still so perfect. I love all of these girls so very much. IMG_7042
OCTOBER – For a birthday gift for me, Tracey and our bro Robbie (all born within 2 weeks of each other in Sept/Oct) I got us tickets to see Neil DeGrasse Tyson speak. We love this man. You know who loves him too? Cedella. She is obsessed with Cosmos and knows his name and was thrilled to join us for this lecture. She even stayed awake for nearly the whole thing. IMG_7164
The Sims Kids (minus 1). We geeked out on this so hard. It was fantastic to be with these two for the night.
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The Coolest Astrophysicist in the Universe. IMG_6072
Mom’s ‘Retirement’ Party. I say ‘retirement’ because she is still working 40 hrs/week. But they threw a lovely party for her at the library and we all came together to celebrate her kind of ‘retiring’.IMG_6179
HALLOWEEN – Padawan Ashoka Tano and Jedi Master Yoda. To say I love their geekiness is an understatement.
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Trick or Treating with Superman and Star Lord on the absolute coldest day of the year. IMG_6309
And the Great Pumpkin Walk with their besties Owl (Mia) and Wolf (Anna). IMG_6285
NOVEMBER – Was. Hard. So very hard. Nicole and Leslie and me. And our bumps. Two days before I lost Miles. This picture is one of my favorites and also the hardest one to look at. 
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We lost Miles the week before Thanksgiving. All of our Canadian cousins drove in to spend a long weekend over Thanksgiving. And though I was absolutely distraught and physically exhausted, family was truly the best medicine for my broken heart. Just look at Ella feeding her sister. They love each other so much. I’m clearly doing something right in that regard. IMG_6356
I just love the relationship these two have. Cedella and her Jiddo John. Always goofing around and playing together. He’s her best buddy.
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Despite how heartbroken in made me to meet these two new little boys in our family, it also brought so much love to my soul to hold them. This is Adam. Cedella is obsessed with him. Look at what a great big cousin she is.
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And with Mila and her new little brother Leo. Cedella also loved Leo. She just loves babies in general. I love these children so much my heart could burst. IMG_6394
DECEMBER – Though I was feeling only slightly human, we had to make Christmas the best ever for our girls. So out to the Christmas tree farm we went. This was our first attempt. There wasn’t a good tree in sight, but Isora had a great nap on my back. Doesn’t she look cozy back there? She woke up and looked around and said “This is the most beautiful place ever. Look at all the Christmas trees!!” Love this kid.

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And the following weekend we made it out to the Peacock Rd Tree Farm. SCORE! Here’s my crazy family getting ready to cut down our beautiful tree. 
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And this one night, after we had the tree all decorated, I was just sitting by myself watching a Christmas favorite when all of a sudden the tree dropped. Like TIMBER in five seconds flat. I didn’t even have enough time to react. And couldn’t get it back up by myself. Enter the Two Drunk Mikes. The figured it out, eventually. It was pretty hilarious to watch. BONUS POINTS if you know what movie I was watching.
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Christmas Cookies with Grandma Becky!! The girls loved every minute. IMG_6578
And finally, Crafts with Santa time at Grandma Linda’s library. The girls have been every single year since they’ve been alive. Except for Cedella puking all over herself on the drive down to Detroit, ruining her fancy dress, and the following stomach bug that all of us (even Grandma and TeTe) suffered, it was SO much fun!
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So other than our 7 Christmas celebrations (that’s a post for another day), this was our year. Looking back on it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Sure we had a lot of heartbreak when we lost Miles but buying a house and another year of watching these amazing girls grow was incredible.

And while I’m not interested in making any actual resolutions for the year, I will say this: 2015…the year for counting my blessings each and every day.

That’s our year. How was your year? Any highlights? Thanks for spending a little time at Babies & Bacon today.