Being Everlee’s Mom

A thousand times in the last three weeks I have wanted so badly to sit down and type out my feelings. I have had house guests for the last three weeks, and although it was nice to have people around me (as I’ve been spending an increasing amount of time alone whenever I can) I’ve felt myself hiding behind a mask to make everyone more comfortable around me, pushing everything into a bitter little ball inside of me, and using all of my force to keep that little nuclear bomb of emotion safe and hidden. It has been incredibly emotionally exhausting. So for the last few days that I’ve been home alone, I have essentially hidden myself away. I’ve barely been on the computer and I have spent countless hours just sitting in my backyard staring at the rose bush I have planted for Everlee. 

 

Somedays, I feel like I am making strides forward. It’s not as hard to get out of bed, I don’t have to remind myself every 28 seconds not to cry, and I can go out into the world with minimal anxiety. Then there are the majority of my days, where I lie awake most of the nights in my bed and still can’t manage to force myself out of bed without having several emotional breakdowns. I spend at least an hour hyping myself up to leave the house. I hate when I see people I know. I’m sick. But not the kind of sick that keeps you bed ridden and contagious, but the kind of sick that tangles up your mind and fogs your logic and self control. On the outside, sometimes I’m sure I look perfectly fine with my mechanical smile and makeup on. but on the inside I’m all cobwebs and dust. And no matter how hard I try to get myself out of the house, and how good I may  look to those around me, every motion I go through in the run of a day isn’t without pain and suffering. 

 

For the majority of my career I have worked in student affairs at the post secondary level, where mental illness and people in crisis are almost an every day conversation. I really thought I understood what mental illness was before. I honestly had no idea. I didn’t know to the extent that a person could be sick, while remaining perfectly healthy. 

 

I ran into one of my coworkers from the University where I worked before my current role. It was the first time I had seen her since shortly before I went on maternity leave. We had worked very closely together for two years and shared the same office space in that time, so we know each other quite well. In our discussion she pointed out to me that I shouldn’t feel guilty for being away from work, and taking time to heal myself right now. I have always been the kind of person who was willing (and quite often did) stay into the wee hours of the morning to make sure my students received the very best care. And now, I had to be willing to do the very same thing for myself. I don’t have a cough, or a cold, or even a bad back or high blood pressure. My sickness, and my problem isn’t something that can be seen on an X-ray, or in a blood test. And to a lot of people, they’re probably wondering what could possibly be wrong because I don’t LOOK sick. 

 

My awesome group of doctors and psychologists have diagnosed me with reactive depression, generalized anxiety, mild agoraphobia and post traumatic stress. I am a strong person. I always have been. Having Everlee hasn’t changed that. Being sick doesn’t mean I am not strong, it just means I am so very tired from having to be so strong for far too long. As I posted on Facebook a couple of nights ago “You never know how strong you can be, until being strong is the only choice you have”. I am so lucky I have an amazing group of people that I work with that understand what mental illness means, and how much I need this time to heal right now. I am no good to my students, if I am no good to myself. 

 

As an update, I have now gone through mostly all of the tests I need to have to start the fertility treatments we need to make Everlee a big sister. I now only have to wait to see the Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) specialist. Unfortunately, because I am not already pregnant, and therefore not seen as high priority, I have a longer wait list to face to see her. There are only two MFMs in the health board, so my appointment isn’t until January 20th. That being said, my fertility doctor has gotten me onto a waiting list and hopefully I’ll be able to see her much sooner. I have made it known I can be there in 5 minutes if they need me to be. 

 

It’s extraordinarily hard for me to feel like I am making any forward movement when I am teetering on this edge of uncertainty in terms on my fertility. I have said for a very long time, I won’t feel like I am moving forward until the fertility treatments start, and I still feel that way. I was born to be a mommy. And I am. I am Everlee’s mommy, which is more challenging than I had ever foreseen motherhood to be. I love her more and more every day, even if she isn’t here to feel that love herself. I have so much love to give my baby, so I look forward, and long for the day when I have a child in my arms, to be a little brother or sister to the baby I will always have in my heart.

Advertisements

Every step.

It’s no secret to anyone, especially those of you who read my blog, that I have had body issues my whole life. I hate my body.

When I was 15, I got my first tattoo. A dove done in rainbow colours on my shoulder blade. It represented something that changed me, and something that meant love to me, my time in England and the friends I made there (I took part in something called the PEACE project, dealing with racially motivated violence and conflict resolution). I thought that if I could use my body as a canvas for all of the beautiful things in my life, that then my body would be beautiful. (Editors note: the tattoo was actually poorly done, and right before I got married
I had it redone by the wonderful Alicia at Trouble Bound who made it the beautiful piece it should have been)

20130719-232319.jpg

20130719-232431.jpg

Since that first tattoo, I have gotten comedy/tragedy masks on my ankle (for my love of performance and to remember the lessons I learned from my high school teacher Tony Duffenais). And last year I had some colourful stars with the words “live laugh love learn” on the inner side of my forearm, in my dear friend Roxy Peterson’s hand writing. All things I began to accept into my life because of him.

20130719-232554.jpg

Today I added to my art collection and this is by far my most beautiful and meaningful of all of my tattoos. Huge thank you once again to Alicia at Trouble Bound. Now my little girl will literally be with me every step I take.

20130719-232640.jpg

Five Months.

It’s peculiar, people often ask me why I’ve chosen to write about Everlee, our family and my feelings on being a childless first time mother. It constantly amazes and humbles me when I see people and they make reference to reading my blog. Neighbours, friends, family and colleagues, but most surprising to me, dozens of other moms that have found themselves in this very lonely and sad club that we never wanted to be a part of. I have received emails from all over the world, and have found support online where there has been a void in my every day life. In the very early days it was simply to find my lost voice. To find a way to express those most deep raw emotions that could only bubble on the surface of my consciousness.

In the last 5 months this blog has been viewed by over 50000 people, and from what I can gather, has about 500 regular readers who read every entry. At the beginning, I didn’t care if anyone ever read what I wrote, but now I see that this space has become so much more to me than a place to let my words spill from my soul.

To a lot of people, Everlee was only ever a bump on my belly. A fun little (slash not so little) roundness that I carried around and made me waddle. She was something that made my tummy go thump and made me love chicken wings and flakies. But in writing this blog, I have been able to give people a glimpse into the person she was, and could have been. She was spirited, and active and she was loved more deeply than I ever thought I was capable of loving. She made me happier than I had ever been in my entire life in her short time with us. And losing her will always be the most painful thing I have ever had to endure. But having her, even for the shortest amount of time that she was with us, was the happiest I have ever been.

And that’s why I continue to write. So we never forget a beautiful little girl who brought an unimaginable amount of joy for a much too short time.

Happy 5 month birthday, baby girl.

Breathe

What a difference a new perspective can make.

I spent the night awake, worrying, wondering, hoping.. anxiously awaiting my appointment with my new doctor this morning at 11am. If you’ll recall the last one didn’t go so well:

https://everleerose.com/2013/05/13/i-dont-know-how-much-more-i-can-take/

After that appointment I ended up meeting with the managing nurse at the clinic I go to and complained about how I was treated. She was so apologetic and suggested maybe a fresh set of eyes and a fresh start for us would do well. And boy was she right.

In the time that has passed since I wrote that entry I have lost 27.3lbs (probably a little less since I did some celebrating today..) and have spent hours upon hours working on my own mental health, and overall well being.

I spent the night last night in agony wondering would all of my hard work be in vain? Would I be sent away again only to be told that my size was the only diagnosis I would be given? Would my health even be given consideration this time around?

My new doctor was a breath of fresh air. She said she wanted to do a number of tests (bloodwork mostly) to rule out anything that may be a risk in any subsequent pregnancy, if we’re lucky enough to get to that stage. She wants me to see the Maternal fetal Medicine specialist (essentially an extraordinarily high risk pregnancy doctor) to determine how we’ll approach a pregnancy next time around, and she said once that is done and we have a clear slate in front of us, we can start fertility treatments. Right now that looks like either August or September. With this sort of thing, it always a matter of timing.

*I* had to bring up my weight. She said I had done an amazing job, and that she knew I lead a healthy lifestyle before I was pregnant and she wasn’t at all concerned. She told me to keep doing what I’m doing. She said another 15-20lbs wouldn’t hurt, but she’s not concerned as long as I was healthy and mentally ready to move in this direction.

Night and day.

It has been so long since anything positive has happened for us, this day was everything we could have hoped for. So after 2 solid months of agonizing over every morsel of food I have put into my body, I had a cheeseburger, a beer and an ice cream! (Back to healthy clean eating tomorrow I promise!).

Darcy and I had promised ourselves that no matter what happened today that we would do something we both loved and enjoyed, so we spent the afternoon out on the water whale watching in our beautiful province of Newfoundland. The air was clean and crisp, the whales and birds were plentiful, and there was even a rainbow brought too us by a playful humpback. And for anyone who frequents baby loss blogs or groups, like I know so often many of my blogging friends do, they know the symbolism of a rainbow. And I think my little Everlee had something to do with bringing one to us today, even on the most sunshiny day… We caught a glimpse of our rainbow.
This is what hope feels like. I missed this feeling.

20130710-224801.jpg

20130710-224809.jpg

20130710-224820.jpg

20130710-224829.jpg

20130710-224840.jpg

20130710-224853.jpg

Cruel summer

It’s been awhile since I’ve written (for me anyway). These last few weeks have been busy (especially for someone who is currently on leave from work). My in-laws are in town visiting for the next few weeks so I’ve been busy preparing for their arrival. It’s been exhausting for me because I still have only about a maximum of an hours staying power outside of my house. I find it mentally exhausting to be around groups of people.

I went into work for a meeting this week. I was sitting in the hallway waiting for a few people when a faculty member stopped in the hallway and said to me “so was it a boy or a girl?!”. It gutted me. It took away all of the confidence I had spent the whole day building just to be there. I hate that even after 5 months I still get those moments. I know, because of the large circle of people around me, I’ll be having those moments for many months to come. It just doesn’t get any easier. It never does. No day has been easier than any of the others. There’s still an empty ache.

My memory book that I made for Everlee arrived last week. It’s beautiful, for what it is. I should be making her baby book. Writing down all of her firsts. Cooing over her drooley smiles and in awe of the smallest milestones. Instead, I’m letting big tear drops fall on the only pictures ill ever have of her.

I’ve finally started sharing our family pictures in the book with people. It’s painful for me to look at. My eyes in those pictures haunt me. They’re the same eyes I see in the mirror, I just don’t look at them now. But in those pictures they burn into me. So much sadness, hurt and heartbreak. All the while, the most beautiful little girl laying there sleeping, in my arms. What I wouldn’t give for just one more minute to feel the weight of her in my arms, or in my belly. Now all I’ll ever have is contained in just 20 pages in a hard cover pink book.

20130707-220628.jpg

We built a new deck in our backyard over the last two days. I remember being so excited over the winter that we were doing this. I could just I true me and my little one out on the deck in the summer. Getting a kiddie pool to splash in. So many wasted plans, so much wasted potential. I’m glad to have the space out there, but it’s so tainted. Everything is. She should be here. She should be enjoying her first family vacation time. Her absence is everywhere I look.

20130707-220531.jpg

I’ve gotten so good at holding everything together on the surface all while dying over and over again on the inside. Only so often do I let my emotions spill on to my cheeks in front of people (thank you large,ironed aviators).

20130707-220436.jpg

The first time I’ve cried in public in a long time was this week. Darcy and I finally made it back to visit our amazing nurse K. When the elevator doors open on the case room floor my heart just about beats out of my chest. Walking in there I started to sweat. My chest felt tight. I was teetering on the edge of a panic attack the whole time. While we were waiting for her to come meet us, a woman poked her head out of the patient area, camera in hand and called out to her son “Adam, would you like to come meet your nephew?” She said with such a huge smile. And in that instant I hated her. It took everything in me not to scream at her. Why did she get to be happy? Why did she have all of those happy pictures on her camera and not me? And I cried, and cried and cried, and just like 5 months ago, K calmed me. She is the embodiment of everything a nurse, and a good person should be. I’ll never thank her enough.

So now I struggle to get through the next few days. Wednesday I go back to see the doctor. A new doctor this time, in the same clinic but a new doctor. I am 22.5 pounds down since my last visit and only 20lbs away from where they asked me to be. WITHOUT SURGERY, Dr Arsehole. .. I’m prone to those outbursts. I hope to have at least another few gone by Wednesday.

Sorry that this entry is a little scattered.After a day in the heat I have a sunburn and I’m sleepy. I hope the sun helps me sleep, but as the song goes, it’s a cruel summer.