Today’s the day to give back and help a family worry a little less

It’s happening again! It’s time to raise money for one of the best causes around (in my biased opinion) to help families with a sick child have one less thing to worry about: parking passes! We had such an amazing response back in December (raising almost $2000 in just over a week!) that I wanted to do it again in honor of Quinlan’s birthday!

People may wonder what the significance of raising money for parking passes is. Aren’t there other things more important than parking passes when your child is in the ICU? The answer is: absolutely. And that is why we’re doing this. The average family spends 5-6 days in the ICU. Some less, many for more. My family spent over 100 days just in the ICU at Children’s Hospital with Quinlan. Parking is $10/day. In total we spent over $3000 just on parking when Quinlan was inpatient, and outpatient for any appointments we had (keep in mind valet is $15 which is what we did when we had appointments). Some may say “well, aren’t there foundations that help to pay for parking?”. And again I would say, yes. However, you need to fit into a very specific diagnosis to be considered for passes. By that I mean, an actual diagnosis. For us, and many others like us, we did not fit into a specific diagnosis. And even when he was diagnosed (9 months into his hospital stay), there was no foundation for the Brat1 mutation, just like there are no foundations for many of the over 7000 rare diseases and disorders that children can be diagnosed with. So, while $10/day may seem insignificant, to a parent who’s watching their child in pain, that $10 means one less thing to worry about.

Starting today, July 29, and going through to August 29 (does that date sound familiar to anyone?!) you can donate any denomination to go towards parking passes for the families in the ICU at Boston Children’s Hospital. My goal is to honor what would be Quinlan’s 4th birthday on August 29, by raising $4000. That’s 400 parking passes! 400 days that a parent does not have to worry about paying the $10/day to park. We are going to keep the donations open for one month to see if we can reach this goal. It’ll give us all something exciting to look forward to when otherwise it’s just another one of “those dates” on the calendar. I want another reason to celebrate August 29th this year. It will not only be the day I became a mom to the most courageous little boy, but also a day we can help families going through what my family and I went through, and for them to have one less thing to¬†think about for at least a day.

I’ve included the link to a site set up for donations. Please understand that this is something so close to our hearts and means more then you all could know. So, here is a BIG thank you in advance!

Thank you again and please consider donating to help a family with one less worry!

ūüíöMama Bear

Today‚Äôs the day for talking

So, I’ve been on a little blog hiatus. It wasn’t intentional but we moved and it turned into the longest move in history. I should probably add that it wasn’t actually a long distance move (really it was a few miles) but it took weeks to actually get all of our crap out of the old place and into the new. We had a whole plan of “going through everything and purging. We’re going to become minimalists!” And while there was definitely purging involved (I finally threw away the candle from my 1999 high school prom. I’m Lindsay, and I’m a hoarder), it got to the point of “just throw it in the car, we’ll take care of it later” instead of “let’s do what’s right and just get rid of it”. That all took over 2 weeks of time. TOO long! But, we are finally all in and now the organizing/where the hell does this thing go phase (which inevitably will take another too long period of time, but hey, at least we’re moved!) begins.

Obviously what comes with the actual moving of boxes and crap when you move, also comes the new surroundings, the new people, and the new routine. We have already met some super friendly neighbors who have made the new surroundings/new people part of the move feel more comfortable. We know the area so that helps. We know the restaurants, stores, and schools in the area. Figured out our new commute to work, the quickest short cuts to avoid the lights and traffic. And obviously we’ve already got the local Dominos on speed dial. On the sunny days we’ve had, there have been kids riding their bikes, running around the street, there’s even a playground right down the road. Very similar to where I grew up, which is also adding to the comfort factor. Many of the new neighbors have come to introduce themselves, told us they will invite us over once we’re settled in, showed us who lives where, and let us know it’s a great street for kids.

Then the inevitable “Do you have kids?” question happens.

“We have a son but he passed away a little over a year ago.” Cue the “Oh, I’m so sorry” reaction that I’ve mentioned before. Now we are obviously getting more used to this question (although it’s never going to be a question I’m going to WANT to be asked) but Bear told me what he told a new neighbor the other day, and I’m most definitely going to be stealing his response for the future. He was telling me how one of our new neighbors asked if we had any children and he told him our situation. The neighbor gave the obligatory response, because honestly, what else is anyone supposed to say (me included when I find myself on the other side of the question/response of a parent telling you their child has passed away).

Bear’s response was “Thank you, but it’s ok, we like to talk about him!” Mind blown! I don’t know why this hasn’t been my answer every time! I may have said something similar in the past to someone who’s asked, but for some reason when he told me what he said, it made so much sense to me and here’s why.

I’ll be honest and say that I feel like people may be nervous to approach us or talk to us or know what to say after finding out about Quinlan. I don’t blame them! It will never NOT be an awkward situation to meet someone and ask what is typically a pretty “normal” question when meeting two married, 30-something year olds “Do you have kids?” You expect a simple “No, we don’t” or “We do. We have a crazy 2 and a half year old who keeps us on our toes!” But then upon finding out their only child has passed away, you feel nothing but awkward. Adding to that, what if you know/recognize someone from school, work, friend of a friend, etc. You know their child has passed away and you randomly see them out some day. Would you A) avoid them at all costs – because there are certain situations that this just might be me B) approach them but not know what to say and walk away dwelling on the fact that you may have said something that didn’t come out the way you planned and now feel horrible – again, this could absolutely be me or C) know exactly what to say to someone you know/recognize but haven’t seen since their child passed away, and have all the exact right words, not feel awkward at all because talking about that subject is totally “normal” and walk away feeling great about yourself – this would NEVER be me!

So, if people could know that we enjoy talking about Quinlan, maybe it would make it less awkward. I personally don’t believe you will ever have a situation like option C, but maybe something in between B and C would make it a little less uncomfortable for both of us. I don’t want people to feel awkward around me. I guess that is my biggest sentiment to put out there.

Bringing up Quinlan should not be bringing up his passing. It should be about his amazing life. His contribution to the medical world. His really soft hair, and his smile that spoke volumes.

So yes, I have a son. He was amazing. And let’s talk about him.

ūüíöMama Bear

Today’s the day for all the Mother’s

Today’s that day. Another one of those days, I should say. There’s many. And like the others, I wasn’t sure how I would feel.

For some reason, the anticipation of this day was worse then it actually has been today, so far. I’ve learned that sometimes that will happen. And sometimes it’ll be worse after the fact, whatever “the fact” might be. So, like everything else, I just go with it.

A year ago this weekend we were celebrating the life of my grandfather who had passed away a month before. His memorial service was on Mother’s Day, and it being the first without Quinlan, I welcomed the distraction. This year I’m no longer in the shock period that I was deeply in¬†last year at this time. I had such anxiety combined with PTSD of what had happened. In¬†fact, the day after Mother’s Day last year was the first time I took an anti-anxiety med. Hence the “worse after the fact”.

So, this year I was just going with it. I told my husband that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do today, something he’s used to hearing me say. In turn, we planned nothing and wanted to treat it like every other Sunday. Then on Friday night, I had one of my “moments” (what Bear and I call it when we break down, feel the feels, and allow ourselves to just be). I had ALL the feels. Sad, angry, f-this and f-that were flying around in my head. I was pissed and I was feeling sorry for myself. I started planning an “anti-mother’s day” for myself and anyone else who wanted to join. The tears were flowing and it felt good to let all out. I’ve met some moms who have lost their children and they said they cry every day. That’s never been me. I used to feel guilty if I didn’t cry every day at the begining. I’ve come to realize that crying isn’t the only way to grieve and it’s ok if I have a day when crying isn’t involved. But nights like Friday night do happen and it is a release and it’s necessary every once in a while. So, I go with it.

In the middle of my “moment” a friend, ironically, a nurse turned¬†friend¬†that we met through Quinlan, texted me to ask if I received anything in the mail. The one day I hadn’t checked the mail. So, of course I go to the front door and received a package from her. A package that made me stop for a minute and have happy tears because yes, I am a mom, and yes, I should be celebrated, damn it. I told her she caught me in the middle of a “feeling bad for myself” cry and because, not only are nurse’s ones who take care of your sick children, they are also social workers/therapists/friends, they know what to say. She reminded me that I am entitled to feel any way I want to feel this weekend. I miss Quinlan, the one who allows me to be able to celebrate Mother’s Day every year and it’s ok if I want to say f-this day.

So, that’s kinda where I am now. I’ve spent my Sunday like any other Sunday. I’m not necessarily “anti-mother’s day”, but I’m also not embracing it as much as¬†I¬†would be doing if the situation were different. Whether you’re a mom who’s lucky enough to have your children with you today to squeeze, you’re a mom who’s still working on bringing your babies into the world, a mom who’s memories and pictures are all you have left of your babies, a mom who’s currently growing a little one or a mom who’s mom isn’t here to wish you a happy Mother’s Day, we all deserve to be acknowledged. Even if just for a small moment of the day (and even if¬†after the acknowledgement you throw out a “f-that” under your breath, that’s ok, too).

So for now, I am going to feel the feels, take in the moments, and try to remember whatever this journey is that¬†I’m on, there is always a little something good that could come from a day like today. Even if it’s a good cry and a couple f-bombs.

ūüíöMama Bear

Today’s the day to talk about Father Time

Time. Time after time. If I could turn back time. Sign of the times. Take your time.

We sing about it. Stress over it. Dwell on it. They say “time heals all wounds” (yeah right). We reminisce about “that time when”. We learn how to say “what time is it” in multiple languages. How many times a day do we say “time”. It’s a magazine. It’s in the headlines of newspapers and names of¬†tv shows. It’s everywhere. Our lives revolve around it. Literally.

It’s a savior and an enemy.

As¬†I sit¬†and get¬†a pedicure (a girl absolutely needs 45 min to get pampered every once in a while), I wish¬†I could slow down time just a¬†smidge¬†to make this pampering last¬†a while¬†longer. And then, of course, on the opposite end of that, at a time when you’re waiting for results, waiting for a visitor, waiting for 4pm on a Friday you want time to speed up so you don’t have to wait longer then desired. How can the same thing bring so many different emotions? Something that has existed since the beginning of…time…bring happiness, relaxation, comfort, joy but also worry, anxiety, fear, and sadness.

Time is such a strange thing. It’s seconds, hours, days, weeks, months, and years. And when you’re dealing with grief, those measurements often times don’t matter. One second without your loved one can feel like one year. But at the same time, one year can sometimes feel like only¬†one day.

I have an app on my phone that pulls your photos and any social media posts you have from that exact date one, two, three, etc years prior. I love opening the app and seeing what I was doing on that day in the past. Who I was with. Where I was.¬†Recently it’s become more and more real that no pictures of Quinlan will ever come up again from one year ago (and¬†inevitably,¬†the future will continue to widen that timeline). ¬†It doesn’t seem right in so many ways. It’ll take me a few seconds after not seeing a picture of Quinlan from one year ago and not¬†think “oh weird, I didn’t take any pics of him¬†a year ago today” (because let’s be real, most days for those 2 years 5 months and 1 day there was at least one picture taken of him). And then I realize it’s because one year ago, he wasn’t here. Damn time. There it goes flying¬†by again. Cher got it right “If I could turn back time”.

Time when you have a child, nevermind a sick child, and throw in a medically fragile sick child is counted in more ways than one. How much time will it take to get to the hospital? How much time will this appointment take? And the dreaded, how much time do I have left with my son? We still have his schedule hanging up in our kitchen.”A¬†Day In The Life¬†Of Quinlan”¬†is still the headline.¬†It’s an hour by hour breakdown of what we needed to do for him. 8am – meds (4 to be exact), 11am – stop feeds, 2 pm – 4 more meds,¬†3pm – start feeds (just¬†to give you a few hours of the day).¬†I remember constantly looking at the clock and basing the time on what meds would need to be given next, how much time I had until his formula needed to be turned off or refilled. The time aspect of our abnormal life was huge. There are still days I look at the clock at 7:50pm and¬†think to myself that in about 5 minutes I need to go get his two nebulizer treatments ready and fill his two syringes with¬†Keppra and Trileptal. And then we would have a two-hour window that we could relax on the couch with him before having to do it again at 10pm. But that’s not our life anymore. That time has been shortened. Something that will undeniably happen with every chapter of our lives. Time gets shortened and time gets taken.

So, Father Time, while there are many issues I have with your creation, I would also like to thank you. For the moments at 2am when everyone else was asleep and I could sit for hours alone with Quinlan and soak up the time with him. For those times after work when the front door would open and Quinlan would stop for a split second, knowing that Bear was coming up the stairs. For the years of research, classes, and studying that scientists, doctors, nurses, and therapists spent making the time we had with Quinlan a little bit better than it could have been before. For all the time we continue to feel loved, supported, protected, and far from alone in our unique situation.

Now, is it time for wine yet?

ūüíöMama Bear

Today’s the day to experience, I think

Sometimes I wonder if the past 3.5 years really did exist. Did we really just go through the birth AND the loss of our child? Of all places, did two of the best pediatric hospitals around really become our homes away from home? Did we actually join the club that no one wants to join?

Damn straight we did. (I think…it did happen right?)

These are actual thoughts that go through my mind every now and then. Starting with how the hell am I even old enough to be married, never mind have been pregnant and have a child! Aren’t I still an immature 20-something year old, leaving my house at 10pm to start my night, driving to Boston to spend way too much money on drinks and dancing (and maybe some sort of meat on a stick on the way out of the club)? I mean, I was able to sleep until noon the next day. And really my only responsibilities were to make sure I made it to work on time Monday morning and not forget to pay my cell phone bill. My good old flip phone. Those were the days. Those oh so long ago days.

I always saw women who were pregnant and could only imagine what that must be like. Such an amazing time in your life. You’re growing a human! Like an actual human with arms and legs and a head. Then you get pregnant and you can’t wait to actually be showing so you can flaunt it to the world that, yes, I’m going to be a mom. But then you get so big that you can’t wait until you no longer have this protrusion sticking out of your stomach. This alien life form that is poking and prodding your insides day and night. You want it out! Not just because you don’t know how much longer your ribs can take the kicking and punching, but you want to see this creature you are creating. Will it have your eyes, your husband’s nose? What color hair will he or she have? All the questions. Oh but wait, the only way that this alien life form is going to get out of you is to go through….labor! It’s intense and painful, you’ll cry, maybe throw up, but it’s also the best day of your life.

I’ve really experienced that? Yup.

I’ve also experienced seeing my baby, who I didn’t even get a chance to look over and inspect from head to toe be placed in an incubator with IV’s and wires coming out of him. So helpless, taking his first ambulance ride at 24 hours old. Not knowing what they will find in the MRI on his teeny little head. Sleeping the first 3 full nights in the parents room of the NICU, after having just given birth. Oh my,¬†the emotions.

On the other hand, I’ve¬†lived through¬†a 6 week old who actual was sleeping through the night. Crying only when hungry. Being the most patient, cuddly and loving little human you can imagine. With the cutest laugh and laughable yawn. He was damn near perfect.

And then I ask myself, did I really experience a 10 month hospital stay for my little human? Seeing what no parent should have to see. Making decisions no parent should have to make. Becoming so comfortable at the number one pediatric hospital in the country that I almost felt more at home there than at my actual house. You always hear about Boston Children’s Hospital and how amazing they are, but to actually be a part of that community, to know more than you actually thought possible about that hospital (to actually miss being there sometimes), it’s surreal.

These aren’t even¬†thoughts I’m writing down just for the sake of creating a blog post. These are all legitimate thoughts that have been going over and over in my head since that world ended on January 30, 2017 and this different world began.

It’s sometimes hard to comprehend that those times were the basis of our life. Did we really live with nurses in our house a majority of the day? Did we really have to monitor our son’s oxygen levels, heart rate, and formula intake 24 hours a day? Did our outings with Quinlan really consist of packing up a suction machine, oxygen tank, ventilator and food pump (among many other things)? Referring back to a previous post, how the hell did we do it?

At the same time I am also pondering, why are we the ones who are so blessed to have been given this child to learn from, to become so in love with that it hurts this bad to not have him with us anymore? One that was so perfect in his own way. That is also something I sometimes can’t wrap my mind around. Why were we chosen to be the lucky ones to call Quinlan ours?

As you can tell, it truly does not seem real sometimes. Which sounds crazy since I talk about it so much. But I have had to occasionally sit back and take in the fact that for 2 years 5 months and 1 day, my life was so much different then it is today.

Today I can go to the store without thinking twice about who can stay with Quinlan if Bear isn’t home from work yet, or if my sister isn’t around to help. Today I can leave the living room and not have to make sure the volumes on the alarms are turned up in case his oxygen was dipping and his ventilator was alarming. Today I can go home to an empty, quiet house with no machines taking over the living room.

But I would experience it all again, one thousand times over. I don’t like the quiet anyways.

ūüíöMama Bear

Today’s the day I question my answers

Ok, so let’s say we do have another baby (as you all know¬†this is¬†something we are very hopeful for). That baby will always have a big brother.¬†We will always have 2 kids (god willing this IVF process works!). But it leads to so many questions that I know how to answer for myself, or at least I think I do. However, they all seem to carry many underlying thoughts and internal questions inside these questions that seem so simple. These questions aren’t ones I would have ever thought to ask myself without having lost our first child. Another “perk” to being in this shitty club.

In no particular order:

Question 1 – how would we sign Christmas cards from our family? This may seem like a silly question but it’s something I’ve recently thought about. Do we just write my name and my husbands name (and hopefully our future child’s name)? That doesn’t seem right. Quinlan is still part of our family and it’s a family Christmas card. I once heard a mom who lost her daughter in the Newtown shooting say that she would sign cards with her and her husbands name, her living children’s names, and then¬†include “and the spirit of” her daughter that passed. Is that what we would do? Do we come up with some sort of an abbreviation to include after our names so those receiving the card know that Quinlan is always a part of our Christmas story? Or do we just write “Quinlan”? Something I think about. Something as simple as how to sign a Christmas card. I guess I’ll let you know come Christmas time.

Question 2 – how do I respond when people ask if I have any children? I will never say “no, I do not have any children” or after another baby “I have one child”. That response, to me, is cringeworthy. However, I know the response of “I have a son, but he passed away” comes with the facial expression, the apologies, the sadness, all from total strangers. Lately I’ve been finding myself replying with the above response, and then as quickly as possible say “but we are really excited to hopefully expand our family very soon”. Cue the sad, contorted facial expression turned jovial with an added “oh! That is exciting”. But not wanting to show TOO much of the obligatory pep that people have when talking about hope for a future baby, because they also now know my first born is no longer with us. And then if we do have another one, my response will still be “I have two children” but then knowing there will most likely be a follow up question of “Oh how old are they?” I will again have to get the “Oh I’m so sorry” face. How easy would it be to just say “We’re hoping to have one in the future”. Yes, it would be easier, but we’ve never been a family to take the easy way out.

Question 3 – don’t we want two more kids so we don’t have an “only child”? This one is a tough one. And it’s one I’ve kinda had a hard time with. My future child will never be an only child. Yet he or she would be raised as an only child. How do you define that? How do you raise a child by him or herself, but make sure they know and understand that Mom and Dad have two children? “Don’t you want two¬†children to grow up together?” My answer to that is: Yes, more then anything in this entire world would I want my children to grow up together. But that will not happen. I will never have a picture of all of our children together. I will never know what it’s like to have my son holding his little brother or sister in his lap. I would do anything for that to happen. How lucky for a little boy or girl to grow up with Quinlan by their side. Of all those on the “shitty parts of losing a child” list, this is absolutely right at the top. But in spite of all that, I can’t say I want two children just so they can grow up with a sibling. If we are lucky enough to have one more, then yes, we will have two children. And they will always know they are not an only child. This question¬†sounds so confusing, but at the same time, it’s obvious to me. Even though, it’s not an obvious scenario. I’m continuing to confuse myself.

What it ultimately comes down to, the biggest question of all, is how do we ensure that Quinlan is never forgotten? How do we make sure he is never “replaced” by another child? How can we engrave in all our hearts and minds that he is and will continue to be a huge part of our family? He is our first born, he will be the big brother, he will always be our son, even if he’s not here. I don’t want any of that to be forgotten.

In the meantime, I suppose questions will be asked, answers will be given, and cards will be signed.

ūüíöMama Bear

Today‚Äôs the day no one wants to join this club

So, I have to say this. Along with every other mother, father, sibling, teacher, student, decent human being, I am so incredibly sad about the latest school shooting. Every school shooting makes us all sad, angry, scared, and the list goes on. But today I am sad, and I am angry and I need to vent.

I’m angry because 17 more lives were lost. 15 more children who are 18 years old or younger are gone. 17 more sets of parents will never, ever see their child again (yes, I understand some of those killed were older and not just students, but they are still someone’s child. Whether 2 or 42, it’s still the loss of your child for any parent regardless of their age). I am so sad for those parents, the newest members of this “club” Bear and I joined 392 days ago, (but who’s counting). There is no welcoming committee for this club because no one wants to join it. It sucks. “Hey, one day I’ll join that club. No, not the country club or the swim club, but that other club. You know, the one that only allows members to join whose hearts have been ripped out and the person you created, your blood, your life, you can never see again. Ever. No more holidays with them. No more family pictures with them. No more snuggles with them. Ya, I look forward to joining that club someday” said no one ever. These parents in Florida had no clue they would be a part of this particular club by the afternoon on that day in February. That day that will forever be known as “that day” every year for the rest of their lives. A day that is supposed to be about love turned into a day that showed such hate. Maybe some were planning to go to the swim club or golf club that afternoon. The club they actually want to be a part of. The one they paid for so they could socialize with friends. The club they joined that afternoon, though, it’s free. Monetarily. The cost of joining this club is in fact a payment of tears, anger, grief, yelling, swearing, and dark moments.

When we joined the club, we didn’t know we would be joining when we did. I always had a feeling there would be a chance the paperwork for us to join was in the works for the near future, even though I didn’t want to believe it. It doesn’t make it easier. It doesn’t change the dreaded membership you gain. It sucks.

The hardest part of now being a member of this club, for me, is this: I miss being a mom. I know I’m still a mom, nothing will ever change that. From the moment Quinlan was put in my arms, I’ve been a mom. But my reward in becoming a mom, the first born who gave me that crown to wear, the title I was so proud of is gone. It obviously does not make it any harder or easier then those that have other children (hopefully that’s the next club I join) it just makes it different. I want that crown back. And joining this stupid club has taken it from me.

Can you sense the anger? Knowing that 17 additional sets of parents now have to feel these feelings. They have to live this life that no parent should have to live. I feel for you, I cry for you, I want to hug you and I certainly will not welcome you to the club because no one wants this membership. It sucks.

ūüíöMama Bear

Today‚Äôs the day for cupid, roses and blah

Happy Valentine’s Day….blah blah blah. Am I the only one who’s not really into this holiday? Dare I say¬†it sucks.¬†I’m married to such a romantic, kind-hearted man. I got a valentine from the best niece and nephew ever. And there was chocolate on my desk from my overly sweet coworker. So why would today suck?

I woke up feeling sad. Which isn’t totally uncommon but not really a norm that happens every day for me. I did my normal morning routine, running late of course, then hopped in my car (forgetting I needed gas), stopped at the gas station then again, hopped in my car and headed to work. And cried. Just a sad cry. Not angry or grief stricken. Just sad.

Let me reiterate something first. I love my husband. This whole sad/sucky feeling has absolutely nothing to do with him. When I say he is one of the most romantic people out there, it’s the truth. He will do anything he can to surprise me. I’m not one who likes to be surprised, but he does it in a way that doesn’t make me want to kill him for doing it. Little surprises or big, he’s all about surprises. When I turned 30, he was going to “take me out to dinner”. He wanted to “stop by to say hi to a friend who was grabbing a drink at the local Elks function hall” (who does that?! I should have known at that point that something was fishy, but¬†me being as oblivious as I can be,¬†had no idea). Turns out it was (surprise¬†surprise)¬†a surprise party with all of our friends and family. Not only that, but he then proposed, in front of everybody. The man is always up for a good surprise! If I ever mention wanting something, even just in passing, he always remembers and at the next holiday, if not sooner, will have it for me. He puts so much thought into every gift he gives. Even if it’s just a card. He’s that guy standing in the card aisle reading every single card until he finds the perfect one for the occasion.

My favorite Valentine’s Day so far was 4 years ago. I was newly pregnant, in that early stage of feeling bloated and gross, and I felt like nothing fit properly. Our Valentine’s Day date consisted of going to the mall and him buying me my first pair of maternity pants. They were the most comfortable things I had ever owned, so¬†he bought two. After buying pants that I probably didn’t even need to wear for a few weeks, but don’t ever disagree with a pregnant woman, we stopped at Popeye’s for dinner (gotta love those biscuits). It was the most perfect Valentine’s Day for a newly, hormonal, mama-to-be.

He truly is the ultimate valentine and I am really quite lucky that after 10 Valentine’s Days¬†together, our 11th will most likely still consist of getting take out, watching a movie and being 100% content doing so.

So, needless to say, this sad/sucky feeling has to do with the other love of my life. I’m lucky enough to have two: the one¬†I chose, and the one I created. The one I chose is here by my side, but the one I created is not. On this day when love is all around, hearts are everywhere, and¬†the words¬†“I love you” are floating through the air, the one person I really want to say it to isn’t here.

That’s what sucks.

I know I’m not the only one missing a loved one on a day like today (and all of the other 364 days of the year). My Bumpa’s birthday was yesterday, a day spent with family and making his favorite cake (attempt #2 this year of making a cake, not quite as good as the original, but still edible). Another loved one¬†missed so much.

So today,¬†I say we all have a couple extra pieces of chocolate, maybe a glass of wine, and if you want to watch anything but a sappy movie, feel free. Maybe¬†stop by¬†a Popeye’s for a really good biscuit.

And¬†please, say “I love you”, give an extra long hug, and don’t take for granted your loved ones. Especially those loves of your life that you created. (As I’m typing these words, it is being reported that at least 15 people have been killed in a school shooting. Please don’t take these words lightly. Extra hugs and “I love you’s” are needed on a day like today.)

ūüíöMama Bear

Today’s the day you’re not alone

Round¬†one of shots…done. First egg retrieval…done. Two weeks of shooting hormones into my belly turned pin cushion are over. And hopefully not many people noticed the emotional/hormonal/one minute I love you the next minute I hate you feelings I had been expressing. Apologies if you experienced that (Bear).

It was…interesting, and if I have to do it again, I will definitely know better what to expect. It is way more mental then I thought it would be. By this I¬†don’t mean that I hated every minute of it, but when you think you have just one more day of injecting hormones, and then you end up having a few more¬†days because your follicles just aren’t ripe enough, it does kinda get to you. It is by far not the worst thing I’ve ever experienced, I will put that out there. And yes, I would absolutely do it again if I have to.¬†The shots hurt way less then I imagined. And the egg retrieval itself was definitely not as nerve wracking as I was anticipating (even as the nurse in the operating room¬†was rubbing my forehead saying “Now, she’s a bit anxious”. I clearly don’t hide my anxiety very well). But I got through it. This new adventure is no where near over, many hurdles are still to come, be cleared (and to be tripped over) but my first round of stims and egg retrieval I can now say are done (bring on the wine).

Throughout this new IVF world we’ve joined, I’ve been able to meet some new¬†mama’s who have gone through very similar IVF journeys. In fact, similar to immersing myself into¬†the world o’antidepressants and anxiety meds, once I put out there that I would be going through IVF, women who also went/are going through IVF started coming out of the woodwork. Some I knew had gone through it, some I had no idea. But all offered nothing but support and assurance that while it will be tough, it will be worth it. Bring it on.

Now a PSA from MB (Mama Bear). I know we’re all individuals. We all go¬†down very different paths in life.¬†But something I have learned from all of the experiences over the last couple years, especially this new journey recently,¬†is something that can be truly life changing and I wanted to put it out there for all of you. Hopefully you all already know this but it sometimes helps to hear it again. You are not alone. There is someone out there who is going through something very similar or even exact to what you are going through no matter what it is.

Someone who has heard of the Brat1 mutation because their son has it Рfound them. Someone whose child has spent month and months in the hospital, and in fact has stayed in the same bed space as our child at one point Рknow them. Someone who is literally giving themselves shots in their pin cushion of a belly the same exact night you are Рvented to them. Someone who likes to drink wine while waiting (because there is a lot of waiting involved with IVF) Рlearned from them.

And that is just a handful of those I’ve met.

Most (but not all) of the time you have to put yourself out there to find that person, but they are there. For some, I know this can be the hardest part to do. Some don’t like having their life out there for everyone to know about, read about, talk about, especially something as personal as their children. I completely understand that. Lucky (or unlucky, depending on how much you enjoy reading all about my life) for all of you, I’m pretty much an open book. I’ve never been one to hide what I’m going through or experiencing, and as a result, I’ve found a pretty great support system. One that spans from from friends and family, to¬†women I’ve never met¬†but have seen¬†the words they type online. Words that I understand more then I ever thought I would. Words that I’ve needed to hear at certain times and have helped me realize I am not alone either.

So to you all who have gone through something that you never thought you would, something you thought no one else would understand, or something you haven’t felt ok sharing with others…know that you will find someone, somehow who will understand.

It’s quite a crazy, messed up world but if we know that there are others out there just as crazy and messed up as us, it helps.

PS – Remember the bulbs I received straight from Holland? I had my first¬†beauty of a¬†tulip pop up this morning. I’m in love!

~ Tulips, and windmills, and Rembrandts ~


ūüíöMama Bear

Today‚Äôs the day for remembering…364 days later

WARNING: This post took me a while to actually get through. I started it a couple months ago and had to leave it for¬†a while before finishing it up tonight.¬†The tears are flowing. I’m not saying they will for you, but I thought it might be fair to throw out the warning just incase.

I think about the day Quinlan passed away a lot. I thought maybe getting it down on (figuratively speaking) paper, may give me a sense of peace in a way to see the emotions and descriptions in front of me. Or not. I dunno but I guess we’ll see.

I¬†think about it on random days, not just anniversaries or holidays. I don’t think about it every day all day, but I think about it often. Not always in depth, but enough that it sometimes makes me stop what I’m doing and take a deep breath.

January 30, 2017 – I remember the night nurse yelling my name. He had done that a couple times before this day. We had even¬†called 911 before. But this time was different. It was 5:30am, Bear had gotten up to use the bathroom and said he remembers hearing some of the alarms going off (which wasn’t an uncommon sound in our house at the time). But when the alarms are going off and the nurse is yelling “Lindsay, Lindsay!” you know something is wrong. I jumped out of bed and ran downstairs to see Quinlan unresponsive. I remember the nurse saying “Call 911”. Bear called 911 and I just remember yelling Quinlan’s name over and over. I was shaking him. I remember thinking ‚Äúis this really it?‚ÄĚ It felt like forever before the first responders came. They laid him on the living room floor and I couldn’t watch. I remember him looking so old for some reason. He looked older then my baby had ever looked before. Bear and I sat downstairs trying to figure out what was going on. Crying, pacing, shaking. My sister, who was most definitely a¬†nurse in a previous life, was in the midst of it all. I kept yelling up to her asking if anything had changed and she would look down at us and shake her head. I remember saying I had to call someone. I didn’t know who but I needed to tell someone what was going on. I called my brother to come pick us up and drive us to the hospital because, how could we drive. I remember the paramedics carrying Quinlan down the stairs to put him in the ambulance and all I could think was that it was cold out, make sure he had the blanket on him so he wouldn’t get cold.

They took him away in the ambulance, we were left with the police and our nurse. Our poor nurse who was so traumatized and all he wanted to do was go home to his family, understandably.¬†I remember trying to clean up the mess left in the living room but were told immediately to leave it incase a further investigation needed to take place. I remember sitting on our front step when my brother pulled up, giving me a hug, and taking us to the hospital. I remember texting my boss to say that something happened to Quinlan and I wouldn’t be in work today.¬†I remember saying that I don’t want to go if the words that the doctor was inevitably going to say were actually going to come out of his mouth. We walked into the ER, told them who we were, and they immediately took us into the dreaded room off to the side. Bear, my sister, my brother and I were sitting there when the doctor came in and said the words that no parent should ever have to hear.¬†¬†I remember screaming, crying, not knowing what to do, wanting to again call someone, wanting to throw up.

I called friends. Every one of them dropped everything and came to the hospital. I called nurses who we had grown close to. Our social worker. She came. I remember having my brother and sister call family members. I remember my brother telling us that detectives were going to come ask us some questions but that it is very routine in cases involving a child. I remember the doctor telling us that we can go in to see him but I wasn’t ready. I don’t remember how long we were at the hospital. But I remember people kept coming and it felt so nice to be surrounded by them.¬†I remember finally being able to walk into the room to see him for the last time. I remember I kept telling him that’s he’s ok. We said a prayer, I asked if we could take some locks of his hair (he had the most amazing hair), and that was it. It wasn’t Quinlan in there. It was his shell and I didn’t feel the need to be in there any longer. I remember saying that I didn’t want to be¬†at the hospital¬†anymore and so I left. My brother¬†drove me¬†to his house and I remember saying something to the affect of “this sucks” and him telling me that nothing¬†would ever be the same again. I remember needing to hear that.

We got to his house and people kept showing up. It was what we needed. I know I’ve¬†said it a million times¬†before but the amount of people that came to¬†be with us¬†that day was everything. Knowing how much every one of them loved Quinlan felt so comforting.

Doctors calling us. Nurses coming to visit us. Family and friends from all over bringing food and whatever else we needed. The rest of the day is somewhat a blur. I remember people reminding me to eat. I remember feeling so thirsty.

There was a lot of tears that day. But also A LOT of love. I remember I kept getting what I can only describe as signs throughout the next couple days. They seemed to be nods from above that he was in fact ok.

The days and weeks after that were not better, nor were they worse. They just were.

It’s been a year that I could never have imagined. A year that has changed my life forever. A year that has taught me almost as much as Quinlan did.

ūüíöMama Bear