“Just This Side of Heaven Is A Place Called Rainbow Bridge…”

On the morning on Sunday, November 25th we lost our beloved best friend. Our Layla passed away at nine years old.

I don’t think I have the words now to do her justice. I know I’ve written about her many times. About how much she means to us. How she helped us through the hard times, just by listening and letting me cry. I’d wrap my arms around her and bury my head in to her and the tears would come. She didn’t care. She sat there, strong, taking it all in. We’d go for walks. I can’t remember the last walk we took now, but she loved going for walks. She’d go to work with The Husband every day, except those days when I was home and insisted she stay home with me. She went on vacations with us, from the Vineyard to Virginia. She went to family parties, cookouts, holidays. I would tell her “Mommy thinks you’re an angel sent from Heaven.” Someone knew exactly what we needed when they sent us her way.

She had been experiencing a slow decline, since August or so but it really seemed to get worse at the end of October. It began with vomiting, then lack of appetite. We took her to her vet, then an emergency vet, then to a third, then a GI specialist. Throughout the ordeal all of her lab work, ultrasounds, X-rays etc. came back “Normal.” Not once could they find anything wrong with her, anything that raised a red flag. We tried different medications and she was stable. She was stable, pain free, and happy to be with us.

Until late Saturday night/early Sunday morning. Saturday night she was sitting by the dinner table with  me, eating small pieces of chicken and treats. We laid on the couch together and eventually I went to bed, telling her “Mommy is going to bed now. I’ll give you more love tomorrow.” The Husband went to bed a few hours after. He woke up around 2AM to find her in a bad state. He woke me up and I went downstairs where she was hiding in a corner, and I knew by looking at her. That this was the end of her time with us. I hugged her, cried, told her I loved her. Told her I was sorry we couldn’t fix her. That if love was enough she’d be the healthiest dog in the world and she’d live to be 100. I gave her kisses. And then I wrapped her blanket around her and The Husband carried her to the car to take her to the emergency vet.

I am sorry I couldn’t be with her. If not for McLovin fast asleep in his room I would have been there. People tell you after that you could have called them and they would have came over, even at that hour, to sleep on the couch and watch out for McLovin. The Husband was with her and held her head, and talked to her and said it was very peaceful. She still had her blanket. I’ve been there with one of my family dogs from when I was a child/teenager and with our cat about five or six years ago, so I can picture it in my mind.

A few years ago, back in 2014 I visited a psychic medium. I mentioned it here. My grandfather came through, and the medium said he was with a black dog. I assume it was his beloved dog Bear. And she told me, very specifically, that he wants me to know he watches over the animals for us. I hope they have found each other on the other side and he is taking care of her. I know he would.

We are having her cremated and I just want her back here with us. Back with her family.

Rest in peace my sweet Layla. I will love you forever. Thank you for being our best friend, for loving us, for taking care of us, for bringing us such happiness and laughter. Thank you for being patient with your brother. You made the tough times bearable. You made the good times better. I’ll see you when I get there.

 

 

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And The Beat Goes On

So, do y’all remember this post from over a year ago? About the “potential candidate”? They wanted McLovin’s sample to see if he carried the mutation they found. Which we willingly sent in the name of science and finding answers.

As recently as August there was NO UPDATE. Because yes, even though McLovin was born safe and sound and healthy I still want an answer. I went through Hell and I feel like I owe it to myself, and The Husband, and the babies we lost and McLovin to try and find out what happened and get an answer.

Today in an email from our genetic counselor we were told: “I spoke with XXXXX from the Manton Center. The “thing” they found in one of your previous pregnancies, they also found in McLovin, so it is a non issue. They did not find anything connecting the pregnancies and abnormalities. I think that is a good thing…. I know you want an answer. You have had all of the testing that exists to date. However, technology changes quickly and now they have all of the DNA. They were going to look over everything again and let me know.”

So, I guess that closes the book on the genetic testing and search for answers, for now. Maybe there will be some new medical marvel in our lifetime, or maybe some new discoveries, or…. something. But my search for answers right now is at a dead end with no apparent path forward at the moment. I suppose I can tell myself that I’ve done all I can for now and left no stone un-turned, and if there is anything I can do in the future I am open to it. That’s really all I can tell myself.

Life Lately…

Watching- Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (I’ve been a Kiernan Shipka fan since her Sally Draper days)

Reading- Lessons: My Path to A Meaningful Life by Gisele

 

 

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Random Thoughts, Again

The Husband made a one off comment recently that made me wonder:

Do I want another child or is it that I want McLovin to be a baby again?

I feel like this should be simple, but why can’t it be both? It may be simple for some to just go with it when they’ve never had issues around conceiving and pregnancy loss. But I suppose, given our history and the fact we’ve never gotten answers or don’t know the likelihood of losses happening again, should we try for another if we’re mixing up what we really want or think we want?

Does that make sense?

The Husband’s comment was a one off, not in the middle of a deep discussion or debate or anything, just normal conversation about the future. It was a few weeks ago, but it’s stuck to me so I figured I should just write and maybe it would come to me.

McLovin is much fun and learning so much and running around and keeping busy. I love watching him grow and change and learn. But I also miss when I could just hold him all day and he’d just cuddle to me and be content. It’s not so much I want him to be a baby as that I want time to slow down.

And I suppose I always just pictured two children. I would love to have another child to hold and to love and to teach and to watch grow up. If I am being completely honest, I think I’ve always pictured boys. I don’t think I’ve ever envisioned a daughter. Which isn’t to say I would not be happy with a daughter – if I ever have the good fortune to be pregnant with a healthy pregnancy again I couldn’t care less if the gender is male or female! But in my mind, when I picture it, it’s two sons. I don’t know why. But that’s how it is. And when I expressed that to The Husband I think that’s why he made the comment that I may just want McLovin to be a baby again and in reality, not another child. Not in a judgmental way, or exasperated, more like an observation.

I’m not sure if I got anywhere with it or not. Sigh.

Tomorrow is September. One of my favorite months but with mixed emotions. It marks our 10 year wedding anniversary this year (we are taking our first overnight away from McLovin to spend the weekend in Connecticut! Eek!); it marks the start of Patriots football; it marks the start of cool, crisp weather and fall (although I personally love summer and am not in a rush for it to pass but people are already enjoying Pumpkin Spice everything so…) … but it’s also the month we lost two pregnancies and I guess it will always have that bite for me. My second favorite month has those two scars, but I still love it.

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Right Now

Reading: I just finished The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman this past weekend and haven’t started a new book yet. But, I’m very proud of myself – I’ve read 5 books this summer, which was unheard of last year! I’ve also read The Last Mrs. Parrish, Sharp Objects (had to read it before watching it on HBO), Little Fires Everywhere, and Bossypants (better late than never!)

Watching: an old Sex and the City rerun

Listening: To the television… but otherwise I’ve been on a Macklemore kick recently

Drinking: Iced coffee (decaf)… ’tis the season! For the record, I hate hot coffee and love iced coffee… and I love hot tea but hate iced tea. I’ve also been enjoying Sam’s Summer Ale while I can.

Eating: Too much junk lately, especially while on vacation two weeks ago! Too much ice cream, too much fried food. I keep saying… this week will be different…. but it hasn’t been. I need a kick to get me going.

Wearing: Leggings and a short sleeve tunic…. yay for comfortable clothes!

Loving: All the new words McLovin is coming up with lately and in general just watching him grow and new learn things what seems like every day…. my new Roomba (seriously, saves me so much time at night now that I am not sweeping all our hardwood before bed)… my new Birks.

Missing: Being on vacation. One week on the island is not enough, especially because we had a considerably larger group with us this year (my family from VA came up and rented a house as well) and so we did have occasions when we did stuff with them when we ordinarily would have just been doing what we want. For the first time since 2014 we did not visit the Children’s Memorial to see our stone, and when I realized this on Friday before we left I felt a little odd. I know it isn’t a site where our babies are at rest, but it FEELS like it because it’s the only place in the world where there is a place memorialized for our first child, and I sort of consider it to be for all three that we lost. And so I feel bad we didn’t go there. And we also didn’t get to see the sunset at Menemsha. I really think from now on I need a two week vacation, if only my wallet could afford a two week rental fee!

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Checking out the Atlantic Ocean views in Oak Bluffs

Anticipating: Our fiscal year end at work is August 31, so I’m anticipating getting PAST that date, past our FYE reporting for the auditors and over that hump. Also anticipating a trip to Arizona for a conference in November (I’ve never been!) and one of my best friends is traveling with me so we can do fun things and explore together during my down time. I also recently purchased a Young Living essential oils starter kit from a friend who sells their stuff. I’ve always been curious about oils and I figured I might as well satisfy my curiosity and just do it. If I don’t like it, I don’t have to buy again. So my kit/diffuser is on its way and she sent me some rollers so this will be interesting!

Hoping: That Robert Mueller wraps this thing up soon and gets on with the good stuff… I was very gleeful yesterday with the Manafort conviction/Cohen developments and I am so hopeful that our current administration’s corruption and greed is well on its way to being fully exposed. #resist…. that Gronk has a healthy season and the football gods are kind to the Patriots this season…. that our FYE goes smoothly at work and I don’t have too many questions from the auditors…. that McLovin’s current streak of sleeping well continues (and now that I just said that it probably won’t)…. that I come up with some great plan for our ten year wedding anniversary next month (I’m a slacker and procrastinator so no plans yet…)…. that somehow my MIL and FIL will become less annoying st some point

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Perhaps…

I have two competing factions within me.

One, that has been getting more and more annoyed with each new pregnancy announcement. Two people on their third pregnancy. A girl from work, who had her daughter after McLovin was born, announcing her second. A boy. (And I do find her incredibly annoying regardless – one of those who always wants to do lunch but never follows through, everyone’s best friend, has to be the center of attention. I stopped doing lunch with her and her group because I dislike her so; so it’s not just the pregnancy.) An acquaintance from high school on her fourth pregnancy.

That bitter side of me taking over. Why do they need three? Why do they need FOUR? Why is she having a second already; she must have been pregnancy before her first was one! Logically I know it is none of my business, and that other people having babies takes nothing away from me, and that just because it FEELS like other people are “using up” all the baby luck doesn’t mean it is true.

Then the other side of me feeling guilty. I never want McLovin to feel like he isn’t enough. That I don’t know how lucky I am to have him. That I don’t know what a miracle he is. That I wish for more. Every day I know what a miracle he is. Every day I know how lucky I am to have him. Every day I know that many others are still struggling to even have one, never mind two or four.

These two sides battle within me. And then I can’t decide which is stronger and I settle in to something comfortable on TV. Sex and the City; Curb; Mad Men. Oldies but goodies that can distract me from these feelings. I’ve read some books (always open to suggestions too!): Little Fires Everywhere; Summer Sisters; Something in the Water. Transported to other people’s stories or problems, none of it real, none of it with real consequences.

I think of the Supreme Court. Yes, Massachusetts is a liberal state. But what if we tried again and the worst happened, again? What if I didn’t have that option or it was limited? I know what my decision would be if we had a terrible diagnosis, again, but what if I am not allowed to have that decision?

All these thoughts. But it feels better to type it out anyway.

McLovin is the light though. Every night when I put him to bed I can’t believe he is mine, that I get to be his mom, that he is with us. He is the proof that it can happen for us, that it DID happen for us, that maybe it can happen again.

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Lately…

I’ve had a lot going on lately, personally and professionally. Things that were ripe for blogging and letting my feelings out, but it just never happened.

The short list of what is going on with some other random thoughts for good measure:

  • My stepfather spent a week in the hospital; he choked at a local restaurant while out one night for dinner with friends, then aspirated as they were giving him the heimlich or CPR (I’m not quite sure at what point it happened.) He was in the ICU, breathing tubes, etc. Thankfully he is home now but is still on his leave from work, but better nonetheless.
  • My MIL also experienced a medical issue a few weeks ago and was unable to watch McLovin her two days a week for three weeks. There was a lot of juggling of work/vacation days/babysitting going on.
  • On a side note, since then, she’s been getting on my nerves A LOT. I can’t stand the way she swoops in and essentially takes over with McLovin whenever we see here, wherever that is (restaurants, my house, family parties.) I can’t deal with long stretches with them without a drink in my hand.
  • We had a layoff at work, ~40 positions were eliminated (an individual was laid off OR an open position is just not being filled.) My boss was one who was laid off.
  • Subsequent to the layoff I have been promoted, and now two ladies have joined my team. I have not worked closely with them in the past, they previously reported to my boss and now they report to me. I have to learn what they do and how they do it since I’ve never worked in their area before, so their roles are new to me.
  • This also comes with strange emotional feelings; sad that my boss was laid off (she was a true mentor and I enjoyed working with/for her); excited that I was promoted; unsure if I earned it – would I have been promoted if not for the layoff? (probably not in my department, I probably would have had to switched departments to move up); sad that my promotion came at the expense of other people; feeling cheated that I have to have these weird thoughts about what should just be exciting/happy news and can’t just be excited about it.
  • As our divisional VP told me when he met with me to tell me of the promotion – “Nobody gets a free lunch” – mo money, mo problems and a lot more work. I’ve been logging a lot of hours at night trying to keep up.
  • The Americans is over. Any of my blog friends watch that show? In my opinion it was the best show on television and now I have no really good shows to look forward to anymore. At least the ending did the show justice… but… DAMN. That garage scene. That train scene. Not sure if I’ll ever be able to listen to “With or Without You” without thinking of how that scene played out.
  • Looking forward to our annual trip to New Hampshire later this month, then our trip to Martha’s Vineyard later this summer. We are also considering our first vacation sans McLovin in September for our 10 year anniversary. The Husband wants to go to Palm Beach, but I want to stay within driving distance because… McLovin. I still put him down myself (almost) every night (unless we have a date night and my mother watches him which doesn’t happen regularly)… he is still breastfeeding, even if only for comfort…. and my arms already feel empty at the thought of getting on a plane and flying 3.5 hours away, even if logically I know that isn’t too bad and it’s not like I’d be leaving the country or anything.
  • McLovin is still amazing. Still, at 18 months, I look at him sometimes and marvel at him, and the fact he is here, and how much I love him.
  • Looking for some good summer reading books. Any recommendations?

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no idea

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M-Day

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Joyeux Anniversaire…

… to my blog!

This month (three days ago to be exact) marks my “Blogiversary” or “Blog Birthday”, whatever you want to call it.

I’ve really enjoyed blogging and the many wonderful people I’ve met, but it also marks four years since my first loss… wow.

Four whole years. Seriously?

I remember how time moved so.slow. It seemed like some days would never end. I would cry on my way to work, and cry on the drive home. I’d cry on the weekends. So many tears. It feels like so long ago.

And now….

It’s all different.

And now I have McLovin. He is my amazing little boy, an amazing little soul. With a charming little smile that melts my heart. Watching him grow, learn and change everyday is a gift and I do not take it for granted.

The happiness he brings is always at the forefront, but I still think of the babies I lost every day. The grief and pain is muted now, but it’s there. And the memory of when it was fresh and loud and all consuming is there, but I don’t call upon those memories often. It’s enough for me to know they are there.

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Signs

Back in 2014, after my first loss and before my second, my best friend M and I went to visit a psychic medium. I wrote about it briefly here. She wanted to connect with her father, and I was just flailing and wanting anything – I didn’t think I’d hear from my baby but would take whatever the universe would throw out. It was a really cool experience and my grandfather, who passed away in 2002 when I was 18, came through. I was skeptical going in to it, and am a skeptic by nature – I like facts and proof and things I can see/touch/hear for myself. I left convinced though.

Last month while we were in Florida I took McLovin for a walk at a shopping center near our hotel. My conference was done for the day, The Husband was golfing, it was a beautiful day and I wanted to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. It was a nice outdoor center, and as we were walking along the sidewalk I felt an itch on my left elbow. I looked, and a ladybug was there. I then immediately remembered that it was February 13, the anniversary of my grandfather’s passing – 16 years that day. That afternoon.  I’m so glad I was in that space, that frame of mind, to recognize that sign.

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Memories

Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget
falls drop by drop upon the heart,
until, in our own despair,
against our will,
comes wisdom
through the awful grace of God.

~Aeschylus

Memories hit me when I least expect it, or sometimes on days like today when I do expect it, and I still lose myself in them. But the types of memories are changing.

During the first procedure when I was laying on the bed. I had said my goodbye to The Husband and it was just me, the doctor, nurse and anesthesiologist. In two days it will be four years since this happened, but when I call it up it plays back in my mind like a familiar movie. I was nervous and scared and sad – I had never had stitches, never mind being put under. I looked around and said ‘I’m scared’ and the nurse, Stephanie, grabbed my hand and said “It’s okay” and that is the last thing I remember.

During the second procedure, laying in the same room. Dr. R looked at my ruby ring and mentioned how pretty it is. I told her why I bought it – for our first baby, who would have been due the past July. I remember her sad smile and the look in her eyes. A few months ago I wrote her a letter, because I never thanked her. It may seem odd to thank the doctor who ended two of your wanted pregnancies, but I was thankful I had the choice and a highly skilled doctor to perform the procedures. If not for that choice and doctors like her, where would I have been? I don’t know. So I wrote her to express that to her.

Before the third procedure, laying in the bed. Telling the nurse, Caitlin, how thirsty and hungry I was. Wondering how long the delay would last. She told me that when I was out of the procedure and awake she would have toast and coffee or tea waiting for me – I asked for tea. She said she makes amazing tea and it would be the best tea I ever had. It was. Occasionally, when making my nightly cup of tea, I think of her. Seeing Dr. T a few minutes later – a few minutes after the calming medications had kicked in – and telling her how nice her teeth were – so straight, so white and I hadn’t noticed until then.

I remember laying in bed four years ago tonight. So nervous, so sad. The Husband came in and kneeled by the bed to talk to me, trying his best to be optimistic. Telling me that maybe I was just dehydrated, or maybe the baby was just in a bad position, or maybe the ultrasound tech didn’t know what she was doing. I remember laying there curled up, staring at the television. I knew it wasn’t any of that. I knew the next day wouldn’t bring me good news. I just knew. He doesn’t remember the date but I do.

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