The loss of 2 children in one year can take a toll on anyones emotional and physical well-being and can obviously wreck havoc in anotherwise stable and happy marriage. I am proud to say that although my husband and I have had our arguements we are fighting this battle together and we both know that no matter what our precious walking Miracle Emilie will have her parents happy and together. So please join me in my journey to add to my family; life has a funny way of working out if we just believe.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I am thankful for all she taught me.

“You can shed tears that she is gone,
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she'll come back,
or you can open your eyes and see all she's left.
Your heart can be empty because you can't see her,
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday,
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her only that she is gone,
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back.
Or you can do what she'd want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.”

- David Harkins

Today, March 19th 2011, I sit in front of my computer listening to my husband play with our eldest daughter Emilie as he makes all sorts of cooing sounds to our youngest Chloe.  I should be overjoyed knowing that I have 2 healthy little girls and I have a healthy husband (his last scan last month came back clear) but my heart aches for my middle daughter, my Miracle Fighter, who I lost 2 years ago tomorrow.  I should be hearing the voice of another little girl, Isabelle, trying to gain her Daddy's attention.  Instead I am left with only 3 short months of memories of a little girl who fought a battle that no child should ever have to fight.

This morning I awoke to the most powerful memory I've had in over a year and a half.  I could swear that I was back at the hospital looking into Isabelle's eyes as they wheeled her to the OR.  The glance I shared with my daughter at that point would be the last look into her dark beautiful eyes.  It would be the last time I saw her awake. 

Over the last 2 years dealing with her lost has become "easier".  I don't think it will ever be easy but somehow one learns to survive.  However waking up with that memory this morning was more than I could handle especially when Chloe was nestled against me on one side and a few minutes later I had Emilie cuddling on my other side.  Looking into their eyes, hearing them breath brought joy to my heart but along with it came and indescribable emptiness that ached to see and feel Isabelle again.

Today I spoke with a friend about how I was feeling and questioned her on how was I last year at the 1 year anniversary.  She told me I was somehow very strong; I don't remember it at all.  This year I am total mess. I can't help but wonder why. Is it to blame on holding Chloe and wondering how it would have felt to have Isabelle at home after birth?  Is it to blame on the hormones?  Is it to blame on the fact that until now I was so focused on having another child that I didn't really completely grieve for Isabelle? Perhaps it is simply a combination of all 3 reasons compounded with the guilt of moving on and being happy.

For the first time since January 2007 when my husband was diagnosed with cancer my little family has been given then chance to focus on living and not surviving. 

To be honest; I don't know how.

For four years our focus has been on fighting to win health battles; physical and emotional.  How does one wake up after four years of fighting and be happy without wondering when the next test will show itself?  I know I shouldn't think like that but how do we allow ourselves to live? Allow ourselves to be happy? But most importantly not question it?

I look at Chloe and I am in love.  I am in love with every single inch of her little being.  I have to admit that when I was pregnant with her I was frightened on how I would react to looking into another little girl's eyes.  Would I compare her to Isabelle?  Would I feel like she was a replacement for Isabelle?  I am happy that I don't feel any of that.  Chloe is Chloe and she is a perfect addition to our family.

So tonight I sit here and wonder what emotions tomorrow, March 20th, the 2nd anniversary of Isabelle's death will bring.  All I know is that although I believed it would get easier it seems to have gotten harder.  Tomorrow I will think of my Miracle Fighter and the joy she brought to my life and the lessons she taught me.  I am thankful for all she taught me about life, fight and myself.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

With open arms and an ear to ear smile

Just over 2 years ago my husband and I walked out of the hospital with empty arms as our beautiful Isabelle had been transferred to the NICU at the Montreal Children’s hospital.  Almost 10 months later we walked out of the hospital for a second time without our son as he was lost at 20 weeks gestation.  Now 13 months since saying to my husband “I can’t believe we are walking out empty handed again” we were able to walk out of the hospital with open arms and welcome the latest addition to our family.

The last 8 months have been an emotional battle.  When 3 pregnancies in a row do not result in a bouncing baby at home I am sure you can imagine the stress another positive result can bring.  I had also decided to keep this pregnancy quiet from basically everyone (surprise!) and so I fought the battle with myself (and husband), family and a few close friends; only telling others on a “need to know” basis – kind of hard to hide an 8 month belly from someone!

My positive HPT was at the end of May and coincided with all the drama occurring on the forums for which I was the Site Administrator.  It was a position I loved, it was for a cause I hold very close to my heart and it was amazing giving back to the community that had helped me so much during my IVF cycle, my pregnancy with Isabelle, her short life in the NICU, her passing, the delivery of my still-born son and another miscarriage soon after that.  It was a place I felt safe and welcomed and was eager to share my news again especially with those that my friendship has grown past the forums and into my real life.  Then the drama hit. Not only was I told that I stirred the pot but did not get the back-up from any members of the admin/moderating team; I never expected for them to share the same opinion however when I was told I stirred the pot and did not even get a “I don’t agree with you but….” I felt like I no longer belonged.  It extended to the membership where I was told that I no longer belonged because I was getting pregnant naturally (OK conception did occur but where was my child?); so it was at this point I decided not to share my news.  So with a heavy heart I resigned only sharing my news with the moderating team and the founder of the site that had saved my sanity for the past few years.  It was one of the hardest decisions I had to make because it really boiled down continuing to support those who supported me and I knew would support me on the latest journey  versus allowing myself to be me and stand up for what I believed in.  As you all know I chose the latter; I would rather fight the emotional battle on my own and my amazing real life support network of family and friends, than ever compromise who I am and what I believe in.  So I said good-bye and kept my little secret off the public boards (and pretty much everywhere else).  Sadly all but one member of the team continued to follow my pregnancy outside of the forums.  Funny how true the saying; you know who your real friends are when push comes to shove.  I think the fact that not another member of the moderating/admin team took the time over the last 8 months to check in hurt the most.  I truly believed in those friendships that I thought were formed with these women and man only to be shown it was all as made-up as our aliases.

Through the summer months leading to my 12 week prenatal scan I was, how to put it, scared shitless (excuse my language).  As a few months prior to this positive I had miscarried and it was at this point with Isabelle that we were given a 1:30 risk for Downs and decided to go ahead with the amniocentesis which resulted in the complete rupture of the amniotic sac, subsequent bed rest and the health issues that plagued my little Miracle Fighter.  This time the stars lined up we made it to 12 weeks and we were happy to learn that the risks were well above 1:10,000 and so no need to panic (plus we were given a 95% chance that we’d be having a little girl). 

The next crucial milestone for us was getting to 20 weeks; the 2 months between the 12 weeks prenatal testing to the 20 week anatomy ultra-sound felt like an eternity; I can only thank my obstetrician would told me that he would like to follow me like a normal pregnancy but if at any point I felt stressed to call his office and they would squeeze me in for an impromptu ultra-sound.  I could see the days and weeks moving forward on the calendar as Emilie started preschool and we were preparing for Thanksgiving but it felt like the weeks of gestation for my pregnancy were at a standstill.  Finally the day came and to our delight everything was perfect.  I had also been sent for a fetal echo (heart ultra-sound) and was told “nothing to worry about”.  We also got the confirmation that our beloved and precious Emilie was going to have a(nother) little sister!

Although we had surpassed all the “crucial” milestones in our latest journey both my husband and I were unable to allow ourselves to relax.  Both of us continued to say “we will relax the day we are at home with our little girl”.   I can see that our little angels (I love you Isabelle and Simon) surrounded us during this process and gave us the strength to conquer our fears and bring another wonderful child into this world.

Today my husband and I can breathe a sigh of relief.  Today we can smile.  Today we can start to live again instead of living to survive.  Today we welcomed our daughter; ChloĆ© Marie, born February 5th, 2011 at 8:48pm., weighing 8lbs14oz and measuring 20inches, home.
With open arms we start our latest journey and I can’t help but smile.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

T'was the night before...

T'was the night before,
what would have been,
your birthday number two. 
And all I could think of
is how much I miss you.
      - Mommy

Two years ago tomorrow, December 23rd, I gave birth to a little girl that will have forever changed me. Two years ago I learnt what true fight and determination was. One look into my Miracle Fighter's eyes and I learnt what the meaning of true strength really was.

In my arms, for all of 30 seconds, before being whisked of to the NICU I promised my little girl that we would fight together to get her well. I still remember looking into those eyes and not wanting to let go but knowing she needed help. Having a child literally ripped from your arms in the beginning moments of their life is a feeling that I would not wish upon anyone.

Today I sit here wondering what Isabelle would look like, what her favorite toys would be and just trying to imagine what a hug and a kiss from her would feel like. My little girl would be 2 tomorrow; we would be embarking onto the road of the terrible twos! What I would give to be there instead of wondering would she be blond and curly like her big sister or would she have the dark locks of hair she was born with? Would she have blue or brown eyes? Among the million of other questions and thoughts that are going through my mind today.

Over the last two years I have worked hard to come to terms with all this and I do believe that I have; yet there are going to be days like today and tomorrow that will show me that the intensity of the pain one feels after loosing a child does not change.  Last summer I was reading an article about a women who had lost her child and she was in the midst of supporting a friend going through her first year and think her analogy of what how we feel really hit the nail on the head.  She wrote: "Although losing a child is much worse, the best analogy I can think of is losing an arm or a leg. You learn to get along without it, but you never forget that it isn't there any more. Most days you can carry along fine enough, but there are some days when it hits you, sometimes out of the blue when you least expect it, when you are in the aisle of the grocery store or when you hear a certain song and it takes your breath away. (...) Over the years, it does get easier. (...)Probably one of the greatest fears we have is that people will forget.  Those of us who are unfortunate enough to have experienced a loss, especially the loss of a child, don't need sympathy. We don't want you to feel sorry for us. We want you to remember that the child we once held in our arms is now being held in our heart.

So with that I just wanted to take the time to share my beautiful little angel's memory and to wish her a very happy birthday - Mommy will always and forever carry her in her heart.


Thank you for taking the time to read and for keeping the memory of my little girl alive.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Coming Full Circle — A Retrospective

Over the last few months I've had some dear friends ask me why I am not blogging and my response has always been; I don't have the time. As you all can see my last entry dates back from August and it was a simple copy/paste from an old blog I used to keep. Over the last week or 2 some events took place and some discussions were held with friends from the community where my old blog was located and as I spoke or wrote words to the friends I had made I realized that my life had come full circle (or so to speak) and that I had accepted the past and I am at peace with the battles my family had to fight to be where we are today.

Over the last 3 years I saw my husband battle cancer and beat it, I embarked on a roller coaster ride when we decided to add to our family via artificial reproduction techniques (ART), I carried an ill child and watched her fight for life for 3 months only to say good-bye when the time came and I carried another child only never to be able to look into his eyes. To say a year ago today that I was not in a "happy place" would be an understatement. When one watches 2 people that you love fight and struggle for life it touches a part of you that you never would have known existed. A part of you, especially when it is your child, that for our own mental/emotional health remains dormant until an event requires it to be awakened. When that part of your soul is awakened it is impossible that it doesn't change you and your view on your own existence.

While I struggled to maintain my sanity during my pregnancy with Isabelle, her short life in the NICU, her death, the loss of my son-to-be one thing didn't change; the support from the online community I had joined when I began my first in-vitro fertilization cycle. Over the months I had incredible support that allowed me to live and survive and for that I will always be grateful. However what I failed to recognize is that although the support allowed me to live day to day it did not allow me to learn to accept what my little family had gone through over the last 3 years. In reality it justified my feelings and I continued to tell myself it was normal. But you know what? It wasn't normal; life did continue to move forward with or without me. In June of this year I decided that the community I had fallen in love with just wasn't what it was when I joined and it was no longer a place I felt welcomed (for numerous reasons). So I signed off and appropriately named my final blog entry on the site "The final page".

Leaving the site was scary at first; where was I to blog about my most intimate details of my fears? I thought about starting a new blog, which obviously I did however with the summer months I honnestly did not have the time to blog. This lack of time turned out to be a very good thing. I spent the summer reflecting on my own about the last 3 years; the positives and negatives. Some days were spent in tears while other days were so energy packed that there weren't enough hours in a day to do everything I wanted. However slowly but surely what I did do over the summer months and well into the fall was that I worked through the emotions of the last 3 years. That doesn't mean I am not terrified of the future. It doesn't mean that I don't question the fears I have if I am blessed to carry a healthy child and bring that child home. But what I do know is that, as one smart member from my old community said "the past does not equal the future". Holding on to that thought combined with not having my negative fears, emotions and thoughts justified made me grow and find a new sense of myself; it made me "come full circle".

Today I feel lucky. My husband is healthy and alive, my beautiful daughter Emilie is healthy and happy and she continues to amaze me and now I truly realize that although the hand of cards I was dealt required me to fight it was fight that is now in the past and it has made me a stronger and a better person. Today I am happy.

I leave you with a quote I came across recently; “Always keep a dream in your heart. If you have a dream, then by all means do what it takes to make it come true. If you have a goal, make it something you strive to accomplish. If you have a hope, then hope for it with all your heart.” ~Collin McCarty

Thanks for reading; hopefully this will be the start of many new entries.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I've been reading through my old blog and between new posts I will pop in a few of the ones that helped me along my journey.

Orginially published on April 8th 2009 in my old blog (less than 1 month after loosing my precious Isabelle) on the infertility website I was part of. I however wanted to repost it here as a reminder for me and for others that we can start to learn to heal slowly but surely.


We've all heard the old saying "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger". Personally, in the moment of a difficult situation I know I would have loved to have slapped the person who came up with that line. However when I sit back and dissect the sentence I realize that it is as close to reality as any group of words can be.

With everything that my little family has gone through over the last couple of years I wondered why is it that although I am devastated by the loss of my little girl I am able to keep going forward. I know that I am emotionally exhausted and I have moments where tears roll down my face so fast that a towel is needed to wipe up the little puddle but why am I still able to stand on my own two feet and begin to take pleasure in life again.

So I looked at this sentence again and under the assumption that this has to do with emotional strength rather than physical strength I thought the following;

"What doesn't kill you.."; I am still alive and so something must have been gained from this experience because if it had killed me, well for one I wouldn't have had to heard this for the umpteenth time but more importantly I wouldn't have had to use my thoughts and emotions to push forward.

"...makes you stronger."; My thoughts and emotions can they be compared to resistance bands and barbells as tools to develop emotional strength instead of physical strength?

We all know that the more we exercise our body the more physical strength we obtain. So I wondered; can our emotional strength also be developed? And if so how?

The tools we carry in our minds to get through our lives are usually based on experience. However usually when the above saying is heard it because we have been hit with a new situation and our mind starts to wonder how we will get through this new loss/failure. Our mind starts to work so fast that somehow it manages to ask a million and one questions that we do not have answers to and one tends to think about how we are going to get over/through this newest obstacle. I think that it is here than one can begin to exercise of the emotional mind.

It is at this point that we make our choice to either strengthen our emotional mind or let it remain a soft pile of grey matter. In reality we have 2 choices; 1) We can say "Poor me...there is no way I can make it through this newest disappointment/loss/failure. I simply can not handle this" or 2) We can say "This is devastating but I can handle this" and find our personal ways to handle it and develop our own personal tools to strengthen our emotional mind. I believe that I have always chosen #2.

After my husband's cancer diagnosis in January 2007 I started telling friends the following; What am I going to do? Sit at home crying and saying poor me which really won't get me anywhere or won't help anybody or 2) I can look at my life and realize that yes this sucks but I have a chance to use this experience to help myself grow and perhaps help others. I choose the latter.

Through counseling, my own self stubbornness, my needing to talk and my experience I think I have developed the tools and emotional strength I need to get through this newest devastation.

Through counseling I have learnt; i) that feelings and thoughts I have had are normal and important, ii) that some of those feelings and thoughts are important to hold on to and others should slowly be set free, and iii) that this experience will allow me to focus my life on what is truly important to me.

Through my own self stubbornness I have learnt that I am a fighter and nothing is ever good enough.

Through my needing to talk I have learnt; i) that I am not alone, ii) that people have experienced worse than me and iii) support from friends is the most important.

Through my experience I have learnt that NO experience is insurmountable if I allow myself to use the pain, the sadness and the fear from past experience to develop the tools to exercise my emotional brain...What hasn't killed me has made me stronger.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Walk a mile in their shoes

From early on in our lives we are taught to compare and contrast; what is the same about these 2 objects? What is different? I even see my own 4 year old daughter doing it now. So I ask myself is it normal that we compare and contrast our lives with others?

Last week-end I was talking with an acquaintance; someone I may have seen about the same number of times as I have fingers on one hand. She does however know my story from a mutual friend. She was asking how JF and I were doing and seemed genuinely interested. We talked about how life throws us curve balls and that how we handle them makes all the difference and then she said "Life never turns out as we had expected. Like you never imagined loosing a child I never thought I'd get divorced". As soon as my brain processed it I was angered. I felt my blood boiling; did she seriously just compare, what has been dubbed "a person's ultimate nightmare", the loss of a child to a divorce? Needless to say my brain at that moment went into overdrive and I thought who in the right mind thinks they are going to loose their child? And yes I am fortunate to have a husband that still works at our marriage everyday with all that we have been through so I don't understand the emotions or the heartache of the end of a marriage but I have been through a long-term relationship break-up and I can tell you first hand that personally I would choose a break-up over loosing a child.

A few days later it got me thinking; was I right in getting so angry? From the day I saw my Miracle Fighter Isabelle draw her last breath, unless I lock myself away in my home, I will always talk with people who are going through their own heartaches and losses. Who is to say that their pain isn't as real as mine. It all boils down to a loss and with any loss comes the end end of the chance of creating memories. We look back at the moments we had, the laughter and smiles we shared and just knowing that will not happen again is painful and so we embark on the journey of grieving for the loss (whether it be the death of a person or the end of the dream of "happily ever after"). So in reality their pain is just as real as mine but just different and as old proverb goes "Before criticizing a man, walk a mile in his shoes" - perhaps I should have done that before letting my emotions get the better of me.

Thanks for reading.