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.

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.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The beginning of a new chapter

Just over 1 month ago I said good-bye to a part of my life that I had held so close to my heart for over 2 years and in doing so I said good-bye to so many friends and to a group of ladies whose support is/was second to none.

In March 2008 I began my first (and only) IVF treatment. As most women facing this extreme way of starting or adding to their family I was terrified of the journey I was about to embark on. Night after night I'd sit in front of my computer googling everything from "IVF" to the ingredients that were going to be in the dozens of medications I was going to be injecting myself with. Then out of the blue I stumbled on an infertility forum; a little site created and maintained by a Canadian out in Vancouver, BC. Little did I know that night that this site would change me for the better.

I registered myself and immediately joined the "Cycle Buddy" thread in progress. I was welcomed with opened arms and to this day "my first forum buddy" is still a friend and I am happy to be able to follow her personal life now on Facebook (Hugs Poohbaby). From that point on I started to learn about the true struggles of infertility.

So as my eyes were opened to what infertility really was and how it affected the lives of so many I also started to make some friendships. Friendships that saved me not only during my cycle, but during my pregnancy, during my life as a NICU parent, during my grieving after the loss of my IVF miracle fighter Isabelle, during my grieving for my still born son Simon and then another miscarriage soon after.

During my time on this forum I was not only a member, but a moderator and then a site administrator. I gave my time, my heart and soul to this site for months as I wanted to try and give back what it had given me. Unfortunately this spring, just over 2 years later I decided to step down and move on with my life leaving a very important part of life behind.

The reason I left was 2 fold. First I could no longer stand the bickering on the site and I no longer had the strength or will to be a "police officer". What most members did not know is that I had been PMed by many; to this date since my last visit to the site at the beginning of June 2010 I left almost 40 unread PMs in my inbox! But most importantly what I never mentioned is that it was time for me as Karolyn and not as Ceska_holkacz Site Admin to start to focus on my life and the cards that I was dealt. It was time for Karolyn to turn that page of the past and truly believe that a new chapter had begun in her life.

I will always be thankful to what all you ladies and gent gave me when I was part of your community. But since I had conceived naturally a couple of times since my IVF treatment and I already have my walking Miracle Emilie I honestly did not feel right sharing my journey on an infertility website. Funny how the straw that broke the camel's back is basically the same reason I personally decided to leave.
I do hope that the friendships I had made on the forum will continue for years to come. I will be blogging my thoughts and journey here so please do follow me and trust that I do follow your journeys; once a lurker always a lurker.

Lots of hugs,