From our Broken Hearts…Again

Or…The Post I Always Hoped I Never Had to Write.

It’s happened again and there’s no other way to say it.

We have another baby in the stars.

I can’t even bring myself to say “we lost our baby” because our baby is not lost. We didn’t misplace the baby. Or forget to bring the baby along. We did everything in our power to keep this baby, to help this baby grow healthy and strong. It wasn’t enough.

The hurt is so deep now. It feels a part of my bones.

I have spent the past six weeks in a state of stress and anxiety. Blood draws and ultrasounds and supplements and acupuncture. Multiple appointments every week. None of it was enough.

Suffering through terrible nausea, anemic exhaustion and sore breasts I became this Pessimistic Worrier, someone my normally-optimistic-self detests. But it felt so wrong, so incredibly selfish, to not be thankful and happy to be pregnant again after losing Miles.

I wrote a million times to myself about how scared I was. How nothing felt right. I didn’t feel connected like I did with Miles. Maybe my intuition knew something I didn’t.

There are only so many ways to describe pregnancy after loss. The best words I can use to describe the past six weeks: Living in fear of losing your baby and your self 24/7.

I told myself if I got to 14 weeks, I’d feel better.

We booked a trip to Disney for when I would have been about 18 weeks. I told myself how great it would be to be in my second trimester at the happiest place on Earth.

I bought tiny little Detroit Lions onesies because this baby would be born during football season.

I bought maternity clothes and a rainbow woven wrap for my rainbow baby because I refused to believe that I would lose another baby. I was due my rainbow. Our family would finally be complete.

But here I find myself again. Grief stricken. Feeling betrayed by my own body. And feeling so incredibly lonely.

It’s not that I’m alone. But it feels that way sometimes. Especially at night. When sleep doesn’t come but the tears do.

But being pregnant, you’re always with someone. Their little soul sits with you, keeping you company, whispering hopes and dreams, filling you with the future. And now there is only silence.

It’s so incredibly lonely.

My body did this. It didn’t do what it was supposed to do. It was supposed to be growing a baby. Nuturing and protecting and loving. It failed. And I am so very very angry with my body.

And though the physical pain of suffering this miscarriage is real, the emotional pain of it is so much harder. Maybe I didn’t have enough time to heal from Miles, physically or emotionally.

Maybe both losses together is just too much to bear this time. And for that I have to ask for something I hate to ask for…

Help.

Help me remember that I’m not alone. Help me get out of the house when I’m physically better. Help me know it’s ok to cry, but not all the time. Help me remember to eat, not just junk, and to drink water, not just drinks. Help me continue to help others with the groups I volunteer with. Help me remember my body is not my enemy. Help me remember how much I have to be thankful for.

Above all help me remember it’s going to be ok. That one day I won’t feel like every day is just full of sadness. And help to remind me that one day my family will be complete.

Many have helped already. And I know I won’t survive this without Michael, my little girls, my Mom and definitely my sisters.

Leslie, despite being pregnant and not always feeling great herself, never ceases to amaze me with how well she takes care of me.

Lucy practically put together my entire vision for Izzie’s birthday party when I just couldn’t do it all.

Angelica brings me things and hugs me, even when I don’t ask, because she knows I won’t ask and she doesn’t care cause she knows what I need. She’s the best neighbor EVER.

Maha too. Who doesn’t ask either (notice a theme here) but just shows up because she is the kind of friend who just shows up when you need her.

Laura, whose hugs and laughter could warm even the most downtrodden heart.

Robyn, who talked me through some pretty shitty moments on Friday. Who would be here if she could, but still takes good care of me from across the country.

Monica who commiserates with me and knows the way to my heart is through Neil Gaiman books (she seriously gets me so much).

Jen who has been my sister in this terribly pregnancy loss sisterhood and who is always there when I need to chat.

Tara who offered me so much hope and who I continue to pray for and hope that she gets her rainbow.

Klisti and Nicole for showing up with food because that’s what our Tribe does for each other.

And my wonderful amazing sisters who have been through this with me from the very first seconds and whose love and prayers will be with me long after everyone else forgets, Jessi, Meghan, Ashley, Nicole G, Nicole H and Kristy.

My family and my friends are everything to me. More precious then gold. And they have proven their priceless value again and again. I can’t do life without them.

With Baby Boo leaving us, I now have four babies in the stars, and two Earth-side. That is so incredibly sad to me.

Glad the ones that are with me are so incredibly awesome. Cedella and Isora are the reason I want to have another child. They’re that good.

It occurred to me yesterday how many people have children who they don’t want, they don’t mean to have, that they can’t take care of. How many children are just unwanted and unloved. And here we have all of these babies that were wanted and loved and didn’t make it. How incredibly unfair and unjust is that? That’s what I’m wrestling with now. How to justify why this keeps happening to me, to us, to our family. Why us?

And to top it all off, this Saturday marks our 6th wedding anniversary. A day we should be so celebratory and proud of how far we’ve come as a couple, as partners, as co-parents, and here we have nothing but grief and sadness in our hearts.

So here I am, once again asking for grace and prayers and love. And I humbly thank each and every one of you that has sent and will send their love and thoughts to me.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for being here. Thank you for remembering my sweet angel babies.

From our Broken Hearts

* I don’t normally find it necessary to make disclaimers for my posts. But this is regarding pregnancy loss and I know many friends who may find this upsetting.

It is from the depths of grief and sadness that I write this post. I thought waiting a couple of days would make it easier, but the pain is just as sharp.

I intended to post this Thursday for Thanksgiving how thankful we were for the blessing of our third child, safely into our 2nd trimester at 14 weeks.

Instead I come to you today, having lost our baby, who we have named Miles, this past Friday, November 21st.

This baby was so wanted. So loved. So celebrated. Dreamed of. And now he is gone.

It is fitting that the snow turned to rain as I suffered in the hospital for nearly 24 hours. My soul is full of tears that are pouring like the rain on these cloudy November days.

This pregnancy was so difficult from the very beginning. I felt nauseous from the second I saw a positive pregnancy test back in August. And tired. SO tired all day, every day. I thought it was a good thing. A sign how many awesome hormones were coursing through my body.

But then between 8 and 9 weeks I started bleeding. We spent a harrowing weekend resting and terrified of losing the baby until we went for an ultrasound and were told I had a subchorionic hemorrhage, which is essentially a blood clot between the uterine wall and placenta. I had just months before sat with my friend Jessi in the ER as she was diagnosed with the same problem, but she is well into her 2nd trimester, so I knew it could be ok. Plus we heard his heartbeat. Miles got his first and only picture.

So I took it as easy as I could with two active children to chase after. I scaled back on housework and socializing. I took a nap or rested every single afternoon. I was doing everything right.

Then last Thursday I started spotting again. Heavier. Darker. Scarier.

When our midwife, Audra, couldn’t find heart tones again I tried with all my might not to freak the fuck out. So we scheduled an ultrasound that I should be at right now. The bleeding stopped that afternoon. I felt normal. Thought that I felt the baby moving around.

We were having Nicole and Rola, two of my oldest and dearest friends, over for dinner, to see the house for the first time. We had just finished dessert and I felt a gush. I ran to the bathroom and blood.

So. Much. Blood.

I didn’t even think I could leave the toilet I was bleeding so much. I knew what was happening. I knew he was gone.

So we went to the ER at Sparrow. And after being shuffled around the hospital and being throughly disgusted by how I was treated by the L&D unit nurses, we were finally given an ER room and the most amazing nurse, Carmen.

How do you thank the woman that holds your hand and brings you warm blankets as you’re suffering such a tremendous loss? There aren’t adequate words. She was an angel. Even though she tried to hide it and stay professional, she cried with me.

What hurts the most is that our child wasn’t buried. He has no final resting place. He was lost somewhere between the shitty L&D unit and the ER unit bathrooms amongst the other tissue and blood I lost. And that pains me to no end. He deserved to be delivered, to be held, to be cherished.

The OB doctors performed an incredibly horrific and painful procedure on me without anesthesia or warning of how much it would hurt.

Then I lost so much blood that I passed out, went unconscious for a bit and had to have a blood transfusion.

All while my poor Michael had the scare of his life, with me every second, holding my hands and trying not to fall apart. He was so strong. He is my rock. I don’t know if I could have survived one second of this ordeal without his strength.

After spending 24 hours in the hospital, I was finally discharged and came home to my girls that I had missed terribly to tell them the news.

Cedella cried with me and told me so wanted our baby back and why was the baby sick. Isora seemed to take it easily and not quite understand. But now she sees me cry and says “Is it because the baby died?”

I know it seems harsh or somehow inappropriate to tell the kids the truth, but I don’t know any other way to talk to them. They deserve to know what happened. Why I’m sad. Why Dad is sad. Why we won’t be having a baby this spring. They have been a part of the pregnancy from the beginning and should be a part of its end. This was their baby too.

And now we have to figure out how to go on. How to get back to ‘normal’. How to grieve and process and try and make sense of this.

And even if I know this isn’t my fault I am so angry with my body. It did this to me. To us. Something went wrong in my body and that is the worst feeling ever.

I know we can try again. But that doesn’t make any of this any better or easier. Because I will never hold this child. I will never watch him grow. I will never kiss him or nurse him or hear him say ‘I love you’.

So while I certainly hope we will have another baby some day, it will never be this baby. And that just hurts.

Just as their aren’t adequate words for the nurses that helped me at the hospital, there aren’t enough words for those that have taken care of us in the past couple days.

To Nicole and Rola. I can’t thank you enough. For being my friends for nearly 20 years. For introducing me to Michael all those years ago. And for taking such good care of my girls while we were at the hospital. I can never repay you but will be eternally grateful for all you have given me.

To my Tribe. My amazing, supportive, incredible friends here in Lansing and all the way from California to Illinois. They sent flowers to the hospital and sent Trisha to hand deliver chocolate to me. These women are the best support system through good and bad and how fortunate we are to have this group in our lives.

To Sudharshan who was the first at our door, despite his wife (my dear friend Maha) and son being in India, to bring comfort and see if we needed anything. He made me a specific healing food and brought food for the family as well. How thankful we are for a friend like him.

To my girls: Leslie, Nicole G, Meghan, Jessi, Nicole H, Ashley, Kristy, Katie and Annie. You talk to me nearly every day. You have supported me throughout this pregnancy. And your phone calls, texts, hugs and gifts have made this just a little more bearable. I know that you all will be there when this still hurts months from now. I know you won’t hesitate to sit with me and cry. For that, I love you.

To Angela, Robyn, Niki, Kristyn, Jen, Natalie and Lucy thank you for your texts and love and for understanding.

To Klisti, Angelica, Desiree and Jessie, who dropped off food, supplies, chocolate and love. You are such incredible friends. I honor you for taking the time to help my family.

But I could not be here, could not do anything without my family and their love. To Mom and Tracey who sat with me for an entire day in the hospital, watching bad TV and eating terrible hospital food. You two are my world.

To my incredible inlaws, my second father and mother, John and Hilda, thank you for taking such good care of the girls and for supporting me, crying with me and loving me as much as your own daughter.

To Kylara and Robbie who didn’t know what to say to make me feel better but called none the less, who cried with me and who suffer this loss with me, I love you guys.

To my mother-in-law Becky, Michael’s grandma Cecelia and my grandma Rose for sending their love and prayers.

To André and Merissa for your love and kind words and beautiful flowers.

And to Sabah and Talia and Diana, my loves, for sending their prayers and kind words and love.

We are so fortunate to have such a big and caring and supportive family. This baby was loved and wanted by each and every one of them. His loss is felt by each and every one of them. Their hearts break with our own.

There is nothing more I can say to you Michael beyond thank you. Thank you my love. Thank you for our life. Thank you for your love. Thank you for walking this road with me. Thank you.

So now we try to go on. Each day will hurt a little less. Some days will hurt more. Today is just one step forward.

Many have asked what they can do for us. The food and flowers and calls and texts are all so helpful in this moment. It is next week and next month and next May that we will need you the most. What I ask is that you not forget us. Don’t pretend this didn’t happen. Don’t hesitate to ask how we’re doing. Don’t forget our sweet baby Miles.

Much love to anyone I have failed to mention that has kept us in their hearts or prayers. Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Cousin’s Big Fat Lebanese Wedding

October was a busy month. We had a ton of fun but it was crazy exhausting. Starting with my birthday on the 5th we had obligations every single Saturday night through the middle of November. ::yawn:: I’m tired again just thinking about it.

But beyond the birthdays and Halloween celebrations two very exciting things happened in our family. My dear cousin Kelsey got married to her college sweetheart Kyle. I love them both so very much. Kelsey is so warm and smart and thoughtful and Kyle is such a sweet and funny guy. Thanks to the football schedule Michael wasn’t able to go to the wedding with me so Tracey was my date. It was a blast just being with my sisters, mom, grandparents and cousins.

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I got to see this moment with Kelsey and her dad Kit (my Mom’s first cousin and a really great human being) just before she went down the aisle. It brought tears of joy and sadness to my eyes.

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I am so happy for her and Kyle that they get to spend the rest of their lives together. They’re going to have a blast doing so. I know we had a blast celebrating with them!

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And then the following weekend we packed up the car, all piled in and headed to the border for Michael’s cousin Kifah’s wedding in Canada.

After leaving late and stopping 1.1 million times we finally arrived to the rehearsal dinner. Hours late. We were so out of it I took no pictures.

But that night we stayed up late catching up with our cousins Fadi and Diana and my BIL André while the little ladies played with their cousin Mila. Knowing we had to wake up early and be dressed up fancy all day did not deter us from staying up late, drinking Crown Royal and solving the world’s problems. Well, except for D, she’s pregnant with their second baby, and she was the only one smart enough to get some rest.

We woke up at the crack of dawn anyways (thank you tiny human alarm clocks) and got all dressed up for the wedding at noon.

Cedella had been trying to wear her black sequin party dress and matching black patent shoes for weeks before the wedding and I wouldn’t let her. (Of course now that the wedding is over she hasn’t attempted to wear either piece since). She looked so pretty and grown-up. My precocious darling three-nager.

And Isora in her pink fluffy ruffles and white bow. I die from the cutemess.

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Iz and Mila had a very similar style of dress on. It’s so cute to watch two little people navigate all those ruffles.

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Mila and her gorgeous mother Diana. Totally stunning. Beauties inside and out.

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Izzie and Izzat. I love this picture. The girls were all properly obsessed with their older cousin. And he was so sweet and attentive and caring towards them. He is such an incredible young man.

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Cedella and Aunt Jacqueline the Mother of the Groom. This woman has the biggest heart and the biggest smile. So much love for her.

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With her Teta Hilda. My darling and stylish MIL. The girls adore their silly and playful and fun loving Teta. And so do I.

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How beautiful is this picture? I need to frame this one asap. Cedella just loves her grandparents so much.

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And so does Isora. She fussed for Teta during the ceremony and wouldn’t stop until my MIL was holding her.

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The most excited flower girl EVER.

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The beautiful bride Fatene and her father.

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How to keep a three-nager occupied during a boring-old wedding ceremony? Fruit snacks and camera phones. Works every time.

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The four of us in our fancy gear. We fancy up rather well if I do say so myself.

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The Mansour Boys. A seriously good looking crew.

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After all the “I Do’s” we had the chance to grab a cup of Double Doubles from Tim Horton’s and go back to Fadi and D’s house for naps and a rest up for the big night. But soon it was time to put our gowns back on, drop the kids off at the hotel with the babysitter and head over to have some adult wedding fun.

We walked into the reception hall, shots were waiting for us, the bar was open, the room was bathed in purple light and the incredible hors d’oeuvre table was waiting. Time to party.

My Aunt Jihan, MIL Hilda and me, feeling as good as we look.

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My FIL John was in his element. Surrounded by his cousins, brothers, sons and all of the ladies in the family. I’ve never met a person beside myself who truly enjoys a wedding like my FIL.

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The happy parents….Aunt Jacqueline and Uncle Mansour.

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The happy couple. Kifah and Fatene. The were absolutely glowing.

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Fadi delivered a perfectly funny and heartwarming speech to his older brother. Well played Fadi.

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And Uncle Mansour, who recently had a health scare, delivered a speech in Arabic that had everyone in the room crying. I’ve never wished I understood the language more.

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The love of a mother for her son.

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And the second the DJ says GO! the dance party begins. Everyone rushes the floor for their chance to dance with the bride and family.

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My FIL John is a fierce debke dancer. He loves to lead this traditional Arabic dance as often and as wildly as possible.

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John dancing with Fatene for the first time.

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And Michael’s first dance with Fatene.

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My loves, my aunt Sabah and her daughter, my cousin Talia. These two ladies mean so much to me and my girls. Though I think Talia and Michael have some big bro/little sis issues. 😉

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There are no pictures of me dancing because we were so busy enjoying ourselves. We ate and drank and laughed and visited. And then we drank and ate and danced some more. It was SO much fun. At some point we had danced and walked so much I made Michael go get my flat shoes, and normally I hate doing that, but it was that necessary to keep going.

I had not met the lovely bride before the day of the wedding so while I was so excited for the two of them to be getting married I really wanted a chance to talk with her. Her sister gave a heart wrenching speech about how they are physically separated and how guilty she felt for not being there to help her sister plan and prepare for her big day. When that speech was over I really wanted to welcome Fatene to our family and let her know that despite the miles she has many sisters now…all of the Mansour women, to be there for her where her family cannot be. She really opened up and said some lovely and sad things. I know that we will be quick friends when we get the chance to spend more time together. And I can’t wait for all of us cousins to raise our children together.

At around midnight we went back to retrieve the girls from the babysitter in the hotel room. And this is what we found. Three sleeping angels.

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The next day we went visiting at Jacqueline and Mansour’s. And there was food from the second we walked in to the second we left. Meat pies and zataar and labneh and tons of sweets and wedding cake. But more importantly we had more time to spend with our lovely family. And these little cousins got more time to play.

Cedella has such a deep affection for Izzat. They spent so much time together while he visited and she misses him now that he’s returned to Arizona. Thank god for Skype, right?

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Cedella (age 3.5) Mila (age 2) and Isora (age 1.5). They are the perfect age to grow up as the best of friends. God I wish we lived in the same country!!

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Their faces and their love for each other is priceless.

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Being goofy with their Jiddo as usual.

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Isora never met a calendar or photo album she didn’t love.

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Though it was truly a whirlwind weekend we had such a great time. The hospitality of Fadi and Diana and the entire family knows no bounds. It’s so amazing to have cousins that you love but that you get along with so well and enjoy as friends. Our visits are too few and far between. Can’t wait to see them at Thanksgiving!!