Saturday, December 3, 2011

when life catches up to you

I've been at  home sick, and as I slowly get better,  I've realized two things.  My life needs a change, and I still desperately miss Luka.  Life has caught up to me, and in the last month,  my body and my mind, has finally said "enough".  Going back to work two months after Luka died was what felt right at the time.  I needed to keep busy, and I had some great things happen for me professionally last year.  But this year it feels like I am dragging my feet.  It seems like time is trudging along, and nothing ever seems to give.  It's like one obstacle after another, and I wonder if we will reach the other side.  Joy.  It seems so far off and yes, a million people will tell me to find the joy in the small stuff.  And I do.  I laugh and have fun at improv on Friday nights.  My friend Marie, is always a phone call away when I need a good dose of comedy mixed with cynicism.  I went to the Muppets, and remembered the simpleness of Sunday evening, when there was nothing in the world expect Kermit the frog singing the Rainbow Connection.  But I want that joy of anticipation, the joy of waiting for something amazing to happen, the excitement of what lies ahead.  This afternoon, I spent some time looking through the pictures we took of Luka when she was born, her little life and when she died.  I haven't looked at them closely in a long time.  My whole body just wants to hold her again.  I'm still in disbelief that Michael and I created a tiny human being. And I am still in disbelief that I had to let her go. My heart longs for her. There are days when it feels like yesterday and the pain is still as strong. On a positive note, we have an appointment with our first fertility counselor in two weeks, thanks to the amazing genetic doctors at Children's hospital. They referred us and got us an appointment.  I realize some couples wait months to see a fertility expert, so I am ever so grateful for this opportunity.  They reassured us that the problem is not that we are infertile, we just need to find a way to stay pregnant, and carry a healthy baby to term. I'm hoping that this path leads us to what we desire, but in the meantime,  Michael and I have made the commitment to make change in our own lives, whatever that may be.  I also need to start taking care of myself.  I threw myself into my job last year, because it's what got me through.  Now, it's time to start focusing on my mental and physical health. Michael and I talk about our future, and how we will look back at these two years of our lives, and say to ourselves, "Wow, we survived that.. can you believe it!"  I hope that conversation happens.  Maybe it's selfish to think that my life is so hard, when there are so many people going through so many awful things.  But I write this blog, because this is how I feel, in the moment, and it is part of my continual healing process.  I am grateful to all those who read it, and send their loving thoughts.  Thank you for listening to our journey.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Another month gone and not pregnant.  The roller coaster of waiting, anticipating, hoping and then pure disappointment. I can't do this anymore.  It has become an obsession and my life is all about conceiving a child.  Yesterday,  Michael and I decided it is time for some investigating about why we're having trouble getting pregnant and staying pregnant.  I'm not sure why we we've been avoiding it, but it's time to meet Dr. Fertility, whomever and whatever that may be.  I'm nervous, because I never wanted to be "that" couple, but we are.  The anxiety every month as we wait for my cycle to reveal a positive pregnancy test, is enough to send us both into a deep depression when it instead comes up negative.  Really, these tests are to torture women who are very aware of their cycles.  We have way too much information these days,  and in a must-know-now society,  early pregnancy tests just perpetuate the instantaneous need to know the moment you are pregnant.  Whoever invented the home pregnancy test must be very wealthy.  So, now we wait for a referral to a fertility specialist, which could take months.  My question, is do we keep trying during that time?  Am I willing to risk the disappointment?   In all of this searching and longing, we also have come to the conclusion that we are in desperate need of some change.  We have never been people to stick around one place for a long period of time.  I'm itching for an adventure.  If it's not going to be a baby adventure, then maybe we need to take a big risk and do something completely out of the ordinary.  Overall, life in the past few months has been disappointment after disappointment.  I am grateful for all my friends, my wonderful home overlooking the valley, and a job that pays the bills.  But something is missing.  Something that makes my heart sing when I wake up in the morning.  I think I deserve that feeling.   Right now I feel like I'm living in the no-thingness, which I know I need to embrace, and allow the energy to flow the way it needs to flow. This too shall pass.  We can't give up hope.  The universe might be providing a challenge, but what it doesn't know is that Michael and I aren't ones to give up.  I will hold my baby in my arms before I am forty.  All I ask is for the universe to keep letting in the glimmer of light, and the strength to believe that it will happen.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

we won't forget

Today is International Remembering our Babies day and women and men around the world are thinking and remembering their children they lost, never held, or only held for a short time.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and in tribute to Luka and in her memory, Michael and I went for a walk with Sassy.  The light was golden with a touch of indigo, and to make use of Michael's new iphone, we made a little movie of our adventure with Sassy.  This is how I spent my last few months of pregnancy, walking with a yellow bundle of energy.  Walks with Sassy have been integral in our healing process, and so here is a little taste of the joy she brings us, while surrounded by the natural beauty of our mountain home. 

Monday, October 10, 2011


It's a wet Thanksgiving morning.  The rain has moved in and by the looks of it, it is going to be around for the rest of the week.  Time to start taking my Vitamin D.  I'm about to peel potatoes, and prep the turkey for the oven; getting ready for the big feast we will have tonight.  It's been a busy week, and I am thankful for this extra day off, to do laundry, go to the gym, and relax with my husband.  Michael and I have been getting back on our feet after the miscarriage and leaving it behind us.  Time to move forward.  This week we had a lovely visit with my friend Katie and her husband Jeff.  It had been two years since I saw Katie last, and when Luka died, it was so difficult to not be able to hug her, and spend time with her.  On Thursday evening, over good food and beer for the boys, we shared laughter, memories of old times, and photos of Luka.  It was amazing how raw the emotion was from both Michael and I.   It was wonderful to share the story of our daughter, and the joy and memories she continues to bring us.  Katie is pregnant with her second child, and I was able to feel her belly and feel the baby kick.  It was such a beautiful feeling, and it brought me back to being pregnant with Luka, and the joy I felt as she moved around inside me.  I so want that feeling again.  Lately my conversations with Michael are centered around two things.  The possibility of conceiving again and carrying to term, or beginning the adoption process.  We always end up going back to the strong belief that I will be able to carry a healthy child to term.  During the miscarriage,  I was convinced I wouldn't try again.  It's amazing how you forget, because now my desire to conceive again has deepened.  How much of my body am I willing to give?  Getting pregnant is truly about giving your body to a process that is never guaranteed.  And so many women do it over and over again.  In the last few weeks I have read and heard about women, who have miscarried again and again, and still go on to have healthy children.  I don't know how long I will be able to continue to give, but I have a profound need to succeed, and to fulfill my soul's desire.  Tuesday night is Glee night on television, and last week as the show ended with one of my favourite Coldplay songs, I was moved to tears. A wave of longing came over me.  Longing for Luka, longing to hold her, be with her, and kiss her soft skin.  The whole experience of losing her is still so surreal, and it's completely overwhelming when you don't expect the memories to flood in.  But they do, and then they pass.  Life continues.  And on Thanksgiving day,  I think of all the women who give their body to carry a child.  I think of those who have lost, those that want to give and are not able,  and those who have watched their children grow and become adults. Without women, none of us would be here. I am honoured to have a body that can give and grow life.  I am thankful that I gave my body to grow Luka.  Without her presence in my life,  I would not be the woman I am today.  And I am willing to do it all again, and again.  Because, somewhere in the deepest part of my soul, I believe it will all work out and I will hold a healthy baby in my arms.  I am now going to prepare Thanksgiving dinner, to give thanks for all the wonderfulness life brings, and to thank all the people in my life who give me friendship and bring me joy and laughter.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

stormy weather #2

I'm sitting at the computer watching a wind storm blow in across the valley.  The leaves are whirling through the air, and the rain is coming down in buckets.  I miss a good storm.  It rarely happens here, and I always feel so lucky that I get to watch a storm brew from the top of the mountain.  I have had my own storm brewing for the past week.  My emotional state has been completely up and down, and it's been a bit of a tumultuous week.  Now that the miscarriage is over, I've been trying to get back to my normal life, but it hasn't been as easy as I thought it would.  School has been challenging.  I have great students, but teaching a split has provided me with some interesting experiences, and I am trying to sort it all out.  There were many days this week where I left school feeling incompetent, and not sure if I could make it through the week.  My thirty-seventh birthday was on Wednesday, and I was glad to welcome a new year, but am really beginning to feel the ticking of the clock.  I know I'm not old, but in the world of fertility, I am the dreaded over thirty-five, approaching forty.  There are pregnancy books specifically written for getting pregnant and being pregnant if you are over the thirty-five mark.  It's so degrading and discouraging.  There are so many women my age having babies, but it seems like we are looked upon by the medical world as "risk-takers," because of our age.  This week, Michael and I have started opening our hearts and conversations to the next step in this crazy journey.  I want to believe that I still can become pregnant and carry a baby to term.  But, there is the underlying fear that it won't ever happen.  And so I fluctuate between exploring adoption, versus trying again. It is constantly cycling through my thoughts.  And then today, as I stood in the checkout counter as Superstore, a young baby began to cry. I don't know where it was coming from, but it continued, and it was almost as if the whole world went into silent movie mode, because all I could focus on was the crying of the baby.  It was the tiniest cry, but it filled the room, and I was taken right back to hearing Luka cry in the hospital.  I watched as a woman rounded the corner of the canned vegetable aisle, and the crying grew louder.  I just wanted to pick up the baby, and comfort it.  I remember holding Luka, as she cried, knowing that she was hungry and I couldn't feed her, because she was too weak to suck, and my milk wasn't producing.  As I tried not to sob in my line up, I watched the woman pick up her child, and the crying immediately stopped.  Suddenly, I was brought back into the world of Superstore, the beeping of the checkout counter, the buzz of activity, and I began to place my items on the conveyor belt.  Life goes on.  However, in that moment, I understood how deep my desire is to be a mother.  I'm not sure when or how it will happen, but as I drove up the mountain, I made the decision to persevere, and I won't let my age stop me.  I will hold a child in my arms before I am forty.  I will.  The wind has calmed down outside and the sun shone for a moment and created a beautiful rainbow in the valley.  Storms never last, and I know that next week is a new week.  Like the storm, this too shall pass, and somewhere in this journey there will be a rainbow, with a pot of gold, just for me.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


It's a cool Saturday evening, and the rain has finally settled in after having battle with the sun all day.  The smell of homemade chicken soup is wafting through the apartment, and I just woke up from an afternoon nap.  And now I write a blog that I didn't expect to write on this journey.  Michael and I have experienced a miscarriage.  A blighted ovum, according to the medical world.  I was almost nine weeks pregnant, when due to some spotting, I went in for an emergency ultrasound.  They found a gestational sac, but no baby. My levels were tested, and they were falling. Apparently the baby never developed but my body believed it was still pregnant, and continued growing an empty sac.  We were just starting to get excited, and the promise of new life was giving Michael and I a rejuvenation in our own lives.  Every day that I woke up still pregnant, the layers of cautious optimism were peeling away to allow for hopeful excitement.  I was starting to look forward to showing my round belly, to take out the maternity clothes I had packed away, and was imagining the birth of a baby in April.   But those hopes have been blighted.  And the trusting process, of believing that I will ever have a healthy child of my own, has once again been taken away.  Yet strangely, although this was a huge disappointment,  I am not devastated.  I feel like I am stuck between totally giving up, and persevering until we succeed.  Maybe I take comfort in the fact there was never really a baby.  What I do know, is I need to take some time to heal my body, and move forward with my life.  I need some time to get back to the gym, and get my body back in shape.  I need some time, to really figure out if I want to take the risk of being disappointed again.  There are many questions that need to be answered.  Do we see a fertility specialist?  Do we think about adoption?  Two different paths, and I'm not ready to dive into either of them. Yet.  I'm going to take the next few months for me.  Last night we had our first improv rehearsal.  I wasn't going to go, because I was so tired from a rough week, and a stressful day at school.  But I am so glad I did.  It was so much fun to play, be silly and take creative risks. And I laughed.  A great way to end this week.  I woke up this morning, thinking how much has changed since last September.  Michael is making furniture and is happy being a teacher on call.  We have great friends and I still wake up and marvel at the gorgeous mountain view from my bedroom window.   The word blighted is defined as something that impedes growth,  or impedes progress and prosperity.  Something prevented this pregnancy from developing, and I will never know why.  What I do know, is that I am still growing and progressing as a person, and at this moment, that is what is most important.  Will I ever get pregnant and carry a healthy baby to term?  I hope so.  But life is a mystery, and for now, I choose to get back to my life.  Michael is cutting vegetables, and the soup is almost ready.  We will break bread, eat hot soup, while I drink and savor a big glass of red wine.  A toast to what may or may not come, but still filled with hope and possibility.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


September.  A time of reflection, hope and new beginnings.  It's strange, how when the leaves are falling and everything is going dormant for the winter, everything in our lives is beginning anew.  School, new classes, new seasons of television shows, and trying new things.  I love this time of year.  Always have. The sun setting a little bit earlier, crisp fall apples from the Okanagan, new clothes, and yes, I was one of those children who loved going back to school.  As least from what I can remember.  August was a good month, and one of the first month's since Luka died, where I haven't cried every day.  In fact,  I've been pretty happy.  Enjoying the hot summer, meeting new people, spending time with my husband, and just focusing on the now.  In the last few days, as we've rolled into September,  the memories of Luka have begun to surface again.  She's never far from my mind, but it was nice to feel free from the thoughts and the pain for a while.  Putting that in writing, makes me feel guilty.  I don't want to forget, but the lightness I have felt has been so refreshing.  And as I go back to school, and feel the fall evening air, I wish she was here.  Last year, we were so freshly mourning, that I wasn't even aware of the arrival of fall.  Now that I am so much more present, I wish I could share my favourite time of year with her.  I'm nervous about school this year.  My first year teaching a split class, lots of changes at the school, and Michael being a teacher on call.  It's going to be very different.  But I know it will be a good different.  It's just going to take some adjusting.  My goal is to just enjoy the students I have in my class, focus on them and their wonderfulness, and try new things outside of school.   I'm going to try my hand at improv, and will continue to go to yoga.  And of course, continue to hope for new life.  In all this newness,  I hope that a seed will grow.  I just have to continue to believe that it will happen.  In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy evening walks with Michael and Sassy, cool weather, macintosh apples, Sunday morning pancakes and bacon,  and the gentleness of Luka in the fall wind and the changing colour of the trees.

I found this on my pillow one evening before I went to sleep.  It is now posted above my pillow, to remind me that anything is possible.  I love my husband.

Monday, August 15, 2011


Last night as Michael and I were talking in bed, he asked me if I felt braver because of losing Luka. It was a great question and it has me wondering and thinking about it as I eat my breakfast and watch the sun shine through the clouds.  It has been a crazy journey, and I honestly feel the most peaceful and calm I have in a long time.  I haven't been teary, and the memories of Luka aren't invading my mind as prevalently as they did before July.  Like yoga, when you return to the breath,  I am trying to turn my thoughts to the now, the present.  When I get caught up in memories, or hopes for the next pregnancy, I have to remind myself, that all I have is the now.  It's been a great mantra.  As I thought about Michael's question,  I decided to look up the definition of brave in the dictionary.  Possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance.   Have I been courageous?  There have been days where I have felt like curling up in a ball and never leaving the house, but I have also felt limitlessness potential to live an amazing life.  Loss has a funny way of making you want more out of life.  Yes, grief can consume you, but at some point you have to make a choice.  To shut down, or to open up.  I believe many people think it's easier to shut down.  But, really it's not. There is something beautiful about honouring the grief, and coming out on the other side, stronger and more vulnerable at the same time.  I know Michael is much braver than before Luka.  He has opened up his creative spirit, and is trusting who he really is.  So often in life we don't do what we really want to do because of fear of rejection and what others may think.  It's wonderful to see my husband pursue his creative path.  I don't doubt that losing Luka, was a huge catalyst for his new journey.  I also have seen strength in me, that I didn't know existed.  I barreled through a teaching year, and decided to share my passion for theatre with my students, and it paid off both professionally and personally.  I used to worry if I was good enough, or if my philosophy and teaching style were acceptable.   Losing Luka, has ignited my belief that creativity and the Fine Arts are the core of who I am, and that my passion lies in teaching this to my students.  It's what makes me interesting.  Life is too short to compromise on your own belief system.  So, to answer Michael's question, I would say yes, I am braver.  We both are.  But more importantly, we have opened up our hearts to the possibility of life and loss.  The joy, the laughter, the hopes, the dreams, the pain and the sorrow.  This is the foundation of art and creativity.  Without joy and sorrow, we wouldn't have Mozart, Van Gogh, Lady Gaga, or any performer, artist or actor.   Earlier this summer, I asked people if we have more joy or sorrow in our lives.  My favourite answer was from Darren who wrote, "Joy. Sorrow is what we remember."  I do think we have more joy, and we forget it so easily because it comes so naturally.   And I think we need to remember sorrow, to truly experience joy.  As I move forward in my life,  I am trying to live bravely in the moment, by embracing the waves of sorrow, and opening my heart to the beauty and joy of daily life.

The artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him.  At that point he is in business. 
                                                                            John Barrymore

Saturday, July 30, 2011


We are home.  The beautiful mountains surround us, and all the rain we missed as we enjoyed sunny Saskatchewan, has brought green lushness to the valley.  The sun shone brightly today, and for the first time in two months, I put on my running shoes and went to walk the mountain.  It was a beautiful morning, and a gentle doe watched me as I tackled the big hill, encouraging me with her gentle presence.  When I turned around to go back, she had disappeared.  A quiet gift, on a summer morning.  For the first time since I was pregnant with Luka, there is lightness.  In my heart and in my thoughts.  Michael and I had the best trip home we have ever had in our married life.  Every moment, and every visit, was profound and relaxing.  We laughed, cried, remembered, and philosophized about life, death, joy and sorrow.  Something has shifted.  It happened slowly, but on Luka's birthday, Michael and I both felt at peace. We took a beautiful walk in Wanuskewin Park,  a First Nations sacred territory.  The wind was blowing, and it was lighlty raining. There was no one else on the trail, Luka's gift to us.  We walked in the wind, took in the beauty of the land, and remembered our daughter coming into the world.  As I stood on the prairies, where you can see for miles, I felt my heart soften.  In the gift shop, we bought a piece of art, to remember our daughter and celebrate our journey of this year.  In the evening, we gathered with family and friends, ate fish and chips, and strawberries and whipped cream.  As the setting sun streamed in, and the laughter of little children echoed throughout the living room, I knew that Luka's spirit was playing in the lightness of our hearts.  It was perfect.  Now that we are at home, I am ready for the next chapter in our lives to unfold.  Yes, I want to be pregnant.  But I don't know when it will happen, and I need to live my life.  My goal is to try and live in the moment as much as possible.  We have spent the whole year living in the past and hoping for the future.  And that was how it needed to be.  And now, my focus is the now.  Beauty. Laughter. Love. And Light.  I share with you all, some of the beauty and lightness we encountered on this very healing journey. Thank you to all who have supported us and loved us through a very difficult year. 


Monday, July 18, 2011


It's a hot sultry night in Saskatoon, and my entire family is watching the news in the very cool basement.  My mind is whirling with thoughts and memories, and I needed to write.  It's been only a week since we left Chilliwack, but I feel like I have come full circle in my journey.  At home, with family, still healing from our loss of our daughter, but a much different person than I was last year.  Stronger.  Lighter.  More at peace.  It's hard to believe that in two days, Luka would have been one.  Instead of having a birthday party, we are gathering with our family, to remember her little life, and honour the beauty and gift of meeting and knowing our daughter.  The last week has been magical, powerful, and extremely healing.  I left Chilliwack last Sunday, depressed and angry with the world.  I wasn't sure if I could handle being on the road in July, remembering all that happened to us last year at this time.  But what I have discovered has surprised me.  The first five hours in the car, I cried every half hour.  Listening to music, seeing the beautiful nature around me, and thinking of Luka and her time with us.  It was the first time in this whole year, where I truly felt like I was letting go of holding on.  If that makes sense.  To be away from our mountain, was the best decision that Michael and I have made for this summer. The last week has been a journey of discovery and reconnection.  It has been filled with laughter and crying with friends, silent and shared reflection with Michael about our lives, and the presence of Luka surrounding us in every flower, tree, and bird.  And in these experiences, I have come to realize three things that have helped me come full circle this year.
  Our friends Leah and Steve in Nelson, live their lives so simply and beautifully.  They are gentle to their bodies and to their minds.  Being with them allowed me to see how hard I have been on my body, and how I haven't been taking care of myself in the last year.  It was so important to come to that realization, and I immediately felt lighter knowing this needs to be my focus in the next couple of months.  I need to start taking care of myself.  I am the most important person in my life and I need to live my life the best way I can.
 My husband is the most amazing man in the whole universe.  He has helped me to be a better person, and continues to inspire me every day.  In the last year, we have gone through the most tragic experience of losing a child, and yet we have become closer than we have ever been.
As we have traveled together, this past week, we have laughed the most we have in a year.  We have hardly fought.  We have shared our dreams and goals for the future.  We have held each other as we remember Luka.  And we have reconnected.  Something happened this week in our relationship which has been missing this whole year.  I can't explain it, but it's been magical.
 Luka is with us. In everything and everywhere.  As painful as it has been, she has blessed our lives with love and light.  Her little life has affected so many people, and I am eternally grateful for having known her, nursed her and held her.  And as her birthday approaches, I thank her for getting me through this year, whether it be in the beauty of butterflies, or the gentle wind blowing in the window on a hot summer's evening.

Here I am. A year later.  Still standing. Wiser. Changed. And continuing to live my life.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

dear universe

Dear Universe,
                     It's July. A year has gone by, and last year on this day, the day Luka was due to be born, we put down our cat Mango of twelve years.  I remember, Universe, standing by the trees and asking you to bring us joy.  I looked up to the wind in the sky, and begged for you to bring us joy with the new little one on its way. Do you remember?  Because, I'm starting to feel like you didn't hear me.  I don't want to be negative, and I don't want to become jaded.  I believe in your power, your ability to give me guidance, and to show me the beauty of this world.  I want to believe magic still exists, and I know that I am being selfish for even asking, when war and pain rages throughout this entire world.  I am one small person, asking for one small thing. A baby. I wish it was Luka.  I wish she was turning one, and as we pack up the car to go on summer vacation, I wish the car seat, and the stroller were part of our stuffed car.  I know it is not possible, but I was just hoping for a bit of  joy this July.  Especially, after I take a pregnancy test and it says positive. It's a bit cruel, Universe, that three days later,  I find out from my doctor, that I'm not pregnant.  Very early miscarriage, or maybe never really at all.  Those three days of hoping, dreaming, thanking you for such a gift, in a month of such emotion and remembrance.  How can I continue believing?  I want to. I want to think that it's possible.  But, my heart has been broken again.  Aren't you sick of my tears?  I am. I don't want to cry anymore. Maybe you're testing me to see how much I can take this month. I'm trying to be strong, but the memories of last summer are flooding in with every moment.  Every smell, place, moment, clothing, food, is a reminder of last summer, as I waited for my new baby.  I know you are helping me get through this time, by providing  me with a loving and understanding husband, wonderful friends, and a supportive family.  And I thank you for the many gifts you have given both me and Michael over this very difficult year.  And now, as we head out on our journey to visit friends and family, I ask you to remind me of my ability to believe that it's still possible.  To show me the wonder of nature.  To help me embrace the sorrow and tears as Luka's birthday approaches.  To show me the magic that I know is there.  To open my eyes to what I need to see.  To hold my husband and give him strength.  To laugh with our friends. To share our memories of Luka with our family.  To watch the wind and the trees. To let go.  I don't want to be angry, Universe. It's just been so hard. Thank you for giving me the strength to go on and live my life.  All  I ask for now, is to help me continue believing.  To believe it is possible, and to trust it will happen. (and soon, would be great!)
Thank you for listening. Give all my love to Luka, whether she be in the wind, or the hummingbird that has been visiting every day.  Tell her I love her with all my heart and I miss her so much.

With deep respect,

Sunday, June 26, 2011

this is where I'm at

Summer holidays are four days away, (not that I'm counting), and I'm very grateful for the thought of sleeping in, lounging in the sun, reading and doing nothing.  Life hasn't been easy the past few weeks.  My ankle is healing very slowly, and I have been feeling quite stuck.  As July approaches, my emotions are all over the place.  Friday night I had a big emotional break down, and cried for an hour.  Usually after that release, and a good night's sleep, I wake up feeling refreshed.  But I just woke up angry.  Angry, because my ankle is taking forever to heal.   Angry,  because I can't go for walks with Michael and Sassy.  Angry, because I don't have Luka.  Angry, because a new pregnancy seems impossible.  All Saturday morning, I just stewed.  A big pot of swirling frustration and anger. I know that underneath all the anger is just deep pain.  I craved exercise, and I managed to go for a bike ride without my ankle hurting.  Getting on my bike was the best remedy.  I cruised through the paths,  Michael barely able to keep up.  I needed it.  To feel the wind on my face, hear my heart rate increase, and feel the sweat on my back.  Letting my anger slowly melt away.  Later in the evening, we went and saw a movie with our friends Sharon and Rob, and then went for a bite to eat.  The conversation eventually led to Luka, and my desire to get pregnant again.  My wise friend Sharon talked about our grief being a gift, and instead of it hardening our hearts, we need to open ourselves to others and give grace.  I thought about all the anger I have been harboring in the past few weeks, and how I have felt numb.  She talked about the power we have, as teachers and as compassionate souls, to change lives.  My heart does feel a bit hardened as I think about the journey we have gone through.  A whole year has gone by, and I sometimes feel like it won't get easier, even though I know it already has.  I don't want to forget Luka, but I know Sharon is right when she says I can't let my loss keep me from living and loving my life.   After Sharon shared her wisdom,  Rob simply said, "Maybe, this is where you need to be at right now.  In this time and place, this is where you're at."  Which, as simple as it sounds, rang true.  They were both right.  I need to open my heart but also embrace this stage in the grieving process.  The experts say there are stages of grief, and it's a series of linear steps.  But I don't believe that those stages are linear,  I think it twists and turns, like the roller coaster I wrote about in my last blog.  Right now, I am between anger and acceptance.  I don't know when it will change, or how long it will take for it to change.  But this is where I'm at.  And the one thing I do know, is that this summer will not be like last summer.  As we drove up the mountain today,  I rolled down the windows and let the breeze flow in, remembering Luka.  I think about her each time we go up the mountain.  Knowing she's with us.  Loving us and accepting us for where we're at.  No matter what.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

roller coaster

The last few weeks have been a roller coaster ride. We put an offer on a house, only to have it fall through, I changed my hair colour to blonde, and I'm not loving it, and then I sprained my ankle on my first serious day of getting back into shape, in the first five minutes of a run.  Now, I am slowly healing, but it is driving me crazy and I just feel miserable.  I didn't really want to write a depressing blog, but it's been whirling around in my head, and I needed to get it out before I continued on with my report cards.  It's June.  Last year when writing report cards, I was feeling Luka kick and squirm inside me.  I was walking the hills every day for forty minutes or more.  Such anticipation, such excitement.  I felt great. Healthy, prepared, and in love with the growing baby inside me.  Now, I feel stuck. Trapped, with a sprained ankle.  My body is craving exercise, and I know Michael is getting annoyed with my crankiness.  The more time I sit and wait for my ankle to heal, the more time I think of Luka and last year.  Maybe the universe is telling me that is what I need to do, but July looms in front of me.  Luka's birthday, the anniversary of her death, and all the emotion that goes along with it.  Today, as Michael shopped at Superstore,  I waited in the car and watched a very pregnant woman and her two children load their car with groceries.  I haven't been envious of a pregnant woman for a while, but today, I just wanted to be her.  All I want is to be pregnant, and it's not happening right now.  So, I made the decision last week to get in super shape, and then I sprain my ankle.  Driving home from shopping,  Michael asked me if I was depressed.  As we drove up the mountain, I decided that even though life is providing me with challenges,  I am not depressed.  I'm having a rough couple of weeks, but in general I have been feeling pretty positive. I laugh every day, thanks to my hilarious friend Marie, who is my own personal stand up comic and provides me with insight and humour to my crazy life.  I have my wonderful and caring friend Michelle, who gives me wisdom and hope for the future, while letting me love her children, especially her almost 3 year old daughter Maggie, who brightens my days with her adorableness.  (I was crushed when she would not hug me as a blonde.)  My loving and caring husband who puts up with my grumpiness and hypochondriac tendencies, and who has cooked, cleaned, brought out the garbage and compost, and built us some beautiful furniture over the past few weeks.  My friend Sharon who always knows just what to say, who displays the most amazing grace, and has been such a support to me over the past year.   Vivian and Lorne, our generous friends and landlords, who gave us honest advice about our home we were about to purchase, and who have adopted us as surrogate children.  My amazing grade three class, who took care of me all last week, by carrying my crutches, getting me ice, and helping me to prop up my leg.  My parents and in-laws who have stood by us every step of the way on this healing journey.   Life hasn't been easy, but I have had great friends and family to ride the roller coaster with me, and to them I say thank you. I'm ready to get off this roller coaster now, and get on a smoother one.  Summer holidays are two weeks away, and I know this summer will be better than last summer.  I only wish Luka was with us as we celebrate her first birthday.  Last week,  as I sat in the sunshine enjoying our view,  I strongly felt her presence.  It was almost like she was saying, " This is going to be a tough week Mom, but I'm here to get you through it."  Thank you, my little one.  It's because of you that I am able to continue on this roller coaster of life.

Monday, May 30, 2011


Michael and I have been married thirteen years today, and I have never loved him more.  All I want is to have another child with him, and this is proving to be much more challenging than I ever expected. Who knew that this would be the challenge we would face in our marriage.  We were so innocent and in love thirteen years ago.  I was 23, he was 25.  The world was waiting for us.  We have explored, played, traveled, laughed, fought, and cried through thirteen very amazing years.  This year has been the hardest on us both,  but our marriage and partnership has remained intact and become even stronger.  We keep going, loving each other, holding each other, and believing that anything is possible.  And if one of us forgets to believe, we remind each other that it will happen. As Luka's birthday approaches, my emotions lie on a thin line between being stable and a sobbing mess. Lately there have been several moments where I, without warning, have been completely caught off guard by a memory or reminder of our deeply profound experience of losing a daughter.  On the way to Vancouver on Saturday, an ambulance passed by with it's lights on. Out of nowhere, I remember being in the ambulance on the night Luka was born, on the bumpy highway, after having a c section only two hours before. Wondering.  Hoping that my daughter was going to be okay. Not knowing. But knowing that my whole life had just changed, and would never be the same.  I immediately burst into tears.  It was such a visceral reaction.  And then last night, while I was reading, Michael showed me a picture from his email of our nieces who just performed in a dance recital.  Again, I burst into tears.  I will never see Luka in a cute costume.  I will never see her look like a fairy princess.  I will never see her twirl and look pretty.  Today,  I had a substitute in my class for a meeting I had to attend.  She was very pregnant.  I made the mistake of asking her when she was due.  July, she replied.  I had to hold back the tears.  I can't believe it's been almost a year.   Finally, today we went to look at a few houses, as we are beginning to enter the real adult world and purchase a home.  Our real estate agent is a friend we met at our prenatal classes.  We haven't seen him for a very long time, and it was wonderful to see him.  As we drove away, I again began to cry.  I thought the first house we would buy, would be with Luka. To give her her own room. Paint it bright colours, and have it filled with her toys.  I will never see Luka grow up in our new house,  but I am still excited to be buy a house and start a new chapter in our lives.  I am happy and content to be with my amazing, talented, and loving husband, who treats me like gold, and makes me hotdogs for dinner on our anniversary.  With fries!  I know the memories of Luka will come and go.  And I will continue to let the emotion flow.  Thank you Michael for carrying me through this year, and loving me unconditionally.  When we are ready and with the love we have for each other,  I know we will welcome another child into this world.  Happy Anniversary, my love. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

last breath

It's been a whirlwind of a week but after a lot of hard work, my student actors at school performed, with great success,  A Midsummer Night's Dream.  It was a great accomplishment for me professionally and personally, and it was a wonderful way to end the week, and begin the long weekend.  Today is the ten month anniversary of Luka's death, and she has been in my thoughts and heart all weekend.  As I watch the sun rays shine through the valley,  I can't believe it's been a year since I was about to go on my maternity leave.  Last time this year, I was packing up my classroom, full of anticipation of the new little bundle that would be arriving in just over a month.  Now, and all this weekend, I have been remembering her last moments as I held her.  As we drove to our friend's cabin on Sunday, listening to music in the majesty of the mountains, the memory of her last breath would not leave my mind. The tears could not help but fall.  Strangely, as I turned to Michael, he was also crying.  It was a quiet moment, with hardly any words, but it was needed.  We listened quietly to the music, taking in the gentleness of the rain, and the misty clouds covering the mountains. We arrived at the cabin, and with great friends, we ate and drank, played games, and enjoyed the simpleness of just being together.  My friends Sharon and Rob have three beautiful children, and being with them always bring joy to my life.  We found our way to the park in the evening, to play on the playground and swing on the best tire swing ever.  As I climbed in, I felt like a child again, and was pushed high up into the air.  I have always wanted to fly, and as I glided in the air and felt the wind on my face,  I couldn't stop giggling.  I wanted more.  On the way back to the cabin in the dusk of night, I found myself walking on my own as the others ran ahead.  Luka's last moments once again entered my thoughts.  I remember as she took her last breath, a gentle warmth came over me. Although it sounds crazy, I felt a part of her soul enter mine.  I remember waiting for quite some time before saying out loud to everyone in the room, she had died.  As painful as it was, I wanted to hold on to that moment.  In the last week, I have been experiencing great joy, almost a giddiness.  I've been wondering if part of that energy is Luka's soul shining through, reminding me to play, laugh and enjoy the joy of being alive.  If she was with us, she would almost be one year old, close to walking, and we would be getting ready to spend our second summer with her.  But I can't allow myself to have those thoughts, because she was only meant to be with us for her little life.  The sun is peeking through the clouds as it sets, and is sending in the most beautiful light to our little place on the mountain.  I'm now going to take a hot bath, climb into bed, and fall asleep remembering my little daughter, who continues to remind me of how precious and wonderful life can be.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

spring cleaning

Sunday morning, and the clouds have rolled in.  I can't see across the valley, and the birds are singing away as they play in the light rain, looking for worms.  My little garden is green and growing, and Luka's tree is continuing to open its leaves.  It's been a quiet weekend.  Yesterday, Michael and I went for a run along the Vedder river.  I haven't run with much stamina,  since before I was pregnant with Luka.  It felt great and I can't wait to continue over the summer.  In the evening,  I spent three hours on Skype with my friends Katie, Katherine and Sarah, and we talked and talked.  I wish we could have been together in person, but it was so lovely to connect and share our lives with each other.  We laughed, cried and reminisced.  I love my friends so dearly, and I am so grateful for having them in my life.  Earlier in the afternoon, I decided to do some spring cleaning.  I've been neglecting cleaning out my closets and dressers, even though they are filled with clothes I no longer wear.  And so I purged.  I got rid of anything that I haven't worn in a year, and anything that no longer fit.  Except one pair of skinny jeans I love and vow to wear again!  As I sorted, I found all my maternity clothes from when I was carrying Luka.  It's amazing how every piece of clothing has a memory.  The pink dress I wore every day the week before she arrived.  The flowery green top I bought when I began to show, and the excitement I had to have a little round belly.  And then I pulled out the shirt I wore when Luka died.  I didn't expect the emotion.  It flooded me, and I had to sit down on the bed and weep.  I remember consciously choosing the shirt in the hospital room, knowing that it would be what I wore as I held my baby while she left this world.  As I sat on the bed, I held the shirt to my chest and smelled it, hoping for some scent of little Luka.  I folded it gently and put it with my pile of maternity clothes.  Part of me wanted to throw it in the give away pile, because I don't know if I'll wear it ever again.  My drawers are emptier now, my maternity clothes tucked away in bags for another time.  It always feels nice to cleanse. Out with the old, in with the new.  In the last week, I've come to realize that I need to find happiness in my life again.  Running, reading, performing, and lately I've been thinking about a photography course.  Things that make me happy to be alive.  Michael just made me breakfast, and then we're going to enjoy the day.  Summer is almost here, and I look forward to spending time with family, going on adventures, and honouring Luka.  And maybe, just maybe, in the fall I will pull out those maternity clothes and wear them again with pride.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

letter to Luka on Mother's Day

Dear Luka,

Today I planted a garden, in honour of you my little one.  I woke up in the morning, not sure how I was going to make it through the day, and then I thought of your tree.  I knew I had to re-pot it to help the roots expand and get deeper into soil. We went and bought the most beautiful pot; earth colour, with waves of white, like clouds running through it.  It reminded of your softness, your gentle nature, and your connection to the spirit world.  I also spent some time buying flowers to surround your tree, to give it colour and richness, and remind me of all the gifts you have given us and continue to give.  As I walked through the nursery, I knew this was the perfect day to spend my first Mother's day without you.  To be surrounded by green plants, and brilliant flowers,  I felt at peace.  At home,  I lovingly transplanted your beautiful maple tree into its new home, and felt such joy and sadness as I watered it.  The leaves are blossoming and almost open.  Sassy came by to visit, and joined in the celebration.  As I planted the rest of the garden,  I asked you to send us a brother or sister.  I know you were listening, because I could feel you in the lightness of the air, and in the darkness of the earth.  Light and dark.  The necessities to stay alive on this earth.  The sun is now peeking through the clouds, and shining down on my little potted garden.  Your tree will grow tall, little one, and every day I will kiss it, until it is big enough to wrap my arms around.  And when we are blessed with another child, we will hug it together as a family.  I miss you on this Mother's day and everyday.  Thank you for letting me carry you, hold you, and love you.  You have opened my heart and taught me the true meaning of what life is about. 

With all my love,

Monday, May 2, 2011

try and try again

Another month has past, and we are still not pregnant.  Another weekend of tears and hopelessness.  It's been a hard few days, and yesterday I had a complete emotional breakdown.  It's been a long time since I let the emotions flow, and it was good to let myself cry for a solid two hours.  Lately, there are so many questions.  What if there is something wrong with me?  What if I don't have any healthy eggs? When is it going to be my turn to have a family? Why did we wait so long to start having children?  I'll be 37 in five months, and I'm starting to feel like it will never happen.  I want to stay positive and I want to be hopeful, but in all honesty, a part of me wants to give up.  When I was little I was always terrified that I wouldn't be able to have children. Was that intuition, or was is just a fear that I fabricated?  Michael has to continuously remind me that we did have a child.   I carried to term, and delivered a baby.  But I want a living baby and my life is consumed with thinking about it.  As hard as I try to focus my attention on other things, it is constantly with me.  I also thought this time of year would be exciting, with spring arriving and the promise of nice weather.  I do look forward to more sunshine, and enjoying barbecue's on our patio, however I am often reminded of being pregnant last year.  Being round, loving being pregnant, walking with Sassy, and talking to Luka as she moved inside me.  Last night I had strange dreams, full of vivid imagery and colour.  I woke up feeling mixed emotions, and wanting to go back to sleep and dream.  Sleep is so comforting.  It allows my emotions to settle, and gives me strength to hope again.  A few minutes ago a friend gently reminded me to stop hoping and start believing.  I want to believe. And there is a huge part of me that does.  I just sometimes feel like I have failed.  Failed my husband, who so wants to be a father again, failed my own body, and failed at producing a healthy child.  I know I can't give up.  I know anything is possible.  Here's believing for next month, and if not next month, the month after that.  Tonight I find comfort in my mint chocolate chip ice cream, a hot bath, and my Harry Potter books.  Life goes on, and even though I truly wish storks delivered babies,  I know I must embrace the natural process of creating life, and trust it will happen when the time is right.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

the waiting game

It's finally a beautiful sunny morning in Chilliwack, with not a cloud in the sky.  Michael and I are enjoying a five day long weekend together, after having visitors in April, and the madness and wonderfulness of his show.  Today, it has been exactly nine months since Luka died. Time has flown by so quickly, and I am in disbelief that summer holidays will be here in two months.  At this time last year, I was getting ready to go on maternity leave.  Michael and I started planning our summer holidays the other night, and I hope with all my heart that our summer is a joyful one.  There are many things to be excited about, and one of them is getting pregnant again.  I have been debating whether to write about this on my blog, because it can be so personal.  I have decided that this story is about my journey to have a healthy baby, and I need to honour the journey with my thoughts and feelings.  Life is now about waiting.  Every month, waiting.  Getting excited, wondering, questioning, hoping.  Wondering if I will be disappointed or ecstatic.  I am one of those women who is obsessed with her cycle.  I even have an app for it on my ipod. I check it every day, and sometimes twice a day.   Like the days have suddenly changed.  I'm consumed with thinking about it.  And I don't want to be.  I want to be relaxed.   I want it to happen when it's time for another soul to enter our lives.  I want to live my life for me, and not for the desperate need for a child.  Last night we watched a movie and one of the characters mentioned this quote. "Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."  As I was falling asleep,  it kept running through my head.  I can't decide when I will get pregnant.  It's completely out of my control.  My body will do what it needs to do when it's ready, no matter how hard I count the days until my next cycle.  I also want to live my life for me.  To look at my life, and change what I am unhappy with, and what I am in control of.  Yes, a baby will make me happy, but right now I have to enjoy the life I was given.  The last nine months have been difficult, but also full of gifts.  The strength of love Michael and I have for each other, new friendships, Michael discovering his love of acting again and the excitement of new creative possibilities.  My goal today is to embrace that whatever happens this month, I will continue to live in the possibility.  It doesn't mean I won't be disappointed if I'm not pregnant, but I need to look around and see the beauty that surrounds me, and the opportunities that lie ahead.  Today we're going to re-pot Luka's maple tree, and give it more room to grow.  Every day the buds get a little bigger, and I am so excited for the leaves to finally come out. The tree will come with us wherever we go, and will be replanted in the ground when the time is right.  I've been really feeling Luka's presence lately.  In the spring flowers, the birds, and the new life that is sprouting all around us. I even saw a bald eagle dip through the trees, his white head glistening in the sun.  As I walk with Sassy, I feel Luka playing in the wind, and I can imagine her saying "It will happen, Mom! It will happen!" I look forward to giving her a brother or sister.  And so we patiently wait, enjoying life and all that it has to offer.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


I have so much to write, and I'm not really sure where to start.  I have been wanting to write an entry for a couple of nights, but I have been so tired after a whirlwind of a week.  So, on this cloudy Saturday morning, having finally slept in,  and the house quiet,  I am ready to allow my thoughts to flow.  It's been a busy week.  Michael's parents have come and gone, we attended a wedding, I had a brutal cold, and Michael's show The Drowsy Chaperone opened on Wednesday night.  I had a lovely visit with my in-laws, they are wonderful people and have been a great gift in my life.  School has been busy, and I am in the middle of directing a children's version of Midsummer Night's Dream, with some of the older kids at the school.  And every night as I fall asleep, I have been overwhelmed with the anticipation and excitement of life.  I haven't felt this way in a very long time.  Before and during my pregnancy with Luka,  I wasn't very happy with my life.  I was overjoyed when I found out I was pregnant,  and very excited for her to arrive and be part of our lives.  But, in my professional and personal life,  I felt very lonely.  Michael and I were so looking forward to having a baby, and opening our world to some joy.  So, when we lost Luka, I truly believed that I would never be joyful or happy again.  And now, even though she is not here in the physical sense, her little spirit is bringing us new found joy.  In November, when Michael was at one of his lowest points,  I convinced him to audition for the play The Drowsy Chaperone, as the lead character,  Man in Chair.  He did, and was given the part.  As he began rehearsals,  he would express to me his reluctance of performing when he was still in the healing process.  I pushed him gently to continue, and assured him that creating and performing this role was a gift from our daughter, and would be an essential part of his healing.  On Wednesday night, as I sat in the audience, and watched the love of my life transform and create magic on stage,  I knew I had been right.  Luka had brought him the most beautiful gift.  Michael has always been a talented performer.  I have seen him in so many plays, but never like this.  That night, I couldn't sleep.  I felt pure love and joy for my husband, the life we share, and the daughter we created.  I felt excited for our future, whatever it may hold.  I woke up excited,  even though I had to go to work, and had had only two hours of sleep.  It's a nice feeling to have.  I miss Luka every day.  I want to hold her.  But after this week,  I know she is blessing us in ways I can't even explain and imagine.  Michael's director asked me after opening night if I could feel the presence of Luka shine through Michael as he performed.  There is no doubt in my mind that she was present. And I know she will continue to be present as we continue through this journey of healing and hope.  The clouds are starting to roll in, and by tonight it will be raining.  But I don't care. Luka's little tree is starting to blossom, and spring is here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


It's been a difficult day.  I've been feeling very positive lately, and our trip to Cuba was a great gift.  But last night I went to bed remembering and missing Luka, and when I woke up I couldn't shake the deep sadness I was feeling.  While we were in Cuba, I thought of Luka, but the least I have since she died, and I felt guilty for not thinking of her more.  This morning, as I lay in bed, I remembered her warm little body against mine, and I wished with all my heart that she was born healthy.  I tried to distract myself with Facebook, but I just became more upset, because there are so many people having babies.  The idea of Luka being nine months old and almost walking is heartbreaking for me.  I wonder how I would feel if she was with us.  What would our life be like?  I know it isn't healthy to think about the what if, but I couldn't stop thinking about it this morning.  In the shower,  I let the tears flow and hoped that the day would get better. We were off to see our wonderful friends Leah and Steve, and celebrate Steve's  birthday with his extended family.  I was excited to see them, but my emotions were very raw and I didn't feel like myself.  Many of Steve's cousins have just recently had babies, and although I have no problem seeing or holding babies, today was just the wrong day to be surrounded by newborns.  It was baby central.  Steve's cousin, a nurse at Children's Hospital was also there, who just happened to be in the NICU when Luka arrived by helicopter last summer.  I love talking about Luka, and telling her story, but I felt so vulnerable today, and I had a really hard time remembering and reliving those moments.  It made it all so fresh and I felt like running out of the room. I felt like running and running until all the pain left my body.  I see all these mothers with their babies, and I wonder if I will ever have what they have?  I know Luka will forever be with me in spirit, but seeing mothers holding their precious babies, reminds me of the longing I feel on a daily basis.  And today I was blindsided by the memories and the emotion.  When we left the party, I allowed myself to cry.  I wept all the way to the car and through the long drive home.  I just miss Luka.  Plain and simple.  I miss her warm skin, which was so soft to touch.  I miss her tiny mouth and little nose.  I miss the little curls she had on the back of her head.  And I feel guilty wanting another baby when I should still be mourning her.  It hasn't even been a year.  Once we were home,  I went for a walk with Sassy.  I needed to be by myself, and walk the hills.  Sometimes, that's all I need.  To be with the wind and trees, and the ever joyful Sassy.  Tomorrow is a new day.  It has been getting easier, and spring is almost here.  I have my wonderful husband, who gently reminded me today that we will have joy in our lives again.  In my heart I truly believe him.  I just hope it comes soon.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

missing something

It's a beautiful afternoon in Chilliwack.  The sun is shining through the clouds, the robins are playing in the trees, and a hummingbird just flew by the window stopping briefly to look in and say hello.  Spring is on the way, and the trees are beginning to bud.  We are back from Cuba, and had an absolutely lovely time.  I flew in two planes, and survived two very long flights.  Our resort was nice and quiet, and the beach was stunning.  Blue clear water, sandy beach, and continuous waves to dive into and carry you back to the shore.  We spent countless hours in the sun, swimming in the water, walking the length of the beach and relaxing with each other.  We had an overnight adventure in Havana, and experienced the local culture, the poverty, the music, and the way the Cubans live.  It was eye opening and surreal, and I will always be grateful that we live in Canada;  a country where we are free to speak our mind and have access to pretty much everything we want.  It was a vacation well deserved and for one week I was able to forget about school and teaching, and just spend time with Michael, the love of my life.  Today, Michael and I walked along the Vedder river in the cool spring air and as we reflected on our trip,  I realized something was missing.  Not Luka, because she was with us the entire trip.  She was in the wind, the waves, the flight of the birds and in the trees.  I felt her deep presence wherever we went.  What I'm missing now, is a baby.  A family.  There were so many families in Cuba.  Mothers and fathers with their little ones playing in the sand, and teenagers hanging out with their moms and dads.  There was even a baby with two dads.  Being in Cuba,  I didn't really think about these things, until I came back to my life here.  I feel empty without a living child.  And I am worried that I will be childless the rest of my life.  I know it's silly, because I can get pregnant, and have carried a baby to term.  But my biggest fear is that it won't happen.  Our window is now open to begin the process again.  Which is exciting but scary, and a new journey full of hope.  When the time is right, I know my body will allow a little soul to develop and enter this world.  But the impatient part of me wants it right away.  Michael keeps on reminding me that I just have to let it be the way it needs to unfold, and to trust that the next child we have will have the recipe for life.  In Havana, there were so many children playing baseball in the street and making do with no green space to play.  These children are so poor, yet they find joy in the swinging of a stick to hit a ball. We gave them suckers, and their faces lit up with thanks.  I shouldn't complain.  I have a wonderful life, an amazing husband, a job that pays me well, and the money to travel, eat, drink and buy new possessions.  I have it all.  Except the one thing that I so desire.  As I played in the waves of the ocean,  I thought how much fun it would have been to have Luka with us, to experience the water as a family.  In the evening we drew her name in the sand, and in my heart I thanked her for bringing Michael and I so much closer together.  As I watched the waves wash away her name,  I thought about how short a time we had with our precious daughter, but how grateful I am for her gracing us with her beauiful presence.  Cuba was a milestone.  For months we have been waiting for this time to arrive. And now, on the nine month anniversary of Luka's life and death, I need to remember to live as much as I can in the moment and to ask the universe for strength, patience and trust on my continued journey to have a healthy child.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

letting go of control

The sun is shining on a beautiful Sunday morning.  Spring is in the air, and we leave for Cuba in one week.  It's something Michael and I have both been looking forward to since we booked our trip in September.  I have been feeling such excitement and great anticipation.  Our trip to Cuba,  Michael's show in April, both our parent's coming to visit, and the hope of creating new life.  I haven't felt this excited in a long time, and when I look back on the last eight months, it's been quite a journey.  I know it will continue to be a journey, but it is nice to have a break from the clouds and have the sunshine stream in.  Now, I just have to conquer my fear of flying.  I don't know when I developed such a great fear of being in an airplane, but I'm terrified of flying.  I don't even like to talk about it, because I'm afraid that if I do, my superstitious mind believes something bad will happen.  Fear.  Where does it come from?  Michael told me yesterday I have an overactive mind, which I know is true. My overactive brain has a great imagination.  When I was pregnant with Luka, I had this overwhelming fear that I was going to die in labour.  It was something I really had to work through, and I did tons of reading and reflecting on my fear.  I'm glad I did, because I believe all that soul searching helped me get through the trauma I experienced with the c section, and losing my daughter.  I believe my fear of flying has developed slowly as I have aged.  I remember being on flight with lots of turbulence and as I clutched the seat, a little girl on her father's lap, shouted "Wheeee!!" every time the plane would go up and down.  The innocence of children.  Their utmost trust and joy in the universe.  Why, as adults, do we lose that quality?  Having been a mother, and losing my precious daughter, there is part of me that has no fear.   But deep down I have this fear we won't be able to get pregnant again, or  I will have another miscarriage, or I will have another Trisomy 18 baby.   Michael thinks my fear of flying and my fears of the next pregnancy are connected.  My fear of letting go.  I know I am not in control, no matter how much I want to be.  I have to trust the pilot, trust the universe, trust my body, and let go. I have to remind myself that I went through the biggest letting go experience of my life.  I held Luka in my arms, and told her it was okay to leave, that we loved her, and to go be with the wind and the trees.  It was the most profound moment of my life.  I don't want to be fearful anymore.  I want to trust, let go, and believe that everything that has happened is leading us to new and wonderful things.  I found this quote the other day in an article, "When the part of the brain that experiences gratitude is switched on, then the part of the brain that experiences fear automatically switches off."  I am grateful for so many things.  Great friends, my loving and supportive family, a wonderful husband, where we live, and my little Luka. I often imagine that Luka's spirit is a beautiful and strong bald eagle.  It gives me comfort that she is flying, with no fear and no pain, watching over us.  I'm off to spend the day outside, and hike a mountain with my lovely friends. To be with the wind and trees.  And who knows, maybe I'll even see an eagle soaring through the sky.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


I woke up this morning to a winter wonderland.  It looks like we have about five or so centimetres of fresh snow, and it's still coming down in big flakes.  It's a perfect day to curl up at home, and do report cards. It's my least favorite part of teaching.  They take forever to do, and I'm really not sure how useful they are for parents.  I'd rather sit down and talk about their child face to face.  So much more personal.  Michael and I had a great Saturday.  We went for breakfast, and then went shopping for our trip to Cuba. I bought a new bikini, which is a big deal, because I've never worn a two piece before.  I love it!  Michael and I have never been somewhere hot in the winter,  and I have been dreaming about going to Cuba for many years.  It's perfect timing.  I can't believe in two weeks we'll be getting on a plane, and leaving for sunny beaches and mojitos.  When we booked the trip in September, it seemed like time was going so slowly.  My heart was broken, and I felt like life was hopeless.  When January arrived, I thought it would never end.  And now that February is almost over, I can't believe how quickly the time has gone.  Strange how you can live two realities.  In the past few days, I have truly begun to feel hope.  Michael choosing to go on leave has been the best decision.  We've been talking about things besides school, and have had some deep conversations about the past and future.  I've been remembering moments about Luka's life and death,  I had forgotten about.  I was looking at pictures of my pregnancy, and found some beautiful pictures of Seven, our landlord's cat, relaxing with me just before Luka was born.  I remember that moment.  Luka moving in my belly, the evening sun pouring in, and the sereneness of what was to come.  I remember the hope I felt as I walked the hills every day, and the beautiful artwork I created while I was preparing for her birth.  On the second morning of her little life, I remember how hopeful Michael and I were.  She was the most alert and awake, and for a few precious hours, we believed that she was going to be okay and we would be able to bring her home.  At her beautiful memorial, the wind gently picked up out of nowhere as we remembered her gentle spirit.  Hope. The last seven months have been the hardest and most empowering months of my life.  In the past few days I have been feeling a huge shift in energy.  It literally feels like the weight on my soul is being lightened.  On the way home from shopping,  Michael and I were listening to the new album by the Wailing Jennies.  Driving down the highway,  I looked at my handsome husband, and I felt this overwhelming sense that everything we want is about to happen.  I grabbed his hand, and held on. I could feel his love, and his hope for the future.  Cuba is what we've been waiting for.  And it's almost here. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011


It was a beautiful sunny day today with no wind, and I woke up thinking about this time last year.  I was so excited to be in my second trimester, and I was starting to show.  Today Luka would have been seven months old.  How time can fly but also feel so slow.  We went for brunch today, and then I went for a walk with Marie in the sunshine.  It was wonderful to feel the shift of direction in the light, and the anticipation of the warmth of spring. The buds are coming out on some of the trees, and the magnolia blossoms outside my school seem ready to open.  I know it won't be for a little bit longer, but I can feel change in the air.  Change.  That was our theme for the week.  After many a discussion, and some deep soul searching, Michael made the decision to take a leave of absence from his job until the end of the year.  It was a very hard decision.  It was extremely difficult to leave his students, but I know that it is the right choice for him and for our relationship.  He needs more time to heal, and I support him with all my heart.  Our society expects men to get over loss so much more quickly than women.  And because of that I believe many men bury their pain and sadness.  They will work overtime, and run away from their sorrow.  Michael wanted to be a father so deeply, and the loss of his precious daughter has changed him in ways I never knew were possible.  He needs more time to take care of his gentle and beautiful spirit,  and I embrace this change with an open heart.  On Thursday, I told my class that Mr. Florizone was leaving. They all wanted to know why. It's amazing how innocent and curious they are.  I told them that he wasn't feeling well, and he needed some time to get better.  One of the girls said, "He doesn't look sick, so why is he going?"  I was a little reluctant to bring up why, but I believe in not hiding things from my students.  So, I reminded them gently about how I lost a little baby in the summer. They all went silent, but were listening deeply.  I told them a little bit about her and that her name was Luka.  One of the boys whispered. "Luka.  That's a beautiful name," and a bunch of the other students nodded in agreement.  It was a lovely and respectful moment.  I thanked them for listening,  and told them that they could ask about Luka anytime.  I also told them that I hope to have another baby someday.  They all agreed I would.  Then one of the boys said, "Can we talk about something else now?"  I laughed, wiped the tears away, and said, "yes, let's do some Math."  Life goes on,  but I will always remember the precious moment I had with my class, remembering and honouring my little Luka.  I am looking forward to the changes that lie ahead.  It will be nice to have my husband at home, cooking me dinner, and taking care of himself.  I know he will heal, and find a path to peace.  Our little maple tree we received from friends after Luka died, is planted outside our front door.  The buds are slowly starting to come out.  New life.  New hope.  The ever changing cycle of life.  A reminder that out of darkness comes great light.  Heal well, my love.  I know the universe is listening.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


It's an amazing feeling when you have an epiphany.  According to the dictionary,  epiphany is: a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple occurrence or experience.   It has been that kind of weekend.  On Friday night, Michael and I went to a benefit concert in Vancouver, with our friends Michelle and Ashley.  It was a night of great music, and honouring the beautiful life of a young woman who lost her battle to cystic fibrosis last year.  Her name was Eva, and her life and legacy is an inspiration to the world.  After waiting years for a double lung transplant, she received a set of new lungs, only to have her body reject them after two years.  She died in February last year.  She blogged about her life with cystic fibrosis right up to her death.  It is one of the most powerful and life inspiring stories I have ever encountered.  At the intermission, Michael went to get a bottle of water.  Behind the counter was the cardiologist who had treated Luka in the hospital.  He must have been volunteering for this amazing cause.  It was very strange and surreal to see him out of context, and for a minute I questioned if it was truly him.  But, I know it was.  He was the first person to examine and talk to us about Luka.  He was kind and optimistic, not to mention very good looking.  How could I forget?  The concert was amazing.  Wonderful musicians, deep thinking lyrics, and an energy in the theatre that was transformative.  The power of love.  The effect one person can have on so many people.  I couldn't help but think of Luka - the power of her love, and the love we had for her.   On the drive home, talking with Michelle and Ashley,  I realized how much I have grown in the past seven months.  To understand loss, is also to fully experience joy. And the universe keeps reminding me of that. Saturday morning we rolled out of bed, and went to see the acupuncturist.  I went to see her in September to help me heal from my surgery, and it helped enormously.  We're going to see her now to help us get ready for a new pregnancy.  To heal our pain and open our hearts to the process of beginning a new life.  As I lay there with needles in my whole body,  I repeated my mantra in my head, and opened up my body to the universe for healing.  It wasn't until I was at home, soaking in the bath, when my epiphany came to me.  Lately,  I have been in impatient mode.  Wanting everything now.  Buying a beautiful journal and not using it because I am saving it for my next pregnancy.  And I suddenly realized that I need to begin some deep and true healing.  To use my journal as a healing journal. To cleanse my body and prepare it for a new life. To love me.  I need to begin the journey to move forward.  I will continue to remember, love and honour Luka.  Always.  But, this weekend has opened a new chapter in my journey.  To embrace the now, and so that when spring arrives,  I am ready with a healthy body, and a whole heart. 

The following is a link to Eva's blog: 
 and if you're not an organ donor, please register to be one. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

the odds are in our favour

It was a beautiful sunny day today.  The wind was cold, but the sunshine felt wonderful.  Driving home from school this afternoon I rolled down my window, and felt the fresh air on my face.  Spring is in the air.  Ever so slight, but it's there.  I had to go for a walk this afternoon.  I went and got Sassy and began climbing the hills.  It was my first walk with Sassy by myself since I was pregnant with Luka.  Michael and I usually go together, but he had an appointment.  I used to walk Sassy everyday in the last month before I was due.  While I was walking I would talk to Luka, and tell her how excited we were for her to come, and tell her to go easy on me in labour.  Today I chose to visualize and think about my next pregnancy and birth.  It is so easy to think of the negative and to worry.  There are so many questions that will arise with the next pregnancy.  Should we get genetic testing?  Should we have an amniocentesis? Will I have to have another C section?  Or, do we just trust.  The odds are in our favour, or at least I should hope so.  The geneticists, who are the experts, have basically told us we will not have another Trisomy 18 baby.  But there are all the other worries.  What about miscarriage?  Down syndrome? Will I be able to get pregnant again?  And then I look at Sassy.  She doesn't worry.  She knows that if I throw the stick, she will catch it and bring it back.  She enjoys every moment, and knows that life is meant to be lived.  We can learn so much from a four legged creature.  So as I'm walking, I remind myself of my new mantra - it will happen.  Whenever I have negative and fearful thoughts swirling around in my head,  I repeat my mantra.  And it allows me to think with hope.  I will hold a healthy baby in my arms.  I will have the birth that I want.  It doesn't matter how they are born, I know it will result in a beautiful boy or girl.  Or twins?  I will get pregnant.  I can get pregnant.  At home I cook supper, listening to Amos Lee.  Michael arrives.  We hug in the kitchen and begin to slow dance to the music.  Holding on to him, my heart is full.  In this moment,  there is no one I love more.  Our love has already created our beautiful Luka,  and in my heart I know that when we are ready,  it will happen again.

Sunday, February 6, 2011


I woke up this morning remembering.  The fog is covering the mountain, and I can't see across the valley.  Today it is comforting, wrapping me in a blanket of protection. Lately the memories have been strong and vivid,  like it all happened yesterday.  I go to bed with them, and I wake up with them.  They come to me as I'm teaching, while I'm on the treadmill, and when I'm driving in the car.  Sometimes they make me smile,  but mostly they draw tears to my eyes.  There are days like today, where I allow the memories to flood in and take over my thoughts.  In the book, Because of  Winn Dixie, (which I just recently read to my class), the little girl asks her dad for a list of ten things about her mother so she can remember her.   I've been thinking about those three days in July, and what memories stand out the most, the painful and the beautiful.  I've been avoiding writing them down, because it causes the well to overflow.  But today, I need to. So here goes. I'm shaking as I write this but here are ten memories that will stay with me forever.
1.  Waiting for the C-section.  Being in the hospital room, feeling Luka move, and wondering what she would be like when she arrived.  The mix of anticipation and disappointment that I felt from having to have this procedure, and the loss of my home birth in water.
2.  The little cry Luka had when she came out, and the instant knowledge from a mother's gut instinct that something was wrong.
3.  As they wheeled her out of the operating room, she turned her head to look at me, and we made eye contact.  I remember saying "She's beautiful. She looks just like Aline." (her grandma)
4.  Holding her for the first time.  Knowing that something was wrong but I didn't care in the least. I loved this little girl. And then watching Michael hold her.  The instant bond they shared.
5.  The ambulance ride to Vancouver.  No drugs, bumpy highway, listening to the Ipod. Thinking of her in the helicopter. Wishing she was with me. Trusting she was in good hands.
6.  Seeing her in the incubator for the first time in Children's.  Touching her little legs and arms, and her tiny chest.  Her soft skin.  Her tiny cry.  Her response to our voices.
7. The not knowing. The fear of having a disabled child.  The deep knowledge within me that I was going to lose her.  Finally hearing from a doctor that she wasn't going to survive.  Her having Trisomy 18.  The strength I found to let her go.
8. Holding her, even with all the tubes, and putting her on my breast.  Her little mouth around my nipple and then falling asleep in my arms.  The best feeling in the world.
9.  The decision to take her off the life support.  My parents carrying her from the NICU to the private room we had as a family.  The sadness in my parent's, and their unbelievable love for their grandchild. The love in the room.  The silence, the tears, the joy and pain and the loss of innocence for us all.
10.  Holding her as she died.  Her hiccups as she left us.  Her last breath.  The feeling of gut wrenching pain, relief, and peace all at the same time.  That moment will never leave me.  Her beauty.  Free from pain.  Free.

As painful as this was to write,  I needed to.  It's been swirling in my head the past two weeks, and it feels good to let out.  It helps me heal, and look forward.  Lately, I feel spring in the air.  That wonderful smell of soil and plants growing.  Our landlords gave us a beautiful pot of daffodils and crocuses last week.  They sit with Luka's ashes, and have been blossoming with gusto all week.  A reminder that anything is possible, and that darkness can only lead to joy.