Inch By Inch

To those of you who have been following my story, whether it be from right beside me, or only via my blog, you would know that around the same time that Everlee was born (within 6 weeks) both of my very best friends had babies as well. Claire was Born in January, and Danny was born in the wee hours of the first day or February. As a psychiatrist I spoke to once put it, it made a dreadfully tragic circumstance that much more painful for me to deal with. We were supposed to enter a new chapter of our lives together, like we did for high school, post-secondary and marriage. We’ve done everything together. And this was supposed to be the start of another generation of friends.

Don’t get me wrong for a second, I am over the moon happy for A and K. I love their children as if they were my own blood. They are wonderful babies. But knowing that my two best friends who I have turned to for everything in my entire life were now moving onto a stage of life that we were supposed to journey on together, without me, has been beyond heartbreaking. In spoken and unspoken ways we have been all in a delicate dance for the last number of months.

How much do I share of my sorrow without becoming too much?

And how much do they share of their joy without feeling like they’re hurting me?

Most times we don’t have to talk about this agonizing tango. It’s been hard. On all of us. Not just me.  But both of them live at a distance and going through this without them nearby has been worse than I could imagine.

So when the stars aligned a few weeks ago that we could all be together again for the first time in over 2 years, I swallowed my pain and booked a ticket to Halifax so that I could spend a week with my three best girlfriends – two of them with their same-aged children.

A lot of people were worried about me. Including myself. Mostly myself. How would I deal with being in a house with two babies the same age as Everlee should be? Would their crying cut me like thousand tiny knives? And would I be able to look at them without feeling the pain of every one of Everlee’s missed smiles?

Surprisingly, spending time with the kids was not the hardest part of the week for me. What was harder to swallow was the fact that my two best friends has grown into the most wonderful mothers. Watching them cooing over their beautiful babies, and kissing away every tear, and falling in love all over again over every giggle was what was most painful. Their shells were the same, but they had found a new love in the eyes of their kids that has awakened a beauty that I had never seen in them before. Their smiles were brighter, and they glowed with pride. And the jealousy I felt was almost more than I could bear sometimes. And I fought with myself, So overwhelmingly happy for them, to see them oozing with pure joy. And so sad for myself, who should be feeling all of that love for my Everlee, but instead feeling them exact opposite. Hot, burning painful sorrow of her absence.

I enjoyed my week. We shopped. We laughed, we drank beer and talked about the past and the future. I love my girl friends more than almost anything in the whole world, and my pain did not and will not ever overshadow our lifetime of friendship. Long before children were on the immediate radar, the three of us dreamed of a scenario where our kids grew up together, close in age and close in proximity. We imagined our babies crawling around together, our toddlers fighting over toys, our pre-schoolers trading sentences. It’s only natural, of course, for us to wish the sort of closeness between our kids as we share ourselves.  I grieve for that loss. But I am so thankful for their amazing supportive friendship. I am so incredibly lucky to have had these beautiful women in my life for the last 24 years. And nothing – NOTHING – will ever change that.

A, K, MD: I love you endlessly and thank you for being exactly the kind of friends I have needed every day of my life. And thank you for being there for me for that last week in Hali. You’re support and patience with me helped me more than you could ever understand, even if I never speak it aloud.

As I’ve changed -or maybe as my friends have changed- so have our relationships.  Sometimes we’ve stayed buoyed to each other and sometimes we’ve floated away, each pushed along by the tide of our own lives.  The friendships that have stuck and have followed me through my life despite all the changes, both theirs and mine, are the ones in which we’ve continued to find new places in our lives for each other.

I am not the same as I was seven months ago and neither are all of my friendships.  There is no more animosity for the ones who could not stay but there is so much gratitude for the ones that did.

It only hurts when I breathe

I think that I am starting to accept that I will be sad forever.  It is my destiny to grieve.  I mean shouldn’t I?  I have a child who has died.  Should I not be sad until the day that I die?  And it is just starting to dawn on me,  I should be sad.  I should be sad every moment of every day.  How peculiar would it be if I wasn’t sad for my Everlee?  How cold and heartless would I be?  Instead of worrying that I’m still sad, I should worry that some day I might not be sad…as much as I desperately want the sadness to go away, the sadness means that she was real, and that she mattered. 

I know that at some point I have to allow myself to be happy, or at least that’s what my psychologist tells me. But I’m not there yet, and I’m not sure I ever will be. I have cried every day and I don’t know if the tears will ever stop. 

So often I go around feeling like I am alone in my misery, with Darcy. I don’t know many people (and I know nobody my own age) who has gone through this kind of tragedy. I don’t often get to see people on the other side of this Everest of pain. It seems sometimes that no one remembers that I was pregnant, and that there was a living being here on this earth that looked just like me and Darcy.

People forget that every day, every minute, I pine for that tiny soul, my sweet Everlee.

People forget that shoving their big bellies in my face, or their newborns reminds me of how broken and lost I really am and what I’ve lost, and what I may never have again.

Its human nature to forget, maybe that’s a good thing. I don’t know.

Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.

I can’t begrudge them (even if secretly, occasionally, I want to poke them in their perfect world).  

And just when I thought that every last soul on this earth (except Darcy) had forgotten that I had a precious baby once too, someone comes along with a nudge to tell me they remember.

Thank you Cathy, for giving me what many others could not.

Recognize her

Here in Newfoundland, new families are entitled to a parental child benefit (better known here as Danny’s Baby Bonus). I discovered a few weeks after Everlee was born that despite her having been born stillborn that I would still be eligible to receive this money. Although $1000 could never help heal any of the burden in my heart, that money can go a long way towards covering the expenses of burying her tiny little body and ensuring her headstone was fit for the princess that she was.

Filling out those forms weren’t easy. Ticking that checkbox to let the folks on the other side of those government offices know that my baby was still born was hard. What was harder was realizing that because she was stillborn I wouldn’t have any birth certificate to send them, just the tear stains on the page to let them know that she was here and she was loved.

Fast forward a few months, and yesterday I received a letter in the mail from the department of finance. They had received my application, but were unable to process it because of the lack of birth certificate. A birth certificate the same government didn’t feel my daughter was worthy of. I called the contact on the letter in tears explaining my situation. She was very apologetic and told me to get in contact with Government services and that they would sort me out. After a very brief phone call I was quickly informed my daughter was not eligible for a birth or death certificate and that I would have to go there in person and explain to them what had happened so they could write a letter indicating what had happened, adding insult to injury.

In the eyes of my government, my baby never existed. I have nothing official to say she was ever here, and when history books are written, she will be left out.

That’s not good enough for me. So I have written the following letter to the Minister of Service NL, Hon Nick McGrath (and copied a number of his staff, as well as the hosts of the provinces two political radio call in shows) to see if something can be done to address this problem. I may be one person, but I am a mom first. And my daughter deserves to be recognized.

Here’s my letter:

Hon MInister McGrath,

I am writing you this letter because of a situation I recently encountered. I dearly hope that this is the first and last letter you receive on this subject, but I know it may very well not be.

On February 13th of this year at 34 weeks pregnant I gave birth to my first child, Everlee Rose. Having suffered from infertility for a number of years, her arrival was much anticipated and greatly longed for. Unfortunately, my hopes and dreams came crashing down around me when the doctor told me just hours before on February 12th that she would be stillborn. I was induced at the Health Sciences Centre, and went through 16 hours of labour before I delivered my beautiful sleeping daughter. As a parent, I was devastated at the loss of my beautiful little girl. Not 24 hours before I had heard her little heart beating at 154bpm.  She was 5lbs1oz when she was born.  She had my lips and my husbands nose. She was perfect.

In the weeks and months since I have struggled every single day with the pain of this loss. I lived every single day for 8 and a half months with her living inside of me, only to give birth to her after she had passed. I have received nothing but the best care from the doctors, and nurses at Eastern Health. However, it is the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador where I have found my biggest stumbling block. You see although I spent 16 hours in labour, and although I held that beautiful little girl in my arms, to the province she has never existed. She is not eligible to hold a birth certificate.  She is not eligible to hold a death certificate. In the eyes of my home, she never existed.  Now in order to get her affairs in order I have to go through the excruciating process of contacting vital statistics to confirm that my child did, in fact, exist. Each time opening a very painful emotional wound, and further hurting my already defeated family.

I recognize that this is not something that happens everyday, and that this is not an insurmountable task in the eyes of the Government. But to those that have to live through the nightmare that has become my life, this one simple gesture can mean the world. My daughter may have never cried to be fed during the night, smiled her first smile, or ever learned to walk or talk, and she may have been stillborn, but Minister, she was still born. I’m asking you, please, to consider one of two things to help bring just a little peace to families like mine that have to endure the worst pain that any parent could ever feel:

  1. Acknowledge the life of a stillborn child (<20 weeks gestation) with a birth and a death certificate.
  2. Acknowledge the life of a stillborn child (<20 weeks gestation) with a stillbirth certificate (as those in Saskatchewan, and Ontario for example)

I’ve not just lost a baby: I’ve lost a toddler, a school girl, a teenager and an adult daughter. A whole potential life has gone. The only tangible reminders I have left are pictures, as well as her footprints and hospital bracelet. I don’t even have a birth certificate to acknowledge that she was here, and that she mattered.

Minister, I respectfully ask that you consider what I have said, and make the right choice to move forward to giving families like mine the peace and the acknowledgement these little lives deserve.

“Each new life, no matter how brief,  forever changes the world.”

If you require any further information, or would like to speak to me further on the matter, I ask you to please contact me at (709)6*******. I look forward to your acknowledgement and thoughts on this matter.

Thank You,

Rhonda McMeekin

CC:
Marietta McGrath, Executive Assistant to the Minister
Donna Kelland, Assistant Deputy Minister (Government Services)
Vanessa Colman-Sadd, Director of Communications (Service NL)
Bill Rowe, VOCM Openline
Paddy Daly, VOCM Backtalk

 

One Step Forward

I had a really nice time tonight with a friend. Quiet and lovely and they knew exactly what I needed to make me genuinely smile for the first time in a long time.  I left feeling like maybe I could start having more moments like that and that maybe I might be ok sometime in the future. 

On my way home I decided to stop for some subway as a treat for my supper. As I stood in line the woman behind me asked me very politely if I knew how many calories were in my sub because it looked really good (it was a veggie sub on flatbread). She seemed nice, so we started talking about weight loss, and food, and dieting.

A few minutes in, she told me that she just had a baby and she was trying to lose the baby weight and that her baby is five months old.

 I told her that I was doing the same. 

 Then she asked me how old my baby was. I swallowed hard. I couldn’t lie. I swore I would never ever ever lie about Everlee. I said she would be 4 months old. But she passed away. 

The poor woman felt awful. For a few seconds she couldn’t speak properly. She stuttered, and stammered out an “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t ask so many questions”. So I, naturally, started to console her and told her it was ok, she would have no idea. After a few more seconds she finally said “My friend who was pregnant the same time as me. She went in the morning of her C-section at 9 months and they discovered her baby was stillborn. Then she had to deliver the baby.”

“Almost the same thing happened to me.” 

She felt awful. She tried to apologize. She put her hand on my arm and said “God has a reason for everything” but I just couldn’t take it any more. I had to leave. I just looked at her and said “It’s ok”. and I went to my car and burst into tears. 

To anyone reading that it might seem like a simple exchange. To me it was excruciating. Every single word was like a knife in my heart. I hate that the only story I have to tell people about my baby is that she died. I hate that talking about her makes other people so uncomfortable. I hate that every time I take a teeny step forward, my feet are taken from beneath me I stumble several steps backward. I hate that she’s not here. 

It amazes me on a daily basis how many people advise me to turn to God to help heal my suffering. It amazes me how many people tell me that God had a reason for Everlee dying; that this was somehow part of His plan.  I always wonder if those people would have such a simple answer if their child died. If they would find comfort in knowing some man in the sky had planned to rip their child away from them? Maybe some people would. But I certainly don’t. What’s the reason? What was his reason?  I’m glad that it can bring others comfort, but not me. With everything else that I have lost, my faith and trust are among them. 

Why Today?

Why today? Why is today so hard? There is nothing special about today… My heart is broken all over again. I am sobbing. I want my baby back. She was my baby, she was my child, she was my daughter. I want to see her grow I want to see her run. I want to see her live.

Why today? Why has this come crashing down on me now?

This weekend, on the advice of my psychologist, I went out of town to try and get back to some of the things that used to bring me joy. The political party that I am affiliated with was hosting a youth retreat (normally something I probably would have been helping to organize) about 2 hours outside of the city. I was extraordinarily anxious about going there and had made a number of arrangements to ensure that I would be able to escape if I needed to, including making Darcy go with me. But I knew that I would be surrounded by people who knew me, and my situation, and they would be nothing short of supportive in my first venture back into the real world. And they were. I thank them all so much for that. 

It was harder than I expected. In a room where I would normally be in control and vocal,  I found myself reserved and confused. And when everyone went out later in the night, I went back to the hotel. My thoughts wouldn’t organize. I couldn’t focus. My words were coming out jumbled. I was just completely off of my game. But I was there. And that was a huge step for me. 

But what used to make me happy, what used to bring me alive and ignite passion in me and make me genuinely happy just gave me a little fizzle. 

Happy. What a foreign concept. 

I look at pictures of myself 6 months ago and it’s like looking at myself in an alternate universe. I wonder if I will ever be able to feel that way again? I wonder if I’ll ever be able to pull myself out of bed in the morning without bargaining with myself. I wonder if I’ll ever close my eyes at night and just sleep ever again. 

You see, with a dead baby and subsequent infertility, I find it hard to get up in the morning (and go to sleep at night) without feeling like a universal reject. By which I mean, kicked to the curb by the actual Universe. Application denied. Not genetically qualified. Unacceptable to procreate. Unfit to parent. Move along.

 

I’m told I judge myself much more harshly than anyone else, and that may be true, but what if it’s the universe that’s judging me?

Why today? Why everyday? Because I miss her. And nothing will ever change that. 

Saving Me – In More Ways Than One

For the most part, most of my days I feel like my life is completely out of my control. I feel as if I’m constantly tumbling, arms and legs everywhere and no sense of up or down. At my lowest, I run out of hope that things will ever get better. I wonder what is the point of making myself go through the motions. Most of the things I do are because I am supposed to do them not because I want to. I am not at my lowest all the time but once every 1 or 2 days, something happens that just destroys me. I end up sobbing on the floor and after a few minutes my thoughts turn to how I am so sick of the way things are and how nothing and no one can make things better. At my highest points I’m able to find something to genuinely smile about, without having to remind myself to physically lift the corners of my mouth.

Today was one of those days.

Constantly when we go back to that day there is only one memory that brings us comfort. February 12th and 13th were without a doubt the worst days of my life (followed closely by May 3). But through that absolute unimaginable nightmare we had one saving grace, one beacon of light, our nurse, K. (I won’t use her full name). That wonderful angel of a woman saved me that day in more ways than one. She never left my side. She held my hand. She coached me. But most importantly, she showed so much love and compassion and respect to my family and my baby girl. She was the one who took her and bathed her, and dressed her so we could have those ONLY few precious moments where I would ever get to hold her. She cried with us, and her heart broke for our little girl too. She visited me in my hospital room the day after to check on me. And after they discharged me I never knew how to contact her. I wanted so many times to reach out and tell her how much she meant to me and my family. We talk about her so often and are so thankful that we had her but I had no way to tell her.

Today as I was getting ready to go back to the clinic to face another task in this endless nightmare, my phone pinged to let me know I had a message on facebook. It was K. A friend of mine who is a nurse had mentioned me to her and she felt compelled to reach out and see how we were doing. And I got to say thank you. Not a drug induced loopy thank you in a hospital room through bleary eyes. But a real honest thank you. I told her that there is very little I remember from those 16 hours I spent in the labour and delivery room, but I remember her, and her kindness. And I told her how very thankful I was for her. She insisted that she was just doing her job, but what she did for us was so far beyond what is ever expected of anyone. There’s doing your job, and there’s doing what she did. So I thanked her, and I cried my heart out as I typed, but I also smiled. And again I find myself thanking her, this time for reaching out and providing me the opportunity to thank her, even though there is no way I could repay her. I am forever indebted to her in gratitude.

A lot happened at the clinic today, I met with the manager of the clinic to talk about how I was treated two weeks ago. A lot that I want to write about. But today I want to pay my thanks to K. I will never forget how she made me feel in my darkest hour. When I most wanted to let go, she made me hold on. And I will never forget that. I just wish I could repay her.

I don’t know how much more I can take

I don’t even know where to start.

I apologize in advance. This entry will probably be long winded. Full of run on sentences . Disjointed. And absolutely full of self loathing. But today was a nightmare. People over use that word. But today was a true, honest nightmare I mean, I knew when I woke up this morning it would suck. But I had no idea I would feel this incredibly awful. I feel like any gain I’ve made in the past three months has been completely over shadowed.

We got the autopsy results back today.

Walking into the doctors office set the tone. I saw a coworker. She obviously had no idea what had happened (I have no idea how that’s possible). She came up and smiled and asked me how far along I was. I was so utterly dumbfounded that I just replied “I’m not pregnant”. She hugged me and said she was sorry and told me shed been through fertility issues and shed be happy to talk to me any time. She had no Clue. And I was too shocked to respond and tell her what had happened. She walked away and I broke down.

And then we waited in that awful little room. The one where I had all of my prenatal appointments. The one where I heard her heartbeat for the last time. And the silence was deafening. The anxiety thick in the air. The doctor walked in and I held my breath and braced for it.

My only comfort is that Everlee was perfect. She was completely fine. Until she died. There was nothing wrong with her. No chromosomal defect. No disease. She was flawless. Had she been delivered just a few hours earlier I would be holding her right now.

They officially confirmed that it was a placental abruption. My blood pressure issues were a result of problems with my placenta. That’s ultimately what caused it to detach. And kill my baby. We know what happened. It doesn’t make it any easier to know. I thought it might. But it doesn’t.

It hurts worse.

I then tried to start the conversation about when we could start fertility treatments. The answer was like a blow to the head.

Because this has happened I am now at a higher risk of it happening again. And there’s not much that can be done about that. Except lose weight. My doctor said that the only thing within my control is to get back to the point I was at before I got pregnant. The smallest I’ve ever been. She won’t even consider helping us until then. She said my weight likely played a role in what happened. Her resident tried to explain that this kind of thing can happen to anyone, no matter what their weight. But that this was a risk factor that we have some control over. But my doctor made it sound like because I am fat my baby died. I don’t care what else she said, that’s all I heard. I feel like, now more than ever, it’s my fault. And I can’t even start to fathom trying to have another child until I’m not so fat. She even went so far to say that I could get put on a list for gastric bypass. I didn’t know I was that big, I didn’t know I had let it get that far. I’ve never felt this awful about myself . Ever. Nothing about this has been easy. Nothing, but it seems as though I can’t ever catch my breath. I’m tired. As I keep getting kicked in the ribs while I’m down. I’m going to lose the weight. I’m going to fight harder than I’ve ever fought before to lose it.

But until I am actively working to get pregnant again I can’t possibly see myself moving forward (not moving on) mentally. I am stagnant. I am broken. Fat and broken.

So Darcy and I came home and tried to digest as best we could our latest defeat. We both posted something on Facebook that aptly described how we were feeling in the moment.

Then an acquaintance of Darcy, who is pregnant, updated her status. Apparently she’s sick of hearing about dead babies because she’s trying to have a positive pregnancy. I hope you’re reading this. I really hope you are because I want you to know how incredibly sorry I am that the death of my child makes you feel mildly uncomfortable. Good news is that you can log off of your Facebook and go on about your day and dream about your perfect little baby, much like I used to. But I have to sit here and live in this hell without my child. I’m sorry that you are ‘forced’ to read our status updates and see us trying our best to remember a little girl who brought us so much joy for a much too short period of time. But most of all I am so sorry that you are so completely oblivious and insensitive. I hope you never have to feel like this. i hope you never have to wake up and think for a split second that you hear your dead baby crying or forget for that instant that you’re still pregnant only to realize how empty you are. Luckily you won’t have to look at your updates anymore, because we did something you should have done if you were so bothered by the loss of our child.

I’ve discovered that I’m much more bothered by pregnant people than I am by babies. I’ve spent some time over the last two weeks with various friends with brand new babies. And they bring me a sour sort of happiness. I love them all. But they remind me sorely of how much I miss my Everlee. Pregnant people make me nauseous. I feel like they see me as the grime reaper when they know what’s happened, and when they don’t know I feel like I want to yell at them and tell them what could happen. I told my psychologist about this today and she assures me that it’s normal with post traumatic stress. It doesn’t feel normal. It feels awful.

I’m just beaten down. Worn out. I’m tired. I need to catch my breath. But the blows keep coming. Left and right. I don’t know how much more I can take. I’ve always been down oneself about my weight. I’ve always hated by body. But now I feel more and more that I’m starting to hate myself too. I just wish I could wake up from this nightmare.

The Loss of Potential

I so desperately want to write something tonight. I’ve been sitting here looking at a blank screen for what seems like hours listening to the wind howling outside and I can hear the faint sounds of the TV from the basement where Darcy is. But the screen has remained empty for the majority of that time. Much like me. Another stage of mourning I suppose, but I feel just so used up. So empty and worthless. Not in a pity-party kind of way, but in a deeply tired in my soul way. Like a used tin can; contents emptied, can tossed aside. Of no use anymore.

These past few days have been particularly hard for no real evident reason, aside from the obvious. I’ve found myself wanting more and more to crawl into bed and cry for hours on end. My nights are still plagued with sleeplessness. I haven’t gotten more than two hours sleep in a row since Everlee died. I rarely sleep more than 3 hours a night. It’s really doing a number on my body, and it gives my mind no time to relax. It’s hard, on top of everything else that is already so incredibly hard. 

Today we started looking at headstones. I kept a brave face (I’m getting much better at swallowing my tears) but it was honestly one of the hardest things I’ve done in this whole process that has become my life. This will most likely be the last thing I ever buy for Everlee. The last thing I can really do for her. It will be her marker in the world. It’s how people will know she was here and that she was loved. How do I pick something like that? How do I commemorate the death of the dreams – first steps, words, days of school, riding a bike, learning how to swim and fish? How do I not only adequately mark the loss of our daughter, but a grandchild, a niece (by blood and love), a childhood friend for my friend’s children? How do I mark the loss of all of her potential and not just 34 weeks?

I thought Darcy and I would pick out a headstone today, I really wanted to get it done before we escaped for awhile,  but when we got there I was just flooded with all of that reality. This isn’t unfinished business to be dealt with. It’s a memorial to everything she was and could have been. I can’t rush that.  Her headstone will be simple, but I want it to be perfect, just like her. It’s worth that time. 

And for the first time I feel angry and jealous. I should be picking out dresses and hair bows. Instead I’m picking out headstones. 

Can you see that my baby is dead?

In this new life I am living, I go out into the world everyday and do my “supposed to’s”. I’ve resolved to get out of bed every morning (well mostly every morning, some mornings I just can’t), get showered and dressed and face the day. I try to accomplish something every day, despite the anxiety and the crushing grief, I face the day. Sometimes I stop in my tracks because reality hits me like a ton of bricks. I’ll see a mother with her children, or a pregnant lady at the store. Sometimes I’ll just remember something that happened the night I was in labour but had completely forgotten. Like today, out of no where I remembered that I had thrown up twice overnight while I was in labour. I have no idea why I remembered that, but the reality of it slapped me across the cheek and I can still feel the sting.  But everywhere I go there is this background music in my head, every conversation I have I hear it, every person I am with, I wonder do they know? It never stops.

“Can you see that my baby is dead?”

I look like I just had a baby. I have that telltale pooch in my tummy (not to mention my massive chest). I’ve never been one to feel particularly comfortable in my body. Truth be told, I have hated my body my whole life. I have always suffered from somewhat low self esteem when it comes to my physical appearance. I’ve never felt beautiful, not even pretty. I’ve almost always been overweight, save for the year before I became pregnant when I had actually lost enough weight to finally feel comfortable in my own skin. And now my body, my physical appearance, serves as a constant reminder of losing my daughter. I lost her and I lost all of the hard work I put into trying to accept my body again. Now when I look in the mirror all I see is failure and self loathing. 

One of the things I am struggling with quite a bit now is the loss of who I was before Everlee died. I look at pictures of myself taken in the days and weeks before we lost her and I don’t even recognize that person. There’s one in particular that haunts me. A picture taken at Christmas, about six weeks before Everlee died. We were in front of the christmas tree and in the picture I am laughing. I am looking somewhere just beyond the camera lens. I look at this picture over and over. The woman I see there is content. I see her, smiling and confident, and feel an odd sense of detachment. I stare into my own eyes looking for clues- clues to what I’m not really sure; maybe some foreshadowing of the nightmare that will shortly begin, maybe some answer to how I will continue to survive. I envy her, but also pity her- she has no idea what’s coming.