You Only Live Once, This Is How I'm Doing It!

Tag: loss

One year later

Last March was the worst month of my life.

The whole month of February was spent in blissful naiveté. Then March 1st it felt like my world fell apart.

I feel the sting in little reminders. Like yesterday, I went to get a prenatal massage and in filling out the form I had a tiny little punch to the gut.

2nd pregnancy 1st birth

Then I had to talk about it to the massage therapist. She was chatty.

I also keep thinking about that first ultrasound. There was nothing to see except my empty uterus and yet I cannot stop thinking about the picture that automatically printed. My mind replays my doctor ripping it off the machine, crumpling it up and throwing it in the trash over and over. I didn’t ask for it. I wish I had although I don’t know why exactly. There are many moments that replay from that day but that one stands out the most. Such a stupid little thing.

After that ultrasound we spent 12 days in torturous limbo and then I took what little control I could of the whole horrible situation and opted to have a D&C.

That was one year ago today.

For me personally it was the best decision I could have made. As weird as it feels to say it, the actual procedure was a very positive experience. A large part of that was the wonderful hospital staff and the other part was just the fact that I was taking control of a situation that I was completely out of control of otherwise. When it feels like your world is completely spinning out of control any grasp of control can make that spinning feel slightly less overwhelming.

While that day started the healing process, it was a long, hard road to feeling like myself again. Although saying “myself” doesn’t feel quite accurate. I’m not the same person I was before all this happened.

I think that’s a good thing.

It has taken a year’s worth of time to gain perspective because in the moment and aftermath I could not fathom how anything good could come out of losing my first pregnancy.

I know Joel and I are so much closer than we ever were. Tragedies can make or break a relationship. Thankfully it made us. We had several marriage struggles in the years before our first pregnancy. I blame the fact that we were practically babies when we got married. I was only 20 and Joel was just 24. Babies. Somehow we made it through those and then, instead of letting the blinding pain of losing a pregnancy rip us apart, we relied on each other in a much deeper way than we ever did before. I wish I could give more insight into how we did that but I either do not have enough distance from that time or there is no answer. Either way, I have never felt happier with our relationship or more in love with the man I call my husband.

Another good thing that came out of this was my ability to share my experience. I hate that anyone else in the world has to lose a pregnancy. But at least now I can offer my empathy instead of just my sympathy. Everyone’s journey is different but when I was in the middle of my worst pain other people rallied around me and it help me so much. Now I can be one who rallies around others. If sharing my experience helps even one other person that is a positive thing.

I also get my Wesley out of this. Sure, part of me has struggled with the mixed feeling of missing my other almost baby and being happy about this current one. Now that I’m thisclose to holding our Wesley in my arms though I have a hard time imagining I’d change anything. I love the little boy inside of me. My rainbow baby. My little lucky charm. My Wesley. I wouldn’t have him if it weren’t for my other loss.

I’m glad this year is over because it was freaking hard. I will never forget my loss, it has forever changed me. Change is not always bad though and I anticipate beautiful things in my future both in spite and because of my loss. And the change I look forward to the most is my son. You’re welcome any time, little guy.


Had to drop by and update so there is no confusion. We lost the pregnancy at about 8 weeks. Not exactly the news I hoped to write on here but it is what it is. I’ve blogged about the whole thing on Skymommy and will continue doing so. If you want to follow my journey that is where it will be and I promise it won’t always be such sad news.

Goodbye Little Friend

Today I said goodbye to someone who has been with Joel and I from practically the very beginning. We got him a couple months after we got married. We’d just moved out of my hometown to be closer to Joel’s new job. I was lonely and needed a friend. So off to the pet store we went and spent $14 on a little blue parakeet.

We named him Einstein.

No particular reason for that name except I thought it was funny. He almost got renamed when my nephew Hunter saw him for the first time and exclaimed “TURTLE!” Einstein seemed to fit him though so it stuck.

Through the years he was my little buddy when I was home alone waiting for Joel to get off work. He loved the sound of running water and punk rock music. He was also probably Five Iron Frenzy‘s littlest fan. He loved to rock out. He rarely ever screeched or made the loud obnoxious noise parakeets are known for. He mostly just chirped and sang pleasantly or had little conversations with the birds outside the window.

He was a afraid of almost everything. He didn’t even like to be held for a long time. We tried to get him toys and even another parakeet buddy but he wanted nothing to do with them. As long as he had his music or running water he was happiest.

He eventually warmed up to us and realized we weren’t out to kill him. When I spent a year based in DC while Joel was back here in Chicago he and Joel became really close. They never lost that special bond. He was meant to be a friend to me but he ended up being Joel’s confidant during all the hard times while I was away.

Then the last couple months he started to look a little rough. His feathers weren’t as bright and he went through a molting phase that didn’t ever really end. The last couple weeks he started falling off his perches. And then in the last few days he just didn’t try to get up on them anymore. He just hung out at the bottom of his cage. His one little foot curled up under him and he never used it anymore. We had to move his food and water onto the floor of his cage so that he could eat and drink.

Then this morning he sang one more quick little song. It stood out to me because I realized I couldn’t remember the last time I heard him actually sing.

Then he let out what sounded like a painful cry. I went over to check on him and part of his bottom beak had broken off completely. It was the saddest thing I’ve ever seen. I called Joel and he rushed home so he could take him to the vet. I was too much of a mess to go with him. It just broke my heart to see him in such pain.

Joel and I said our goodbyes to him and I stayed home and just cried. The vet said it was nothing we did wrong. He couldn’t be 100% sure without very expensive blood work but all the symptoms pointed to a tumor. It would have cost hundreds of dollars to even try to treat him and there was no guarantee it would do any good. He was just in too much pain already so we decided the kindest thing was to put him down.

I miss him so much already. The cage is already in the garage because it’s just too painful to see it sitting there empty. Looking at the spot where it used to sit makes me cry though.

I think Phoebe will miss him too although she was never a big fan. I blame that on the geese that used to live in the backyard of our old apartment. Bullies. But we could always say “Where’s Einstein?” and she would run to his cage. If he got too loud she would run over and grumble at him or stare at him in interest.

He was old and up until the end he lived a really nice life. I wish we would have taken him to the vet sooner. I feel so guilty that we let him be in pain at all much less letting it get to the point of his beak breaking. We knew in the last several days that he was really sick and we’d probably have to have him put down. I just didn’t want it to be true. I wanted him to suddenly perk up and be his happy little self again.

We did the kind thing, although I wish we’d done it sooner. Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier though. He left a void bigger than I imagined he would. He was always just there, in the background making my day a little brighter and more pleasant with his song. And now he’s gone.

A part of our family died today. I miss you so much my little friend.


Cruel irony

When Joel first started working where he has for the last four years it was a good hour or two commute from where we lived. I was unemployed at the time so I did a lot of sitting around the house, watching tv. (sound familiar?)

One day for some reason (either I was bored or we had somewhere to be right after he got off work) I went with him to the little town where he works. It’s an adorable little town and while he was working I walked around and explored. While exploring, I wandered past this cute little toy store. What drew me to it was the beautiful display of Madame Alexander dolls in the window. I thought how fun it would be to work in a little toy store like that.

As the thought went through my mind I noticed the help wanted sign in the window. I took it as a sign that I was meant to work there. I walked in, filled out an application and not long after I was hired. It wasn’t a high paying job but because Joel already commuted out there for his job I just rode along. Even though it was retail they gave me a Monday through Thursday 9-4 schedule so that it coordinated with Joel’s work. We even got to eat lunch together every day.

It was one of my favorite jobs ever. I was basically playing with toys for a living. If we got a new craft I got to try it so that I would be able to recommend it to customers. A new Lego set? I got to put it together. Vendors actually send kits specifically for that purpose! One day I spent my entire shift figuring out a Rubik’s cube.

Other days I’d have to rearrange stuffed animals, straighten shelves or set up displays. Breaking down boxes was about the most intense the job got physically. I also got to wrap presents for customers. It was a dream. Not to mention the ladies that I worked with were wonderful. Since it was small place there were only five other employees. We talked and laughed and had so much fun. I don’t ever remember thinking I didn’t like my job there. Not once.

Photo credit : Erica Benson

The owner was a prominent man in the community. He was an older gentleman so he didn’t spend a ton of time at the store anymore. He was one of those white haired, grumpy looking old men. Despite his grumpy exterior he was a very generous, good employer. He also didn’t act old for a minute. He traveled all over the world on a regular basis. From China to Brazil to Europe and everywhere in between. I feel like the year I worked there he spent more time on trips than at the store. He was past the age most people retire though so it was well deserved.

Around Christmas time was the best time to work at the store. People would come in and make massive purchases. I’m talking hundreds of dollars worth of toys. Then we’d bag them, label them with their name and address and store them in our basement. We’d later wrap them and then on Christmas Eve they would be delivered to their house. We were seriously Santa Claus.

The only thing about working there in the winter time was the owner was obsessed with keeping the sidewalks clear in the front and back of his store. In case you weren’t aware, in Chicagoland in the winter? It snows. A lot. We constantly had to go out and shovel and salt things down. If the smallest layer of ice was left he was very unhappy about it. Even if it was still snowing we had to go out and shovel things.

I could have worked at that store forever but in April of ’07 I was offered my job as a flight attendant. Since being a flight attendant was my dream job the choice was obvious. I was still sad about leaving. It was just such a great place to work.

Not very long after I left, the owner sold the store. It remained a toy store much the same as it was before but he was free to travel and live out his retirement without worrying about running a business. It seemed like it was going to be a great thing for him and his wife. They even were high mileage members on my airline so I always hoped to have them on one of my flights.

Unfortunately that never happened. This past winter he was going to a Bible study at church. He slipped on some ice on the stairs and hit his head. Because it wasn’t a busy time they’re not sure how long he lay there before he was found. He never regained consciousness. It’s so bitter and ironic that something he was so insistent about was what killed him. It’s just unfair. He was a good boss and a great man. He was well loved and is very much missed.

I was reminded of all this because tonight they dedicated a street sign to him today. We missed the ceremony (don’t ask) but it brought him back into my mind. He lived his life making children and people happy. I will always remember him as one of my most favorite bosses.

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